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as could find chairs were seated, he began to open the intent of his visit. I told him I had no vote, for which he readily gave me credit. I assured him I had no influence, which he was not equally inclined to believe, and the less no doubt because Mr. G-, addressing himself to me at that moment, informed me that I had a great deal. Supposing that I could
"Oh! I could spend whole days, and moon-light nights, in feeding upon a lovely prospect! My eyes drink the rivers as they flow. If every human be. ing upon earth could think for one quarter of an hour, as I have done for many years, there might perhaps be many miserable men among them, but not an unawakened one could be found, from the arctic to the antarctic circle. At present, the dif
not be possessed of such a treasure without knowing it, I ventured to confirm my first assertion, by say. ing, that if I had any, I was utterly at a loss to imagine where it could be, or wherein it consisted, Thus ended the conference. Mr. G-squeezed me by the hand again, kissed the ladies, and withdrew. He kissed likewise the maid in the kitchen; and seemed upon the whole a most loving, kissing, kind-hearted gentleman. He is very young, gen. teel, and handsome. He has a pair of very good eyes in his head, which not being sufficient as it should seem for the many nice and difficult purposes of a senator, he had a third also, which he wore suspended by a riband from his button-hole. The boys halloo'd, the dogs barked, puss scampered; the hero, with his long train of obsequious followers, withdrew. We made ourselves very merry with the adventure, and in a short time settled into our former tranquillity, never probably to be thus interference between them and me is greatly to their rupted more. I thought myself, however, happy advantage. I delight in baubles, and know them to in being able to affirm truly, that I had not that in- be so; for, rested in, and viewed without a referfluence for which he sued, and for which, had I ence to their Author, what is the earth, what are been possessed of it, with my present views of the the planets, what is the sun itself, but a bauble? dispute between the Crown and the Commons, I Better for a man never to have seen them, or to see must have refused him, for he is on the side of the them with the eyes of a brute, stupid and unconformer. It is comfortable to be of no consequence scious of what he beholds, than not to be able to in a world where one cannot exercise any without say, The Maker of all these wonders is my friend!" disobliging somebody."-pp. 242—244. Their eyes have never been opened, to see that they are trifles; mine have been, and will be, till they are closed for ever. They think a fine estate, dian garden, things of consequence; visit them a large conservatory, a hot-house rich as a West Inwith pleasure, and muse upon them with ten times more. I am pleased with a frame of four lights, doubtful whether the few pines it contains will ever be worth a farthing; amuse myself with a greenhouse, which Lord Bute's gardener could take upon his back, and walk away with; and when I have paid it the accustomed visit, and watered it, and given it air, I say to myself―This is not mine, 'tis a plaything lent me for the present, I must leave it soon."-pp. 19, 20.
We keep no bees; but if I lived in a hive, I should hardly hear more of their music. All the bees in the neighbourhood resort to a bed of mignonette, opposite to the window, and pay me for the honey they get out of it, by a hum, which, though rather monotonous, is as agreeable to my ear, as the whistling of my linnets. All the sounds that nature utters are delightful, at least in this country. I should not perhaps find the roaring of lions in Africa, or of bears in Russia, very pleasing; but I know no beast in England whose voice I do not account musical, save and except always the braying of an ass. The notes of all our birds and fowls please me, without one exception. I should not indeed think of keeping a goose in a cage, that I might hang him up in the parlour, for the sake of his melody; but a goose upon a common, or in a farm yard, is no bad performer. And as to insects, if the black beetle, and beetles indeed of all hues, will the rest; on the contrary, in whatever key they keep out of my way, I have no objection to any of sing, from the knat's fine treble to the bass of the humble bee, I admire them all. Seriously, however, it strikes me as a very observable instance of providential kindness to man, that such an exact accord has been contrived between his ear and the sounds with which, at least in a rural situation, it is almost every moment visited. All the world is sensible of the uncomfortable effect that certain sounds have upon the nerves, and consequently upon the spirits; and if a sinful world had been filled with such as would have curdled the blood, and have made the sense of hearing a perpetual in
Melancholy and dejected men often amuse themselves with pursuits that seem to indicate the greatest levity. Swift wrote all sorts of doggrel and absurdity while tormented with spleen, giddiness. and misanthropy. Cowper composed John Gilpin during a season of most deplorable depression, and probably indited the rhyming letter which appears in this collection, in a moment equally gloomy. For the amusement of our readers, we annex the concluding paragraph, containing a simile, of which we think they must immediately feel the propriety.
