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Title: Four Early Pamphlets
Author: Godwin, William, 1756-1836
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Four Early Pamphlets" ***

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    [A Defense of the Rockingham Party, in Their Late Coalition with
    the Right Honorable Frederic Lord North]

    [Instructions to a Statesman]

    [An Account of the Seminary]

    [The Herald of Literature]









LONDON: Printed for J. STOCKDALE, opposite Burlington House, Piccadilly.
1783. [Price One Shilling and Sixpence.] _Entered at Stationers Hall._





&C. &C. &C.

       *       *       *       *       *

The present reign will certainly appear to our posterity full of the
noblest materials for history. Many circumstances seem to have pointed
it out as a very critical period. The general diffusion of science has,
in some degree, enlightened the minds of all men; and has cleared such,
as have any influence upon the progress of manners and society, from a
thousand unworthy pre-possessions. The dissipation and luxury that reign
uncontrouled have spread effiminacy and irresolution every where.--The
grand defection of the United States of America from the mother country,
is one of the most interesting events, that has engaged the attention of
Europe for centuries. And the number of extraordinary geniuses that have
distinguished themselves in the political world, gives a dignity to the
scene. They pour a lustre over the darkest parts of the story, and
bestow a beauty upon the tragedy, that it could not otherwise have

At a time like this, when the attention of mankind has been kept alive
by a series of the most important events, we cease to admire at things
which would otherwise appear uncommon, and wonders almost lose their
name. Even now, however, when men were almost grown callous to novelty,
and the youngest of us had, like Cato in the play, lived long enough to
be "surprised at nothing," a matter has occurred which few expected, and
to which, for that reason, men of no great strength of mind, of no nerve
of political feeling, scarcely know how to reconcile themselves. I refer
to the coalition between the friends of the late marquis of Rockingham
and the noble commoner in the blue ribbon.

The manner of blaming this action is palpable and easy. The censure is
chiefly directed against that wonderful man, whom, at least in their
hearts, his countrymen, I believe, have agreed to regard as the person
of brightest genius, and most extensive capacity, that now adorns the
British senate. Has not this person, we are asked, for years attacked
the noble lord in the most unqualified manner? Is there any aspersion,
any insinuation, that he has not thrown out upon his character? Has he
not represented him as the weakest man, and the worst minister, to whom
the direction of affairs was ever committed? Has he not imputed to his
prerogative principles, and his palpable misconduct, the whole catalogue
of our misfortunes? If such men as these are to unite for the detested
purposes of ambition, what security can we have for any thing valuable,
that yet remains to us? Is not this the very utmost reach of frontless
profligacy? What dependence after this is to be placed in the man, who
has thus given the lie to all his professions, and impudently flown in
the face of that honest and unsuspecting virtue, which had hitherto
given him credit for the rectitude of his intentions?

I do not mean for the present to enter into a direct answer to these
several observations. I leave it to others, to rest the weight of their
cause upon sounding exclamations and pompous interogatories. For myself,
I am firmly persuaded, that the oftner the late conduct of the
Rockingham connexion is summoned to the bar of fair reason, the more
cooly it is considered, and the less the examiner is led away by the
particular prejudices of this side or of that, the more commendable it
will appear. We do not fear the light. We do not shun the scrutiny. We
are under no apprehensions for the consequences.

I will rest my argument upon the regular proof of these three

First--That the Rockingham connexion, was the only connexion by which
the country could be well served.

Secondly--That they were not by themselves of sufficient strength to
support the weight of administration.

Thirdly--That they were not the men whose services were the most likely
to be called for by the sovereign, in the present crisis.

First--I am to prove, that the country could not be well served but by
the Rockingham connexion.

There are three points principally concerned in the constituting a good
administration; liberal principles, respectable abilities, and
incorruptible integrity.--Let us examine with a view to these, the other
four parties in the British government. The connexion of the earl of
Shelburne, that of lord North, the Bedford party, and the Scottish. In
reviewing these, it is necessary that I should employ a manly freedom,
though, at the same time, I should be much unwilling to do a partial
injustice to any of them.

It is true, there is some difference between the language of the same
men in office, and out of office. The Bedford connexion, however, have
never been conceived to bear an over favourable aspect to the cause of
liberty. They are the avowed enemies of innovation and reform.

The Scottish party are pretty much confounded with the set of men that
are called, by way of distinction, the king's friends. The design of
these men has been to exalt regal power and prerogative upon the ruins
of aristocracy, and the neck of the people. Arguments, and those by no
means of a frivolous description, have been brought to prove, that a
most subtle and deep-laid scheme was formed by them, in the beginning of
the reign, to subserve this odious purpose. It has been supposed to have
been pursued with the most inflexible constancy, and, like a skiff, when
it sails along the meandering course of a river, finally to have turned
to account the most untoward gales.

Lord North, whatever we may suppose to have been his intrinsic
abilities, stands forward, as, perhaps, the most unfortunate minister,
that this country ever produced. Misfortune overtook him in the
assertion of the highest monarchical principles. In spite of misfortune,
he adherred inflexibly to that assertion. In the most critical
situations he remained in a state of hesitation and uncertainty, till
the tide, that "taken at the flood, led up to fortune," was lost. His
versatility, and the undisguised attachment, that he manifested to
emolument and power, were surely unworthy of the stake that was
entrusted to him.

In what I have now said, I do not much fear to be contradicted. It was
not with a view to such as are attached to any of these parties, that I
have taken up the pen. Those who come under this description, are almost
universally the advocates of monarchy, and think that they have nothing
to regret, but that power and police are not established upon a more
uncontrolable footing among us. To such persons I do not address myself.
I know of nothing that the friends of lord Rockingham have to offer that
can be of any weight with them; and, for my own part, I should blush to
say a word, that should tend to conciliate their approbation to a
system, in which my heart was interested. The men I wish chiefly to have
in view, are those that are personally attached to the earl of
Shelburne; such as stand aloof from all parties, and are inclined to
have but an indifferent opinion of any; and such as have adhered to the
connexion I have undertaken to defend, but whose approbation has been
somewhat cooled by their late conduct. The two last in particular, I
consider as least under the power of prejudice, and most free to the
influence of rational conviction.

The friends of freedom have, I believe, in no instance hesitated, but
between the Rockingham connexion, and the earl of Shelburne. It is these
two then that it remains for me to examine. Lord Shelburne had the
misfortune of coming very early upon the public stage. At that time he
connected himself with the earl of Bute, and entered with warmth into
the opposition to Mr. secretary Pitt. In this system of conduct,
however, he did not long persist; he speedily broke with the favourite,
and soon after joined the celebrated hero, that had lately been the
object of his attack. By this person he was introduced to a considerable
post in administration. In office, he is chiefly remembered by the very
decisive stile of authority and censure he employed, in a public letter,
relative to the resistance that was made to the act of 1767, for
imposing certain duties in America. From his resignation with lord
Chatham, he uniformly and strenuously opposed the measures that were
adopted for crushing that resistance. He persevered, with much apparent
constancy, in one line of conduct for near ten years, and this is
certainly the most plausible period of his story. He first called forth
the suspicions of generous and liberal men in every rank of society, by
his resolute opposition to the American independency in 1778. But it was
in the administration, that seemed to have been formed under so
favourable auspices in the spring of 1782, that he came most forward to
general examination.

The Rockingham connexion, in conformity to what were then supposed to be
the wishes of the people, united, though not without some hesitation,
with the noble earl and his adherents, in the conduct of public affairs.
And how did he reward their confidence? He was careful to retain the
question respecting his real sentiments upon the business of America, in
as much obscurity as ever. He wrote officially a letter to sir Guy
Carleton, which has never seen the light, by which that officer was
induced to declare the American independency already irreversibly
recognised by the court of London; by which he appears to have deceived
all his brother ministers without exception; and by which Mr. Fox in
particular, was induced to make the same declaration with general
Carleton to foreign courts, and to come forward in the commons
peremptorily to affirm, that there was not a second opinion in the
cabinet, upon this interesting subject. How must a man of his
undisguised and manly character have felt, when, within a week from this
time, he found the noble earl declaring that nothing had ever been
further from his thoughts, than an unconditional recognition; and
successfully exerting himself to bring over a majority in the cabinet to
the opposite sentiment? Lord Shelburne's obtaining, or accepting, call
it which you will, of the office of first lord of the treasury, upon the
demise of lord Rockingham, without the privity of his fellow Ministers,
was contrary to every maxim of ingenuous conduct, and every principle
upon which an association of parties can be supported. The declaration
he made, and which was contradicted both by his own friends in the
cabinet, and those of Mr. Fox, that he knew of no reason _in God's
earth_ for that gentleman's resignation, but that of his having
succeeded to the office of premier, was surely sufficiently singular.

But he is celebrated for being a man of large professions, and by these
professions he has induced some persons in different classes in society,
to esteem him the friend of liberty and renovation. What he has held
out, however, upon these heads, has not been entirely confident. He has
appeared the enthusiastical partizan of the aristocracy, a kind of
government, which, carried to its height, is perhaps, of all the
different species of despotism, the most intolerable. He has talked in a
very particular stile of his fears of reducing the regal power to a
shadow, of his desire that the extension of prerogative should keep pace
with the confirmation of popular rights, and his resolution, that, if it
were in his power to prevent it, a king of England should never be
brought to a level with a king of Mahrattas. The true sons of freedom
will not certainly be very apprehensive upon this score, and will leave
it to the numbers that will ever remain the adherents of monarchical
power, to guard the barriers of the throne. In opposition, his
declarations in favour of parliamentary reform seemed indeed very
decisive. In administration, he was particularly careful to explain away
these declarations, and to assure the people that he would never employ
any influence in support of the measure, but would only countenance it
so far as it appeared to be the sense of parliament. In other words,
that he would remain neutral, or at most only honour the subject with an
eloquent harangue, and interest himself no further respecting it.

But let us proceed from his language to his conduct in office. Almost
every salutary measure of administration, from the resignation of lord
North downward, was brought about during the union of the noble earl
with the Rockingham connexion. What inference are we to draw from
this?--That administration, as auspicious as it was transitory, has
never been charged with more than one error. They were thought too
liberal in the distribution of two or three sinecures and pensions. To
whom were they distributed? Uniformly, exclusively, to the friends of
lord Shelburne. Lord Shelburne proposed them to his august colleague,
and the marquis, whose faults, if he had any, were an excess of
mildness, and an unsuspecting simplicity, perhaps too readily complied.
But let it be remembered, that not one of his friends accepted, or to
not one of his friends were these emoluments extended. But, if the noble
marquis were sparing in the distribution of pensions, the deficiency was
abundantly supplied by his successor. While the interests of the people
were neglected and forgotten, the attention of the premier was in a
considerable degree engrossed by the petty arrangements of office. For
one man a certain department of business was marked out; the place had
been previously filled by another. Here the first person was at all
events to be promoted; and the second gratified with a pension. Thus, in
the minute detail of employment, in adjusting the indeclinables of a
court calendar, to detach a _commis_ from this department, and to fix a
clerk in that, burthen after burthen has been heaped upon the shoulders
of a callous and lethargic people.--But no man can say, that the earl of
Shelburne has been idle. Beside all this, he has restored peace to his
country. His merits in this business, have already been sufficiently
agitated. To examine them afresh would lead me too far from the scope of
my subject. I will not therefore now detain myself either to exculpate
or criminate the minister, to whom, whatever they are, they are
principally to be ascribed.

From the considerations already suggested, I am afraid thus much may be
fairly inferred, that the earl of Shelburne is a man, dark, insidious
and inexplicit in his designs; no decided friend of the privileges of
the people; and in both respects a person very improper to conduct the
affairs of this country. I would hope however, that the celebrated
character given of him by the late lord Holland was somewhat too severe.
"I have met with many, who by perseverance and labour have made
themselves Jesuits; it is peculiar to this man to have been born one."

Such then is the estimate we are compelled to form of a man who in his
professions has sometimes gone as far, as the most zealous votaries of
liberty. And what is the inference we shall draw from this? Shall we,
for the sake of one man so specious and plausible, learn to think the
language of all men equally empty and deceitful? Having once been
betrayed, shall we avoid all future risk, by treating every pretender to
patriotism and public spirit, as a knave and an impostor? This indeed is
a conclusion to which the unprincipled and the vicious are ever
propense. They judge of their fellows by themselves, and from the
depravity of their own hearts are willing to infer, that every honesty
has its price. But the very motive that inclines the depraved to such a
mode of reasoning, must, upon the very same account, deter the man of
virtue from adopting it. Virtue is originally ever simple and
unsuspecting. Conscious to its own rectitude, and the integrity of its
professions, it naturally expects the same species of conduct from
others. By every disappointment of this kind, it is mortified and
humbled. Long, very long must it have been baffled, and countless must
have been its mortifications, ere it can be induced to adopt a principle
of general mistrust. And that such a principle should have so large a
spread among persons, whose honesty, candour forbids us to suspect, is
surely, of all the paradoxe upon the face of the earth, incomparably the
greatest.--The man of virtue then will be willing, before he gives up
all our political connexions without distinction, to go along with me to
the review of the only one that yet remains to be examined, that of the
late marquis of Rockingham.

Too much perhaps cannot be said in their praise. They have nearly
engrossed the confidence of every friend of liberty. They are the only
men, whose principles were never darkened with the cloud of suspicion.
What, let me ask, has been their uniform conduct during the whole course
of the reign? They have been ever steady in their opposition, to
whatever bore an ill aspect to the cause of freedom, and to the whole
train of those political measures, that have terminated in calamity and
ruin. They have been twice in administration. Prosperity and power are
usually circumstances that prove the severest virtue. While in power how
then did this party conduct themselves?

Of their first administration the principal measure was the stamp act. A
law that restored tranquility to a distracted empire. A law, to which,
if succeeding administrations had universally adhered, we had been at
this moment, the exclusive allies and patrons of the whole continent of
North America. A law, that they carried in opposition to the all-dreaded
Mr. Pitt, on the one hand, and on the other, against the inclination of
those secret directors, from whose hands they receive their delegated
power. They repealed the excise upon cyder. They abolished general
warrants. And after having been the authors of these and a thousand
other benefits in the midst of storms and danger; they quitted their
places with a disinterestedness, that no other set of men have imitated.
They secured neither place, pension, nor reversion to themselves, or any
of their adherents.

Their second administration was indeed very short. But it was crowded
with the most salutary measures. The granting a full relief to Ireland.
The passing several most important bills of oeconomy and reformation.
The passing the contractors bill. The carrying into effect that most
valuable measure, the abolishing the vote of custom-house officers in
the election of members of parliament. And lastly, the attempt to
atchieve, that most important of all objects, the establishment of an
equal representation. What might not have been expected from their
longer continuance in office?

But I will not confine myself to the consideration of their conduct as a
body. The characters of the individuals of which they are composed, will
still further illustrate their true principles, and furnish a strong
additional recommendation of them, to every friend of virtue and of
liberty. That I may not overcharge this part of my subject, I will only
mention two or three of their most distinguished leaders.

The character of the present chancellor of the exchequer is entirely an
_unique_. Though mixing in all the busy scenes of life, though occupying
for many years a principal place in the political affairs of this
country, he has _kept himself unspotted from the world_.--The word of
the elder Cato was esteemed so sacred with the Romans, that it became a
proverb among them respecting things, so improbable, that their truth
could not be established even by the highest authority, "I would not
believe it, though it were told me by Cato." And in an age much more
dissipated than that of Cato, the integrity and honour of the noble lord
I have mentioned, has become equally proverbial. Not bonds, nor deeds,
nor all the shackles of law, are half so much to be depended upon as is
his lightest word. He is deaf to all the prejudices of blood or private
friendship, and has no feelings but for his country.

Of the duke of Portland, I can say the less, as not having had an
opportunity of knowing much respecting him. His candour and his honour
have never been questioned. And I remember, in the debate upon the
celebrated secession of the Rockingham party, upon the death of their
leader, to have heard his abilities particularly vouched in very strong
terms, by Mr. chancellor Pitt, and the present lord Sidney. The latter
in particular, though one of my lord Shelburne's secretaries of state,
fairly avowed in so many words, that he should have been better
satisfied with the appointment of his grace, to the office he now holds,
than he was, with the noble lord, under whom he acted.

The character of lord Keppel, with persons not attached to any party,
has usually been that of a man of much honesty and simplicity, without
any remarkable abilities. It is a little extraordinary however, that,
though forced by a combination of unfavourable circumstances into a
public speaker, he is yet, even in that line, very far from contempt.
His speeches are manly, regular, and to the purpose. His defence upon
his trial at Portsmouth, in which he must naturally be supposed to have
had at least a principal share, has, in my opinion, much beauty of
composition. The adversaries of this party, though unwilling to admit
that the navy was so much improved under his auspices as was asserted,
have yet, I believe, universally acknowledged his particular activity
and diligence.

But I come to the great beast of his own party, and the principal object
of attack to their enemies, the celebrated Mr. Fox. Men of formality and
sanctity have complained of him as dissipated. They do not pretend
however to aggravate their accusation, by laying to his charge any of
the greater vices. His contempt of money, and his unbounded generosity,
are universally confessed. Let such then know, that dissipation, so
qualified, is a very slight accusation against a public man, if indeed
it deserves a serious consideration. In all expansive minds, in minds
formed for an extensive stage, to embrace the welfare and the interest
of nations, there is a certain incessant activity, a principle that must
be employed. Debar them from their proper field, and it will most
inevitably run out into excesses, which perhaps had better have been
avoided. But do these excrescences, which only proceed from the richness
and fertility of the soil, disqualify a man for public business? Far,
very far from it. Where ever was there a man, who pushed dissipation and
debauchery to a greater length, than my lord Bolingbroke? And yet it is
perhaps difficult to say, whether there ever existed a more industrious,
or an abler minister. The peace of Utrecht, concluded amidst a thousand
difficulties, from our allies abroad, and our parties, that were never
so much exasperated against each other at home; must ever remain the
monument of his glory. His opposition to sir Robert Walpole seems
evidently to have been founded upon the most generous principles. And
though the warmth and ebullition of his passions evermore broke in upon
his happiest attempts, yet were his exertions in both instances attended
with the most salutary consequences. But Mr. Fox appears to me to
possess all the excellencies, without any of the defects of lord
Bolingbroke. His passions have, I believe, never been suspected of
having embroiled the affairs of his party, and he has uniformly retained
the confidence of them all. His friendships have been solid and
unshaken. His conduct cool and intrepid. The littleness of jealousy
never discoloured a conception of his heart. In office he was more
constant and indefatigable, than lord Bolingbroke himself. All his
lesser pursuits seemed annihilated, and he was swallowed up in the
direction of public affairs.

He has been accused of ambition. Ambition is a very ambiguous term. In
its lowest sense, it sinks the meanest, and degrades the dirtiest of our
race. In its highest, I cannot agree with those who stile it the defect
of noble minds. I esteem it worthy of the loudest commendation, and the
most assiduous culture. Mr. Fox's is certainly not an ambition of
emolument. Nobody dreams it. It is not an ambition, that can be
gratified by the distribution of places and pensions. This is a passion,
that can only dwell in the weakest and most imbecil minds. Its necessary
concomitants, are official inattention and oscitancy. No. The ambition
of this hero is a generous thirst of fame, and a desire of possessing
the opportunity of conferring the most lasting benefits upon his
country. It is an instinct, that carries a man forward into the field of
fitness, and of God.

The vulgar, incapable of comprehending these exalted passions, are apt
upon the slightest occasions to suspect, that this heroical language is
only held out to them for a lure, and that the most illustrious
characters among us are really governed by passions, equally incident to
the meanest of mankind.  Let such examine the features and the manners
of Mr. Fox.  Was that man made for a Jesuit? Is he capable of the dirty,
laborious, insidious tricks of a hypocrite? Is there not a certain
manliness about him, that disdains to mislead? Are not candour and
sincerity, bluntness of manner, and an unstudied air, conspicuous in all
he does?--I know not how far the argument may go with others, with me, I
confess, it has much weight. I believe a man of sterling genius,
incapable of the littlenesses and meannesses, incident to the vulgar
courtier. What are the principal characteristics of genius? Are they not
large views, infinite conceptions, a certain manliness and intrepidity
of thinking? But all real and serious vice originates in selfish views,
narrow conceptions, and intellectual cowardice. A man of genius may
possibly be thoughtless, dissipated and unstudied; but he cannot avoid
being constant, generous, and sincere. The union of first rate abilities
with malignity, avarice, and envy, seems to me very nearly as incredible
a phenomenon, as a mermaid, a unicorn, or a phoenix.

I cannot overcome the propensity I feel to add Mr. Burke to this
illustrious catalogue, though the name of this gentleman leads me out of
the circle of the cabinet. Mr. Burke raised himself from an obscure
situation, by the greatness of his abilities, and his unrivalled genius.
Never was distinction more nobly earned. Of every species of literary
composition he is equally a master. He excels alike in the most abstruse
metaphysical disquisition, and in the warmest and most spirited
painting. His rhetoric is at once ornamented and sublime. His satire is
polished and severe. His wit is truly Attic. Luxuriant in the extreme,
his allusions are always striking, and always happy. But to enumerate
his talents, is to tell but half his praise. The application he has made
of them is infinitely more to his honour. He has devoted himself for his
country. The driest and most laborious investigations have not deterred
him. Among a thousand other articles, that might be mentioned, his
system of oeconomical reform must for ever stand forth, alike the
monument of his abilities, and his patriotism. His personal character is
of the most amiable kind. Humanity and benevolence are strongly painted
in his countenance. His transactions with lord Rockingham were in the
highest degree honourable to him. And the more they are investigated,
and the better they are understood, the more disinterestedness of
virtue, and generous singularity of thinking, will be found to have been
exhibited on both sides.

It is necessary perhaps, that I should say a word respecting the
aristocratical principles of this gentleman, by which he is
distinguished from the rest of his party. To these principles I profess
myself an enemy. I am sorry they should be entertained by a person, for
whom, in every other respect, I feel the highest veneration. But the
views of that man must be truly narrow, who will give up the character
of another, the moment he differs from him in any of his principles. I
am sure Mr. Burke is perfectly sincere in his persuasion. And I hope I
have long since learned not to question the integrity of any man, upon
account of his tenets, whether in religion or politics, be they what
they may. I rejoice however, that this gentleman has connected himself
with a set of men, by the rectitude of whose views, I trust, the ill
tendency of any such involuntary error will be effectually counteracted.
In the mean time this deviation of Mr. Burke from the general principles
of his connexion, has given occasion to some to impute aristocratical
views to the whole party. The best answer to this, is, that the
parliamentary reform was expressly stipulated by lord Rockingham, in his
coalition with the earl of Shelburne, as one of the principles, upon
which the Administration of March, 1782, was formed.

From what has been said, I consider my first proposition as completely
established, that the Rockingham party was the only connexion of men, by
which the country could be well served.

I would however just observe one thing by the way. I forsee that my
first proposition lies open to a superficial and childish kind of
ridicule. But in order to its operation, it is not necessary to say,
that the friends of lord Rockingham were persuaded, that the country
could not be well served, but by themselves. In reality, this is the
proper and philosophical state of it: that each individual of that
connexion was persuaded, that the country could not be well served but
by his friends. And I trust, it has now appeared, that this was a just
and rational persuasion.

The next argument adduced in conformation of my thesis, is, that they
were not by themselves of sufficient strength, to support the weight of
administration. It is certainly a melancholy consideration, that there
should not be virtue enough left in a people to support an
administration of honest views and uniform principles, against all the
cabals of faction. This however, is incontrovertibly the case with
Britain. The bulk of her inhabitants are become, in a very high degree,
inattentive, and indifferent to the conduct of her political affairs.
This has been, at one time, ascribed to their despair of the
commonwealth, and their mortification in perceiving a certain course of
mal-administration persisted in, in defiance of the known sense of the
country. At another time, it has been imputed to their experience of the
hollowness of all our public pretenders to patriotism. I am afraid, the
cause is to be sought in something, more uniform in it's operation, and
less honourable to the lower ranks of society, than either of these. In
a word, luxury and dissipation have every where loosened the bands of
political union. The interest of the public has been forgotten by all
men; and we have been taught to laugh at the principles, by which the
patriots of former ages were induced, to sacrifice their fortunes and
their lives for the welfare of their citizens. Provided the cup of
enjoyment be not dashed from our own lips, and the pillow of sloth torn
away from our own heads, we do not ask, what shall be the fate of our
liberties, our posterity, and our country. Disinterested affection seems
to have taken up her last refuge in a few choice spirits, and elevated
minds, who appear among us, like the inhabitants of another world. In
the mean time, while the lower people have been _careful for none of
these things_, they have been almost constantly decided in the senate,
not by a view to their intrinsic merits, but in conformity to the
jarring interests, and the inexplicable cabals of faction. In such a
situation, alas! what can unprotected virtue do? Destitute of all that
comeliness that allures; stripped of that influence that gives weight
and consideration; and unskilled in the acts of intrigue?

In conformity to these ideas, when the choice of an administration was
once again thrown back upon the people, in March, 1782, we perceive,
that no one party found themselves sufficiently strong for the support
of government; and a coalition became necessary between the Rockingham
connexion, and a person they never cordially approved, the earl of
Shelburne. Even thus supported, and called to the helm, with perhaps as
much popularity, as any administration ever enjoyed, they did not carry
their measure in parliament without difficulty. The inconsiderate and
interested did even think proper to ridicule their imbecility;
particularly in the house of lords. The most unsuspected of all our
patriots, Mr. Burke, was reduced to the necessity of so far contracting
his system of reform upon this account, as to have afforded a handle to
superficial raillery and abuse.

