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5. Injusta Acclamaçam do Serenissimo Infante D. Mi-
guel; ou Analyse e Refutaçam Juridica do Assento
11 de Julho de 1828. Pelo Desembargador Antonio de
Silva Lopes Rocha, Advogado da Casa da Suplicaçam
* - 23 Juin, 1828. Par Jm, A. de Magalhaens, Docteur
taire de la Junta Governativa du Porto au Départe-
ment des Affaires Etrangères.
Ottoman. Par A. de Juchereau de Saint-Denys. 445
ART. I.-Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society.
By Robert Southey. 2 vols. 8vo. With Engravings. THIS is a beautiful book, full of wisdom and devotion-of
poetry and feeling; conceived altogether in the spirit of other times, such as the wise men of our own day may scoff at, but such as Evelyn, or Izaak Walton, or Herbert,' would have delighted to honour. Mr. Southey, or Montesinos, (for so he is here called,) is sitting alone in his library, on a November evening, musing upon the death of the Princess Charlotte, then a recent event, and suffering his mind to stray to the national prospects which this national calamity opened before him. It had just occurred to him that, on two former occasions, when the heir-apparent of England was cut off in the prime of life, the nation was on the eve of a religious revolution in the first instance, and of a political one in the second. Prince Arthur and Prince Henry being thus in his mind, an elderly personage, of grave and dignified aspect, of a countenance indicating high intellectual rank, entered, and announced himself, in a voice of uncommon sweetness, to be a stranger from a distant country. It was the ghost of Sir Thomas More; and a very judicious ghost (as might be expected) he proved himself, coping with his host in a melancholy fit, and finding him, as the Duke used to find Jaques at such moments, full of matter. . . .
Accordingly, the progress and prospects of society are then developed, in a series of dialogues between Montesinos and his disembodied visiter—the basis of all being a comparison of the present times with those in which Sir T. More lived and lost his head. It may be imagined, from the mere announcement of this introduction, that there is something of the dismal character of the scroll of Ezekiel impressed upon these volumes; and that, as the two friends, the living and the dead, enter upon the dark paths of futurity, (dark in every sense,) they seem the beings of whom Dante and Virgil were the prototypes when they descended to explore those hidden regions which the superscription over the gate proclaimed to be so full of woe. In many of the apprehensions here entertained, we confess that we ourselves participate ; nor can we see how any man who watches the signs of these times cau prophesy smooth things only. Hope, however, comes, which comes to all ; and
VOL. XLI. NO, LXXXI.
our grounds both of hope and apprehension will be gathered from the observations we shall offer on the structure of society as it existed before the Reformation, and as it exists now. We must premise, however, that it is not our intention to follow Mr. Southey through all the details of a subject so vast, nor yet to make him accountable for all the positions we advance; but, freely availing ourselves of his excellent materials, and dismissing the dialogue, (a mechanism which generally impedes the easy flow of thought,) we shall devote ourselves rather to the ecclesiastical, than to the political part of the question; and, by thus restricting ourselves, endeavour to keep within compass.
The ceremonial of the Roman Catholic religion, like that of the Levitical law, had its use. It was ever coram populo : its numerous saints'-days-its gorgeous processions—its crucifixes— its stations—its rosaries—its places of pilgrimage—its monasteries, both in the city and the wilderness ;-all these brought religion home to men, backed such as were religiously disposed by public opinion, served as visible acknowledgments of an invisible world—the substantial confessions of a nation's faith in things unseen. There was much in this liable to abuse, but there was much, too, that was holy and good; and they who have travelled in foreign lands, and listened to the vesper-bell -the
- 'squilla di lontano
Che paia 'l giorno pianger che si muore,' will regret that tasteless fanaticism which swept away many sensible, yet innocent incentives to devotion, as abominations, and guarded effectually against religious excess by substituting for it religious indifference.
This, however, was brought about by degrees. There was a time, since the worship of images, (and happy would it have been if the religious habits of the country had thenceforth stood fixed,) when the men of England were not ashamed of their faith——when appropriate texts adorned the walls of their dwellingrooms, and children received at night a father's blessing ;-and ‘let us worship God was said with solemn air,' by the head of the household; and churches were resorted to daily; and the parson in journey gave notice for prayers in the hall of the inn— for prayers and provender,' quoth he, hinder no man;' and the cheerful angler, as he sat under the willow-tree, watching his quill, trolled out a Christian catch, · Here we may sit and pray, before death stops our breath ;' and the merchant (like the excellent Sulton, of the Charter-house) thought how he could make his merchandise subservient to the good of his fellow-citizens and the glory of his God, and accordingly endowed some charitable,