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THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE

For A U GUST,

1816.

MR. URBAN,

Aug. 18. ridan, was a provocation of a serious You Tou have copied at p. 31, the dye! I think that this will be found

character of Mr. Sheridan froia to be the key to allthe praise, and to the Times Newspaper: a character, almost all the blame, of the intellecwhich, though written with great fa- tual portrait on which I am commentlent and eloquence, you will allow to ing. It sets out with au observation be very severe. You will hardly just in itself, and likely to catch the therefore refuse lo append to it the moralist, who moves not in the factifollowing criticism on that character, tious heat of politicks, as sincerc and which formied the third of a Series of well intended. Buy its consistency Letters, under the signature of Ox. with the usual principles of judgment FORD, in a Provincial Newspaper. entertained and practised by the Party Yours, &c.

OXFORD. from whence it evidently comes, may

well be doubted. It would have been I suspend my inquiries into the

pe..

deemed outrageously illiberal, had it cuoiary state of the country, to give been put forth in the case of Fox; room for a few observations on ano

and we should have been dazaled by ther melancholy subject, which the all the splendour of indigoaal declas. long article that followed my last let- malion, to shew the philanthropy and Jer in your Friday's Paper has suge

wisdom of a more liberal and enlarged; gested. The death of Mr. Sheridan philosophy! is a public loss; and his memory just

As long as Mr. Sheridan served ibe Jy mingles itself with our national purposes of a Party, his faults, which concerns. "I know not froin what are now described with such onreLondva print * the article in ques- lenting scrutiny, and condeinned with tion has been copied : it is written such harsh severity, were deemed with great talent ; and sometimes

harmless foibles, suited lo point a jest, with much eloqucace; but there is a or raise a good-nalured sinile; and to spirit of severity and ill-will in it make the contrast of his wit and flis which I cangut approve. This malig- oratory the more striking and attracnant tone it does not seem difficult to

tive. They never overshadowed the trace to its source: I even imagine operation of his public opiniors. Aod that I can give a shrewd guess at the when he pronounced his unrivalled band from which it flowed.

speech on Hastings's Trial, or his In the affecting lamentations which patriotic sentiments on the Mutiby The Courier poured forth at the mo

at the Nore, they lost noihing of ment that the great Statesman was

their effect, because they came froin trembling on the verge of eternity, a man overwhelmed with private there bruke out one or two expres debts, or unpunctual to private or sions of contempt against the leaders domestic engagements. of a powerful Party, wbich could not Of all the difficult subjects in eibies, easily be forgiven or overlooked. To the degree in which the public agd under-rate the Peltys, the Greys, the private conduct of an

to be examined and individual are Grenvilles, the Hollands, and the l'ier

in conjuncneys, and place them far below a Sbe.- tion, is the most difficult to be do

fived. There are undoubtedly sunde - The Times

kinds of faults, which pollute the

sources

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sources of action, public as well as

feited all claims to patronage, power, private. There are others, in which wealth, and even comfort and secuthe very self-neglect that gives rise to rity in old age, because he perverted private embarrassments and all their

these powers.

It is inconsistently numerous train of expedients, and in- said, that he united the various and dulgences, and injuries, is generated distinct mental and oratorical excelby a devotion to ihe larger grasp of lencies of Burke, Pitt, and Fox, and public concerns. He who escapes as

yet that he threw away his time and. ile can from straits into which he has bis talents. "Were then the imaginafallen from the blindness of indolence, tion and intellectual stores of Burke, is very different from the daring the flowing language of Pitt, and the wretch who enters into any hazard acuteness of Fox, altained without an with his eyes open, because he is pre- effort, and exhibited without industry determined to regard no ties in break- and practice, as well as native endowing from a danger.

ment? In short, the praise given in Mr. Sheridan, if he was ever worthy this sketch to his mental and setiatoof that idolatry of Party which he rial faculties is so superlative, and I once enjoyed, ought not to have may add, eveo so extruvagant, that to been deserted in his old age, and "at end with so much detraction, and his utmost need." The continuation plead for such cruel and unexampled of a seat in Parliament would have at abandonment, is an instance of the least secured him from the blood perverted prejudices of Party resentthirsty and useless revenge of an en- ment, to which I can recollect no raged creditor. If it be pleaded, that parallel ! indolence and habitual indulgence of