But turn we to the administration that succeeded them; who still
retained some pretensions to public spirit; and among whom there
remained several individuals, whose claim to political integrity was
indisputably. Weaker than the ministry of lord Rockingham, to what
shifts were they not reduced to preserve their precarious power? These
are the men, who have been loudest in their censures of the late
coalition. And yet did not they form coalitions, equally extraordinary
with that which is now under consideration? To omit the noble lord who
presided at the treasury board, and to confine myself to those
instances, which Mr. Fox had occasion to mention in treating my subject.
Was there not the late chancellor of the exchequer, who has been
severest in his censures of lord North, and the lord advocate of
Scotland, who was his principal supporter, and was for pushing the
American measures, even to greater lengths, than the noble patron
himself? Was there not the master general of the ordnance, who has ever
gone farthest in his view of political reform, and declaimed most warmly
against secret influence; and the lord chancellor, the most determined
enemy of reform, and who has been supposed the principal vehicle of that
influence? Lastly, was there not, in the same manner, the secretary of
state for the home department, who was most unwearied in his invectives
against lord Bute; and the right honourable Mr. Jenkinson, who has been
considered by the believers in the invisible power of that nobleman, as
the chief instrument of his designs.

With these examples of the necessity of powerful support and extensive
combination, what mode of conduct was it, that it was most natural, most
virtuous, and most wise, for the Rockingham connexion to adopt? I
confess, I can perceive none more obvious, or more just, than that which
they actually adopted, a junction with the noble commoner in the blue
ribbon. At least, from what has been said, I trust, thus much is evident
beyond control, that they had just reason to consider themselves
abstractedly, as too weak for the support of government.

Still further to strengthen my argument, I affirm, in the third place,
that they were not the men, whose services were likely to be called for
by the Sovereign. I believe, that this proposition will not be thought
to stand in need of any very abstruse train of reasoning to support it.
The late events respecting it have been, instead of a thousand
arguments. From an apprehension, probably, of the uncourtierliness of
their temper, and their inflexible attachment to a system; it seems to
appear by those events, that the sovereign had contracted a sort of
backwardness to admit them into his councils, which it is to be hoped,
was only temporary. It was however such, as, without any other apparent
cause to cooperate with it, alone sufficed to delay the forming an
administration for six weeks, in a most delicate and critical juncture.
Even the union of that noble person, who had been considered as his
majesty's favourite minister, did not appear to be enough to subdue the
averseness. However then we may hope, that untainted virtue and superior
abilities, when more intimately known, may be found calculated to
surmount prejudices and conciliate affection; it seems but too evident,
that in the critical moment, those men, by whom alone we have
endeavoured to prove, that the country could be well served, would not
voluntarily have been thought on.

But it does not seem to have been enough considered, at what time the
coalition was made. The Rockingham connexion, along with thousands of
their fellow citizens, who were unconnected with any party, were
induced, from the purest views, to disapprove of the late treaty of
peace. The voting with the friends of lord North upon that question, was
a matter purely incidental. By that vote however, in which a majority of
the commons house of parliament was included, the administration of lord
Shelburne was dissolved. It was not till after the dissolution was
really effected, that the coalition took place. In this situation
something was necessary to be done. The nation was actually without a
ministry. It was a crisis that did not admit of hesitation and delay.
The country must, if a system of delay had been adopted, have
immediately been thrown back into the hands of those men, from whom it
had been so laboriously forced scarce twelve months before; or it must
have been committed to the conduct of persons even less propitious to
the cause of liberty, and the privileges of the people. A situation,
like this, called for a firm and manly conduct. It was no longer a time
to stoop to the yoke of prejudice. It was a time, to burst forth into
untrodden paths; to lose sight of the hesitating and timid; and
generously to adventure upon a step, that should rather have in view
substantial service, than momentary applause; and should appeal from the
short-sighted decision of systematic prudence, to the tribunal of facts,
and the judgment of posterity.

But why did I talk of the tribunal of facts? Events are not within the
disposition of human power. "'Tis not in mortals to command success."
And the characters of wisdom and virtue, are therefore very properly
considered by all men, who pretend to sober reflection, as independent
of it. If then, as I firmly believe, the coalition was founded in the
wisest and most generous views, the man, that values himself upon his
rational nature, will not wait for the event. He will immediately and
peremptorily decide in its favour. Though it should be annihilated
to-morrow; though it had been originally frustrated in its views,
respecting the continuation of a ministry; he would not hesitate to
pronounce, that it was formed in the most expansive and long-sighted
policy, in the noblest and most prudent daring, in the warmest
generosity, and the truest patriotism.

But it will be said, a coalition of parties may indeed be allowed to be
in many cases proper and wise; but a coalition between parties who have
long treated each other with the extremest rancour, appears a species of
conduct, abhorrent to the unadulterated judgment, and all the native
prepossessions of mankind. It plucks away the very root of unsuspecting
confidence, and can be productive of nothing, but anarchy and confusion.

In answer to this argument, I will not cite the happy effects of the
coalition between parties just as opposite, by which Mr. Pitt was
introduced into office in the close of a former reign. Still less will I
cite the coalition of the earl of Shelburne, with several leaders of the
Bedford connexion, and others, whose principles were at least as
inimical to the popular cause, and the parliamentary reform, as those of
Lord North; and the known readiness of him and his friends to have
formed a junction with the whole of that connexion. I need not even hint
at the probability there exists, that the noble lord then in
administration, would have been happy to have formed the very coalition
himself, which he is willing we should so much reprobate in another. I
need not mention the suspicions, that naturally suggested themselves
upon the invincible silence of his party, respecting the
mal-administration of lord North, for so long a time; and their bringing
forward the singular charge of fifty unaccounted millions at the very
moment that the coalition was completed. I should be sorry to have it
supposed, that the connexion I am defending, ever took an example from
the late premier, for one article of their conduct. And I think the mode
of vindicating them, not from temporary examples, but from eternal
reason, as it is in itself most striking and most honourable, so is it
not a whit less easy and obvious.

Let it be remembered then, in the first place, that there was no other
connexion, sufficiently unquestionable in their sincerity, and of
sufficient weight in the senate, with which to form a coalition. The
Bedford party, had they even been willing to have taken this step in
conjunction with the friends of lord Rockingham, were already stripped
of some of their principal and ablest members, by the arts of lord
Shelburne. Whether these ought to be considered in sound reason, as more
or less obnoxious than lord North, I will not take upon me to determine.
Certain I am, that the Scottish connexion were, of all others, the most
suspicious in themselves, and the most odious to the people. The only
choice then that remained, was that which was made. The only subject for
deliberation, was, whether this choice were more or less laudable than,
on the other hand, the deserting entirely the interests of their
country, and leaving the vessel of the state to the mercy of the winds.

Secondly, I would observe that the principal ground of dispute between
lord North and his present colleagues in administration, was done away
by the termination of the American war. An impeachment of the noble lord
for his past errors was perfectly out of the question. No one was mad
enough to expect it. A vein of public spirit, diffusing itself among all
ranks of society, is the indispensible concomitant of impeachments and
attainder. And such a temper, I apprehend, will not be suspected to be
characteristic of the age in which we live. But were it otherwise, the
Rockingham connexion certainly never stood in the way of an impeachment,
had it been meditated. And, exclusive of this question, I know of no
objection, that applies particular to the noble lord, in
contradistinction to any of the other parties into which we are divided.

But, in the third place, the terms upon which the coalition was made,
form a most important article of consideration in estimating its merits.
They are generally understood to have been these two; that the
Rockingham connexion should at all times have a majority in the cabinet;
and that lord North should be removed to that "hospital of incurables,"
as lord Chesterfield has stiled it, the house of lords. Surely these
articles are the happiest that could have been conceived for preserving
the power of administration, as much as may be, with the friends of the
people. Places, merely of emolument and magnificence, must be bestowed
somewhere. Where then can they be more properly lodged, than in the
hands of those who are best able to support a liberal and virtuous

I beg leave to add once more, in the fourth place, that, whatever the
demerits of lord North as a minister may be supposed to have been, he is
perhaps, in a thousand other respects, the fittest man in the world to
occupy the second place in a junction of this sort. The union of the
Rockingham connexion with the earl of Shelburne last year, was, I will
admit, less calculated to excite popular astonishment, and popular
disapprobation, than the present. In the eye of cool reason and sober
foresight, I am apt to believe, it was much less wise and commendable.
Lord Shelburne, though he has been able to win over the good opinion of
several, under the notion of his being a friend of liberty, is really,
in many respects, stiffly aristocratical, or highly monarchical. Lord
Shelburne is a man of insatiable ambition, and who pursues the ends of
that ambition by ways the most complex and insidious. The creed of lord
North, whatever it may be, upon general political questions, is
consistent and intelligible. For my own part, I do not believe him to be
ambitious. It is not possible, with his indolent and easy temper, that
he should be very susceptible to so restless a passion. In the heroical
sense of that word, he sits loose to fame. He is undoubtedly desirous,
by all the methods that appear to him honourable and just, to enrich and
elevate his family. He wishes to have it in his power to oblige and to
serve his friends. But I am exceedingly mistaken, if he entered into the
present alliance from views of authority and power. Upon the conditions
I have mentioned, it was a scheme, congenial only to a man of a dark and
plotting temper. But the temper of lord North is in the highest degree
candid, open and undisguised. Easy at home upon every occasion, there is
not a circle in the world to which his presence would not be an
addition. It is calculated to inspire unconstraint and confidence into
every breast. Simple and amiable is the just description of his
character in every domestic relation; constant and unreserved in his
connexions of friendship. The very versatility and pliableness, so
loudly condemned in his former situation, is now an additional
recommendation.  Is this the man, for whose intrigues and conspiracies
we are bid to tremble?

Another charge that has been urged against the coalition, is, that it
was a step that dictated to the sovereign, and excluded all, but one
particular set of men, from the national councils. The first part of
this charge is somewhat delicate in its nature. I shall only say
respecting it, that, if, as we have endeavoured to prove, there were but
one connexion, by which the business of administration could be happily
discharged, the friend of liberty, rejoicing in the auspicious event,
will not be very inquisitive in respect to the etiquette, with which
they were introduced into the government. In the mean time, far from
intending an exclusion, they declared publicly, that they would be happy
to receive into their body any man of known integrity and abilities,
from whatever party he came. The declaration has never been
contradicted.--Strangers to the remotest idea of proscription, they
erected a fortress, where every virtue, and every excellence might find
a place.

The only remaining objection to the coalition that I know of, that it
shocks established opinions, is not, I think, in itself, calculated to
have much weight, and has, perhaps, been sufficiently animadverted upon,
as we went along, in what has been already said. The proper question is,
was it a necessary step? Was there any other way, by which the country
could be redeemed? If a satisfactory answer has been furnished to these
enquiries, the inevitable conclusion in my opinion is, that the more it
mocked established opinions, and the more intellectual nerve it
demanded, the more merit did it possess, and the louder applause is its

I am not inclined to believe, that a majority of my countrymen, upon
reflection, have disapproved this measure.  I am happy to perceive, that
so much of that good sense and manly thinking in public questions, that
has for ages been considered as the characteristic quality of
Englishmen, is still left among us. There can be nothing more honourable
than this.--By it our commonalty, though unable indeed to forestal the
hero and the man of genius in his schemes, do yet, if I may be allowed
the expression, tread upon his heels, and are prepared to follow him in
all his views, and to glow with all his sentiments.

Sensible however, that in the first blush of such a scheme, its enemies
must necessarily find their advantage in entrenching themselves behind
those prejudices, that could not be eradicated in a moment, I was
willing to wait for the hour of calmness and deliberation. I resolved
cooly to let the first gush of prepossession blow over, and the spring
tide of censure exhaust itself. I believed, that such a cause demanded
only a fair and candid hearing. I have endeavoured to discharge my part
in obtaining for it such a hearing. And I must leave the rest to my

Among these there probably will be some, who, struck with the force of
the arguments I have adduced on the one hand, and entangled in their
favourite prejudices on the other, will remain in a kind of suspence;
ashamed to retract their former opinions, but too honest to deny all
weight and consideration to those I have defended. To these I have one
word to say, and with that one word I will conclude. I will suppose you
to confess, that appearances, exclusive of the controverted step, are in
a thousand instances favourable to the new ministers. They have made the
strongest professions, and the largest promises of attachment to the
general cause. To professions and promises I do not wish you to trust. I
should blush to revive the odious and exploded maxim, not men, but
measures. If you cannot place some confidence in the present
administration, I advise you, as honest men, to do every thing in your
power to drive them from the helm. But you will hardly deny, that all
their former conduct has afforded reasons for confidence. You are ready
to admit, that, in no instance, but one, have they committed their
characters. In that one instance, they have much to say for themselves,
and it appears, at least, very possible, that they may have been acted
in it, by virtuous and generous principles, even though we should
suppose them mistaken. Remember then, that popularity and fame are the
very nutriment of virtue. A thirst for fame is not a weakness. It is
"the noble mind's distinguishing perfection." If then you would bind
administration by tenfold ties to the cause of liberty, do not withdraw
from them your approbation till they have forfeited it, by betraying, in
one plain and palpable instance, the principles upon which they have
formerly acted. I believe they need no new bonds, but are unchangeably
fixed in the generous system, with which they commenced. But thus much
is certain. If any thing can detach them from this glorious cause; if
any thing can cool their ardour for the common weal, there is nothing
that has half so great a tendency to effect this, as unmerited obloquy
and disgrace.


       *       *       *       *       *


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The following papers fell into my hands by one of those unaccountable
accidents, so frequent in human life, but which in the relation appear
almost incredible. I will not however trouble your lordship with the
story. If they be worthy of the press, it is of no great consequence to
the public how they found their way thither. If they afford your
lordship a moment's amusement, amidst the weightier cares incident to
your rank and fortune, I have obtained my end.

I have endeavoured in vain to investigate who was their author, and to
whom they were addressed. It should seem, from the internal evidence of
the composition, that they were written by a person, who was originally
of a low rank or a menial station, but who was distinguished by his lord
for those abilities and talents, he imagined he discovered in him. I
have learned, by a kind of vague tradition, upon which I can place
little dependence, that the noble pupil was the owner of a magnificent
_château_ not a hundred miles from your lordship's admired seat in the
county of Buckingham.  It is said that this nobleman, amidst a thousand
curiosities with which his gardens abounded, had the unaccountable whim
of placing a kind of artificial hermit in one of its wildest and most
solitary recesses. This hermit it seems was celebrated through the whole
neighbourhood, for his ingenuity in the carving of tobacco-stoppers, and
a variety of other accomplishments. Some of the peasants even mistook
him for a conjuror. If I might be allowed in the conjectural licence of
an editor, I should be inclined to ascribe the following composition to
this celebrated and ingenious solitaire.

Since however this valuable tract remains without an owner, I thought it
could not be so properly addressed to any man as your lordship. I would
not however be misunderstood. I do not imagine that the claim this
performance has upon the public attention, consists in the value and
excellence of it's precepts. On the contrary, I consider it as the
darkest and most tremendous scheme for the establishment of despotism
that ever was contrived. If the public enter into my sentiments upon the
subject, they will consider it as effectually superseding Machiavel's
celebrated treatise of The Prince, and exhibiting a more deep-laid and
desperate system of tyranny. For my part, I esteem these great and
destructive vices of so odious a nature, that they need only be exposed
to the general view in order to the being scouted by all. And if, which
indeed I cannot possibly believe, there has been any noble lord in this
kingdom mean enough to have studied under such a preceptor, I would
willingly shame him out of his principles, and hold up to him a glass,
which shall convince him how worthy he is of universal contempt and

The true reason, my lord, for which I have presumed to prefix your name
to these sheets is, that the contrast between the precepts they contain,
and the ingenuous and manly character that is universally attributed to
your lordship, may place them more strongly in the light they deserve.
And yet I doubt not there will be some readers perverse enough to
imagine that you are the true object of the composition.  They will find
out some of those ingenious coincidences, by which The Rape of the Lock,
was converted into a political poem, and the _Telemaque_ of the amiable
Fenelon into a satire against the government under which he lived. I
might easily appeal, against these treacherous commentators, to the
knowledge of all men reflecting every corner of your lordship's gardens
at Stowe. I might boldly defy any man to say, that they now contain, or
ever did contain, one of these artificial hermits. But I will take up
your lordship's defence upon a broader footing. I will demonstrate how
contrary the character of your ancestors and your own have always been
to the spirit and temper here inculcated. If this runs me a little into
the beaten style of dedication, even the modesty of your lordship will
excuse me, when I have so valuable a reason for adopting it.

I shall confine myself, my lord, in the few thoughts I mean to suggest
upon this head, to your two more immediate ancestors, men distinguished
above the common rate, by their virtues or their abilities. Richard earl
Temple, your lordship's immediate predecessor, as the representative of
your illustrious house, will be long remembered by posterity under the
very respectable title of the friend of the earl of Chatham. But though
his friend, my lord, we well know that he did not implicitly follow the
sentiments of a man, who was assuredly the first star in the political
hemisphere, and whose talents would have excused, if any thing could
have excused, an unsuspecting credulity. The character of lord Chatham
was never, but in one instance, tarnished. He did not sufficiently dread
the omnipotence of the favourite. He fondly imagined that before a
character so brilliant, and success so imposing as his had been, no
little system of favouritism could keep its ground. Twice, my lord, he
was upon the brink of the precipice, and once he fell. When he trembled
on the verge, who was it that held him back? It was Richard earl Temple.
Twice he came, like his guardian angel, and snatched him from his fate.
Lord Chatham indeed was formed to champ the bit, and spurn indignant at
every restraint. He knew the superiority of his abilities, he
recollected that he had twice submitted to the honest counsels of his
friend, and he disdained to listen any longer to a coolness, that
assimilated but ill to the adventurousness of his spirit; and to a
hesitation, that wore in his apprehension the guise of timidity. What
then did Richard earl Temple do? There he fixed his standard, and there
he pitched his tent. Not a step farther would he follow a leader, whom
to follow had been the boast of his life. He erected a fortress that
might one day prove the safeguard of his misguided and unsuspecting

And yet, my lord, the character of Richard earl Temple, was not that of
causeless suspicion. He proved himself, in a thousand instances, honest,
trusting, and sincere. He was not, like some men, that you and I know,
dark, dispassionate, and impenetrable. On the contrary, no man mistook
him, no man ever charged him with a double conduct or a wrinkled heart.
His countenance was open, and his spirit was clear. He was a man of
passions, my lord. He acted in every momentous concern, more from the
dictates of his heart, than his head. But this is the key to his
conduct; He kept a watchful eye upon that bane of every patriot
minister, _secret influence_. If there were one feature in his political
history more conspicuous than the rest, if I were called to point out
the line of discrimination between his character and that of his
contemporaries upon the public stage, it would be the _hatred of secret

Such, my lord, was one of your immediate ancestors, whose name, to this
day, every honest Briton repeats with veneration. I will turn to another
person, still more nearly related to you, and who will make an equal
figure in the history of the age in which he lived, Mr. George
Grenville. His character has been represented to us by a writer of no
mean discernment, as that of "shrewd and inflexible." He was a man of
indefatigable industry and application. He possessed a sound
understanding, and he trusted it. This is a respectable description.
Integrity and independency, however mistaken, are entitled to praise.
What was it, my lord, that he considered as the ruin of his reputation?
What was it, that defeated all the views of an honest ambition, and
deprived his country of the services, which his abilities, under proper
direction, were qualified to render it? My lord, it was _secret
influence_. It was in vain for ministers to be able to construct their
plans with the highest wisdom, and the most unwearied diligence; it was
in vain that they came forward like men, and risqued their places, their
characters, their all, upon measures, however arduous, that they thought
necessary for the salvation of their country. They were defeated, by
what, my lord? By abilities greater than their own? By a penetration
that discovered blots in their wisest measures? By an opposition bold
and adventurous as themselves? No: but, by the _lords of the
bedchamber_; by a "band of Janissaries who surrounded the person of the
prince, and were ready to strangle the minister upon the nod of a

With these illustrious examples ever rushing upon your memory, no man
can doubt that your lordship has inherited that detestation of
_influence_ by which your ancestors were so honourably distinguished. My
lord, having considered the high expectations, which the virtues of your
immediate progenitors had taught us to form upon the heir of them both,
we will recollect for a moment the promises that your first outset in
life had made to your country.

One of your lordship's first actions upon record, consists in the high
professions you made at the county meeting of Buckingham, in that
ever-venerable aera of oeconomy and reform, the spring of 1780. My lord,
there are certain offices of sinecure, not dependent upon the caprice of
a minister, which this country has reserved to reward those illustrious
statesmen, who have spent their lives, and worn out their constitutions
in her service. No man will wonder, when he recollects from whom your
lordship has the honour to be descended, that one of these offices is in
your possession. This, my lord, was the subject of your generous and
disinterested professions. You told your countrymen, that with this
office you were ready to part. If a reformation so extensive were
thought necessary, you were determined, not merely to be no obstacle to
the design, but to be a volunteer in the service. You came forward in
the eye of the world, with your patent in your hand. You were ready to
sacrifice that parchment, the precious instrument of personal wealth and
private benevolence, at the shrine of patriotism.

Here then, my lord, you stood pledged to your country. What were we not
to expect from the first patriot of modern story? Your lordship will
readily imagine that our expectations were boundless and indefinite.
"Glorious and immortal man!" we cried, "go on in this untrodden path. We
will no longer look with drooping and cheerless anxiety upon the
misfortunes of Britain, we have a resource for them all. The patriot of
Stowe is capable of every thing. He does not resemble the vulgar herd of
mortals, he does not form his conduct upon precedent, nor defend it by
example. Virtue of the first impression was never yet separated from
genius. We will trust then in the expedients of his inexhaustible mind.
We will look up to him as our assured deliverer.--We are well acquainted
with the wealth of the proprietor of Stowe. Thanks, eternal thanks to
heaven, who has bestowed it with so liberal a hand! We consider it as a
deposit for the public good. We count his acres, and we calculate his
income, for we know that it is, in the best sense of the word, our own."

My lord, these are the prejudices, which Englishmen have formed in your
favour. They cannot refuse to trust a man, descended from so illustrious
progenitors. They cannot suspect any thing dark and dishonourable in the
generous donor of 2700_l_. a year. Let then the commentators against
whom I am providing, abjure the name of Briton, or let them pay the
veneration that is due to a character, in every view of the subject, so
exalted as that of your lordship.

I have the honour to be,


with the most unfeigned respect,

your lordship's

most obedient,

most devoted servant.





I have long considered as the greatest happiness of my life, the having
so promising a pupil as your lordship. Though your abilities are
certainly of the very first impression, they are not however of that
vague and indefinite species, which we often meet with in persons, who,
if providence had so pleased, would have figured with equal adroitness
in the character of a shoe-black or a link-boy, as they now flatter
themselves they can do in that of a minister of state. You, my lord,
were born with that accomplishment of secrecy and retentiveness, which
the archbishop of Cambray represents Telemachus as having possessed in
so high a degree in consequence of the mode of his education. You were
always distinguished by that art, never to be sufficiently valued, of
talking much and saying nothing. I cannot recollect, and yet my memory
is as great, as my opportunity for observation has been considerable,
that your lordship, when a boy, ever betrayed a single fact that chanced
to fall within your notice, unless indeed it had some tendency to
procure a school-fellow a whipping. I have often remarked your lordship
with admiration, talking big and blustering loud, so as to frighten
urchins who were about half your lordship's size, when you had no
precise meaning in any thing you said. And I shall never forget, the
longest day I have to live, when I hugged you in my arms in a kind of
prophetic transport, in consequence of your whispering me, in the midst
of a room-full of company, in so sly a manner that nobody could observe
you, that you had just seen John the coachman bestow upon Betty the
cook-maid, a most devout and cordial embrace. From your rawest infancy
you were as much distinguished, as Milton represents the goddess Hebe to
have been, by "nods and becks and wreathed smiles;" with this
difference, that in her they were marks of gaiety, and in you of
demureness; that in her they were unrestrained and general, and in you
intended only for a single _confidant_. My lord, reflecting upon all
these circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that I treated your
lordship even in clouts with the reverence due to an infant Jove, and
always considered myself as superintending the institution of the first
statesman that ever existed.

But, my lord, it has ever been my opinion, that let nature do as much as
she will, it is in the power of education to do still more. The many
statesmanlike qualities that you brought into the world with you,
sufficiently prove, that no man was ever more deeply indebted to the
bounty of nature than your lordship. And yet of all those qualities she
has bestowed upon you, there is not one that I hold in half so much
esteem, as that docility, which has ever induced you to receive my
instructions with implicit veneration. It is true, my coat is fustian,
and my whole accoutrement plebeian. My shoes are clouted, and it is long
since the wig that defends this penetrating brain, could boast a crooked
hair. But you, my lord, have been able to discover the fruit through the
thick and uncomely coat by which it was concealed; you have cracked the
nut and have a right to the kernel.

My lord, I thought it necessary to premise these observations, before I
entered upon those important matters of disquisition, which will form
the object of my present epistle. It is unnecessary for me to inform a
person of so much discernment as your lordship, that education is, by
its very nature, a thing of temporary duration. Your lordship's
education has been long, and there have been cogent reasons why it
should be so. God grant, that when left to walk the world alone, you be
not betrayed into any of those unlucky blunders, from the very verge of
which my provident hand has often redeemed your lordship! Do not mistake
me, my lord, when I talk of the greatness of your talents. It is now too
late to flatter: This is no time for disguise. Pardon me therefore, my
dear and ever-honoured pupil, if I may seem to offend against those
minuter laws of etiquette, which were made only for common cases. At so
important a crisis it is necessary to be plain.

Your lordship is very cunning, but I never imagined that you were
remarkably wise. The talents you received at your birth, if we were to
speak with mathematical strictness, should rather be denominated knacks,
than abilities. They consist rather in a lucky dexterity of face, and a
happy conformation of limb, than in any very elevated capacities of the
intellect. Upon that score, my lord,--you know I am fond of comparisons,
and I think I have hit upon one in this case, that must be acknowledged
remarkably apposite. I have sometimes seen a ditch, the water of which,
though really shallow, has appeared to careless observers to be very
deep, for no other reason but because it was muddy. Believe me, my lord,
experienced and penetrating observers are not so to be taken in.