"I have heard before of a room, with a floor laid upon springs, and such like things, with so much art, in every part, that when you went in, you was forced to begin a minuet pace, with an air and a grace, swimming about, now in and now out, with a deal of state, in a figure of eight, without pipe or string, or any such thing; and now I have writ, in a rhyming fit, what will make you dance, and as you advance, will keep you still, though against your will, dancing away, alert and gay, till you come to an end of what I have penn'd; which that you may do, ere madam and you, are quite worn out, with jiggling about, I take my leave; and here you receive a bow profound, down to the ground, from your humble me-W. C."―p. 89.
woman, a very old one, the first night that she
As a contrast to this ridiculous effusion, we add the following brief statement, which, notwithstanding its humble simplicity, appears to us to be an example of the true pathetic. "You never said a better thing in your life, than when you assured Mr.- of the expedience of a gift of bedding to the poor of Olney. There is no one article of this world's comforts with which, as Falstaff says, they are so heinously unprovided. When a poor woman, whom we know well, carried home two pair of blankets, a pair for herself and husband, and a pair for her six children, as soon as the children saw them, they jumped out of their straw. caught them in their arms, kissed them, blessed them and danced for joy. Another old
convenience, I do not know that we should have
The following short sketches, though not marked with so much enthusiasm, are conceived with the same vigour and distinctness.
"When we look back upon our forefathers, we seem to look back upon the people of another nation, almost upon creatures of another species. Their vast rambling mansions, spacious halls, and painted casements, their Gothic porches smothered with honeysuckles, their little gardens and high walls, their box-edgings, balls of holly, and yew. tree statues, are become so entirely unfashionable now, that we can hardly believe it possible that a people who resembled us so little in their taste, should resemble us in any thing else. But in every thing else, I suppose, they were our counterparts exactly; and time, that has sewed up the slashed sleeve, and reduced the large trunk-hose to a neat pair of silk stockings, has left human nature just where it found it. The inside of the man, at least, has undergone no change. His passions, appetites, and aims are just what they ever were. They wear perhaps a handsomer disguise than they did in days of yore; for philosophy and literature will have their effect upon the exterior; but in every other respect a modern is only an ancient in a different dress.' p. 48.
"I am much obliged to you for the voyages, which I received, and began to read last night. My imagination is so captivated upon these occasions, that I seem to partake with the navigators in all the dangers they encountered. I lose my anchor; my main-sail is rent into shreds; 1 kill a shark, and by signs converse with a Patagonian,-and all this without moving from the fire-side. The principal fruits of these circuits that have been made around the globe, seem likely to be the amusement of those that staid at home. Discoveries have been made, but such discoveries as will hardly satisfy the expense of such undertakings. We brought away an Indian, and, having debauched him, we sent him home again to communicate the infection to his country-fine sports to be sure, but such as will not defray the cost. Nations that live upon breadfruit, and have no mines to make them worthy of our acquaintance, will be but little visited for the future. So much the better for them; their poverty is indeed their mercy."-pp. 201, 202.
Cowper's religious impressions occupied too great a portion of his thoughts, and exercised too great an influence on his character, not to make a prominent figure in his correspondence. They form the subject of many eloquent and glowing passages; and have sometimes suggested sentiments and expressions that cannot be perused without compassion and regret. The following passage, however, is liberal and important.
for Christ, when he is fighting for his own notions. He thinks that he is skilfully searching the hearts of others, while he is only gratifying the malignity of his own; and charitably supposes his hearers destitute of all grace, that he may shine the more in his own eyes by comparison."-pp. 179, 180.
The following, too, is in a fine style of eloquence.
"We have exchanged a zeal that was no better than madness, for an indifference equally pitiable and absurd. The holy sepulchre has lost its importance in the eyes of nations called Christian; them from a superstitious attachment to the spot, not because the light of true wisdom had delivered but because he that was buried in it is no longer regarded by them as the Saviour of the world. The exercise of reason, enlightened by philosophy, has cured them indeed of the misery of an abused understanding; but, together with the delusion, they have lost the substance, and, for the sake of the lies that were grafted upon it, have quarrelled with the truth itself. Here, then, we see the ne plus ultra of human wisdom, at least in affairs of religion. It enlightens the mind with respect to non-essentials; but, with respect to that in which the essence of Christianity consists, leaves it perfectly in the dark. It can discover many errors, that in different ages have disgraced the faith; but it is only to make way for the admission of one more fatal than them all, which represents that faith itself as a delusion. Why those evils have been permitted, shall be known hereafter. One thing in the meantime is certain; that the folly and frenzy of the professed disciples of the gospel have been more dangerous to its interest than all the avowed hostilities of its adversaries."-pp. 200, 201.