There are temporary meteors, that which might make him forget the whose brilliance is accidental or fan. oppressor and his oppression, rendered cied, or impure, and who soon therehim no longer to be depended upon fore sink again into darkness; but as a debater or a wit-look at the Sheridan retained bis influence over men of straw, who, for private con- the poblic miud so uniformly from venience, fill so many of the rotten

the hour of his first emergence, in (aye and of the free and independent) spite of the greatest disadvantages, Borvughs, of either side of the House, that it is impossible to deny the genuand say, whether Sheridant, if his fa- ine force, and I would add, real use of culties had been not merely clooded, his faculties! We often see the publick but gone, could not have filled any unaccountably one of them better than they! The

“ Yield to the fascination of a name;" horrible picture of this expiring lu- but, if it be delusive, they are certain, minary, beset by myrmidons, and ere long, to recover from it. The watched by the terriers of the Law, I inysterious ways in which the intelforbear to deliveate !

lectual powers sometimes develope If the rules of judgment, which are themselves, it is vain to systematize, now pronuulgated to cover the neglect or to deny results because the process of Sheridan in his old age, had been has not been conducted according to practised at the commencement of the ordinary forins of human discihis public career, he would never, pline. Sheridan did in fact, on jonne perhaps, have been allured and fat- merable occasions, either • set the tered into imprudences and cong- table in a roar” by the flashes of his dences, of which the punishment was wit, or astonish and illumine listento come upon him when he was least ing Senators! He did this in spite of able to bearil.

the days and years lost in indolence We are now told that Sheridan bad and intemperance. Yet what right brany admirers but no friends amongst bave we to deny results, because they those great men with whom he once seem to us to be too favourable for Jived and co-operaled. Would this the occupations which we know to bave been said when Sheridan was have preceded ? living ? What would any of these The old adage, De mortuis nil nisi great men have declared, if any one bonum may not perhaps be entirely had accused tbem of this in the zenith just; but I cannot think it right or of Sheridan's splendouri

less than inhuman of such a man It is argued that Sheridan exhibited

"To tear the frailties from their dread transcendent powers, but that he for

abode"

with such minute and unsparing in- he was a foreigner, who had passed dustry: to throw do flowers over bis the greatest part of his life out of unhappy remains, and leave all his England. The author of such a work, faults in the glare of their nakedness! said the French gentleman, ought to The' moral lesson might have been have been remuneraied by the English better consulted by a contrary course. government with a handsome pension. His fame cannot expire as long as the I answered that I had never heard of page of English History: Jasts: his his having had any other remuneravices, being private, might, but for tion in England than what he had de this exposure, have been forgotten! rived from the sale of his book, which

This severe commentator seems certainly deser ved a pension. A conwilling enough to allow the full credit versation took place in regard to the to Sheridan's Dramatic talents. To best writings on the theory of civil that praise there are none among his government. One of the party strongpolitical competitors who inake pre- ly recommended a treatise * on this tensions; yet this perhaps is in truth subject by Professor Noodt, of Legthe weakest of his claims. I suspect den, who had in a very masterly that much of the attraction of The manner deduced, from the inmutable School for Scandal lies in stage arti- principles of reason and justice, the fice and management. When he is mutual rights and obligations of go.. called the first Poet of the day in veroors and people. I asked him if right of two or three pretty, songs,

he had ever read Locke on Civil and a few pleasing and classical elegiac Government: he answered that be couplets, which scarce even reach be- was acquainted with Locke only as yond an elegant and harmonious po- a metaphysician: 10 'which I replied, Jish, it excites a smile at the ille “Give me leave to recommend him lo. placed extravagance of panegyrick! your acquaintance as a political philo

Much more might have been said sopher: in his celebrated Treatise on on this subject if the compass of a Government he appears to ine to have letter would have permitted it. developed the goouine principles of

civil society, and to bave fixed the

rights of nan opon their true basis ; » Tour through various parts of FLAN- insomuch that I scruple not to apply

DERS, GERMANY, and HOLLAND), in to Locke, compared with all other the year 1815.

writers on that subject, mutatis mu. (Continued from p. 8.)

tandis, the praise thus la vished by the

Duke of Buckingham upon Honor: THE close of my last letter left me

* Read Homer once, and then you'll read at Lille, spending an evening with

no more,

[poor, a very agreeable mixed party of For all books else appear so mean, so French and English. Our conversa- Verse will seem prose ;

-but still persist tion turned a good deal upon the to read,

[need.' British constitution, compared with And Homer will be all the books you the other fornis of goveroment in