But, as I was saying, education is a temporary thing, and your
lordship's, however lasting and laborious, is at length brought to a
period. My lord, if it so pleases the sovereign disposer of all things,
I would be very well satisfied to remain in this sublunary state for
some years longer, if it were only that I might live to rejoice in the
exemplification of my precepts in the conduct of my pupil. But, if this
boon be granted to my merits and my prayers, at any rate I shall from
this moment retire from the world. From henceforth my _secret influence_
is brought to its close. I will no longer be the unseen original of the
grand movements of the figures that fill the political stage. I will
stand aloof from the giddy herd. I will not stray from my little vortex.
I will look down upon the transactions of courts and ministers, like an
etherial being from a superior element. There I shall hope to see your
lordship outstrip your contemporaries, and tower above the pigmies of
the day. To repeat an idea before delivered, might be unbecoming in a
fine writer, but it is characteristic and beautiful under the personage
of a preceptor. The fitnesses which nature bestowed upon your frame
would not have done alone. But joined with the lessons I have taught
you, they cannot fail, unless I grossly flatter myself, to make the part
which your lordship shall act sufficiently conspicuous.

Receive then, my lord, with that docility and veneration, which have at
all times made the remembrance of you pleasant and reviving to my heart,
the last communications of the instructor of your choice. Yes, my lord,
from henceforth you shall see me, you shall hear from me no more. From
this consideration I infer one reason why you should deeply reflect upon
the precepts I have now to offer. Remembering that these little sheets
are all the legacy my affection can bestow upon you, I shall concenter
in them the very quintessence and epitome of all my wisdom. I shall
provide in them a particular antidote to those defects to which nature
has made you most propense.

But I have yet another reason to inforce your attention to what I am
about to write. I was, as I have said, the instructor of your choice.
When I had yet remained neglected in the world, when my honours were
withered by the hand of poverty, when my blossoms appeared in the eyes
of those who saw me of the most brown and wintery complexion, and, if
your lordship will allow me to finish the metaphor, when I stank in
their noses, it was then that your lordship remarked and distinguished
me. Your bounty it was that first revived my native pride. It is true
that it ran in a little dribbling rivulet, but still it was much to me.
Even before you were able to afford me any real assistance, you were
always ready to offer me a corner of your gingerbread, or a marble from
your hoard. Your lordship had at all times a taste for sumptuousness and
magnificence, but you knew how to limit your natural propensity in
consideration of the calls of affinity, and to give your farthings to
your friends.

Do not then, my dear lord, belie the first and earliest sentiments of
your heart. As you have ever heard me, let your attention be tripled
now. Read my letter once and again. Preserve it as a sacred deposit. Lay
it under your pillow. Meditate upon it fasting. Commit it to memory, and
repeat the scattered parcels of it, as Caesar is said to have done the
Greek alphabet, to cool your rising choler. Be this the amulet to
preserve you from danger! Be this the chart by which to steer the little
skiff of your political system safe into the port of historic

My lord, you and I have read Machiavel together. It is true I am but a
bungler in Italian, and your lordship was generally obliged to interpret
for me. Your translation I dare say was always scientifical, but I was
seldom so happy as to see either grammar or sense in it. So far however
as I can guess at the drift of this celebrated author, he seems to have
written as the professor of only one science. He has treated of the art
of government, and has enquired what was wise, and what was political.
He has left the moralists to take care of themselves.

In the present essay, my lord, I shall follow the example of Machiavel.
I profess the same science, and I pretend only to have carried to much
greater heights an art to which he has given a considerable degree of
perfection. Your lordship has had a great number of masters. Your
excellent father, who himself had some dabbling in politics, spared no
expence upon your education, though I believe he had by no means so high
an opinion of your genius and abilities as I entertained. Your lordship
therefore is to be presumed competently versed in the rudiments of
ethics. You have read Grotius, Puffendorf, and Cumberland. For my part I
never opened a volume of any one of them. I am self-taught. My science
originates entirely in my unbounded penetration, and a sort of divine
and supernatural afflatus. With all this your lordship knows I am a
modest man. I have never presumed to entrench upon the province of
others. Let the professors of ethics talk their nonsense. I will not
interrupt them. I will not endeavour to set your lordship against them.
It is necessary for me to take politics upon an unlimited scale, and to
suppose that a statesman has no character to preserve but that of
speciousness and plausibility. But it is your lordship's business to
enquire whether this be really the case.

I need not tell you, that I shall not, like the political writers with
which you are acquainted, talk in the air. My instructions will be of a
practical nature, and my rules adapted to the present condition of the
English government. That government is at present considerably, though
imperfectly, a system of liberty. To such a system the most essential
maxim is, that the governors shall be accountable and amenable to the
governed. This principle has sometimes been denominated responsibility.
Responsibility in a republican government is carried as high as
possible. In a limited monarchy it stops at the first ministers, the
immediate servants of the crown. Now to this system nothing can be more
fatal, than for the public measures not really to originate with
administration, but with secret advisers who cannot be traced. This is
to cut all the nerves of government, to loosen all the springs of
liberty, to make the constitution totter to its lowest foundations.

I say this, my lord, not to terrify your lordship. The students and the
imitators of Machiavel must not be frightened with bugbears. Beside,
were cowardice as congenial to the feelings of your lordship as I
confess it has sometimes been to mine, cowardice itself is not so apt to
be terrified with threats hung up _in terrorem_, and menaces of a vague
and general nature. It trembles only at a danger definite and impending.
It is the dagger at the throat, it is the pistol at the breast, that
shakes her nerves. Prudence is alarmed at a distance, and calls up all
her exertion. But cowardice is short-sighted, and was never productive
of any salutary effort. I say not this therefore to intimidate, but to
excite you. I would teach you, that this is a most important step
indeed, is the grand _desideratum_ in order to exalt the English
monarchy to a par with the glorious one of France, or any other absolute
monarchy in Christendom.

In order, my lord, to annihilate responsibility, nothing more is
necessary than that every individual should be as free, and as much in
the habit of advising the king upon the measures of government, as his
ministers. Let every discarded, and let every would-be statesman, sow
dissension in the royal councils, and pour the poison of his discontent
into the royal ear. Let the cabinet ring with a thousand jarring
sentiments; and let the subtlest courtier, let him that is the most
perfect master of wheedling arts and pathetic tones, carry it from every
rival. This, my lord, will probably create some confusion at first. The
system of government will appear, not a regular and proportioned beauty,
like the pheasant of India, but a gaudy and glaring system of
unconnected parts, like Esop's daw with borrowed feathers. Anarchy and
darkness will be the original appearance. But light shall spring out of
the noon of night; harmony and order shall succeed the chaos. The
present patchwork of three different forms of government shall be
changed into one simple and godlike system of despotism. Thus, when
London was burned, a more commodious and healthful city sprung as it
were out of her ashes.

But neither Rome nor London was built in a day. The glorious work I am
recommending to you must be a work of time. At first it will be
necessary for the person who would subvert the silly system of English
government, to enter upon his undertaking with infinite timidity and
precaution. He must stalk along in silence like Tarquin to the rape of
Lucretia. His horses, like those of Lear, must be shoed with felt. He
must shroud himself in the thickest shade. Let him comfort himself with
this reflexion:

"It is but for a time. It will soon be over. No work of mortal hands can
long stand against concussions so violent. Ulysses, who entered Troy,
shut up in the cincture of the wooden horse, shall soon burst the
enclosure, shall terrify those from whose observation he lately shrunk,
and carry devastation and ruin on whatever side he turns."

My lord, I have considered the subject of politics with as much
acuteness as any man. I have revolved a thousand schemes, which to
recommend to the pursuit of the statesman of my own creation. But there
is no plan of action that appears to me half so grand and comprehensive,
as this of _secret influence_. It is true the scheme is not entirely
new. It has been a subject of discussion ever since the English nation
could boast any thing like a regular system of liberty. It was
complained of under king William. It was boasted of, even to
ostentation, by the Tory ministers of queen Anne. The Pelhams cried out
upon it in lord Carteret. It has been the business of half the history
of the present reign to fix the charge upon my lord Bute.

And yet in spite of these appearances, in spite of all the deductions
that modesty can authorise, I may boldly affirm that my scheme has
something in it that is truly original. My lord, I would not have you
proceed by leaps and starts, like these half-fledged statesmen. I would
have you proceed from step to step in a finished and faultless plan. I
have too an improvement without which the first step is of no value,
which yet has seldom been added, which at first sight has a very daring
appearance, but which I pretend to teach your lordship to practice with
perfect safety. But it is necessary for me, before I come to this grand
_arcanum_ of my system, to premise a few observations for the more
accurately managing the influence itself.

My lord, there are a variety of things necessary to absolute secrecy.
There is nothing more inconvenient to a political character than that
gross and unmanageable quantity of flesh and blood that fortune has
decreed that every mortal should carry about with him. The man who is
properly initiated in the _arcana_ of a closet, ought to be able to
squeeze himself through a key hole, and, whenever any impertinent
Marplot appears to blast him, to change this unwieldy frame into the
substance of the viewless winds. How often must a theoretical statesman
like myself, have regretted that incomparable invention, the ring of
Gyges! How often must he have wished to be possessed of one of those
diabolical forms, described by Milton, which now were taller than the
pole, and anon could shrink into the compass of an atom!

But I forget the characteristic of my profession. It is not ours, my
lord, to live in air-built castles, and to deal in imaginary hypotheses.
On the contrary, we are continually talking of the weakness and the
frailty of humanity. Does any man impeach one of our body of bribery and
corruption? We confess that these practices may seem to run counter with
the fine-spun systems of morality; but this is our constant apology,
human affairs can be no otherwise managed. Does any man suggest the most
beautiful scheme of oeconomy, or present us with the most perfect model
of liberty? We turn away with a sneer, and tell him that all this is
plausible and pretty; but that we do not concern ourselves with any
thing but what is practicable.

In conformity to these ideas, I beg leave, my lord, to recal the
fantastic wishes that have just escaped me. To be corporeal is our
irrevocable fate, and we will not waste our time in fruitlessly accusing
it. My lord, I have one or two little expedients to offer to you, which,
though they do not amount to a perfect remedy in this case, will yet, I
hope, prove a tolerable substitute for those diabolical forms of which I
was talking.

I need not put your lordship in mind how friendly to such practices as
ours, is the cover of darkness, and how convenient those little machines
commonly called back-stairs. I dare say even your lordship, however
inconsequently you may often conduct yourself, would scarcely think of
mid-day as the most proper season of concealment, or the passing through
a crowded levee, the most natural method of entering the royal closet

But, my lord, you will please to recollect, that there are certain
attendants upon the person of the sovereign whom I find classed in that
epitome of political wisdom, the Red Book, under the name of pages. Most
wise is the institution, (and your lordship will observe that I am not
now deviating into the regions of fable) which is common to all the
Eastern courts, of having these offices filled by persons, who, upon
peril of their life, may not, in any circumstances whatsoever, utter a
word. But unfortunately in the western climates in which we reside, the
thing is otherwise. The institution of mutes is unknown to us. The lips
of our pages have never been inured to the wholesome discipline of the
padlock. They are as loquacious, and blab as much as other men. You
know, my lord, that I am fond of illustrating the principles I lay down
by the recital of facts. The last, and indeed the only time that I ever
entered the metropolis, I remember, as my barber was removing the hair
from my nether lip:--My barber had all that impertinent
communicativeness that is incident to the gentlemen of his profession;
he assured me, that he had seen that morning one of the pages of the
back-stairs, who declared to him, upon the word of a man of honour, that
he had that moment admitted a certain nobleman by a private door to the
presence of his master; that the face of the noble lord was perfectly
familiar to him, and that he had let him in some fifty times in the
course of the past six months.

"How silly is all this!" added the page; "and how glad should I be",
licking his lips, "that it were but an opera girl or a countess! And yet
my mistress is the very best mistress that ever I see!" _Oh this was
poor, and showed a pitiful ambition__ in the man that did it!_ I will
swear, my lord, that the nobleman who could thus have been betrayed,
must have been a thick-headed fellow, and fit for no one public office,
not even for that of _turnspit of his majesty's kitchen_![A]

[Footnote A: Vide Burke's Speech upon Oeconomy. ]

My lord, if you would escape that rock, upon which this statesman
terminated his political career, ever while you live make use of
bribery. Let the pages finger your cash, let them drink your health in a
glass of honest claret, and let them chuckle over the effects of your
lordship's munificence. I know that you will pour forth many a pathetic
complaint over the money that is drawn off by this copious receiver, but
believe the wisest man that now exists, when he assures you, that it is
well bestowed. Your lordship's bounty to myself has sometimes amounted
to near ten pounds in the course of a twelvemonth. That drain, my lord,
is stopped. I shall receive from you no more. Let then the expence,
which you once incurred for my sake, be henceforth diverted to this
valuable purpose.

I believe, my lord, that this is all the improvement that can be made
upon the head of pages. I think we can scarcely venture upon the
expedient that would otherwise be admirable, of these interviews being
carried on without the intervention of any such impertinent fellows,
from whom one is ever in danger, without the smallest notice, of having
it published at St. James's-Market, and proclaimed from the statue at
Charing-Cross. If however you should think this expedient adviseable, I
would recommend it to you not to mention it to your gracious master.
Courts are so incumbered and hedged in with ceremony, that the members
of them are always prone to imagine that the form is more essential and
indispensable, than the substance. Suppose then, my lord, you were, by
one of those sly opportunities, which you know so well how to command,
to take off the key in wax, and get a picklock key made exactly upon the
model of it. The end, my lord, take my word for it, would abundantly
sanctify the apparent sordidness of the means. In this situation I
cannot help picturing to myself the surprise and the joy, that would be
in a moment lighted up in the countenance of your friend. Your
rencounter would be as unexpected and fortunate as that of Lady Randolph
and her son, when she fears every moment to have him murdered by
Glenalvon. You would fly into each others arms, and almost smother one
another in your mutual embrace.

But another thing that is abundantly worthy of your lordship's
attention, is the subject of disguises and dark lanthorns. Harley,
afterwards earl of Oxford, was in the practice, if I remember right, for
it is some time since I read Dr. Swift's political pamphlets, of
crossing the park in a horseman's coat. But this is too shallow and thin
a disguise. A mask, on the other hand, might perhaps be too particular.
Though indeed at midnight, which is the only time that I would recommend
to your lordship in which to approach within a hundred yards of the
palace, it might probably pass without much observation. A slouched hat,
and a bob wig, your lordship may at any time venture upon. But there is
nothing that is of so much importance in this affair as variety. I would
sometimes put on the turban of a Turk, and sometimes the half breeches
of a Highlander. I would sometimes wear the lawn sleeves of a bishop,
and sometimes the tye-wig of a barrister. A leathern apron and a trowel
might upon occasion be of sovereign efficacy. The long beard and
neglected dress of a Shylock should be admitted into the list. I would
also occasionally lay aside the small clothes, and assume the dress of a
woman. I would often trip it along with the appearance and gesture of a
spruce milliner; and I would often stalk with the solemn air and
sweeping train of a duchess. But of all the infinite shapes of human
dress, I must confess that, my favourite is the kind of doublet that
prince Harry wore when he assaulted Falstaff. The nearer it approaches
to the guise of a common carman the better, and his long whip ought to
be inseparable. If you could add to it the sooty appearance of a
coal-heaver, or a chimney-sweep, it would sit, upon this more precious
than velvet garb, like spangles and lace. I need not add, that to a mind
of elegance and sensibility, the emblematical allusion which this dress
would carry to the secrecy and impenetrableness of the person that wears
it, must be the source of a delightful and exquisite sensation.

And now, my lord, for the last head, which it is necessary to mention
under this division of my subject, I mean that of lanthorns. Twenty
people, I doubt not, whom your lordship might consult upon this
occasion, would advise you to go without any lanthorn at all. Beware of
this, my lord. It is a rash and a thoughtless advice. It may possibly be
a false and insidious one. Your lordship will never think of going
always in the same broad and frequented path. Many a causeway you will
have to cross, many a dark and winding alley to tread. Suppose, my lord,
the pavement were to be torn up, and your lordship were to break your
shin! Suppose a drain were to have been opened in the preceding day,
without your knowing any thing of the matter, and your lordship were to
break your neck! Suppose, which is more terrible than all the rest, you
were to set your foot upon that which I dare not name, and by offending
the olfactory nerves of majesty, you were to forfeit his affections for

So much, my lord, by way of declamation against the abolition of
lanthorns. Your lordship however does not imagine I shall say any thing
upon affairs so common as the glass lanthorn, the horn lanthorn, and the
perforated tin lanthorn. This last indeed is most to my purpose, but it
will not do, my lord, it will not do. There is a kind of lanthorns, your
lordship has seen them, that have one side dark, and the other light. I
remember to have observed your lordship for half a day together, poring
over the picture of Guy Faux, in the Book of Martyrs. This was one of
the early intimations which my wisdom enabled me to remark of the
destination which nature had given you. You know, my lord, that the
possessor of this lanthorn can turn it this way and that, as he pleases.
He can contrive accurately to discern the countenance of every other
person, without being visible himself. I need not enlarge to your
lordship upon the admirable uses of this machine. I will only add, that
my very dear and ever-lamented friend Mr. Pinchbeck, effected before he
died an improvement upon it so valuable, that it cannot but preserve his
name from that oblivious power, by which common names are devoured. In
his lanthorn, the shade, which used to be inseparable, may be taken away
at the possessor's pleasure, like the head of a whisky, and it may
appear to all intents and purposes one of the common vehicles of the
kind. He had also a contrivance, never to be sufficiently commended,
that when the snuff of the candle had attained a certain length, it
moved a kind of automatic pair of snuffers that hung within side, and
amputated itself. He left me two of these lanthorns as a legacy. Such is
my value for your lordship, that I have wrought myself up to a
resolution of parting with one of them in your lordship's favour. You
will receive it in four days from the date of this by Gines's waggon,
that puts up in Holborn.

But, my lord, there is a second object of consideration still more
important than this. It is in vain for your lordship, or any other
person, to persuade the sovereign against any of the measures of his
government, unless you can add to this the discovery of those new
sentiments you have instilled, to all such as it may concern. It is the
business of every Machiavelian minister, such as your lordship, both
from nature and choice, is inclined to be, to prop the cause of
despotism. In order to this, the dignity of the sovereign is not to be
committed, but exalted. To bring forward the royal person to put a
negative upon any bill in parliament, is a most inartificial mode of
proceeding. It marks too accurately the strides of power, and awakens
too pointedly the attention of the multitude. Your lordship has heard
that the house of lords is the barrier between the king and the people.
There is a sense of this phrase, of which I am wonderfully fond. The
dissemination of the royal opinion will at any time create a majority in
that house, to divert the odium from the person of the monarch.
Twenty-two bishops, thirteen lords of the bed-chamber, and all the
rabble of household troops, will at any time compose an army. They may
not indeed cover an acre of ground, nor would I advise your lordship to
distribute them into a great number of regiments. Their countenances are
not the most terrific that were ever beheld, and it might be proper to
officer them with persons of more sagacity than themselves. But under
all this meekness of appearance, and innocence of understanding, believe
me, my lord, they are capable of keeping at bay the commons and the
people of England united in one cause, for a considerable time. They
have been too long at the beck of a minister, not to be somewhat callous
in their feelings. And they are too numerous, not to have shoulders
capacious enough to bear all the obloquy, with which their conduct may
be attended.

But then, my lord, as I would not recommend it to you to bring into
practice the royal negative, so neither perhaps would it be advisable
for the sovereign, to instruct those lords immediately attendant upon
him, in person. Kings, you are not to be informed, are to be managed and
humoured by those that would win their confidence. If your lordship
could invent a sort of down, more soft and yielding than has yet been
employed, it might be something. But to point out to your master, that
he must say this, and write that, that he must send for one man, and
break with another, is an unpleasant and ungrateful office. It must be
your business to take the burden from his shoulders. You must smooth the
road you would have him take, and strew with flowers the path of ruin.
If he favour your schemes with a smile of approbation, if he bestow upon
your proceedings the sanction of a nod, it is enough. It is godlike
fortitude, and heroic exertion.

But secrecy is the very essence of deep and insidious conduct. I would
advise your lordship to bring even your own name into question, as
little as possible. My lord Chesterfield compares a statesman, who has
been celebrated for influence during the greatest part of the present
reign, to the ostrich. The brain of an ostrich, your lordship will
please to observe, though he be the largest of birds, may very easily be
included in the compass of a nut-shell. When pursued by the hunters, he
is said to bury his head in the sand, and having done this, to imagine
that he cannot be discovered by the keenest search. Do not you, my lord,
imitate the manners of the ostrich. Believe me, they are ungraceful;
and, if maturely considered, will perhaps appear to be a little silly.

There is a contrivance that has occurred to me, which, if it were not
accompanied with a circumstance somewhat out of date, appears to me in
the highest degree admirable. Suppose you were to treat the lords of the
bedchamber with a sight of St. Paul's cathedral? There is a certain part
of it of a circular form, commonly called the whispering gallery. You
have probably heard, that by the uncommon echo of this place, the
weakest sound that can possibly be articulated, is increased by that
time it has gone half round, into a sound, audible and strong. Your
lordship, with your flock of geese about you, would probably be frolic
and gamesome. You may easily contrive to scatter them through the whole
circumference of this apartment. Of a sudden, you will please to turn
your face to the wall, and utter in a solemn tone the royal opinion.
Every body will be at a loss from whence the mandate proceeds. Some of
your companions, more goose-like than the rest, will probably imagine it
a voice from heaven. The sentence must be two or three times repeated at
proper intervals, before you can contrive to have each of the lords in
turn at the required distance. This will demand a considerable degree of
alertness and agility. But alertness and agility are qualities by which
your lordship is so eminently distinguished, that I should have very few
apprehensions about your success. Meanwhile it will be proper to have a
select number of footmen stationed at the door of the gallery, armed
with smelling-bottles. Some of your friends, I suspect, would be so much
alarmed at this celestial and ghost-like phenomenon, as to render this
part of the plan of singular service.

But after all, I am apprehensive that many of the noble lords to whom I
allude, would be disgusted at the very mention of any thing so
old-fashioned and city-like, as a visit to this famous cathedral. And
even if that were not the case, it is proper to be provided with more
than one scheme for the execution of so necessary a purpose. The
question is of no contemptible magnitude, between instructions _viva
voce_, and a circular letter. In favour of the first it may be said,
that a letter is the worst and most definite evidence to a man's
disadvantage that can be conceived. It may easily be traced. It can
scarcely be denied. The sense of it cannot readily be explained
away.--It must be confessed there is something in this; and yet, my
lord, I am by all means for a letter. A voice may often be overheard. I
remember my poor old goody used to say, (heaven rest her soul!) That
walls had ears. There are some lords, my dear friend, that can never
think of being alone. Bugbears are ever starting up in their prolific
imagination, and they cannot be for a moment in the dark, without
expecting the devil to fly away with them. They have some useful pimp,
some favourite toad-eater, that is always at their elbow. Ever remember,
so long as you live, that toad-eaters are treacherous friends. Beside,
it would be a little suspicious, to see your lordship's carriage making
a regular tour from door to door among the lords of the bed-chamber. And
I would by no means have Pinchbeck's dark-lanthorn brought into common
use. Consider, my lord, when that is worn out, you will not know where
to get such another.

A letter may be disguised in various ways. You would certainly never
think of signing your name. You might have it transcribed by your
secretary. But then this would be to commit your safety and your fame to
the keeping of another. No, my lord, there are schemes worth a hundred
of this. Consider the various hands in which a letter may be written.
There is the round hand, and the Italian hand, the text hand, and the
running hand. You may form your letters upon the Roman or the Italic
model. Your billet may he engrossed. You may employ the German text or
the old primero. If I am not mistaken, your lordship studied all these
when you were a boy for this very purpose. Yes, my lord, I may be in the
wrong, but I am confidently of opinion, that this is absolutely the
first, most important, and most indispensible accomplishment of a
statesman. I would forgive him, if he did not know a cornet from an
ensign, I would forgive him, if he thought Italy a province of Asia
Minor. But not to write primero! the nincompoop! the numbscul!

If it were not that the persons with whom your lordship has to
correspond, can some of them barely spell their native tongue, I would
recommend to your lordship the use of cyphers. But no, you might as well
write the language of Mantcheux Tartars. For consider, your letters may
be intercepted. It is true, they have not many perils to undergo. They
are not handed from post-house to post-house. There are no impertinent
office-keepers to inspect them by land. There are no privateers to
capture them by sea. But, my lord, they have perils to encounter, the
very recollection of which makes me tremble to the inmost fibre of my
frame. They are ale-houses, my lord. Think for a moment of the
clattering of porter-pots, and the scream of my goodly hostess. Imagine
that the blazing fire smiles through the impenetrable window, and that
the kitchen shakes with the peals of laughter. These are temptations, my
lord, that no mortal porter can withstand. When the unvaried countenance
of his gracious sovereign smiles invitation upon him from the weather
beaten sign-post, what loyal heart but must be melted into compliance.

From all these considerations, my lord, I would advise you to write with
invisible ink. Milk I believe will serve the purpose, though I am
afraid, that the milk that is hawked about the streets of London, has
rather too much water in it. The juice of lemon is a sovereign recipe.
There are a variety of other preparations that will answer the purpose.
But these may be learned from the most vulgar and accessible sources of
information. And you will please to observe, that I suffer nothing to
creep into this political testament, more valuable than those of
Richelieu, Mazarine, and Alberoni, that is not entirely original matter.
My lord, I defy you to learn a single particular of the refinements here
communicated from the greatest statesman that lives. They talk of Fox!
He would give his right hand for an atom of them!