There are many passages that breathe the very spirit of Christian gentleness and sober judgment. But when he talks of his friend Mr. Newton's prophetic intimations (p. 35.), and maintains that a great proportion of the ladies and gentlemen who amuse themselves with dancing at Brighthelmstone, must necessarily be damned (p. 100.), we cannot feel the same respect for his understanding, and are repelled by the austerity of his faith. The most remarkable passage of this kind, however, is that in which he supposes the death of the celebrated Captain Cook to have been a judgment on him for having allowed himself to be worshipped at Owhyhee. Mr. Hayley assures us, in a note, that Cowper proceeded altogether on a misapprehension of the fact. The passage, however, is curious, and shows with what eagerness his powerful mind followed that train of superstition into which his devotion was sometimes so unfortunately betrayed.
"The reading of those volumes afforded me
much amusement, and I hope some instruction. No observation, however, forced itself upon me with more violence than one, that I could not help making, on the death of Captain Cook. God is a jealous God; and at Owhyhee the poor man was content to be worshipped! From that moment, the remarkable interposition of Providence in his favour, was converted into an opposition that 'No man was ever scolded out of his sins. The thwarted all his purposes. He left the scene of his heart, corrupt as it is, and because it is so, grows deification, but was driven back to it by a most angry if it be not treated with some management violent storm, in which he suffered more than in and good manners, and scolds again. A surly mas- any that had preceded it. When he departed, he tiff will bear perhaps to be stroked, though he will left his worshippers still infatuated with an idea of growl even under that operation; but if you touch his godship, consequently well disposed to serve him roughly, he will bite. There is no grace that him. At his return, he found them sullen, disthe spirit of self can counterfeit with more success trustful, and mysterious. A trifling theft was comthan a religious zeal. A man thinks he is fighting I mitted, which, by a blunder of his own in pursuing
the thief after the property had been restored, was magnified to an affair of the last importance. One of their favourite chiefs was killed, too, by a blunder. Nothing, in short, but blunder and mistake
attended him, till he fell breathless into the water -and then all was smooth again! The world indeed will not take notice, or see that the dispensation bore evident marks of divine displeasure; but a mind, I think, in any degree spiritual, cannot overlook them."-pp. 293, 294.
This volume closes with a fragment of a poem by Cowper, which Mr. Hayley was fortunate enough to discover by accident among some loose papers which had been found in the poet's study. It consists of something less than two hundred lines, and is addressed to a very ancient and decayed oak in the vicinity of Weston. We do not think quite so highly of this production as the editor appears to do; at the same time that we confess it to be impressed with all the marks of Cowper's most vigorous hand: we do not know any of his compositions, indeed, that affords a more striking exemplification of most of the excellences and defects of his peculiar style, or might be more fairly quoted as a specimen of his manner.
It is full of the
From these extracts, our readers will now be able to form a pretty accurate notion of the contents and composition of this volume. Its chief merit consists in the singular ease, elegance, and familiarity with which every thing is expressed, and in the simplicity and sincerity in which every thing appears to be conceived. Its chief fault, perhaps, is the too frequent recurrence of those apologies for dull conceptions of a vigorous and poetical fancy, letters, and complaints of the want of sub-expressed in nervous and familiar language; jects, that seem occasionally to bring it down but it is rendered harsh by unnecessary into the level of an ordinary correspondence, versions, and, debased in several places by and to represent Cowper as one of those who the use of antiquated and vulgar phrases. make every letter its own subject, and cor- The following are about the best lines which respond with their friends by talking about it contains. their correspondence.
Besides the subjects, of which we have exhibited some specimens, it contains a good deal of occasional criticism, of which we do not think very highly. It is not easy, indeed, to say to what degree the judgments of those who live in the world are biassed by the opinions that prevail in it; but, in matters of this kind, the general prevalence of an opinion is almost the only test we can have of its truth; and the judgment of a secluded man is almost as justly convicted of error, when it runs counter to that opinion, as it is extolled for sagacity, when it happens to coincide with it. The critical remarks of Cowper furnish us with instances of both sorts; but perhaps with most of the former. His admiration of Mrs. Macaulay's History, and the rapture with which he speaks of the Henry and Emma of Prior, and the compositions of Churchill, will not, we should imagine, attract the sympathy of many readers, or suspend the sentence which time appears to be passing on those performances. As there is" scarcely any thing of love in the poetry of Cowper, it is not very wonderful that there should be nothing of it in his correspondence. There is something very tender and amiable in his affection for his cousin Lady Hesketh; but we do not remember any passage where he approaches to the language of gallantry, or appears to have indulged in the sentiments that might have led to its employment. It is also somewhat remarkable, that during the whole course of his retirement, though a good deal embarrassed in his circumstances, and frequently very much distressed for want of employment, he never seems to have had an idea of betaking himself to a profession. The solution of this difficulty is probably to be found in the infirmity of his mental health: but there were ten or twelve years of his life, when he seems to have been fit for any exertion that did not require a public appearance, and to have suffered very much from the want of all occupation.