“ Yes, Sir,” subjoined a warm-hearled Europe, and especially with that

Englishman, who had beeu bred in which France had obtained since the

the school of Old Whiggism, addressrestoration of the Bourbons. The

ing himself in the Frenchmar, “the result was, an unanimous acknowSedgment of the decided superiority of political writings of Mri Locke fur

nish the best antidote against the luthe English government. i concurred

multuous anarchy of a democracy, with the French gentleman who was introduced at the close of my last ·

and the opposite, but not less dan. Jetter, in his eulogy on Montesquieu gerous extreme of an arbitrary inoand De Lolme, who had so ably ciation which have been established sketched the outlines of our constitu; by thal inmortal writer are the only tion both in theory and practice. bad always considered the Spirit of sive theories of your pure Republi

effectual safeguard against the delur Laws as a chef-d'æuvre of philosophie cal jurisprudence, and the Constitu

cans (as 'they call themselves) on the

one hand, and the slavisii tnaxims of tion of England, by De Lelme, as a work reflecting the highest credit ** A Translation of this Treatise into upon the author, more especially as English was published by Disy, in 1781. your pure Royalists on the other ; was asked which, of ous writers had who, like the Hobbeses and the Fil- giren the best detail of the practice of mers of a former age in England, la- our constitution. I replied without bour to establish

your

hesitation Blackstone, whose cele• The right divine of kings to govern

brated Commentaries on the Laws of

England contained all that need be wrong.'"

known upoo that subject; and who" Oh, Sir," replied the Frenchman, ever wished to become acquainted I wish our Constituent Assembly at with our municipaliostitutions, should the coinmencement of the Revolution be told to dedicate his days and vights bad been wise enough to form their to Blackstone, noclurna versate manu, plan exactly upou the model of the versate diurna.” We had a convera English government." To which the sation on the erection of the new Englishman replied, and I think with kingdom of the Netherlands, an event great justice, ibat " such an attempt which I said had given ine great satis. would have proved completely abor- faction. It was observed by one of tive, unless the French nation had the French_gentlemen, that he be been previously cast in an English lieved the Belgians would much ra

moold. The Constitution of England ther have been incorporated with • has been the result of a fortunale con- I'rapce than Holland, and represente currence of many happy events, which ed the Dutch and Belgians as bitterly must be transferred into other coun. hating each other. I expressed my tries before they can ever expect to hopes that the union of the two tránsplaot our noble form of govern- countries would ere long be proment with all its peculiar advantages, ductive of such political and commera form of government which, in its cial benefits lo both, as to remove the grand distinguishing features, had prejudices which be represented as presented itself to the sagacious eye subsisting between tbew at presepi. of Cicero as the perfection of political Prejudices full as strong, I believed, wisdon, and which Tacitus, the if not stronger, had existed between prince of Philosophical Historians, the English and Scots at the period of considered as more easily to be ad- their Union, which kept gradually mired than reduced to practice." subsiding till at length they happily # You cannot, Sir," rejoined the vanished. I added, moreover, tbat Frenchman, “be more enthusiastic I hoped I should not offend his na. in the admiration of your excellent tional pride, if I expressed

a wish political systein than 1 ann; and I for the anvexation of French Flan. envy you the rare felicity of living in ders to the vew kingdom of the New a country where, to borrow the words therlands, and for the re-union of all of Tacitus, sentire quæ velis, et quæ the Low Countries under one head, as seuties dicere licet.' There is nolbing, they had been at the death of Charles Sir," added he, which I so much ad- the Bold, the last Prince of the mire in your happy constitution, as House of Burgundy. “ You know, your equal and impartial administra- Sir,” said he, “ that Charles had de tion of justice. When, fired with the signed his only daughter, the heiress ardour which the writings of Mon- of those fine Provinces, to be given in tesquieu ard De Lolme had excited, I marriage to the Dauphin of France, first visited England, I cannot express which scheme was counteracted by to you the emotions I felt in allend. the folly and caprice of his father iog your Courts of justice; and upon Louis XI.;' and the Netherlands, by those occasions i otien said to myself, the marriage of Mary of Burgundy This is the favoured region where with the Emperor Maximilian, de Astrea hath taken up her abcde, for volved to the House of Austria ; here I find that the person and pro- whereas, if she had been married to perty of the meanest subject are the Dauphin, they would in all proequally sacred as those of the highest bability have been for ever united to Jord in the realm.” “True, Sir, said France, and many bloody wars been a blunt honest Englishman," and thereby prevented. But, you may ours, I believe, is the only country in resť assured, Sir, that Prapce will Europe where å Nobloman dare not never hear of giving up her acquisiz shake his fist with impunity at the tions in Flanders, of which she has humblest menial in his service.” I remaiped in full possession for so long

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