I will now suppose you, my lord, by all these artifices, arrived at the
very threshold of power. I will suppose that you have just defeated the
grandest and the wisest measure of your political antagonists. I think
there is nothing more natural, though the rule will admit of many
exceptions, than for people who act uniformly in opposition to each
other, upon public grounds, to be of opposite characters and
dispositions. I will therefore imagine, that, shocked with the boundless
extortions and the relentless cruelties that have been practised in some
distant part of the empire, they came forward with a measure full of
generous oblivion for the part, providing with circumspect and collected
humanity for the future. I will suppose, that they were desirous of
taking an impotent government out of the hands of Jews and pedlars, old
women and minors, and to render it a part of the great system. I will
suppose, that they were desirous of transferring political power from a
company of rapacious and interested merchants, into the hands of
statesmen, men distinguished among a thousand parties for clear
integrity, disinterested virtue, and spotless fame. This, my lord, would
be a field worthy of your lordship's prowess. Could you but gain the
interested, could you eternize rapacity, and preserve inviolate the blot
of the English name, what laurels would not your lordship deserve?

I will therefore suppose, that your gracious master meets you with a
_carte blanche_, that he is disposed to listen to all your advices, and
to adopt all your counsels. Your lordship is aware that the road of
secret influence, and that of popular favour, are not exactly the same.
No ministry can long preserve their seats unless they possess the
confidence of a majority of the house of commons. The ministry therefore
against which your lordship acts, we will take it for granted are in
this predicament. In this situation then an important question naturally
arises. Either a majority in the house of commons must be purchased at
any rate, or the government must be conducted in defiance of that house,
or thirdly, the parliament must be dissolved. Exclusive of these three,
I can conceive of no alternative. We will therefore examine each in its

Shall a majority in the house of commons be created? Much may be said on
both sides. A very ingenious friend of mine, for whose counsels I have
an uncommon deference, assured me, that nothing would be so easy as
this. Observing with a shrewdness that astonished me, that ministry,
upon a late most important question, mustered no more than 250 votes,
and that there were 558 members, he inferred, that you had nothing more
to do than to send for those that were absent out of the country, and
you might have upwards of 300 to pit against the 250. It is with
infinite regret that I ever suffer myself to dissent from the opinion of
this gentleman. But suppose, my lord, which is at least possible, that
one half of the absentees should be friends to the cause of the people;
what would become of us then? There remains indeed the obvious method of
purchasing votes, and it might be supposed that your lordship's talent
of insinuation might do you knight's service in this business. But no,
my lord, many of these country gentlemen are at bottom no better than
boors. A mechlin cravat and a smirking countenance, upon which your
lordship builds so much, would be absolutely unnoticed by them. I am
afraid of risquing my credit with your lordship, but I can assure you,
that I have heard that one of these fellows has been known to fly from a
nobleman covered with lace, and powdered, and perfumed to the very tip
of the mode, to follow the standard of a commoner whose coat has been
stained with claret, and who has not had a ruffle to his shirt. My lord,
if common fame may be trusted, these puppies are literally tasteless
enough to admire wit, though the man who utters it be ever so corpulent,
and to discover eloquence in the mouth of one, who can suffer himself to
spit in an honourable assembly. I am a plain man, my lord; but I really
think that among marquisses and dukes, right honourables and right
reverends, these things are intolerable.

I would therefore have your lordship give up at once, and with a grace,
the very idea of bringing over to your side the partisans of these huge
slovenly fellows. The scheme of governing the country without taking the
house of commons along with you, is much more feasible than this. This
might be done by passing an act of parliament by the authority of two
estates of the realm, to declare the house of commons useless. For my
part, I am far from thinking this so bold a step as by some it may be
imagined. Was not Rome a free state, though it had no house of commons?
Has not the British house of commons been incessantly exclaimed upon, as
corrupt and nugatory? Has not a reform respecting them been called for
from all quarters of the kingdom? I am much of opinion in the present
case, that that is the most effectual reform, which goes to the root.
Rome had her hereditary nobility, which composed her senate. She had her
consuls, an ill-imagined substitute for monarchical power. In these, my
lord, was comprehended, in a manner, the whole of her government. I
shall be told indeed that they had occasionally their _comitia_, or
assemblies of the citizens of the metropolis. But this is so far from an
objection to my reasoning, that it furnishes me with a very valuable
hint for the improvement of the English constitution.

Let the present house of commons be cashiered, and let the common
council of the city of London be placed at St. Stephen's chapel in their
room. These your lordship will find a much more worthy and manageable
set of people, than the representatives of the nation at large. And can
any sensible man doubt for a moment, which are the most respectable body
of men? Examine their persons. Among their predecessors I see many poor,
lank, shrivelled, half-starved things, some bald, some with a few
straggling hairs, and some with an enormous bag, pendant from no hair at
all. Turn, my lord, to the other side. There you will see a good,
comely, creditable race of people. They look like brothers. As their
size and figure are the same, so by the fire in their eyes, and the
expression in their countenances, you could scarcely know one of them
from another. Their very gowns are enough to strike terror into the most
inattentive. Each of them covers his _cranium_ with a venerable periwig,
whose flowing curls and voluminous frizure bespeak wealth and
contentment. Their faces are buxom, and their cheeks are florid.

You will also, my lord, find them much more easy and tractable, than the
squeamish, fretful, discontented wretches, with which other ministers
have had to do. There is but one expence that will be requisite. It is
uniform, and capable of an easy calculation. In any great and trying
question, I was going to say debate, but debates, I am apt to think,
would not be very frequent, or very animated,--your lordship has nothing
to do, but to clear the table of the rolls and parchments, with which it
is generally covered, and spreading a table cloth, place upon it half a
score immense turtles, smoking hot, and larded with green fat. My lord,
I will forfeit my head, if with this perfume regaling their nostrils, a
single man has resolution enough to divide the house, or to declare his
discontent with any of the measures of government, by going out into the

So much, my lord, for this scheme. It is too considerable to be adopted
without deliberation; it is too important, and too plausible, to be
rejected without examination. The only remaining hypothesis is that of a
dissolution. Much, I know, may be said against this measure; but, for my
own part, next to the new and original system I have had the honour of
opening to your lordship, it is with me a considerable favourite. Those,
whose interests it is to raise an outcry against it, will exclaim,
"What, for the petty and sinister purposes of ambition, shall the whole
nation be thrown into uproar and confusion? Who is it that complains of
the present house of parliament? Is the voice of the people raised
against it? Do petitions come up from every quarter of the kingdom, as
they did, to no purpose, a few years ago, for its dissolution? But it is
the prerogative of the king to dissolve his parliament. And because it
is his prerogative, because he has a power of this kind reserved for
singular emergencies, does it follow, that this power is to be exercised
at caprice, and without weighty and comprehensive reasons? It may
happen, that the parliament is in the midst of its session, that the
very existence of revenue may be unprovided for, and the urgent claims
of humanity unfulfilled. It is of little consequence," they will perhaps
pretend, "who is in, and who is out, so the national interests are
honestly pursued, and the men who superintend them be not defective in
abilities. That then must be a most lawless and undisguised spirit of
selfishness, that can for these baubles risk the happiness of millions,
and the preservation of the constitution."

All these observations, my lord, may sound well enough in the harangue
of a demagogue; but is it for such a man, to object to a repetition of
that appeal to the people in general, in the frequency and universality
of which the very existence of liberty consists? Till lately, I think it
has been allowed, that one of those reforms most favourable to
democracy, was an abridgment of the duration of parliaments. But if a
general abridgment be so desirable, must not every particular abridgment
have its value too? Shall the one be acknowledged of a salutary, and yet
the other be declared of a pernicious tendency? Is it possible that the
nature of a part, and of the whole, can be not only dissimilar, but
opposite? But I will quit these general and accurate reasonings. It is
not in them that our strength lies.

They tell us, that the measure of a dissolution is an unpopular one. My
lord, it is not so, that you and I are to be taken in. Picture to
yourself the very kennels flowing with rivers of beer. Imagine the door
of every hospitable ale-house throughout the kingdom, thrown open for
the reception of the ragged and pennyless burgess. Imagine the whole
country filled with the shouts of drunkenness, and the air rent with
mingled huzzas. Represent the broken heads, and the bleeding noses, the
tattered raiment, and staggering bodies of a million of loyal voters. My
lord, will they pretend, that the measure that gives birth to this
glorious scene, is unpopular? We must be very ill versed in the science
of human nature, if we could believe them.

But a more important consideration arises. A general election would be
of little value, if by means of it a majority of representatives were
not to be gained to the aristocratical party. If I were to disadvise a
dissolution, it would be from the fear of a sinister event. It is true,
your lordship has a thousand soft blandishments. You can smile and bow
in the newest and most approved manner. But, my lord, in the midst of a
parcel of Billingsgate fishwomen, in the midst of a circle of butchers
with marrow-bones and cleavers, I am afraid these accomplishments would
be of little avail. It is he, most noble patron, who can swallow the
greatest quantity of porter, who can roar the best catch, and who is the
compleatest bruiser, that will finally carry the day. He must kiss the
frost-bitten lips of the green-grocers. He must smooth the frowzy cheeks
of chandlers-shop women. He must stroke down the infinite belly of a
Wapping landlady. I see your lordship tremble at the very catalogue.
Could you divide yourself into a thousand parts, and every part be ten
times more gigantic than the whole, you would shrink into non-entity at
the disgustful scene.

In this emergency I can invent only one expedient. Your lordship I
remember had six different services of plate when you were in Ireland,
and the duke of P---- could boast only of three. You had also five
footmen and a scullion boy more than his grace. By all this magnificence
I have been told that you dazzled and enchanted a certain class of the
good people of that kingdom. My lord, you must now improve the
popularity you gained. Import by the very first hoy a competent number
of chairmen. You are not to be told that they are accustomed to put on a
gold-lace coat as soon as they arrive upon our shore, and dub themselves
fortune-hunters. It will be easy therefore to pass them here for
gentlemen, whose low familiarity shall be construed into the most
ravishing condescension. No men, my lord, can drink better than they.
There is no constitution, but that of an Irish chairman, that can
dispense with the bouncing whisky. They are both brawny and courageous,
and must therefore make excellent bruisers. Their chief talent lies in
the art of courtship, and they are by no means nice and squeamish in
their stomach for a mistress. They can also occasionally put off the
assumed character of good breeding, and if it be necessary to act over
again the celebrated scenes of Balfe and M'Quirk, they would not be
found at a loss. My lord, they seem to have been created for this very
purpose, and if you have any hope from a general election, you must
derive every benefit from their distinguished merit. I own however, I am
apprehensive for the experiment, and after all would advise your
lordship to recur to the very excellent scheme of the common-council

There is only one point more which it remains for me to discuss. I have
already taken it for granted, that you are offered your choice of every
post that exists in the government of this country. Here again, if you
were to consult friends less knowing than myself, you would be presented
with nothing but jarring and discordant opinions. Some would say,
George, take it, and some, George, let it alone. For my part, my lord, I
would advise you to do neither the one nor the other. Fickleness and
instability, your lordship will please to observe, are of the very
essence of a real statesman. Who were the greatest statesmen this
country ever had to boast? They were, my lord, the two Villiers's, dukes
of Buckingham. Did not the first of these take his young master to the
kingdom of Spain, in order to marry the infanta, and then break off the
match for no cause at all? Did he not afterwards involve the nation in a
quarrel with the king of France, only because her most christian majesty
would not let him go to bed to her? What was the character of the second
duke? This nobleman,

  Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong,
  Was every thing by starts, and nothing long,
  But, in the course of one revolving moon,
  Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.

My lord, I do not flatter you so far as to suppose that your abilities
are as great, or that you will ever make so distinguished a figure as
either of these noblemen. But I would have you imitate them in your
humbler circle, and venture greatly, though the honour you should derive
from it, should be only, that you greatly fell. Accept therefore, my
lord, of one of the principal responsible offices without thought and
without hesitation. Through terror or manly spirit, or whatever you
choose to call it, resign again the next day. As soon as you have done
this, make interest for another place, and if you can obtain it, throw
it up as soon again. This, my lord, is not, as an ignorant and
coxcomical writer has represented it, "the vibration of a pendulum," but
a conduct, wise, manly, judicious, and heroic. Who does not know, that
the twinkling stars are of a more excellent nature, than those which
shine upon us with unremitted lustre? Who does not know that the comet,
which appears for a short time, and vanishes again for revolving years,
is more gazed upon than either? But I am afraid the comet is too sublime
an idea for your lordship's comprehension. I would therefore recommend
to you, to make the cracker the model of your conduct. You should snap
and bounce at regular intervals; at one moment you should seem a blazing
star, and the next be lost in trackless darkness.

My lord, there is nothing, which at all times I have taken more pains to
subdue, than that overweening pride, and immeasurable conceit, which are
the principal features of your lordship's character. Nature, indeed, has
furnished you with one corrective to them, or they must infallibly have
damned you. It is timidity. Other people may laugh at this quality. For
my part I esteem it worthy the loudest praise and most assiduous
cultivation. When the balance hangs in doubt between the adventurousness
of vanity and the frigidity of fear, ever incline to the latter side. I
had rather your lordship should be a coward, than a coxcomb. If however
you could attain to that reasonable and chastised opinion of yourself,
which should steer a proper mean between these extremes, should make you
feel your strength, when menaced by the most terrible adversaries, and
your weakness, when soothed by the most fawning parasites, this, my
lord, would be the highest perfection to which you could possibly
attain. I will therefore close my epistle with the discussion of a case,
which your lordship may think parallel to the species of behaviour I
have recommended to your cultivation. I mean that of the celebrated and
incomparable earl Granville, in the year 1746. I will show you what this
nobleman did, and in how many particulars you must for ever hope in vain
to resemble him.

I remember, my lord, that you and I once studied together the History of
England, in Question and Answer. If your lordship recollects, the year
1746 began in the very height of the celebrated rebellion. The ministers
of the sovereign at this time, were, that mixed and plausible character,
Mr. Pelham, and that immortalized booby, the duke of Newcastle. These
gentlemen possessed their full proportion of that passion, so
universally incident to the human frame, the love of power. They had
formed such a connection with the monied interest of the kingdom, that
no administration could go on without them. Conscious to this
circumstance, they had no toleration for a rival, they could "bear no
brother near the throne." From this sentiment, they had driven that most
able minister I have mentioned, from the cabinet of his sovereign, in no
very justifiable manner, about twelve months before. The same jealousy
kept alive their suspicions: they knew the partiality of their master:
they imagined their antagonist still lurked behind the curtain. The
distresses of the kingdom were to them the ladder of ambition. This was
the language they held to their sovereign: "The enemy is already
advanced into the heart of your majesty's dominions. We know that you
cannot do without us. You must therefore listen with patience to what we
shall dictate. Drive from your presence for ever the wisest and the
ablest of all your counsellors. This is the only condition, upon which
we will continue to serve you in this perilous moment." Majesty, as it
was but natural, was disgusted with this language. The Pelhams resigned.
Lord Granville accepted the seals. And he held them I believe for
something more than a fortnight.

My lord, I will tell you, what were the Pelhams, and what was the true
character of lord Granville. Whatever may be said, and much I think may
justly be said, in favour of the former, they were not men of genius.
Capable of conducting, and willing upon the whole to conduct with
loyalty and propriety the affairs of their country, while they kept
within the beaten channel, they were not born to grapple with arduous
situations. They had not that commanding spirit of adventure, which
leads a man into the path of supererogation and voluntary service: they
had not that firm and collected fortitude which induces a man to look
danger in the face, to encounter it in all its force, and to drive it
from all its retrenchments. They were particularly attached to the
patronage, which is usually annexed to their high situations. They did
not come into power by the voice of the people. They were not summoned
to assume the administration by a vote of the house of commons. They
were introduced into the cabinet by an inglorious and guilty compromise
of sir Robert Walpole; a compromise, that shunned the light; a
compromise, that reflected indelible disgrace upon every individual
concerned in it. We will suppose them ever so much in the right in the
instance before us. For certainly, the same responsibility, that ought
to remove a minister from the helm, when he is become obnoxious to his
countrymen, equally makes it improper, that he should be originally
appointed by the fancy or capricious partiality of the sovereign. But
were they over so much in the right, it will yet remain true, that they
took a poor and ungenerous advantage of the personal distresses of their
master, which men of a large heart, and of sterling genius, could never
have persuaded themselves to take.

Such were the ministers, whom it appears that king George the second
would have had no objection to strip of their employments. I will tell
you who it was, that he was willing to have substituted in their place.
It was a man of infinite genius. His taste was a standard to those, who
were most attached to the fine arts, and most uninterruptedly conversant
with them. His eloquence was splendid, animated, and engaging. Of all
the statesmen then existing in Europe, he was perhaps the individual,
who best understood the interests and the politics of all her courts.
But your lordship may probably find it somewhat more intelligible, if I
take the other side of the picture, and tell you what he was not. He was
not a man of fawning and servility. He did not rest his ambitious
pretensions upon any habitual adroitness, upon the arts of wheedling,
and the tones of insinuation. He rested them upon the most solid
talents, and the most brilliant accomplishments. He did not creep into
the closet of his sovereign uncalled, and endeavour to make himself of
consequence by assiduities and officiousness. He pleaded for years, in a
manly and ingenuous manner, the cause of the people in parliament. It
was by a popularity, great, and almost without exception, that he was
introduced into power. When defeated by the undermining and contemptible
art of his rivals; when convinced that it was impossible for him, to
employ his abilities with success in the service of his country, he
retired. And it was only by the personal intreaties of his sovereign,
and to assist him in that arduous and difficult situation, in which
those who ought to have served, deserted him, that he once again
accepted of office. He accepted it, for the temporary benefit of his
country, and till those persons, who only could come into administration
with efficiency and advantage, should again resume their places. He made
way for them without a struggle. He did not pretend to set practical
impotence, though accompanied with abilities incomparably the superior,
against that influence and connexion by which they were supported. Of
consequence, my lord, his memory will always be respected and cherished
by the bulk of mankind.

I do not mean to propose him to your lordship for a model. I never
imagined that your talents qualified you for the most distant
resemblance of him; and I wished to convince you how inferior they were.
Beside, my lord, he did not act upon the Machiavelian plan. His system
was that of integrity, frankness, and confidence. He desired to meet his
enemies; and the more extensive the ground upon which he could meet
them, the better. I was never idle enough to think of such a line of
conduct for your lordship. Go on then in those crooked paths, and that
invisible direction, for which nature has so eminently fitted you.
Intrench yourself behind the letter of the law. Avoid, carefully avoid,
the possibility of any sinister evidence. And having uniformly taken
these precautions, defy all the malice of your enemies. They may
threaten, but they shall never hurt you. They may make you tremble and
shrink with fancied terrors, but they shall never be able to man so much
as a straw against you. Immortality, my lord, is suspended over your
head. Do not shudder at the sound. It shall not be an immortality of
infamy. It shall only be an immortality of contempt.



That will be opened

On MONDAY the Fourth Day of AUGUST,











The two principal objects of human power are government and education.
They have accordingly engrossed a very large share in the disquisitions
of the speculative in all ages. The subject of the former indeed is man,
already endowed with his greatest force of body, and arrived at the
exercise of his intellectual powers: the subject of the latter is man,
as yet shut up in the feebleness of childhood, and the imbecility of
inexperience. Civil society is great and unlimited in its extent; the
time has been, when the whole known world was in a manner united in one
community: but the sphere of education has always been limited. It is
for nations to produce the events, that enchant the imagination, and
ennoble the page of history: infancy must always pass away in the
unimportance of mirth, and the privacy of retreat. That government
however is a theme so much superior to education, is not perhaps so
evident, as we may at first imagine.

It is indeed wider in its extent, but it is infinitely less absolute in
its power. The state of society is incontestibly artificial; the power
of one man over another must be always derived from convention, or from
conquest; by nature we are equal. The necessary consequence is, that
government must always depend upon the opinion of the governed. Let the
most oppressed people under heaven once change their mode of thinking,
and they are free. But the inequality of parents and children is the law
of our nature, eternal and uncontrolable.--Government is very limited in
its power of making men either virtuous or happy; it is only in the
infancy of society that it can do any thing considerable; in its
maturity it can only direct a few of our outward actions. But our moral
dispositions and character depend very much, perhaps entirely, upon
education.--Children indeed are weak and imbecil; but it is the
imbecility of spring, and not that of autumn; the imbecility that verges
towards power, and not that is already exhausted with performance. To
behold heroism in its infancy, and immortality in the bud, must be a
most attractive object. To mould those pliant dispositions, upon which
the happiness of multitudes may one day depend, must be infinitely

Proportionable to what we have stated to be the importance of the
subject, is the attention that has been afforded it in the republic of
letters. The brightest wits, and the profoundest philosophers have
emulated each other in their endeavours to elucidate so valuable a
theme. In vain have pedants urged the stamp of antiquity, and the
approbation of custom; there is scarcely the scheme so visionary, the
execution of which has not at some time or other been attempted. Of the
writers upon this interesting subject, he perhaps that has produced the
most valuable treatise is Rousseau. If men of equal abilities have
explored this ample field, I know of none, however, who have so
thoroughly investigated the first principles of the science, or who have
treated it so much at large. If he have indulged to a thousand agreeable
visions, and wandered in the pursuit of many a specious paradox, he has
however richly repaid us for this defect, by the profoundest researches,
and the most solid discoveries.

I have borrowed so many of my ideas from this admirable writer, that I
thought it necessary to make this acknowledgement in the outset. The
learned reader will readily perceive, that if I have not scrupled to
profit from his discoveries, at least I have freely and largely
dissented from him, where he appeared to me to wander from the path of
truth. For my own part, I am persuaded that it can only be by striking
off something of inflexibility from his system, and something of
pedantry from the common one, that we can expect to furnish a medium,
equally congenial to the elegance of civilization, and the manliness of

In pursuance of these principles it shall be my first business to
enquire, whether or not the languages ought to make any part of a
perfect system of education; and if they ought, at what time they should
be commenced. The study of them does indeed still retain its ground in
our public schools and universities. But it has received a rude shock
from some writers of the present age; nor has any attack been more
formidable, than that of the author of Emile. Let us endeavour to
examine the question, neither with the cold prejudice of antiquity on
the one hand; nor on the other, with the too eager thirst of novelty,
and unbounded admiration of the geniuses, by whom it has been attacked.

When we look back to the venerable ancients, we behold a class of
writers, if not of a much higher rank, at least of a very different
character, from the moderns. One natural advantage they indisputably
possessed. The field of nature was all their own. It had not yet been
blasted by any vulgar breath, or touched with a sacrilegious hand. Its
fairest flowers had not been culled, and its choicest sweets rifled
before them. As they were not encumbered and hedged in with the
multitude of their predecessors, they did not servilely borrow their
knowledge from books; they read it in the page of the universe. They
studied nature in all her romantic scenes, and all her secret haunts.
They studied men in the various ranks of society, and in different
nations of the world. I might add to this several other advantages. Of
these the noble freedom of mind that was characteristic of the
republicans of Greece and Rome, and that has scarcely any parallel among
ourselves, would not be the least.

Agreeably to these advantages, they almost every where, particularly
among the Greeks, bear upon them the stamp of originality. All copies
are feeble and unmarked. They sacrifice the plainness of nature to the
gaudiness of ornament, and the tinsel of wit. But the ancients are full
of a noble and affecting simplicity. By one touch of nature and
observation they paint a scene more truly, than their successors are
able to do in whole wire-drawn pages. In description they are
unequalled. Their eloquence is fervent, manly and sonorous. Their
thoughts are just, natural, independent and profound. The pathos of
Virgil, and the sublimity of Homer, have never been surpassed. And as
their knowledge was not acquired in learned indolence, they knew how to
join the severest application with the brightest genius. Accordingly in
their style they have united simplicity, eloquence and harmony, in a
manner of which the moderns have seldom had even an idea. The
correctness of a Caesar, and the sonorous period of a Cicero; the
majesty of a Virgil, and the politeness of a Horace, are such as no
living language can express.

It is the remark of a certain old-fashioned writer, "The form of the
world passeth away." A century or two ago the greatest wits were known
to have pathetically lamented, that the writers, of whose merits I have
been speaking, were handed down to us in so mutilated a condition. Now
it seems very probable, that, if their works were totally annihilated,
it would scarcely call forth a sigh from the refined geniuses of the
present age. It is certainly very possible to carry the passion for
antiquity to a ridiculous extreme. No man can reasonably deny, that it
is by us only that the true system of the universe has been ascertained,
and that we have made very valuable improvements upon many of the arts.
No man can question that some of our English poets have equalled the
ancients in sublimity, and that, to say the least, our neighbours, the
French, have emulated the elegance of their composition in a manner,
that is very far indeed from contempt. From these concessions however we
are by no means authorised to infer their inutility.

But I shall be told that in the first revival of letters the study of
the ancient languages might indeed be very proper; but since that time
we have had so many excellent truncations of every thing they contain,
that to waste the time, and exhaust the activity of our youth in the
learning of Latin and Greek, is to very little purpose indeed.
Translation! what a strange word! To me I confess it appears the most
unaccountable invention, that ever entered into the mind of man. To
distil the glowing conceptions, and to travesty the beautiful language
of the ancients, through the medium of a language estranged to all its
peculiarities and all its elegancies.  The best thoughts and expressions
of an author, those that distinguish one writer from another, are
precisely those that are least capable of being translated.  And who are
the men we are to employ in this promising business? Original genius
disdains the unmeaning drudgery. A mind that has one feature resembling
the ancients, will scarcely stoop to be their translator. The persons
then, to whom the performance must be committed, are persons of cool
elegance. Endowed with a little barren taste, they must be inanimate
enough to tread with laborious imbecility in the footsteps of another.
They must be eternally incapable of imbibing the spirit, and glowing
with the fire of their original. But we shall seldom come off so well as
this. The generality of translators are either on the one hand mere
pedants and dealers in words, who, understanding the grammatical
construction of a period, never gave themselves the trouble to enquire,
whether it conveyed either sentiment or instruction; or on the other
hand mere writers for hire, the retainers of a bookseller, men who
translate Homer from the French, and Horace out of Creech.