"Thou wast a bauble once; a cup and ball,
Seeking her food, with ease might have purloin'd
Time made thee what thou wast-King of the woods!
And time hath made thee what thou art-a cave
One man alone, the father of us all,
With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his mind
pp. 415, 416.
On the whole, though we complain a little of the size and the price of the volumes now before us, we take our leave of them with reluctance; and lay down our pen with no little regret, to think that we shall review no more of this author's productions.
Memoirs of the Life of COLONEL HUTCHINSON, Governor of Nottingham Castle and Town, Representative of the County of Nottingham in the Long Parliament, and of the Town of Nottingham in the First Parliament of Charles II. &c.; with Original Anecdotes of many of the most distinguished of his Contemporaries, and a summary Review of Public Affairs: Written by his Widow, Lucy, daughter of SIR ALLEN APSLEY, Lieutenant of the Tower, &c. Now first published from the Original Manuscript, by the REV. JULIUS HUTCHINSON, &c. &c. To which is prefixed, the Life of MRS. HUTCHINSON, written by Herself, a Fragment. pp. 446. 4to. London, Longman and Co.: 1806.
We have not often met with any thing more | that history to more recent transactions, if we interesting and curious than this volume. In- have not a tolerably correct notion of the dependent of its being a contemporary nar- character of the people of England in the rative of by far the most animating and im- reign of Charles I., and the momentous peportant part of our history, it challenges our riods which ensued. This character depended attention as containing an accurate and lu- very much on that of the landed proprietors minous account of military and political affairs and resident gentry; and Mrs. Hutchinson's from the hand of a woman; as exhibiting the memoirs are chiefly valuable, as containing a most liberal and enlightened sentiments in picture of that class of the community. the person of a puritan; and sustaining a high tone of aristocratical dignity and pretension, though the work of a decided republican The views which it opens into the character of the writer, and the manners of the age, will be to many a still more powerful attraction.
Of the times to which this narrative belongs-times to which England owes all her freedom and all her glory-we can never hear too much, or too often: and though their story has been transmitted to us, both with more fulness of detail and more vivacity of colouring than any other portion of our annals, every reflecting reader must be aware that our information is still extremely defective, and exposes us to the hazard of great misconception. The work before us, we think, is calculated in a good degree to supply these deficiencies, and to rectify these errors.
Agriculture was at this period still the chief occupation of the people; and the truly governing part of society was consequently the rustic aristocracy. The country gentlemen-who have since been worn down by luxury and taxation, superseded by the activity of office, and eclipsed by the opulence of trade-were then all and all in England; and the nation at large derived from them its habits, prejudices, and opinions. Educated almost entirely at home, their manners were not yet accommodated to a general European standard, but retained all those national peculiarities which united and endeared them to the rest of their countrymen. Constitutionally serious, and living much with their families, they had in general more solid learning, and more steady morality than the gentry of other countries. Exercised in local magistracies, and frequently assembled for purposes of national cooperation, they became conscious of their power, and jealous of their privileges: and having been trained up in a dread and detestation of that popery which had been the recent cause of so many wars and persecutions, their religious sentiments had contracted somewhat of an austere and polemical character, and had not yet settled from the ferment of reformation into tranquil and regulated piety. It was upon this side, accordingly, that they were most liable to error:
By far the most important part of history, as we have formerly endeavoured to explain, is that which makes us acquainted with the character, dispositions, and opinions of the great and efficient population by whose motion or consent all things are ultimately governed. After a nation has attained to any degree of intelligence, every other principle of action becomes subordinate; and, with relation to our own country in particular, it may be said with safety, that we can know nothing of its past history, or of the applications of
applause, on the violin,-stout esquires, at the same time, praying and quaffing October with their godly tenants, and noble lords disputing with their chaplains on points of theology in the evening, and taking them out a-hunting in the morning. There is nothing,
and the extravagances into which a part of them was actually betrayed, has been the chief cause of the misrepresentations to which they were then exposed, and of the misconception which still prevails as to their character and principles of action.