Let it not be said that I am now talking at random. Let us descend to
examples. We need not be afraid of instancing in the most favourable. I
believe it is generally allowed that Mr. Pope's Iliad is the very best
version that was ever made out of one language into another. It must be
confessed to exhibit very many poetical beauties. As a trial of skill,
as an instance of what can be effected upon so forlorn a hope, it must
ever be admired. But were I to search for a true idea of the style and
composition of Homer, I think I should rather recur to the verbal
translation in the margin of the original, than to the version of Pope.
Homer is the simplest and most unaffected of poets. Of all the writers
of elegance and taste that ever existed, his translator is the most
ornamented. We acknowledge Homer by his loose and flowing robe, that
does not constrain a muscle of his frame. But Pope presents himself in
the close and ungraceful habit of modern times;

  "Glittering with gems, and stiff with woven gold."

No, let us for once conduct ourselves with honesty and generosity. If we
will not study the ancients in their own nervous and manly page, let us
close their volumes for ever. I had rather, says the amiable philosopher
of Chaeronea, it should be said of me, that there never was such a man
as Plutarch, than that Plutarch was ill-natured, arbitrary, and
tyrannical. And were I the bard of Venusia, sure I am, I had rather be
entirely forgotten, than not be known for the polite, the spirited, and
the elegant writer I really was.

To converse with the accomplished, is the obvious method by which to
become accomplished ourselves. This general observation is equally
applicable to the study of polite writers of our own and of other
countries. But there are some reasons, upon account of which we may
expect to derive a more perceptible advantage from the ancients. They
carried the art of composition to greater heights than any of the
moderns. Their writers were almost universally of a higher rank in
society, than ours. There did not then exist the temptation of gain to
spur men on to the profession of an author. An industrious modern will
produce twenty volumes, in the time that Socrates employed to polish one

Another argument flows from the simple circumstance of their writing in
a different language. Of all the requisites to the attainment either of
a style of our own, or a discernment in that of others, the first is
grammar. Without this, our ideas must be always vague and desultory.
Respecting the delicacies of composition, we may guess, but we can never
decide and demonstrate. Now, of the minutiae of grammar, scarcely any
man ever attained a just knowledge, who was acquainted with only one
language. And if the study of others be the surest, I will venture also
to pronounce it the easiest method for acquiring a mastery in philology.

From what has been said, I shall consider this conclusion as
sufficiently established, that the languages ought at some time to be
learned by him who would form to himself a perfect character. I proceed
to my second enquiry, at what time the study of them should be
commenced? And here I think this to be the best general answer: at the
age of ten years.

In favour of so early a period one reason may be derived from what I
have just been mentioning.  The knowledge of more languages than one, is
almost an indispensible prerequisite to the just understanding either of
the subject of grammar in particular, or of that of style in general.
Now if the cultivation of elegance and propriety be at all important, it
cannot be entered upon too soon, provided the ideas are already
competent to the capacity of the pupil. The Roman Cornelia, who never
suffered a provincial accent, or a grammatical barbarism in the hearing
of her children, has always been cited with commendation; and the
subsequent rhetorical excellence of the Gracchi has been in a great
degree ascribed to it. Fluency, purity and ease are to be acquired by
insensible degrees: and against habits of this kind I apprehend there
can be no objection.

Another argument of still greater importance is, that the knowledge of
languages has scarcely ever been mastered, but by those, the
commencement of whose acquaintance with them was early. To be acquainted
with any science slightly and superficially, can in my opinion be
productive of little advantage. But such an acquaintance with languages
must be very useless indeed. What benefit can it be expected that we
should derive from an author, whom we cannot peruse with facility and
pleasure? The study of such an author will demand a particular strength
of resolution, and aptitude of humour. He can scarcely become the
favourite companion of our retirement, and the never-failing solace of
our cares. Something of slow and saturnine must be the necessary
accompaniment of that disposition, that can conquer the difficulties of
such a pursuit. And accordingly we find that the classics and the school
are generally quitted together, even by persons of taste, who have not
acquired a competent mastery of them in their course of education. Very
few indeed have been those, who, estranged to the languages till the age
of manhood, have after that period obtained such a familiarity with
them, as could ever be productive of any considerable advantage.

Brutes and savages are totally unacquainted with lassitude and spleen,
the lust of variety, and the impatience of curiosity. In a state of
society our ideas habitually succeed in a certain proportion, and an
employment that retards their progress, speedily becomes disagreeable
and tedious. But children, not having yet felt this effect of
civilization, are not susceptible to this cause of disgust. They are
endowed with a pliableness and versatility of mind, that with a little
attention and management may easily be turned to any pursuit. Their
understandings not yet preoccupied, they have a singular facility of
apprehending, and strength of retention. It is certain this pliableness
and facility are very liable to abuse. It is not easy to believe, that
they were given to learn words without meaning; terms of art, not
understood by the pupil; the systems of theologians, and the jargon of
metaphysics. But then neither were they given without a capacity of
being turned to advantage. And it should seem that it could not be a
very fallacious antidote to abuse, to confine our instructions to such
kinds of knowledge, as are of the highest importance, and are seldom
learned with success, and even scarcely attainable, at any other period.

Let it be observed that I have not fixed upon the age of ten years at
random. It is the observation of Rousseau; Both children and men are
essentially feeble. Children, because however few be their wants, they
are unable to supply them. Men, in a state of society, because whatever
be their absolute strength, the play of the imagination renders their
desires yet greater. There is an intermediate period, in which our
powers having made some progress, and the artificial and imaginary wants
being unknown, we are relatively strong. And this he represents as the
principal period of instruction. This remark is indeed still more
striking, when applied to a pupil, the progress of whose imagination is
sedulously retarded. But it is not destitute either of truth or utility
in the most general application we can possibly give it. Let it be
observed, that Rousseau fixes the commencement of this period at twelve
years. I would choose to take it at ten.

However we may find it convenient to distribute the productions of
nature into classes, and her operations into epochas, yet let it be
remembered, that her progress is silent and imperceptible. Between a
perfect animal and vegetable, the distinction is of the highest order.
Between distant periods we may remark the most important differences.
But the gradations of nature are uninterrupted. Of her chain every link
is compleat. As therefore I shall find in commencing at ten years, that
my time will be barely sufficient for the purposes to which I would
appropriate it, I consider this circumstance as sufficient to determine
my election. A youth of ten years is omnipotent, if we contrast him with
a youth of eight.

But if the languages constitute so valuable a part of a just system of
education, the next question is, in what manner they are to be taught.
Indeed, I believe, if the persons employed in the business of education
had taken half the pains to smooth the access to this department of
literature, that they have employed to plant it round with briars and
thorns, its utility and propriety, in the view we are now considering
it, would scarcely have been questioned.

There is something necessarily disgusting in the forms of grammar.
Grammar therefore is made in our public schools the business of a
twelvemonth. Rules are heaped upon rules with laborious stupidity. To
render them the more formidable, they are presented to our youth in the
very language, the first principles of which they are designed to teach.
For my own part, I am persuaded the whole business of grammar may be
dispatched in a fortnight. I would only teach the declensions of nouns,
and the inflexions of verbs. For the rest, nothing is so easily
demonstrated, as that the auxiliary sciences are best communicated in
connection with their principals. Chronology, geography, are never so
thoroughly understood, as by him that treats them literally as the
handmaids of history. He, who is instructed in Latin with clearness and
accuracy, will never be at a loss for the rules of grammar.

But to complete the disgust we seem so careful to inspire, the learned
languages are ever surrounded with the severity verity of discipline;
and it would probably be thought little short of sacrilege to discompose
their features with a smile. Such a mode of proceeding can never be
sufficiently execrated.

Indeed, I shall be told, "this is the time to correct the native vices
of the mind. In childhood the influence of pain and mortification is
comparatively trifling. What then can be more judicious than to
accumulate upon this period, what must otherwise fall with tenfold
mischief upon the age of maturity?" In answer to this reasoning, let it
be first considered, how many there are, who by the sentence of nature
are called out of existence, before they can live to reap these boasted
advantages. Which of you is there, that has not at some time regretted
that age, in which a smile is ever upon the countenance, and peace and
serenity at the bottom of the heart? How is it you can consent to
deprive these little innocents of an enjoyment, that slides so fast
away? How is it you can find in your heart to pall these fleeting years
with bitterness and slavery? The undesigning gaiety of youth has the
strongest claim upon your humanity. There is not in the world a truer
object of pity, than a child terrified at every glance, and watching,
with anxious uncertainty, the caprices of a pedagogue. If he survive,
the liberty of manhood is dearly bought by so many heart aches. And if
he die, happy to escape your cruelty, the only advantage he derives from
the sufferings you have inflicted, is that of not regretting a life, of
which he knew nothing but the torments.

But who is it that has told you, that the certain, or even the probable
consequences of this severity are beneficial? Nothing is so easily
proved, as that the human mind is pure and spotless, as it came from the
hands of God, and that the vices of which you complain, have their real
source in those shallow and contemptible precautions, that you pretend
to employ against them. Of all the conditions to which we are incident,
there is none so unpropitious to whatever is ingenuous and honourable,
as that of a slave. It plucks away by the root all sense of dignity, and
all manly confidence. In those nations of antiquity, most celebrated for
fortitude and heroism, their youth had never their haughty and
unsubmitting neck bowed to the inglorious yoke of a pedagogue. To borrow
the idea of that gallant assertor of humanity, sir Richard Steele: I
will not say that our public schools have not produced many great and
illustrious characters; but I will assert, there was not one of those
characters, that would not have been more manly and venerable, if they
had never been subjected to this vile and sordid condition.

Having thus set aside the principal corruptions of modern education, the
devising methods for facilitating the acquisition of languages will not
be difficult. The first books put into the hands of a pupil should be
simple, interesting, and agreeable. By their means, he will perceive a
reasonableness and a beauty in the pursuit. If he be endowed by nature
with a clear understanding, and the smallest propensity to literature,
he will need very little to stimulate him either from hope or fear.

Attentive to the native gaiety of youth, the periods, in which his
attention is required, though frequent in their returns, should in their
duration be short and inoppressive. The pupil should do nothing merely
because he is seen or heard by his preceptor. If he have companions,
still nothing more is requisite, than that degree of silence and order,
which shall hinder the attention of any from being involuntarily
diverted. The pupil has nothing to conceal, and no need of falsehood.
The approbation of the preceptor respects only what comes directly under
his cognizance, and cannot be disguised. Even here, remembering the
volatility and sprightliness, inseparable from the age, humanity will
induce him not to animadvert with warmth upon the appearances of a
casual distraction, but he will rather solicit the return of attention
by gentleness, than severity.

But of all rules, the most important is that of preserving an uniform,
even tenour of conduct. Into the government of youth passion and caprice
should never enter. The gentle yoke of the preceptor should be
confounded as much as possible, with the eternal laws of nature and
necessity. The celebrated maxim of republican government should be
adopted here. The laws should speak, and the magistrate be silent. The
constitution should be for ever unchangeable and independent of the
character of him that administers it.

Nothing can certainly be more absurd than the attempt to educate
children by reason. We may be sure they will treat every determination
as capricious, that shocks their inclination. The _chef d'oeuvre_ of a
good education is to form a reasonable human being; and yet they pretend
to govern a child by argument and ratiocination. This is to enter upon
the work at the wrong end, and to endeavour to convert the fabric itself
into one of the tools by which it is constructed. The laws of the
preceptor ought to be as final and inflexible, as they are mild and

There is yet another method for facilitating the acquisition of
languages, so just in itself, and so universally practicable, that I
cannot forbear mentioning it. It is that of commencing with the modern
languages, French for instance in this country. These in the education
of our youth, are universally postponed to what are stiled the learned
languages. I shall perhaps be told that modern tongues being in a great
measure derived from the Latin, the latter is very properly to be
considered as introductory to the former. But why then do we not adopt
the same conduct in every instance? Why to the Latin do we not premise
the Greek, and to the Greek the Coptic and Oriental tongues? Or how long
since is it, that the synthetic has been proved so much superior to the
analytic mode of instruction? In female education, the modern languages
are taught without all this preparation; nor do I find that our fair
rivals are at all inferior to the generality of our sex in their
proficiency. With the youth of sense and spirit of both sexes, the
learning of French is usually considered, rather as a pleasure, than a
burden. Were the Latin communicated in the same mild and accommodating
manner, I think I may venture to pronounce, that thus taken in the
second place, there will be no great difficulty in rendering it equally

I would just observe that there is an obvious propriety in the French
language being learned under the same direction, as the Latin and Greek.
The pursuit of this elegant accomplishment ought at no time to be
entirely omitted. But the attention of youth is distracted between the
method of different masters, and their amiable confidence, in the
direction under which they are placed, entirely ruined by mutability and
inconstance. The same observation may also be applied here, as in the
learned languages. The attention of the pupil should be confined as much
as possible to the most classical writers; and the French would furnish
a most useful subsidiary in a course of history. Let me add, that though
I have prescribed the age of ten years, as the most eligible for the
commencement of classical education, I conceive there would be no
impropriety in taking up the modern language so early as nine.

Such then is the kind of subjection, that the learning of languages
demands. The question that recurs upon us is; How far this subjection
may fairly be considered as exceptionable, and whether its beneficial
consequences do not infinitely outweigh the trifling inconveniences that
may still be ascribed to it?

But there is another subject that demands our consideration. Modern
education not only corrupts the heart of our youth, by the rigid slavery
to which it condemns them, it also undermines their reason, by the
unintelligible jargon with which they are overwhelmed in the first
instance, and the little attention, that is given to the accommodating
their pursuits to their capacities in the second.

Nothing can have a greater tendency to clog and destroy the native
activity of the mind, than the profuseness with which the memory of
children is loaded, by nurses, by mothers, by masters. What can more
corrupt the judgment, than the communicating, without measure, and
without end, words entirely devoid of meaning? What can have a more
ridiculous influence upon our taste, than for the first verses to which
our attention is demanded, to consist of such strange and uncouth
jargon? To complete the absurdity, and that we may derive all that
elegance and refinement from the study of languages, that it is
calculated to afford, our first ideas of Latin are to be collected from
such authors, as Corderius, Erasmus, Eutropius, and the Selectae. To
begin indeed with the classical writers, is not the way to smooth the
path of literature. I am of opinion however, that one of the
above-mentioned authors will be abundantly sufficient. Let it be
remembered, that the passage from the introductory studies to those
authors, that form the very essence of the language, will be much
facilitated by the previous acquisition of the French.

Having spoken of the article of memory, let me be permitted to mention
the practice, that has of late gained so great a vogue; the instructing
children in the art of spouting and acting plays. Of all the qualities
incident to human nature, the most universally attractive is simplicity,
the most disgusting is affectation. Now what idea has a child of the
passions of a hero, and the distresses of royalty? But he is taught the
most vehement utterance, and a thousand constrained cadences, without
its being possible that he should see in them, either reasonableness or

I would not have a child required to commit any thing to memory more
than is absolutely necessary. If, however, he be a youth of spirit, he
will probably learn some things in this manner, and the sooner because
it is not expected of him. It will be of use for him to repeat these
with a grave and distinct voice, accommodated to those cadences, which
the commas, the periods, and the notes of interrogation, marked in his
author, may require, but without the smallest instruction to humour the
gay, or to sadden the plaintive.

Another article, that makes a conspicuous figure in the education of our
youth, is composition. Before they are acquainted with the true
difference between verse and prose, before they are prepared to decide
upon the poetical merit of Lily and Virgil, they are called upon to
write Latin verse themselves. In the same manner some of their first
prose compositions are in a dead language. An uniform, petty, ridiculous
scheme is laid down, and within that scheme all their thoughts are to be

Composition is certainly a desirable art, and I think can scarcely be
entered upon too soon. It should be one end after which I would
endeavour, and the mode of effecting it will be farther illustrated in
the sequel, to solicit a pupil to familiarity, and to induce him to
disclose his thoughts upon such subjects as were competent to his
capacity, in an honest and simple manner. After having thus warmed him
by degrees, it might be proper to direct him to write down his thoughts,
without any prescribed method, in the natural and spontaneous manner, in
which they flowed from his mind. Thus the talk of throwing his
reflections upon paper would be facilitated to him, and his style
gradually formed, without teaching him any kind of restraint and
affectation. To the reader who enters at all into my ideas upon the
subject, it were needless to subjoin, that I should never think of
putting a youth upon the composition of verse.

From all I have said it will be sufficiently evident, that it would be a
constant object with me to model my instructions to the capacity of my
pupil. They are books, that beyond all things teach us to talk without
thinking, and use words without meaning. To this evil there can be no
complete remedy. But shall we abolish literature, because it is not
unaccompanied with inconveniencies? Shall we return to a state of savage
ignorance, because all the advantages of civilization have their
attendant disadvantages?

The only remedy that can be applied, is to accustom ourselves to clear
and accurate investigation. To prefer, whereever we can have recourse to
it, the book of nature to any human composition. To begin with the
latter as late as may be consistent with the most important purposes of
education. And when we do begin, so to arrange our studies, as that we
may commence with the simplest and easiest sciences, and proportion our
progress to the understanding of the pupil.

With respect to grammar in particular, the declensions of nouns, and the
inflexions of verbs, we may observe, that to learn words to which
absolutely no ideas are affixed, is not to learn to think loosely, and
to believe without being convinced. These certainly can never corrupt
the mind. And I suppose no one will pretend, that to learn grammar, is
to be led to entertain inaccurate notions of the subjects, about which
it is particularly conversant. On the contrary, the ideas of grammar are
exceedingly clear and accurate. It has, in my opinion, all those
advantages, by which the study of geometry is usually recommended,
without any of its disadvantages. It tends much to purge the
understanding, to render it close in its investigations, and sure in its
decisions. It introduces more easily and intelligibly than mathematical
science, that most difficult of all the mental operations, abstraction.
It imperceptibly enlarges our conceptions, and generalises our ideas.

But if to read its authors, be the most valuable purpose of learning a
language, the grammar will not be sufficient. Other books will be
necessary. And how shall these be chosen, so as not to leave behind us
the understanding of our pupil? Shall we introduce him first to the
sublime flights of Virgil, the philosophical investigations of a Cicero,
or the refined elegance and gay satire of Horace? Alas! if thus
introduced unprepared to the noblest heights of science, how can it be
expected that his understanding should escape the shipwreck, and every
atom of common sense not be dashed and scattered ten thousand ways?

The study then I would here introduce, should be that of history. And
that this study is not improper to the age with which I connect it, is
the second point I would endeavour to demonstrate.

But is history, I shall be asked, the study so proper for uninstructed
minds? History, that may in some measure be considered as concentring in
itself the elements of all other sciences? History, by which we are
informed of the rise and progress of every art, and by whose testimony
the comparative excellence of every art is ascertained? History, the
very testimony of which is not to be admitted, without the previous
trial of metaphysical scrutiny, and philosophic investigation? Lastly,
History, that is to be considered as a continual illustration of the
arts of fortification and tactics; but above all of politics, with its
various appendages, commerce, manufacture, finances?

To all this, I calmly answer, No: it is not history in any of these
forms, that constitutes the science to which I would direct the
attention of my pupil. Of the utility of the history of arts and
sciences, at least, as a general study, I have no very high opinion. But
were my opinion ever so exalted, I should certainly chuse to postpone
this study for the present. I should have as little to do with tactics
and fortification. I would avoid as much as possible the very subject of
war. Politics, commerce, finances, might easily be deferred. I would
keep far aloof from the niceties of chronology, and the dispute of
facts. I would not enter upon the study of history through the medium of
epitome. I would even postpone the general history of nations, to the
character and actions of particular men.

Many of the articles I have mentioned, serve to compose the pedantry of
history. Than history, no science has been more abused. It has been
studied from ostentation; it has been studied with the narrow views of
little minds; it has been warped to serve a temporary purpose. Ingenious
art has hung it round with a thousand subtleties, and a thousand
disputes. The time has at length arrived, when it requires an erect
understanding, and a penetrating view, above the common rate, to
discover the noble purposes, which this science is most immediately
calculated to subserve.

In a word, the fate of history has been like that of travelling. The
institution has been preserved, but its original use is lost. One man
travels from fashion, and another from pride. One man travels to measure
buildings, another to examine pictures, and a third perhaps to learn to
dance. Scarcely any remember that its true application is to study men
and manners. Perhaps a juster idea cannot be given of the science we are
considering, than that which we may deduce from a reflection of
Rousseau. "The ancient historians," says he, "are crowded with those
views of things, from which we may derive the utmost utility, even
though the facts that suggest them, should be mistaken. But we are
unskilled to derive any real advantage from history. The critique of
erudition absorbs every thing; as if it imported us much whether the
relation were true, provided we could extract from it any useful
induction. Men of sense ought to regard history as a tissue of fables,
whose moral is perfectly adapted to the human heart."

The mere external actions of men are not worth the studying: Who would
have ever thought of going through a course of history, if the science
were comprised in a set of chronological tables? No: it is the hearts of
men we should study. It is to their actions, as expressive of
disposition and character, we should attend. But by what is it that we
can be advanced thus far, but by specious conjecture, and plausible
inference? The philosophy of a Sallust, and the sagacity of a Tacitus,
can only advance us to the regions of probability. But whatever be the
most perfect mode of historical composition, it is to the simplest
writers that our youth should be first introduced, writers equally
distant from the dry detail of Du Fresnoy, and the unrivalled eloquence
of a Livy. The translation of Plutarch would, in my opinion, form the
best introduction. As he is not a writer of particular elegance, he
suffers less from a version, than many others. The Roman revolutions of
Vertot might very properly fill the second place. Each of these writers
has this further recommendation, that, at least, in the former part of
their works, they treat of that simplicity and rectitude of manners of
the first Greeks and Romans, that furnish the happiest subject that can
be devised for the initiating youth in the study of history.

Under the restrictions I have laid down, history is of all sciences the
most simple. It has been ever considered by philosophers, as the porch
of knowledge. It has ever been treated by men of literature, as the
relaxation of their feverer pursuits. It leads directly to the most
important of all attainments, the knowledge of the heart. It introduces
us, without expence, and without danger, to an acquaintance with manners
and society. By the most natural advances it points us forward to all
the depths of science. With the most attractive blandishments it forms
us by degrees to an inextinguishable thirst of literature.

But there is still an objection remaining, and that the most important
of all. Let history be stripped as much as you will of every extraneous
circumstance, let it be narrowed to the utmost simplicity, there is
still one science previously necessary. It is that of morals. If you see
nothing in human conduct, but purely the exterior and physical
movements, what is it that history teaches? Absolutely nothing; and the
science devoid of interest, becomes incapable of affording either
pleasure or instruction. We may add, that the more perfectly it is made
a science of character and biography, the more indispensible is ethical
examination. But to such an examination it has been doubted whether the
understandings of children be competent. Upon this question I will beg
leave to say a few words, and I have done.

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that I do not speak here of ethics
as an abstract science, but simply as it relates to practice, and the
oeconomy of human life. Our enquiry therefore is respecting the time at
which that intuitive faculty is generally awakened, by which we decide
upon the differences of virtue and vice, and are impelled to applaud the
one, and condemn the other.

The moment in which the faculty of memory begins to unfold itself, the
man begins to exist as a moral being. Not long posterior to this, is the
commencement of prescience and foresight. Rousseau has told us, in his
animated language, that if a child could escape a whipping, or obtain a
paper of sweetmeats, by promising to throw himself out at window
tomorrow, the promise would instantly be made. Nothing is more contrary
to experience than this. It is true, death, or any such evils, of which
he has no clear conception, do not strongly affect him in prospect. But
by the view of that which is palpable and striking, he is as much
influenced as any man, however extensive his knowledge, however large
his experience. It is only by seizing upon the activity and earnestness
incident to youthful pursuits, and totally banishing the idea of what is
future, that we can destroy its influence. Their minds, like a sheet of
white paper, are susceptible to every impression. Their brain, uncrouded
with a thousand confused traces, is a cause, that every impression they
receive is strong and durable.

The aera of foresight is the aera of imagination, and imagination is the
grand instrument of virtue. The mind is the seat of pleasure and pain.
It is not by what we see, but by what we infer and suppose, that we are
taught, that any being is the object of commiseration. It is by the
constant return of the mind to the unfortunate object, that we are
strongly impressed with sympathy. Hence it is that the too frequent
recurrence of objects of distress, at the same time that it blunts the
imagination, renders the heart callous and obdurate.

The sentiment that the persons about us have life and feeling as well as
ourselves, cannot be of very late introduction. It may be forwarded by
cultivation, but it can scarcely at any rate be very much retarded. For
this sentiment to become perfectly clear and striking, and to be applied
in every case that may come before us, must undoubtedly be an affair
gradual in its progress. From thence to the feelings of right and wrong,
of compassion and generosity, there is but one step.

It has, I think, been fully demonstrated by that very elegant
philosopher Mr. Hutcheson, that self-love is not the source of all our
passions, but that disinterested benevolence has its seat in the human
heart. At present it is necessary for me to take this for granted. The
discussion would lead me too far from my subject. What I would infer
from it is, that benevolent affections are capable of a very early
commencement. They do not wait to be grafted upon the selfish. They have
the larger scope in youthful minds, as such have not yet learned those
refinements of interest, that are incident to persons of longer

Accordingly no observation is more common, than that mankind are more
generous in the earlier periods of their life, and that their affections
become gradually contracted the farther they advance in the vale of
years. Confidence, kindness, benevolence, constitute the entire temper
of youth. And unless these amiable dispositions be blasted in the bud by
the baneful infusions of ambition, vanity and pride, there is nothing
with which they would not part, to cherish adversity, and remunerate

Hence we may infer, that the general ideas of merit and character are
perfectly competent to the understanding of children of ten years. False
glory is the farthest in the world from insinuating its witchcraft into
the undepraved heart, where the vain and malignant passions have not yet
erected their standard. It is true, the peculiar sublimities of heroism
cannot be supposed perfectly within his comprehension. But something of
this sort, as we have already said, is incident to every step in the
scale of literature.

But the more perfectly to familiarise to my pupil the understanding and
digesting whatever he read, I would consider it as an indispensible part
of my business, to talk over with him familiarly the subjects, that
might necessarily demand our attention. I would lead him by degrees to
relate with clearness and precision the story of his author. I would
induce him to deliver his fair and genuine sentiments upon every action,
and character that came before us.  I would frequently call upon him for
a plain and simple reason for his opinion. This should always be done
privately, without ostentation, and without rivalship. Thus, separate
from the danger of fomenting those passions of envy and pride, that
prepare at a distance for our youth so many mortifications, and at the
expence of which too frequently this accomplishment is attained, I would
train him to deliver his opinion upon every subject with freedom,
perspicuity and fluency.  Without at any time dictating to him the
sentiments it became him to entertain, I might, with a little honed
artifice, mould his judgment into the form it was most desirable it
should take, at the same time that I discovered his genius, and
ascertained the original propensities of his mind.

It is unnecessary for me to say any thing respecting morals in the other
sense of the word, I mean as they are connected with the conduct, the
habits of which we should endeavour to cultivate in a pupil; as that
subject has been already exhausted. The vices of youth spring not from
nature, who is equally the kind and blameless mother of all her
children; they derive from the defects of education.  We have already
endeavoured to shut up all the inlets of vice. We have precluded
servility and cowardice. We have taken away the motives to concealment
and falshood.  By the liberal indulgence we have prescribed, we have
laid the foundation of manly spirit, and generous dignity.  A continual
attention to history, accompanied with the cultivation of moral
discernment, and animated with the examples of heroic virtue, could not
fail to form the heart of the pupil, to all that is excellent. At the
same time, by assiduous care, the shoots of vanity and envy might be
crushed in the bud. Emulation is a dangerous and mistaken principle of
constancy. Instead of it I would wish to see the connection of pupils,
consisting only of pleasure and generosity. They should learn to love,
but not to hate each other. Benevolent actions should not directly be
preached to them, they should strictly begin in the heart of the
performer. But when actually done, they should receive the most
distinguished applause.

Let me be permitted in this place to observe, that the association of a
small number of pupils seems the most perfect mode of education. There
is surely something unsuitable to the present state of mankind, in the
wishing to educate our youth in perfect solitude. Society calls forth a
thousand powers both of mind and body, that must otherwise rust in
inactivity. And nothing is more clear from experience, than that there
is a certain tendency to moral depravation in very large bodies of this
kind, to which there has not yet been discovered a sufficient remedy.

If, by the pursuit of principles like these, the powers of the
understanding and the heart might be developed in concert; if the pupils
were trained at once to knowledge and virtue; if they were enabled to
look back upon the period of their education, without regretting one
instance of anxious terror, or capricious severity; if they recollected
their tutor with gratitude, and thought of their companions, as of those
generous friends whom they would wish for the associates of their
life,--in that case, the pains of the preceptor would not be thrown















       *       *       *       *       *





In presenting the following sheets to the public, I hope I shall not be
considered as encroaching upon that province, which long possession has
probably taught you to consider as your exclusive right. The labour it
has cost me, and the many perils I have encountered to bring it to
perfection, will, I trust, effectually plead my pardon with persons of
your notorious candour and humanity. Represent to yourselves, Gentlemen,
I entreat you, the many false keys, bribes to the lacqueys of authors
that can keep them, and collusions with the booksellers of authors that
cannot, which were required in the prosecution of this arduous
undertaking. Imagine to yourselves how often I have shuddered upon the
verge of petty larceny, and how repeatedly my slumbers have been
disturbed with visions of the King's-Bench Prison and Clerkenwell
Bridewell. You, gentlemen, sit in your easy chair, and with the majesty
of a Minos or an Aeacus, summon the trembling culprits to your bar. But
though you never knew what fear was, recollect, other men have snuffed a
candle with their fingers.

But I would not be misunderstood. Heroical as I trust my undertaking
proves me, I fear no man's censure, and court no man's applause. But I
look up to you as a respectable body of men, who have long united your
efforts to reduce the disproportioned members of an ancient republic to
an happy equality, to give wings to the little emmet of Grub-street, and
to hew away the excrescences of lawless genius with a hatchet. In this
character I honour you. That you have assumed it uncompelled and
self-elected, that you have exercised it undazzled by the _ignis fatuus_
of genius, is your unfading glory.

Having thus cleared myself from the suspicion of any sinister view, I
cannot here refrain from presenting you with a peace-offering. Had it
been in my power to procure gums more costly, or incense more fragrant,
I would have rendered it more worthy your acceptance.

It has been a subject upon which I have often reflected with
mortification, that the world is too apt to lay aside your lucubrations
with the occasions that gave birth to them, and that if they are ever
opened after, it is only with old magazines by staid matrons over their
winter fire. Such persons are totally incapable of comparing your
sentences with the maturer verdict of the public; a comparison that
would redound so much to your honour. What I design at present, is in
some measure to remedy an evil, that can never perhaps be entirely
removed. As the field which is thus opened to me is almost unbounded, I
will confine myself to two of the most striking examples, in Tristram
Shandy, and the Rosciad of Churchill.

In the Monthly Review, vol. 24, p, 103, I find these words:

"But your indiscretion, good Mr. Tristram, is not all we complain of in
the volumes before us. We must tax you with what you will dread above
the most terrible of all insinuations--nothing less than DULLNESS. Yes,
indeed, Mr. Tristram, you are dull, _very dull_. Your jaded fancy seems
to have been exhausted by two pigmy octavos, which scarce contained the
substance of a twelve-penny pamphlet, and we now find nothing new to
entertain us."

The following epithets are selected at random. "We are sick--we are
quite tired--we can no longer bear corporal Trim's
insipidity--thread-bare--stupid and unaffecting--absolutely
dull--misapplication of talents--he will unavoidably sink into

The Critical Review, vol II, p. 212, has the following account of the

    "It is _natural_ for young authors to conceive themselves the
    cleverest fellows in the world, and withal, that there is not
    the least degree of merit subsisting but in their own works: It
    is _natural_ likewise for them to imagine, that they may conceal
    themselves by appearing in different shapes, and that they are
    not to be found out by their stile; but little do these
    _Connoisseurs_ in writing conceive, how easily they are
    discovered by a veteran in the service. In the title-page to
    this performance we are told (by way of quaint conceit), that it
    was written by _the author_; what if it should prove that the
    Author and the Actor[A] are the same! Certain it is that we meet
    with the _same_ vein of peculiar humour, the same turn of
    thought, the same _autophilism_ (there's a new word for you to
    bring into the next poem) which we meet with in the other;
    insomuch that we are ready to make the conclusion in the
    author's own words:

    [Footnote A: _The Actor, a Poem, by Robert Lloyd, Esq._]

      Who is it?------LLOYD.

    "We will not pretend however absolutely to assert that Mr. L----
    wrote this poem; but we may venture to affirm, that it is the
    production, jointly or separately, of the new triumvirate of
    wits, who never let an opportunity slip of singing their own
    praises. _Caw me, caw thee_, as Sawney says, and so to it they
    go, and _scratch_ one another like so many Scotch pedlars."

In page 339, I find a passage referred to in the Index, under the head
of "a notable instance of their candour," retracting their insinuations
against Lloyd and Colman, and ascribing the poem in a particular vein of
pleasantry to Mr. Flexney, the bookseller, and Mr. Griffin, the printer.
Candour certainly did not require that they should acknowledge Mr.
Churchill, whose name was now inserted in the title-page, as the author,
or if author of any, at least not of a considerable part of the poem.
That this was their sense of the matter, appears from their account of
the apology for the Rosciad, p. 409.

"This is another _Brutum Fulinen_ launched at the Critical Review by one
Churchill, who it seems is a clergyman, and it must be owned has a knack
at versification; a bard, who upon the strength of having written a few
good lines in a thing called _The Rosciad_, swaggers about as if he were
game-keeper of Parnassus."

P. 410. "This apologist has very little reason to throw out behind
against the Critical Reviewers, who in mentioning _The Rosciad_, of
which he calls himself author, commended it in the lump, without
specifying the bald lines, the false thoughts, and tinsel frippery from
which it is not entirely free." They conclude with contrasting him with
Smollet, in comparison of whom he is "a puny antagonist, who must write
many more poems as good as the Rosciad, before he will be considered as
a respectable enemy."

Upon these extracts I will beg leave to make two observations.

1. Abstracted from all consideration of the profundity of criticism that
is displayed, no man can avoid being struck with the humour and
pleasantry in which they are conceived, or the elegant and gentlemanlike
language in which they are couched. What can be more natural or more
ingenuous than to suppose that the persons principally commended in a
work, were themselves the writers of it? And for that allusion of the
Scotch pedlars, for my part, I hold it to be inimitable.

2. But what is most admirable is the independent spirit, with which they
stemmed the torrent of fashion, and forestalled the second thoughts of
their countrymen. There was a time when Tristram Shandy was applauded,
and Churchill thought another Dryden. But who reads Tristram now? There
prevails indeed a certain quaintness, and something "like an affectation
of being immoderately witty, throughout the whole work." But for real
humour not a grain. So said the Monthly Reviewers, (v. 21. p. 568.) and
so says the immortal Knox. Both indeed grant him a slight knack at the
pathetic; but, if I may venture a prediction, his pretensions to the
latter will one day appear no better founded, than his pretentions to
the former.

And then poor Churchill! His satire now appears to be dull and
pointless. Through his tedious page no modern student can labour. We
look back, and wonder how the rage of party ever swelled this _thing_
into a poet. Even the great constellation, from whose tribunal no
prudent man ever appealed, has excluded him from a kingdom, where Watts
and Blackmore reign. But Johnson and Knox can by no means compare with
the Reviewers. These attacked the mountebanks in the very midst of their
short-lived empire. Those have only brought up the rear of public
opinion, and damned authors already forgotten. They fought the battles a
second time, and "again they slew the slain."


It would have been easy to add twenty articles to this list. I might
have selected instances from the later volumes of your entertaining
works, in which your deviations from the dictates of imaginary taste are
still more numerous. But I could not have confronted them with the
decisive verdict of time. The rage of fashion has not yet ceased, and
the ebullition of blind wonder is not over. I shall therefore leave a
plentiful crop for such as come after me, who admire you as much as I
do, and will be contented to labour in the same field.

I have the honour to be,


With all veneration,

Your indefatigable reader,

And the humblest of your panegyrists.



_The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. By Edward
Gibbon, Esq. Vols._ iv, v, vi, vii. 4to.


_The History of America. By William Robertson, D.D. &c. Vols._ iii,
_and_ iv. 4to.


_Secret History of Theodore Albert Maximilian, Prince of Hohenzollern
Sigmaringen_. 12mo.


_Louisa, or Memoirs of a Lady of Quality. By the Author of Evelina and
Cecilia. Three vols._ 12mo.


_The Peasant of Bilidelgerid, a Tale. Two vols. Shandean._


_An Essay on Novel, in Three Epistles, inscribed to the Right Honourable
Lady Craven. By William Hayley, Esq._ 4to.


_Inkle and Yarico, a Poem. By James Beattie, L.L.D._ 4to.


_The Alchymist, a Comedy, altered from Ben Jonson, by Richard Brinsley
Sheridan, Esq._


_Reflexions upon the present State of the United States of America. By
Thomas Paine, M.A. &c._ 8vo.


_Speech of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, on a Motion for an Address
of Thanks to his Majesty (on the 28th of November, 1783) for his
gracious Communication of a Treaty of Commerce concluded between George
the Third, King, &c. and the United States of America._





       *       *       *       *       *



We are happy to have it in our power thus early to congratulate the
public upon the final accomplishment of a work, that must constitute one
of the greatest ornaments of the present age. We have now before us, in
one view, and described by the uniform pencil of one historian, the
stupendous and instructive object of the gradual decline of the greatest
empire; circumscribed by degrees within the narrow walls of a single
city; and at length, after the various revolutions of thirteen
centuries, totally swallowed up in the empire of the Turks. Of this
term, the events of more than nine hundred years are described in that
part of our author that now lies before us. It cannot therefore be
expected, that in the narrow limits we have prescribed to ourselves, we
should enter into a regular synopsis of the performance, chapter by
chapter, after the laudable example of our more laborious brother
reviewers. We will pay our readers the compliment, however unauthorised
by the venerable seal of custom, of supposing them already informed,
that Anastasius succeeded Zeno, and Justin Anastasius; that Justinian
published the celebrated code that is called by his name; and that his
generals, Belisarius and Narses, were almost constantly victorious over
the Barbarians, and restored, for a moment, the expiring lustre of the
empire. We shall confine ourselves to two extracts, relating to subjects
of the greatest importance, and which we presume calculated, at once to
gratify and excite the curiosity of the public.

The reign of the emperor Heraclius is perhaps more crowded with events
of the highest consequence, than that of any other prince in the series.
It has therefore a proportionable scope allotted it in the plan of Mr.
Gibbon; who seems to understand better than almost any historian, what
periods to sketch with a light and active pen, and upon what to dwell
with minuteness, and dilate his various powers. While we pursue the
various adventures of Cosroes II., beginning his reign in a flight from
his capital city; suing for the protection and support of the Greek
emperor; soon after declaring war against the empire; successively
conquering Mesopotamia, Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and the
greater part of Natolia; then beaten; a fugitive; and at last murdered
by his own son; we are unable to conceive of a story more interesting,
or more worthy of our attention. But in contemplating the rife of the
Saracen khalifate, and the religion of Mahomet, which immediately
succeeded these events, we are compelled to acknowledge a more
astonishing object.

The following is the character of the impostor, as sketched by the
accurate and judicious pencil of our historian. We will leave it to the
judgment of our readers, only observing, that Mr. Gibbon has very
unnecessarily brought Christianity into the comparison; and has perhaps
touched the errors of the false prophet with a lighter hand, that the
disparity might be the less apparent.

    "But Heraclius had a much more formidable enemy to encounter in
    the latter part of his reign, than the effeminate and divided
    Persian. This was the new empire of the Saracens. Ingenious and
    eloquent, temperate and brave, as had been invariably their
    national character, they had their exertions concentred, and
    their courage animated by a legislator, whose institutions may
    vie, in the importance of their consequences, with those of
    Solon, Lycurgus, or Numa. Though an impostor, he propagated a
    religion, which, like the elevated and divine principles of
    Christianity, was confined to no one nation or country; but even
    embraced a larger portion of the human race than Christianity

    "Mahomet, the son of Abdallah, was born on the 9th of April,
    571, in the city of Mecca. Having been early left an orphan by
    both parents, he received an hardy and robust education, not
    tempered by the elegancies of literature, nor much allayed by
    the indulgencies of natural affection. He was no sooner able to
    walk, than he was sent naked, with the infant peasantry, to
    attend the cattle of the village; and was obliged to seek the
    refreshment of sleep, as well as pursue the occupations of the
    day, in the open air[A]. He even pretended to be a stranger to
    the art of writing and reading. But though neglected by those
    who had the care of his infancy, the youth of this extraordinary
    personage did not pass away without some of those incidents,
    which might afford a glimpse of the sublimity of his genius; and
    some of those prodigies, with which superstition is prompt to
    adorn the story of the founders of nations, and the conquerors
    of empires. In the mean time, his understanding was enlarged by
    travel. It is not to be supposed that he frequented the
    neighbouring countries, without making some of those profound
    observations upon the decline of the two great empires of the
    East and of Persia, which were calculated to expand his views,
    and to mature his projects. The energies of his mind led him to
    despise the fopperies of idolatry; and he found the Christians,
    in the most unfavourable situation, torn into innumerable
    parties, by the sectaries of Athanasius, Arius, Eutyches,
    Nestorius. In this situation, he extracted that from every
    system that bordered most nearly upon the dictates of reason,
    and framed to himself a sublime doctrine, of which the unity of
    God, the innocence of moderate enjoyment, the obligation of
    temperance and munificence, were the leading principles. But it
    would have contributed little to his purpose, if he had stopped
    here. Enthusiastically devoted to his extensive designs, and
    guided by the most consummate art, he pretended to divine
    communications, related a thousand ridiculous and incredible
    adventures; and though he constantly refused a prodigy to the
    importunities of his countrymen, laid claim to several frivolous
    miracles, and a few thinly scattered prophecies. One of his most
    artful devices was the delivering the system of his religion,
    not in one entire code, but in detached essays. This enabled him
    more than once to new mould the very genius of his religion,
    without glaringly subjecting himself to the charge of
    inconsistency. From these fragments, soon after his death, was
    compiled the celebrated Alcoran. The style of this volume is
    generally turgid, heavy, monotonous. It is disfigured with
    childish tales and impossible adventures. But it is frequently
    figurative, frequently poetical, sometimes sublime. And amidst
    all its defects, it will remain the greatest of all monuments of
    uncultivated and illiterate genius.

    [Footnote A: "Abuleda, Chron. p. 27. Boulainvilliers, Vie de
    Mahomet, b. ii. p. 175. This latter writer exhibits the singular
    phenomenon of the native of a Christian country, unreasonably
    prejudiced in favour of the Arabian impostor. That he did not
    live, however, to finish his curious performance, is the
    misfortune of the republic of letters." ]

    "The plan was carefully reserved by Mahomet for the mature age
    of forty years. Thus digested however, and communicated with the
    nicest art and the most fervid eloquence, he had the
    mortification to find his converts, at the end of three years,
    amount to no more than forty persons. But the ardour of this
    hero was invincible, and his success was finally adequate to his
    wishes. Previous to the famous aera of his flight from Mecca, he
    had taught his followers, that they had no defence against the
    persecution of their enemies, but invincible patience. But the
    opposition he encountered obliged him to change his maxims. He
    now inculcated the duty of extirpating the enemies of God, and
    held forth the powerful allurements of conquest and plunder.
    With these he united the theological dogma of predestination,
    and the infallible promise of paradise to such as met their fate
    in the field of war. By these methods he trained an intrepid and
    continually increasing army, inflamed with enthusiasm, and
    greedy of death. He prepared them for the most arduous
    undertakings, by continual attacks upon travelling caravans and
    scattered villages: a pursuit, which, though perfectly consonant
    with the institutions of his ancestors, painted him to the
    civilized nations of Europe in the obnoxious character of a
    robber. By degrees however, he proceeded to the greatest
    enterprizes; and compelled the whole peninsula of Arabia to
    confess his authority as a prince, and his mission as a prophet.
    He died, like the Grecian Philip, in the moment, when having
    brought his native country to co-operate in one undertaking, he
    meditated the invasion of distant climates, and the destruction
    of empires.

    "The character of Mahomet however was exceeding different from
    that of Philip, and far more worthy of the attention of a
    philosopher. Philip was a mere politician, who employed the
    cunning of a statesman, and the revenues of a prince, in the
    corruption of a number of fallen and effeminate republics.  But
    Mahomet, without riches, without rank, without education, by the
    mere ascendancy of his abilities, subjected by persuasion and
    force a simple and generous nation that had never been
    conquered; and laid the foundation of an empire, that extended
    over half the globe; and a religion, capable of surviving the
    fate of empires. His schemes were always laid with the truest
    wisdom. He lived among a people celebrated for subtlety and
    genius: he never laid himself open to detection. His eloquence
    was specious, dignified, and persuasive. And he blended with it
    a lofty enthusiasm, that awed those, whom familiarity might have
    emboldened, and silenced his enemies. He was simple of
    demeanour, and ostentatious of munificence. And under these
    plausible virtues he screened the indulgence of his
    constitutional propensities. The number of his concubines and
    his wives has been ambitiously celebrated by Christian writers.
    He sometimes acquired them by violence and injustice; and he
    frequently dismissed them without ceremony. His temper does not
    seem to have been naturally cruel. But we may trace in his
    conduct the features of a barbarian; and a part of his severity
    may reasonably be ascribed to the plan of religious conquest
    that he adopted, and that can never be reconciled with the
    rights of humanity."

After the victories of Omar, and the other successors of Mahomet had in
a manner stripped the court of Constantinople of all its provinces, the
Byzantine history dwindles into an object petty and minute. In order to
vary the scene, and enhance the dignity of his subject, the author
occasionally takes a prospect of the state of Rome and Italy, under the
contending powers of the papacy and the new empire of the West. When the
singular and unparalleled object of the Crusades presents itself, the
historian embraces the illustrious scene with apparent eagerness, and
bestows upon it a greater enlargement than might perhaps have been
expected from the nature of his subject; but not greater, we confidently
believe, than is calculated to increase the pleasure, that a reader of
philosophy and taste may derive from the perusal. As the immortal
Saladin is one of the most distinguished personages in this story, we
have selected his character, as a specimen of this part of the work.

    "No sooner however was the virtuous Noureddin removed by death,
    than the Christians of the East had their attention still more
    forcibly alarmed by the progress of the invincible Saladin. He
    had possessed himself of the government of Egypt; first, under
    the modest appellation of vizier, and then, with the more august
    title of soldan. He abolished the dynasty of the Fatemite
    khalifs. Though Noureddin had been the patron of his family, and
    the father of his fortunes, yet was that hero no sooner expired,
    than he invaded the territories of his young and unwarlike
    successor. He conquered the fertile and populous province of
    Syria. He compelled the saheb of Mawsel to do him homage. The
    princes of the Franks already trembled for their possessions,
    and prepared a new and more solemn embassy, to demand the
    necessary succours of their European brethren.

    "The qualities of Saladin were gilded with the lustre of
    conquest; and it has been the singular fortune of this Moslem
    hero, to be painted in fairer colours by the discordant and
    astonished Christians, than by those of his own courtiers and
    countrymen, who may reasonably be supposed to have known him
    best. He has been compared with Alexander; and tho' he be
    usually stiled, and with some justice, a barbarian, it does not
    appear that his character would suffer in the comparison. His
    conquests were equally splendid; nor did he lead the forces of a
    brave and generous people, against a nation depressed by
    slavery, and relaxed with effeminacy. Under his banner Saracen
    encountered Saracen in equal strife; or the forces of the East
    were engaged with the firmer and more disciplined armies of the
    West. Like Alexander, he was liberal to profusion; and while all
    he possessed seemed the property of his friends, the monarch
    himself often wanted that, which with unstinted hand he had
    heaped upon his favourites and dependents. His sentiments were
    elevated, his manners polite and insinuating, and the affability
    of his temper was never subdued.

    "But the parallel is exceedingly far from entire. He possessed
    not the romantic gallantry of the conqueror of Darius; he had
    none of those ardent and ungovernable passions, through whose
    medium the victories of Arbela and Issus had transformed the
    generous hero into the lawless tyrant. It was a maxim to which
    he uniformly adhered, to accomplish his lofty designs by policy
    and intrigue, and to leave as little as possible to the unknown
    caprice of fortune. In his mature age he was temperate, gentle,
    patient. The passions of his soul, and the necessities of nature
    were subordinate to the equanimity of his character[A]. His
    deportment was grave and thoughtful; his religion sincere and
    enthusiastic. He was ignorant of letters, and despised all
    learning, that was not theological. The cultivation, that had
    obtained under the khalifs, had not entirely civilized the
    genius of Saladin. His maxims of war were indeed the maxims of
    the age, and ought not to be adopted as a particular imputation.
    But the action of his striking off with his own hand the head of
    a Christian prince, who had attacked the defenceless caravan of
    the pilgrims of Mecca, exhibits to our view all the features of
    a fierce and untutored barbarian[B] ."

    [Footnote A: Bohaoddin, p. 71. He was an eye witness, and had a
    considerable share in many of the transactions of Saladin. He is
    generally accurate, and tolerably impartial. ]

    [Footnote B: Ebn Shohnah, Heg. 589. Abulfarai, Renaudot, p. 243.
    D'Herbelot, biblioth. orient. art. Togrul, &c. ]

As the whole of this excellent work is now before us, it may not be
impertinent, before we finally take our leave of it, to attempt an idea
of its celebrated author. We are happy in this place to declare our
opinion, that no author ever better obeyed the precept of Horace and
Boileau, in choosing a subject nicely correspondent to the talents he
possessed. The character of this writer, patient yet elegant, accurate
in enquiry, acute in reflexion, was peculiarly calculated to trace the
flow and imperceptible decline of empire, and to throw light upon a
period, darkened by the barbarism of its heroes, and the confused and
narrow genius of its authors. In a word, we need not fear to class the
performance with those that shall do lasting, perhaps immortal, honour,
to the country by which they have been produced.

But like many other works of this elevated description, the time shall
certainly come, when the history before us shall no longer be found, but
in the libraries of the learned, and the cabinets of the curious. At
present it is equally sought by old and young, the learned and
unlearned, the macaroni, the peer, and the fine lady, as well as the
student and scholar. But this is to be ascribed to the rage of fashion.
The performance is not naturally calculated for general acceptance. It
is, by the very tenor of the subject, interspersed with a thousand
minute and elaborate investigations, which, in spite of perspicuous
method, and classical allusion, will deter the idle, and affright the

Nor can we avoid ascribing the undistinguishing and extravagant
applause, that has been bestowed upon the style, to the same source of
fashion, the rank, the fortune, the connexions of the writer. It is
indeed loaded with epithets, and crowded with allusions. But though the
style be often raised, the thoughts are always calm, equal, and rigidly
classic. The language is full of art, but perfectly exempt from fire.
Learning, penetration, accuracy, polish; any thing is rather the
characteristic of the historian, than the flow of eloquence, and the
flame of genius. Far therefore from classing him in this respect with
such writers as the immortal Hume, who have perhaps carried the English
language to the highest perfection it is capable of reaching; we are
inclined to rank him below Dr. Johnson, though we are by no means
insensible to the splendid faults of that admirable writer.