In the middle of the reign of Charles I. al-in short, more curious and instructive, than most the whole nation was serious and devout. the glimpses which we here catch of the old Any licence and excess which existed was hospitable and orderly life of the country mostly encouraged and patronised by the gentlemen of England, in those days when Royalists; who made it a point of duty to the national character was so high and so deride the sanctity and rigid morality of their peculiar,-when civilization had produced all opponents; and they again exaggerated, out its effects, but that of corruption,—and when of party hatred, the peculiarities by which serious studies and dignified pursuits had not they were most obviously distinguished from yet been abandoned to a paltry and effeminate their antagonists. Thus mutually receding derision. Undoubtedly, in reviewing the anfrom each other, from feelings of general nals of those times, we are struck with a hostility, they were gradually led to realize loftier air of manhood than presents itself in the imputations of whic: they were recipro-any after era; and recognize the same charcally the subjects. The cavaliers gave way acters of deep thought and steady enthusiasm, to a certain degree of licentiousness; and the and the same principles of fidelity and selfadherents of the parliament became, for the command, which ennobled the better days of most part, really morose and enthusiastic. At the Roman Republic, and have made every the Restoration, the cavaliers obtained a com- thing else appear childish and frivolous in plete and final triumph over their sanctimo- the comparison. nious opponents; and the exiled monarch and his nobles imported from the Continent a taste for dissipation, and a toleration for debauchery, far exceeding any thing that had previously been known in England. It is from the wits of that court, however, and the writers of that party, that the succeeding and the present age have derived their notions of the Puritans. In reducing these notions to the standard of truth, it is not easy to determine how large an allowance ought to be made for the exaggerations of party hatred, the perversions of witty malice, and the illusions of habitual superiority. It is certain, however, that ridicule, toleration, and luxury gradually annihilated the Puritans in the higher ranks of society: and after-times, seeing their practices and principles exemplified only among the lowest and most illiterate of mankind, readily caught the tone of contempt which had been assumed by their triumphant enemies; and found no absurdity in believing that the base and contemptible beings who were described under the name of Puritans by the courtiers of Charles II., were true representatives of that valiant and conscientious party which once numbered half the gentry of England among its votaries and adherents. That the popular conceptions of the auster-terpart to the Valerias and Portias of antiquity. ities and absurdities of the old Roundheads. With a high-minded feeling of patriotism and and Presbyterians are greatly exaggerated, public honour, she seems to have been poswill probably be allowed by every one at all sessed by the most dutiful and devoted atconversant with the subject; but we know tachment to her husband; and to have comof nothing so well calculated to dissipate the bined a taste for learning and the arts with existing prejudices on the subject, as this the most active kindness and munificent hosbook of Mrs. Hutchinson. Instead of a set pitality to all who came within the sphere of of gloomy bigots waging war with all the her bounty. To a quick perception of charelegancies and gaieties of life, we find, in this acter, she appears to have united a masculine calumniated order, ladies of the first birth force of understanding, and a singular capacity and fashion, at once converting their husbands for affairs; and to have possessed and exerto Anabaptism, and instructing their children cised all those talents, without affecting any in music and dancing,-valiant Presbyterian superiority over the rest of her sex, or abancolonels refuting the errors of Arminius, col- doning for a single instant the delicacy and lecting pictures, and practising, with great reserve which were then its most indispensa
One of the most striking and valuable things in Mrs. Hutchinson's performance, is the information which it affords us as to the manners and condition of women in the period with which she is occupied. This is a point in which all histories of public events are almost necessarily defective; though it is evident that, without attending to it, our notions of the state and character of any people must be extremely imperfect and erroneous. Mrs. Hutchinson, however, enters into no formal disquisition upon this subject. What we learn from her in relation to it, is learnt incidentally-partly on occasion of some anecdotes which it falls in her way to recite-but chiefly from what she is led to narrate or disclose as to her own education, conduct, or opinions. If it were allowable to take the portrait which she has thus indirectly given of herself, as a just representation of her fair contemporaries, we should form a most exalted notion of the republican matrons of England. Making a slight deduction for a few traits of austerity, borrowed from the bigotry of the age, we do not know where to look for a more noble and engaging character than that under which this lady presents herself to her readers; nor do we believe that any age of the world has produced so worthy a coun