One word perhaps ought to be said respecting Mr. Gibbon's treatment of
Christianity. His wit is indeed by no means uniformly happy; as where
for instance, he tells us, that the name of _Le Boeuf_ is remarkably
apposite to the character of that antiquarian; or where, speaking of the
indefatigable diligence of Tillemont, he informs us, that "the patient
and sure-footed mule of the Alps may be trusted in the most slippery
paths." But allowing every thing for the happiness of his irony, and
setting aside our private sentiments respecting the justice of its
application, we cannot help thinking it absolutely incompatible, with
the laws of history. For our own part, we honestly confess, that we have
met with more than one passage, that has puzzled us whether it ought to
be understood in jest or earnest. The irony of a single word he must be
a churl who would condemn; but the continuance of this figure in serious
composition, throws truth and falsehood, right and wrong into
inextricable perplexity.



The expectation of almost all ranks has been as much excited by the
present performance, as perhaps by almost any publication in the records
of literature. The press has scarcely been able to keep pace with the
eagerness of the public, and the third edition is already announced,
before we have been able to gratify our readers with an account of this
interesting work. For a great historian to adventure an established name
upon so recent and arduous a subject, is an instance that has scarcely
occurred. Reports were sometime ago industriously propagated that Dr.
Robertson had turned his attention to a very different subject, and even
when it was generally known that the present work was upon the eve of
publication, it was still questioned by many, whether a writer, so
celebrated for prudence, had not declined the more recent part of the
North American history. The motives of his conduct upon this head as
they are stated in the preface, we shall here lay before our readers.

"But neither the history of Portuguese America, nor the early history of
our own settlements, have constituted the most arduous part of the
present publication. The revolution, which, unfortunately for this
country, hath recently taken place in the British colonies, hath excited
the most general attention, at the same time that it hath rendered the
gratification of public curiosity a matter of as much delicacy as
necessity. Could this event have been foreseen by me, I should perhaps
have been more cautious of entering into engagements with the public. To
embark upon a subject, respecting which the sentiments of my countrymen
have been so much divided, and the hand of time hath not yet collected
the verdicts of mankind; while the persons, to whose lot it hath fallen
to act the principal parts upon the scene, are almost all living; is a
task that prudence might perhaps refuse, and modesty decline. But
circumstanced as I was, I have chosen rather to consider these
peculiarities as pleas for the candour of my readers, than as motives to
withdraw myself from so important an undertaking. I should ill deserve
the indulgence I have experienced from the public, were I capable of
withdrawing from a task by which their curiosity might be gratified,
from any private inducements of inconvenience or difficulty."

We have already said, and the reader will have frequent occasion to
recollect it, that we by no means generally intend an analysis of the
several works that may come before us. In the present instance, we do
not apprehend that we shall lay ourselves open to much blame, by passing
over in silence the discoveries of Vespusius, and the conquests of
Baretto; and laying before our readers some extracts from the history of
the late war. It is impossible not to remark that the subject is treated
with much caution, and that, though the sentiments of a royalist be
every where conspicuous, they are those of a royalist, moderated by
misfortune and defeat.

The following is Dr. Robertson's account of the declaration of

    "It is by this time sufficiently visible, that the men, who took
    upon themselves to be most active in directing the American
    counsels, were men of deep design and extensive ambition, who by
    no means confined their views to the redress of those grievances
    of which they complained, and which served them for instruments
    in the pursuit of objects less popular and specious. By degrees
    they sought to undermine the allegiance, and dissolve the ties,
    which connected the colonies with the parent country of Britain.
    Every step that was taken by her ministry to restore tranquility
    to the empire, was artfully misrepresented by the zealots of
    faction. Every unguarded expression, or unfortunate measure of
    irritation was exaggerated by leaders, who considered their own
    honour and dignity as inseparable from further advances, and
    predicted treachery and insult as the consequences of
    retreating. They now imagined they had met with a favourable
    opportunity for proceeding to extremities. Their influence was
    greatest in the general congress, and by their means a circular
    manifesto was issued by that assembly intended to ascertain the
    disposition of the several colonies respecting a declaration of

    "They called their countrymen to witness how real had been their
    grievances, and how moderate their claims. They said, it was
    impossible to have proceeded with more temper or greater
    deliberation, but that their complaints had been constantly
    superseded, their petitions to the throne rejected. The
    administration of Great Britain had not hesitated to attempt to
    starve them into surrender, and having miscarried in this, they
    were ready to employ the whole force of their country, with all
    the foreign auxiliaries they could obtain, in prosecution of
    their unjust and tyrannical purposes. They were precipitated, it
    was said, by Britain into a state of hostility, and there no
    longer remained for them a liberty of choice. They must either
    throw down their arms, and expect the clemency of men who had
    acted as the enemies of their rights; or they must consider
    themselves as in a state of warfare, and abide by the
    consequences of that state. Warfare involved independency.
    Without this their efforts must be irregular, feeble, and
    without all prospect of success; they could possess no power to
    suppress mutinies, or to punish conspiracies; nor could they
    expect countenance and support from any of the states of Europe,
    however they might be inclined to favour them, while they
    acknowledged themselves to be subjects, and it was uncertain how
    soon they might sacrifice their friends and allies to the hopes
    of a reunion. To look back, they were told, to the king of
    England, after all the insults they had experienced, and the
    hostilities that were begun, would be the height of
    pusillanimity and weakness. They were bid to think a little for
    their posterity, who by the irreversible laws of nature and
    situation, could have no alternative left them but to be slaves
    or independent. Finally, many subtle reasonings were alledged,
    to evince the advantages they must derive from intrinsic
    legislation, and general commerce.

    "On the other hand, the middle and temperate party, represented
    this step as unnecessary, uncertain in its benefits, and
    irretrievable in its consequences. They expatiated on the
    advantages that had long been experienced by the colonists from
    the fostering care of Great Britain, the generosity of the
    efforts she had made to protect them, and the happiness they had
    known under her auspicious patronage. They represented their
    doubt of the ability of the colonies to defend themselves
    without her alliance. They stated the necessity of a common
    superior to balance the separate and discordant interests of the
    different provinces. They dwelt upon the miseries of an internal
    and doubtful struggle. Determined never to depart from the
    assertion of what they considered as their indefeasible right,
    they would incessantly besiege the throne with their humble
    remonstrances. They would seek the clemency of England, rather
    than the alliance of those powers, whom they conceived to be the
    real enemies of both; nor would they ever be accessory to the
    shutting up the door of reconciliation.

    "But the voice of moderation is seldom heard amidst the
    turbulence of civil dissention. Violent counsels prevailed. The
    decisive and irrevocable step was made on the 4th of July 1776.
    It remains with posterity to decide upon its merits. Since that
    time it has indeed received the sanction of military success;
    but whatever consequences it may produce to America, the fatal
    day must ever be regretted by every sincere friend to the
    British empire."

The other extract we shall select is from the story of Lord Cornwallis's
surrender in Virginia, and the consequent termination of the American

    "The loss of these redoubts may be considered as deciding the
    fate of the British troops. The post was indeed originally so
    weak and insufficient to resist the force that attacked it, that
    nothing but the assured expectation of relief from the garrison
    of New York, could have induced the commander to undertake its
    defence, and calmly to wait the approaches of the enemy. An
    officer of so unquestionable gallantry would, rather have
    hazarded an encounter in the field, and trusted his adventure to
    the decision of fortune, than by cooping his army in so
    inadequate a fortress, to have prepared for them inevitable
    misfortune and disgrace. But with the expectations he had been
    induced to form, he did not think himself justified in having
    recourse to desperate expedients.

    "These hopes were now at an end. The enemy had already silenced
    his batteries. Nothing remained to hinder them from completing
    their second parallel, three hundred yards nearer to the
    besieged than the first. His lordship had received no
    intelligence of the approach of succours, and a probability did
    not remain that he could defend his station till such time as he
    could expect their arrival. Thus circumstanced, with the
    magnanimity peculiar to him, he wrote to Sir Henry Clinton, to
    acquaint him with the posture of his affairs, and to recommend
    to the fleet and the army that they should not make any great
    risk in endeavouring to extricate them.

    "But although he regarded his situation as hopeless, he did not
    neglect any effort becoming a general, to lengthen the siege,
    and procrastinate the necessity of a surrender, if it was
    impossible finally to prevent it. The number of his troops
    seemed scarcely sufficient to countenance a considerable sally,
    but the emergency was so critical, that he ordered about three
    hundred and fifty men, on the morning of the 16th, to attack the
    batteries that appeared to be in the greatest forwardness, and
    to spike their guns. The assault was impetuous and successful.
    But either from their having executed the business upon which
    they were sent in a hasty and imperfect manner, or from the
    activity and industry of the enemy, the damage was repaired, and
    the batteries completed before evening.

    "One choice only remained. To carry the troops across to
    Gloucester Point, and make one last effort to escape. Boats were
    accordingly prepared, and at ten o'clock at night the army began
    to embark. The first embarkation arrived in safety. The greater
    part of the troops were already landed. At this critical moment
    of hope and apprehension, of expectation and danger, the
    weather, which had hitherto been moderate and calm, suddenly
    changed; the sky was clouded, the wind rose and a violent storm
    ensued. The boats with the remaining troops were borne down the
    stream. To complete the anxiety and danger, the batteries of the
    enemy were opened, the day dawned, and their efforts were
    directed against the northern shore of the river. Nothing could
    be hoped, but the escape of the boats, and the safety of the
    troops. They were brought back without much loss, and every
    thing was replaced in its former situation.

    "Every thing now verged to the dreaded crisis. The fire of the
    besiegers was heavy and unintermitted. The British could not
    return a gun, and the shells, their last resource, were nearly
    exhausted. They were themselves worn down with sickness and
    continual watching. A few hours it appeared must infallibly
    decide their fate. And if any thing were still wanting, the
    French ships which had entered the mouth of the river, seemed
    prepared to second the general assault on their side. In this
    situation, lord Cornwallis, not less calm and humane, than he
    was intrepid, chose not to sacrifice the lives of so many brave
    men to a point of honour, but the same day proposed to general
    Washington a cessation of twenty four hours, in order mutually
    to adjust the terms of capitulation.

    "The troops which surrendered in the posts of York and
    Gloucester amounted to between five and six thousand men, but
    there were not above three thousand eight hundred of these in a
    capacity for actual service. They were all obliged to become
    prisoners of war. Fifteen hundred seamen were included in the
    capitulation. The commander, unable to obtain terms for the
    loyal Americans, was obliged to have recourse to a sloop,
    appointed to carry his dispatches, and which he stipulated
    should pass unsearched, to convey them to New York. The British
    fleet and army arrived off the Chesapeak five days after the
    surrender. Having learned the melancholy fate of their
    countrymen, they were obliged to return, without effecting any
    thing, to their former station.

    "Such was the catastrophe of an army, that in intrepidity of
    exertion, and the patient endurance of the most mortifying
    reverses, are scarcely to be equalled by any thing that is to be
    met with in history. The applause they have received
    undiminished by their subsequent misfortunes, should teach us to
    exclaim less upon the precariousness of fame, and animate us
    with the assurance that heroism and constancy can never be
    wholly disappointed of their reward."

The publication before us is written with that laudable industry, which
ought ever to distinguish a great historian. The author appears to have
had access to some of the best sources of information; and has
frequently thrown that light upon a recent story, which is seldom to be
expected, but from the developements of time, and the researches of
progressive generations.

We cannot bestow equal praise upon his impartiality. Conscious however
and reserved upon general questions, the historian has restricted
himself almost entirely to the narrative form, and has seldom indulged
us with, what we esteem the principal ornament of elegant history,
reflexion and character. The situation of Dr. Robertson may suggest to
us an obvious, though incompetent, motive in the present instance.
Writing for his contemporaries and countrymen, he could not treat the
resistance of America, as the respectable struggle of an emerging
nation. Writing for posterity, he could not denominate treason and
rebellion, that which success, at least, had stamped with the signatures
of gallantry and applause. But such could not have been the motives of
the writer in that part of the history of America, which was given to
the world some years ago. Perhaps Dr. Robertson was willing to try, how
far his abilities could render the most naked story agreeable and
interesting. We will allow him to have succeeded. But we could well have
spared the experiment.

The style of this performance is sweet and eloquent. We hope however
that we shall not expose ourselves to the charge of fastidiousness, when
we complain that it is rather too uniformly so. The narrative is indeed
occasionally enlivened, and the language picturesque. But in general we
search in vain for some roughness to relieve the eye, and some sharpness
to provoke the palate. One full and sweeping period succeeds another,
and though pleased and gratified at first, the attention gradually
becomes languid.

It would not perhaps be an unentertaining employment to compare the
style of Dr. Robertson's present work with that of his first
publication, the admired History of Scotland. The language of that
performance is indeed interspersed with provincial and inelegant modes
of expression, and the periods are often unskilfully divided. But it has
a vigour and spirit, to which such faults are easily pardoned. We can
say of it, what we can scarcely say of any of the author's later
publications, that he has thrown his whole strength into it.

In that instance however he entered the lists with almost the only
historian, with whom Dr. Robertson must appear to disadvantage, the
incomparable Hume. In the comparison, we cannot but acknowledge that the
eloquence of the former speaks the professor, not the man of the world.
He reasons indeed, but it is with the reasons of logic; and not with the
acuteness of philosophy, and the intuition of genius. Let not the living
historian be offended. To be second to Hume, in our opinion might
satisfy the ambition of a Livy or a Tacitus.



This agreeable tale appears to be the production of the noble author of
the Modern Anecdote. It is told with the same humour and careless
vivacity. The design is to ridicule the cold pedantry that judges of
youth, without making any allowance for the warmth of inexperience, and
the charms of beauty. Such readers as take up a book merely for
entertainment, and do not quarrel with an author that does not
scrupulously confine himself within the limits of moral instruction,
will infallibly find their account in it.

The following specimen will give some idea of the manner in which the
story is told.

"The learned Bertram was much scandalized at the dissipation that
prevailed in the court of Hohenzollern. He was credibly informed that
the lord treasurer of the principality, who had no less than a revenue
of 109l. 7s. 10-3/4d. committed to his management, sometimes forgot the
cares of an exchequer in the arms of a mistress. Nay, fame had even
whispered in his ear, that the reverend confessor himself had an
intrigue with a certain cook-maid. But that which beyond all things,
afflicted him was the amour of Theodore with the beautiful Wilhelmina.
What, cried he, when he ruminated upon the subject, can it be excusable
in the learned Bertram, whose reputation has filled a fourth part of the
circle of Swabia, who twice bore away the prize in the university of
Otweiler, to pass these crying sins in silence? It shall not be said.
Thus animated, he strided away to the antichamber of Theodore. Theodore,
who was all graciousness, venerated the reputation of Bertram, and
ordered him to be instantly admitted. The eyes of the philosopher
flashed with anger. Most noble prince, cried he, I am come to inform
you, that you must immediately break with the beautiful Wilhelmina.
Theodore stared, but made no answer. The vices of your highness, said
Bertram, awake my indignation. While you toy away your hours in the lap
of a w----e, the vast principality of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen hastens
to its fall. Reflect, my lord; three villages, seven hamlets, and near
eleven grange houses and cottages, depend upon you for their political
prosperity. Alas, thought Theodore, what are grange houses and cottages
compared with the charms of Wilhelmina? Shall the lewd tricks of a
wanton make you forget the jealous projects of the prince of
Hohenzollern Hechingen, the elder branch of your illustrious house?
Theodore pulled out his watch, that he might not outstay his
appointment. My lord, continued Bertram, ruin impends over you. Two
peasants of the district of Etwingen have already been seduced from
their loyalty, a nail that supported the chart of your principality has
fallen upon the ground, and your father confessor is in bed with a
cook-maid. Theodore held forth his hand for Bertram to kiss, and flew
upon the wings of desire to the habitation of Wilhelmina."



There scarcely seems to exist a more original genius in the present age
than this celebrated writer. In the performances with which she has
already entertained the public, we cannot so much as trace a feature of
her illustrious predecessors; the fable, the characters, the incidents
are all her own. In the mean time they are not less happy, than they are
new. A Belfield, a Monckton, a Morrice, and several other personages of
the admired Cecilia, will scarcely yield to the most finished draughts
of the greatest writers. In comedy, in tragedy, Miss Burney alike
excels. And the union of them both in the Vauxhall scene of the death of
Harrel ranks among the first efforts of human genius. Of consequence we
may safely pronounce that the reputation of this lady is by no means
dependent upon fashion or caprice, but will last as long as there is
understanding to discern, and taste to relish the beauties of fiction.

It must be acknowledged that her defects are scarcely less conspicuous
than her excellencies. In her underplots she generally miscarries. We
can trace nothing of Miss Burney in the stories of Macartney, Albany,
and the Hills. Her comedy sometimes deviates into farce. The character
of Briggs in particular, though it very successfully excites our
laughter, certainly deforms a work, which in its principal constituents
ranks in the very highest species of composition. Her style is often
affected, and in the serious is sometimes so laboured and figurative, as
to cost the reader a very strict attention to discover the meaning,
without perfectly repaying his trouble. These faults are most
conspicuous in Cecilia, which upon the whole we esteem by much her
greatest performance. In Evelina she wrote more from inartificial
nature. And we are happy to observe in the present publication, that the
masculine sense, by which Miss Burney is distinguished, has raised her
almost wholly above these little errors. The style of Louisa is more
polished than that of Evelina, and more consonant to true taste than
that of Cecilia.

The principal story of Louisa, like that of Cecilia, is very simple, but
adorned with a thousand beautiful episodes. As the great action of the
latter is Cecilia's sacrifice of fortune to a virtuous and laudable
attachment, so that of the former is the sacrifice of rank, in the
marriage of the heroine to a young man of the most distinguished merit,
but neither conspicuous by birth, nor favoured by fortune. The event,
romantic and inconsistent with the manners of polished society as it may
appear, is introduced by such a train of incidents, that it is
impossible not to commend and admire the conduct of the heroine.

Her character is that of inflexible vivacity and wit, accompanied with a
spice of coquetry and affectation. And though this line of portrait
seemed exhausted by Congreve and Richardson, we will venture to
pronounce Louisa a perfect original. It is impossible to describe such a
character in the abstract without recollecting Millamant and Lady G. But
in reading this most agreeable novel, you scarcely think of either. As
there is no imitation, so there are not two expressions in the work,
that can lead from one to the other. Louisa is more amiable than the
former, and more delicate and feminine than the latter.

Mr. Burchel, the happy lover, is an author, a young man of infinite
genius, of romantic honour, of unbounded generosity. Lord Raymond, the
brother of Louisa, becomes acquainted with him in his travels, by an
incident in which Mr. Burchel does him the most essential service. Being
afterwards introduced to his sister, and being deeply smitten with her
beauty and accomplishments, he quits the house of lord Raymond abruptly,
with a determination entirely to drop his connexion. Sometime after, in
a casual and unexpected meeting, he saves the life of his mistress. In
the conclusion, his unparalleled merit, and his repeated services
surmount every obstacle to an union.

Besides these two there are many other characters happily imagined.
Louisa is involved in considerable distress previous to the final
catastrophe. The manner in which her gay and sportive character is
supported in these scenes is beyond all commendation. But the extract we
shall give, as most singular in its nature, relates to another
considerable female personage, Olivia. As the humour of Louisa is lively
and fashionable, that of Olivia is serious and romantic. Educated in
perfect solitude, she is completely ignorant of modern manners, and
entertains the most sovereign contempt for them. Full of sentiment and
sensibility, she is strongly susceptible to every impression, and her
conduct is wholly governed by her feelings. Trembling at every leaf, and
agonized at the smallest accident, she is yet capable, from singularity
of thinking, of enterprises the most bold and unaccountable. Conformably
to this temper, struck with the character of Burchel, and ravished with
his address and behaviour, she plans the most extraordinary attempt upon
his person. By her orders he is surprised in a solitary excursion, after
some resistance actually seized, and conducted blindfold to the house of
his fair admirer. Olivia now appears, professes her attachment, and lays
her fortune, which is very considerable, at his feet. Unwilling however
to take him by surprise, she allows him a day for deliberation, and
insists upon his delivering at the expiration of it, an honest and
impartial answer. His entertainment is sumptuous.

In the mean time, a peasant, who at a distance was witness to the
violence committed upon Burchel, and had traced him to the house of
Olivia, carries the account of what he had seen to Raymond Place. The
company, which, in the absence of lord Raymond, consisted of Louisa, Mr.
Bromley, an uncle, Sir Charles Somerville, a suitor, and Mr. Townshend,
a sarcastic wit, determine to set off the next morning for the house of
the ravisher. This is the scene which follows.

    "Alarmed at the bustle upon the stairs, Olivia, more dead than
    alive, pressed the hand of Burchel with a look of inexpressible
    astonishment and mortification, and withdrew to the adjoining

    "The door instantly flew open. Burchel advanced irresolutely a
    few steps towards the company, bowed, and was silent.

    "The person that first entered was Mr. Bromley. He instantly
    seized hold of Burchel, and shook him very heartily by the hand.

    "Ha, my boy, said he, have we found you? Well, and how? safe and
    sound? Eh? clapping him upon the shoulder.

    "At your service, sir, answered Burchel, with an air of
    embarrassment and hesitation.

    "It was not altogether the right thing, methinks, to leave us
    all without saying why, or wherefore, and stay out all night.
    Why we thought you had been murdered. My niece here has been in

    "'Pon honour, cried sir Charles, you are very facetious. But we
    heard, Mr. Burchel, you were ran away with. It must have been
    very alarming. I vow, I should have been quite fluttered. Pray,
    sir, how was it?

    "Why, indeed, interposed Mr. Townshend, the very relation seemed
    to disturb sir Charles. For my part, I was more alarmed for him
    than for Miss Bromley.

    "Well, but, returned Bromley, impatiently, it is a queer affair.
    I hope as the lady went so far, you were not shy. You have not
    spoiled all, and affronted her.

    "Oh, surely not, exclaimed Townshend, you do not suspect him of
    being such a boor. Doubtless every thing is settled by this
    time. The lady has a fine fortune, Burchel; poets do not meet
    with such every day; Miss Bromley, you look pale.

    "Ha! Ha! Ha! you do me infinite honour, cried Louisa, making him
    a droll curtesy; what think you, sir Charles?

    "'Pon my soul, I never saw you look so bewitchingly.

    "Well, but my lad, cried Bromley, you say nothing, don't answer
    a single question. What, mum's the word, eh?

    "Indeed, sir, I do not know,--I do not understand--the affair is
    entirely a mystery to myself--it is in the power of no one but
    Miss Seymour to explain it.

    "Well, and where is she? where is she?

    "O I will go and look her, cried Louisa; will you come, Sir
    Charles; and immediately tripped out of the room. Sir Charles

    "Olivia had remained in too much confusion to withdraw farther
    than the next room; and upon this new intrusion, she threw
    herself upon a sopha, and covered her face with her hands.

    "O here is the stray bird, exclaimed Louisa, fluttering in the

    "Mr. Bromley immediately entered; Mr. Townshend followed;
    Burchel brought up the rear.

    "My dearest creature, cried Louisa, do not be alarmed. We are
    come to wish you joy; and seized one of her hands.

    "Well, but where's the parson? exclaimed Bromley--What, has
    grace been said, the collation served, and the cloth removed?
    Upon my word, you have been very expeditious, Miss.

    "My God, Bromley, said Townshend, do not reflect so much upon
    the ladies modesty. I will stake my life they were not to have
    been married these three days.

    "Olivia now rose from the sopha in unspeakable agitation, and
    endeavoured to defend herself. Gentlemen, assure
    yourselves,--give me leave to protest to you,--indeed you will
    be sorry--you are mistaken------Oh Miss Bromley, added she, in a
    piercing voice, and threw her arms eagerly about the neck of

    "Mind them not, my dear, said Louisa; you know, gentlemen, Miss
    Seymour is studious; it was a point in philosophy she wished to
    settle; that's all, Olivia; and kissed her cheek.

    "Or perhaps, added Townshend,--the lady is young and
    inexperienced--she wanted a comment upon the bower scene in

    "Olivia suddenly raised her head and came forward, still leaning
    one arm upon Louisa. Hear me, cried she; I will be heard. What
    have I done that would expose me to the lash of each unlicenced
    tongue? What has there been in any hour of my life, upon which
    for calumny to fix her stain? Of what loose word, of what act of
    levity and dissipation can I be convicted? Have I not lived in
    the solitude of a recluse? Oh, fortune, hard and unexampled!

    "Deuce take me, cried sir Charles, whispering Townshend, if I
    ever saw any thing so handsome.

    "Olivia stood in a posture firm and collected, her bosom heaving
    with resentment; but her face was covered with blushes, and her
    eyes were languishing and sorrowful.

    "For the present unfortunate affair I will acknowledge the
    truth. Mr. Burchel to me appeared endowed with every esteemable
    accomplishment, brave, generous, learned, imaginative, and
    tender. By what nobler qualities could a female heart be won?
    Fashion, I am told, requires that we should not make the
    advances. I reck not fashion, and have never been her slave.
    Fortune has thrown him at a distance from me. It should have
    been my boast to trample upon her imaginary distinctions. I
    would never have forced an unwilling hand. But if constancy,
    simplicity and regard could have won a heart, his heart had been
    mine. I know that the succession of external objects would have
    made the artless virtues of Olivia pass unheeded. It was for
    that I formed my little plan. I will not blush for a scheme that
    no bad passion prompted. But it is over, and I will return to my
    beloved solitude with what unconcern I may. God bless you, Mr.
    Burchel; I never meant you any harm: and in saying this, she
    advanced two steps forward, and laid her hand on his.

    "Burchel, without knowing what he did, fell on one knee and
    kissed it.

    "This action revived the confusion of Olivia; she retreated, and
    Louisa took hold of her arm. Will you retire, said Louisa? You
    are a sweet good creature. Olivia assented, advanced a few steps
    forward, and then with her head half averted, took a parting
    glance at Burchel, and hurried away.

    "A strange girl this, said Bromley! Devil take me, if I know
    what to make of her.

    "I vow, cried sir Charles, I am acquainted with all the coteries
    in town, and never met with any thing like her.

    "Why, she is as coming, rejoined the squire, as a milk-maid, and
    yet I do not know how she has something that dashes one too.

    "Ah, cried sir Charles, shaking his head, she has nothing of the
    manners of the _grand monde_.

    "That I can say nothing to, said Bromley, but, in my mind, her
    behaviour is gracious and agreeable enough, if her conduct were
    not so out of the way.

    "What think you, Burchel, said Townshend, she is handsome,
    innocent, good tempered and rich; excellent qualities, let me
    tell you, for a wife.

    "I think her, said Burchel, more than you say. Her disposition
    is amiable, and her character exquisitely sweet and feminine.
    She is capable of every thing generous and admirable. A false
    education, and visionary sentiments, to which she will probably
    one day be superior, have rendered her for the present an object
    of pity. But, though I loved her, I should despise my own heart,
    if it were capable of taking advantage of her inexperience, to
    seduce her to a match so unequal.

    "At this instant Louisa re-entered, and making the excuses of
    Olivia, the company returned to the carriage, sir Charles
    mounted on horseback as he came, and they carried off the hero
    in triumph."




This is the only instance in which we shall take the liberty to announce
to the public an author hitherto unknown. Thus situated, we shall not
presume to prejudice our readers either ways concerning him, but shall
simply relate the general plan of the work.

It attempts a combination, which has so happily succeeded with the
preceding writer, of the comic and the pathetic. The latter however is
the principal object. The hero is intended for a personage in the
highest degree lovely and interesting, who in his earliest bloom of
youth is subjected to the most grievous calamities, and terminates them
not but by an untimely death. The writer seems to have apprehended that
a dash of humour was requisite to render his story in the highest degree
interesting. And he has spared no exertion of any kind of which he was
capable, for accomplishing this purpose.

The scene is laid in Egypt and the adjacent countries. The peasant is
the son of the celebrated Saladin. The author has exercised his
imagination in painting the manners of the times and climates of which
he writes.



The public has been for some time agreed that Mr. Hayley is the first of
English poets. Envy herself scarcely dares utter a dissentient murmur,
and even generous emulation turns pale at the mention of his name. His
productions, allowing for the very recent period in which he commenced
author, are rather numerous. A saturnine critic might be apt to suspect
that they were also hasty, were not the loftiness of their conceptions,
the majesty of their style, the richness of their imagination, and above
all, the energy both of their thoughts and language so conspicuous, that
we may defy any man of taste to rise from the perusal, and say, that all
the study and consideration in the world could possibly have made them
better. After a course however of unremitted industry, Mr. Hayley seemed
to have relaxed, and to the eternal mortification of the literary world,
last winter could not boast a single production of the prince of song.
The muses have now paid us another visit. We are very sensible of our
incapacity to speak, or even think of this writer with prosaic phlegm;
we cannot however avoid pronouncing, that, in our humble opinion, Mr.
Hayley has now outdone all his former outdoings, and greatly repaid us
for the absence we so dearly mourned.

We are sensible that it is unbecoming the character of a critic to lay
himself out in general and vague declamation. It is also within the laws
of possibility, that an incurious or unpoetical humour in some of our
readers, and (ah me, the luckless day!) penury in others, may have
occasioned their turning over the drowsy pages of the review, before
they have perused the original work. Some account of the plan, and a
specimen of the execution may therefore be expected.

The first may be dispatched in two words. The design is almost exactly
analogous to that of the Essay on History, which has been so much
celebrated. The author triumphs in the novelty of his subject, and pays
a very elegant compliment to modern times, as having been in a manner
the sole inventors of this admirable species of composition, of which he
has undertaken to deliver the precepts. He deduces the pedigree of novel
through several generations from Homer and Calliope. He then undertakes
to characterise the most considerable writers in this line. He discusses
with much learning, and all the logical subtlety so proper to the
didactic muse, the pretensions of the Cyropedia of Xenophon; but at
length rejects it as containing nothing but what was literally true, and
therefore belonging to the class of history. He is very eloquent upon
the Shepherd of Hermas, Theagenes and Chariclea, and the Ethiopics of
Heliodorus. Turpin, Scudery, Cotterel, Sidney, the countess D'Anois, and
"all such writers as were never read," next pass in review. Boccace and
Cervantes occupy a very principal place. The modern French writers of
fictitious history from Fenelon to Voltaire, close the first epistle.
The second is devoted to English authors. The third to the laws of novel

We shall present our readers, as a specimen, with the character of that
accomplished writer, John Bunyan, whom the poet has generously rescued
from that contempt which fashionable manners, and fashionable
licentiousness had cast upon him.

  "See in the front of Britain's honour'd band,
  The author of the Pilgrim's Progress stand.
  Though, sunk in shades of intellectual night,
  He boasted but the simplest arts, to read and write;
  Though false religion hold him in her chains,
  His judgment weakens and his heart restrains:
  Yet fancy's richest beams illum'd his mind,
  And honest virtue his mistakes refin'd.
  The poor and the illiterate he address'd;
  The poor and the illiterate call him blest.
  Blest he the man that taught the poor to pray,
  That shed on adverse fate religion's day,
  That wash'd the clotted tear from sorrow's face,
  Recall'd the rambler to the heavenly race,
  Dispell'd the murky clouds of discontent,
  And read the lore of patience wheresoe'er he went."

Amidst the spirited beauties of this passage, it is impossible not to
consider some as particularly conspicuous. How strong and nervous the
second and fourth lines! How happily expressive the two Alexandrines!
What a luminous idea does the epithet "murky" present to us! How
original and picturesque that of the "clotted tear!" If the same
expression be found in the Ode to Howard, let it however be considered,
that the exact propriety of that image to wash it from the face (for how
else, candid reader, could a tear already clotted be removed) is a clear
improvement, and certainly entitles the author to a repetition. Lastly,
how consistent the assemblage, how admirable the climax in the last six
lines! Incomparable they might appear, but we recollect a passage nearly
equal in the Essay on History,

  "_Wild_ as thy _feeble_ Metaphysic page,
  Thy History _rambles_ into _Steptic rage_;
  Whose giddy and fantastic _dreams abuse_,
  A Hampden's Virtue and a Shakespeare's Muse."

How elevated the turn of this passage! To be at once luxuriant and
feeble, and to lose one's way till we get into a passion, (with our
guide, I suppose) is peculiar to a poetic subject. It is impossible to
mistake this for prose. Then how pathetic the conclusion! What hard
heart can refuse its compassion to personages _abused_ by a _dream_, and
that dream the _dream of a History!_

Oh, wonderful poet, thou shalt be immortal, if my eulogiums can make
thee so! To thee thine own rhyme shall never be applied, (_Dii, avertite

  "Already, pierc'd by freedom's searching rays,
  The waxen fabric of his fame decays!"



This author cannot certainly be compared with Mr. Hayley.

We know not by what fatality Dr. Beattie has acquired the highest
reputation as a philosopher, while his poetry, though acknowledged to be
pleasing, is comparatively little thought on. It must always be with
regret and diffidence, that we dissent from the general verdict. We
should however be somewhat apprehensive of sacrificing the character we
have assumed, did we fail to confess that his philosophy has always
appeared to us at once superficial and confused, feeble and
presumptuous. We do not know any thing it has to recommend it, but the
good intention, and we wish we could add the candid spirit, with which
it is written.

Of his poetry however we think very differently. Though deficient in
nerve, it is at once sweet and flowing, simple and amiable. We are happy
to find the author returning to a line in which he appears so truly
respectable. The present performance is by no means capable to detract
from his character as a poet. This well known tale is related in a
manner highly pathetic and interesting. As we are not at all desirous of
palling the curiosity of the reader for the poem itself, we shall make
our extract at random. The following stanzas, as they are taken from a
part perfectly cool and introductory, are by no means the best in this
agreeable piece. They are prefaced by some general reflexions on the
mischiefs occasioned by the _sacra fames auri_. The reader will perceive
that Dr. Beattie, according to the precept of Horace, has rushed into
the midst of things, and not taken up the narrative in chronological

  "Where genial Phoebus darts his fiercest rays,
  Parching with heat intense the torrid zone:
  No fanning western breeze his rage allays;
  No passing cloud, with kindly shade o'erthrown,
  His place usurps; but Phoebus reigns alone,
  In this unfriendly clime a woodland shade,
  Gloomy and dark with woven boughs o'ergrown,
  Shed chearful verdure on the neighbouring glade,
  And to th' o'er-labour'd hind a cool retreat display'd.

  Along the margin of th' Atlantic main,
  Rocks pil'd on rocks yterminate the scene;
  Save here and there th' incroaching surges gain
  An op'ning grateful to the daisied green;
  Save where, ywinding cross the vale is seen
  A bubbling creek, that spreads on all sides round
  Its breezy freshness, gladding, well I ween,
  The op'ning flow'rets that adorn the ground,
  From her green margin to the ocean's utmost bound.

  The distant waters hoarse resounding roar,
  And fill the list'ning ear. The neighb'ring grove
  Protects, i'th'midst that rose, a fragrant bow'r,
  With nicest art compos'd. All nature strove,
  With all her powers, this favour'd spot to prove
  A dwelling fit for innocence and joy,
  Or temple worthy of the god of love.
  All objects round to mirth and joy invite,
  Nor aught appears among that could the pleasure blight.

  Within there sat, all beauteous to behold!
  Adorn'd with ev'ry grace, a gentle maid.
  Her limbs were form'd in nature's choicest mould,
  Her lovely eyes the coldest bosoms sway'd,
  And on her breast ten thousand Cupids play'd.
  What though her skin were not as lilies fair?
  What though her face confest a darker shade?
  Let not a paler European dare
  With glowing Yarico's her beauty to compare.

  And if thus perfect were her outward form,
  What tongue can tell the graces of her mind,
  Constant in love and in its friendships warm?
  There blushing modesty with virtue join'd
  There tenderness and innocence combin'd.
  Nor fraudful wiles, nor dark deceit she knew,
  Nor arts to catch the inexperienc'd hind;
  No swain's attention from a rival drew,
  For she was simple all, and she was ever true.

  There was not one so lovely or so good,
  Among the num'rous daughters of the plain;
  'Twas Yarico each Indian shepherd woo'd;
  But Yarico each shepherd woo'd in vain;
  Their arts she view'd not but with cold disdain.
  For British Inkle's charms her soul confest,
  His paler charms had caus'd her am'rous pain;
  Nor could her heart admit another guest,
  Or time efface his image in her constant breast,

  Her generous love remain'd not unreturn'd,
  Nor was the youthful swain as marble cold,
  But soon with equal flame his bosom burn'd;
  His passion soon in love's soft language told,
  Her spirits cheer'd and bad her heart be bold.
  Each other dearer than the world beside,
  Each other dearer than themselves they hold.
  Together knit in firmest bonds they bide,
  While days and months with joy replete unnotic'd glide.

  Ev'n now beside her sat the British boy,
  Who ev'ry mark of youth and beauty bore,
  All that allure the soul to love and joy.
  Ev'n now her eyes ten thousand charms explore,
  Ten thousand charms she never knew before.
  His blooming cheeks confest a lovely glow,
  His jetty eyes unusual brightness wore,
  His auburn locks adown his Shoulders flow,
  And manly dignity is seated on his brow."



There are few characters, that have risen into higher favour with the
English nation, than Mr. Sheridan. He was known and admired, as a man of
successful gallantry, both with the fair sex and his own, before he
appeared, emphatically speaking, upon the public stage. Since that time,
his performances, of the Duenna, and the School for Scandal, have been
distinguished with the public favour beyond any dramatical productions
in the language. His compositions, in gaiety of humour and spriteliness
of wit, are without an equal.

Satiated, it should seem, with the applauses of the theatre, he turned
his attention to public and parliamentary speaking. The vulgar
prejudice, that genius cannot expect to succeed in two different walks,
for some time operated against him. But he possessed merit, and he
compelled applause. He now ranks, by universal consent, as an orator and
a statesman, with the very first names of an age, that will not perhaps
be accounted unproductive in genius and abilities.

It was now generally supposed that he had done with the theatre. For our
own part, we must confess; we entertain all possible veneration for
parliamentary and ministerial abilities; we should be mortified to rank
second to any man in our enthusiasm for the official talents of Mr.
Sheridan: But as the guardians of literature, we regretted the loss of
his comic powers. We wished to preserve the poet, without losing the
statesman. Greatly as we admired the opera and the comedy, we conceived
his unbounded talents capable of something higher still. To say all in a
word, we looked at his hands for the MISANTHROPE of the British muse.

It is unnecessary to say then, that we congratulate the public upon the
present essay. It is meaned only as a _jeu d'esprit_. But we consider it
as the earnest of that perseverance, which we wished to prove, and
feared to lose. The scene we have extracted, and which, with another,
that may be considered as a kind of praxis upon the rules, constitutes
the chief part of the alteration, is apparently personal. How far
personal satire is commendable in general, and how far it is just in the
present instance, are problems that we shall leave with our readers.--As
much as belongs to Jonson we have put in italics.

    ACT IV

    SCENE 4

    _Enter_ Captain Face, _disguised as Lungs, and_ Kastril.

    FACE. _Who would you speak with_?

    KASTRIL. _Where is the captain?_


    _Gone, sir, about some business._




    _He will return immediately. But master doctor, his lieutenant
    is here._


    _Say, I would speak with him._

    [_Exit_ Face.

    _Enter_ Subtle.


    _Come near, sir.--I know you well.--You are my_ terrae
    fili--_that is--my boy of land--same three thousand pounds a


    _How know you that, old boy?_


    _I know the subject of your visit, and I'll satisfy you. Let us
    see now what notion you have of the matter. It is a nice point
    to broach a quarrel right_.


    _You lie_.


    _How now?--give me the lie?--for what, my boy?_


    _Nay look you to that.--I am beforehand--that's my business_.


    _Oh, this is not the art of quarrelling--'tis poor and
    pitiful_!--What, sir, would you restrict the noble science of
    debate to the mere lie?--Phaw, that's a paltry trick, that every
    fool could hit.--A mere Vandal could throw his gantlet, and an
    Iroquois knock his antagonist down.--No, sir, the art of quarrel
    is vast and complicated.--Months may worthily be employed in the
    attainment,--and the exercise affords range for the largest
    abilities.--To quarrel after the newest and most approved
    method, is the first of sciences,--the surest test of genius,
    and the last perfection of civil society.


    You amaze me. I thought to dash the lie in another's face was
    the most respectable kind of anger.


    O lud, sir, you are very ignorant. A man that can only give the
    lie is not worth the name of quarrelsome--quite tame and
    spiritless!--No, sir, the angry boy must understand, beside the
    QUARREL DIRECT--in which I own you have some proficiency--a
    variety of other modes of attack;--such as, the QUARREL


    O Mr. doctor, that I did but understand half so much of the art
    of brangling as you do!--What would I give!--Harkee--I'll settle
    an hundred a year upon you.--But come, go on, go on--


    O sir! you quite overpower me--why, if you use me thus, you will
    draw all my secrets from me at once.--I shall almost kick you
    down stairs the first lecture.


    How!--Kick me down stairs?--Ware that--Blood and oons, sir!


    Well, well,--be patient--be patient--Consider, it is impossible
    to communicate the last touches of the art of petulance, but by
    fist and toe,--by sword and pistol.


    Sir, I don't understand you!


    Enough. We'll talk of that another time.--What I have now to
    explain is the cool and quiet art of debate--fit to be
    introduced into the most elegant societies--or the most august
    assemblies.--You, my angry boy, are in parliament?


    No, doctor.--I had indeed some thoughts of it.--But imagining
    that the accomplishments of petulance and choler would be of no
    use there--I gave it up.


    Good heavens!--Of no use?--Why, sir, they can be no where so
    properly.--Only conceive how august a little petulance--and what
    a graceful variety snarling and snapping would introduce!--True,
    they are rather new in that connexion.--Believe me, sir, there
    is nothing for which I have so ardently longed as to meet them
    there.--I should die contented.--And you, sir,--if you would
    introduce them--Eh?


    Doctor, you shall be satisfied--I'll be in parliament in a
    month--I'll be prime minister--LORD HIGH TREASURER of


    Oh, by all means CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER! You are somewhat
    young indeed--but that's no objection.--Damn me, if the office
    can ever be so respectably filled as by an angry boy.


    True, true.--But, doctor, we forget your instructions all this
    time.--Let me see--Ay--first was the QUARREL PREVENTIVE.


    Well thought of!--Why, sir, in your new office you will be
    liable to all sorts of attacks--Ministers always are, and an
    angry boy cannot hope to escape.--Now nothing, you know, is so
    much to the purpose as to have the first blow--Blunders are very
    natural.--Your friends tell one story in the upper house, and
    you another in the lower--You shall give up a territory to the
    enemy that you ought to have kept, and when charged with it,
    shall unluckily drop that you and your colleagues were ignorant
    of the geography of the country--You foresee an attack--you
    immediately open--Plans so extensively beneficial--accounts so
    perfectly consistent--measures so judicious and accurate--no man
    can question--no man can object to--but a rascal and a
    knave.--Let him come forward!


    Very good! very good!--For the QUARREL OPSTREPEROUS, that I
    easily conceive.--An antagonist objects shrewdly--I cannot
    invent an answer.--In that case, there is nothing to be done but
    to drown his reasons in noise--nonsense--and vociferation.


    Come to my arms, my dear Kastril! O thou art an apt
    scholar--thou wilt be nonpareil in the art of brawling!--But for


    Ay, that I confess I don't understand.


    Why, it is thus, my dear boy--A minister is apt to be
    sore.--Every man cannot have the phlegm of Burleigh.--And an
    angry boy is sorest of all.--In that case--an objection is made
    that would dumbfound any other man--he parries it with--my
    honour--and my integrity--and the rectitude of my intentions--my
    spotless fame--my unvaried truth--and the greatness of my
    abilities--And so gives no answer at all.


    Excellent! excellent!


    The QUARREL OBLIQUE is easy enough.--It is only to talk in
    general terms of places and pensions--the loaves and the
    fishes--a struggle for power--a struggle for power--And it will
    do excellent well, if at a critical moment--you can throw in a
    hint of some forty or fifty millions unaccounted for by some
    people's grandfathers and uncles dead fifty years ago.


    Ha! ha! ha!


    Lastly, for the QUARREL PERSONAL--It may be infinitely
    diversified.--I have other instances in my eye,--but I will
    mention only one.--Minds capable of the widest comprehension,
    when held back from their proper field, may turn to lesser
    employments, that fools may wonder at, and canting hypocrites
    accuse--A CATO might indulge to the pleasures of the bottle, and
    a CAESAR might play--Unfortunately you may have a CAESAR to
    oppose you--Let him discuss a matter of finance--that subject is
    always open--there you have an easy answer. In the former case
    you parried, here you thrust.--You must admire at his
    presumption--tell him roundly he is not capable of the
    subject--and dam his strongest reasons by calling them the
    reasons of a gambler.


    Admirable!--Oh doctor!--I will thank you for ever.--I will do
    any thing for you!

    [Face _enters at the corner of the stage, winks at_ Subtle, _and


    "_Come, Sir, the captain will come to us presently--I will have
    you to my chamber of demonstrations, and show my instrument for
    quarrelling, with all the points of the compass marked upon it.
    It will make you able to quarrel to a straw's breadth at



THOMAS PAINE, M.A. &c. 8vo.

The revolution of America is the most important event of the present
century. Other revolutions have originated in immediate personal
feeling, have pointed only at a few partial grievances, or, preserving
the tyranny entire, have consisted only in a struggle about the persons
in whom it should be vested. This only has commenced in an accurate and
extensive view of things, and at a time when the subject of government
was perfectly understood. The persons, who have had the principal share
in conducting it, exhibit a combination of wisdom, spirit and genius,
that can never be sufficiently admired.

In this honourable list, the name of Mr. Paine by no means occupies the
lowest place. He is the best of all their political writers. His
celebrated pamphlet of Common Sense appeared at a most critical period,
and certainly did important service to the cause of independency. His
style is exactly that of popular oratory. Rough, negligent and
perspicuous, it presents us occasionally with the boldest figures and
the most animated language. It is perfectly intelligible to persons of
all ranks, and it speaks with energy to the sturdy feelings of
uncultivated nature. The sentiments of the writer are stern, and we
think even rancorous to the mother country. They may be the sentiments
of a patriot, they are not certainly those of a philosopher.

Mr. Paine has thought fit to offer some advice to his countrymen in the
present juncture, in which, according to some, they stand in
considerable need of it. The performance is not unworthy of the other
productions of this author. It has the same virtues and the same
defects. We have extracted the following passage, as one of the most
singular and interesting.

    "America has but one enemy, and that is England. Of the English
    it behoves us always to be jealous. We ought to cultivate
    harmony and good understanding with every other power upon
    earth. The necessity of this caution will be easily shewn. For

    1. The united states of America were subject to the government
    of England. True, they have acknowledged our independence. But
    pride first struggled as much as she could, and sullenness held
    off as long as she dare. They have withdrawn their claim upon
    our obedience, but do you think they have forgot it? To this
    hour their very news-papers talk daily of dissentions between
    colony and colony, and the disaffection of this and of that to
    the continental interest. They hold up one another in absurdity,
    and look with affirmative impatience, when we shall fall
    together by the ears, that they may run away with the prize we
    have so dearly won. It is not in man to submit to a defalcation
    of empire without reluctance. But in England, where every
    cobler, slave as he is, hath been taught to think himself a
    king, never.

    2. The resemblance, of language, customs, will give them the
    most ready access to us. The king of England will have
    emissaries in every corner. They will try to light up discord
    among us. They will give intelligence of all our weaknesses.
    Though we have struggled bravely, and conquered like men, we are
    not without imperfection. Ambition and hope will be for ever
    burning in the breast of our former tyrant. Dogmatical
    confidence is the worst enemy America can have. We need not fear
    the Punic sword. But let us be upon our guard against the arts
    of Carthage.

    3. England is the only European state that still possesses an
    important province upon our continent. The Indian tribes are all
    that stand between us. We know with what art they lately sought
    their detested alliance. What they did then was the work of a
    day. Hereafter if they act against us, the steps they will
    proceed with will be slower and surer. Canada will be their
    place of arms. From Canada they will pour down their Indians. A
    dispute about the boundaries will always be an easy quarrel. And
    if their cunning can inveigle us into a false security, twenty
    or thirty years hence we may have neither generals nor soldiers
    to stop them."



We were very apprehensive upon Mr. Burke's coming into administration,
that this circumstance might have proved a bar to any further additions
to the valuable collection of his speeches already in the hands of the
public. If we imagined that our verdict could make any addition to the
very great and deserved reputation in which they are held, we should not
scruple to say that were Cicero our contemporary, and Mr. Burke the
ancient, we are persuaded that there would not be a second opinion upon
the comparative merits of their orations. In the same degree as the
principles of the latter are unquestionably more unsullied, and his
spirit more independent; do we esteem him to excel in originality of
genius, and sublimity of conception.

We will give two extracts; one animadverting upon the preliminaries of
peace concluded by the earl of Shelburne; the other a character of David
Hartley, Esq.

    "I know that it has been given out, that by the ability and
    industry of their predecessors we found peace and order
    established to our hands; and that the present ministers had
    nothing to inherit, but emolument and indolence, _otium cum
    dignitate._ Sir, I will inform you what kind of peace and
    leisure the late ministers had provided. They were indeed
    assiduous in their devotion; they erected a temple to the
    goddess of peace. But it was so hasty and incorrect a structure,
    the foundation was so imperfect, the materials so gross and
    unwrought, and the parts so disjointed, that it would have been
    much easier to have raised an entire edifice from the ground,
    than to have reduced the injudicious sketch that was made to any
    regularity of form. Where you looked for a shrine, you found
    only a vestibule; instead of the chapel of the goddess, there
    was a wide and dreary lobby; and neither altar nor treasury were
    to be found. There was neither greatness of design, nor accuracy
    of finishing. The walls were full of gaps and flaws, the winds
    whistled through the spacious halls, and the whole building
    tottered over our heads.

    Mr. Hartley, sir, is a character, that must do honour to his
    country and to human nature. With a strong and independent
    judgment, with a capacious and unbounded benevolence, he devoted
    himself from earliest youth for his brethren and fellow
    creatures. He has united a character highly simple and
    inartificial, with the wisdom of a true politician. Not by the
    mean subterfuges of a professed negociator; not by the dark,
    fathomless cunning of a mere statesman; but by an extensive
    knowledge of the interest and character of nations; by an
    undisguised constancy in what is fit and reasonable; by a clear
    and vigorous spirit that disdains imposition. He has met the
    accommodating ingenuity of France; he has met the haughty
    inflexibility of Spain upon their own ground, and has completely
    routed them. He loosened them from all their holdings and
    reserves; he left them not a hole, nor a corner to shelter
    themselves. He has taught the world a lesson we had long wanted,
    that simple and unaided virtue is more than a match for the
    unbending armour of pride, and the exhaustless evolutions of
    political artifice."


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