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articles of our dress and furniture,-on the accomplished, by an instrument which has mirrors, engravings, books, fire-arms, watches, hitherto effected so little? It is in vain for barometers, thunder-rods and opera-glasses, Mr. Stewart to say, that the science is yet but that present themselves in our ordinary dwell in its infancy, and that it will bear its fruit in ings, to feel how vast a progress has been due season. The truth is, that it has, of nemade in exploring and subduing the physical cessity, been more constantly and diligently elements of nature, and how stupendous an cultivated than any other. It has always increase the power of man has received, by been the first object with men of talent and the experimental investigation of her laws. good affections, to influence and to form the Now is any thing in this astonishing survey minds of others, and to train their own to the more remarkable, than the feeling with which highest pitch of vigour and perfection: and it is always accompanied, that what we have accordingly, it is admitted by Mr. Stewart, hitherto done in any of these departments is that the most important principles of this phi but a small part of what we are yet destined losophy have been long ago "forced upon to accomplish; and that the inquiries which general observation" by the feelings and exhave led us so far, will infallibly carry us still perience of past ages. Independently, howfarther. When we ask, however, for the tro- ever, of this, the years that have passed since phies of the philosophy of mind, or inquire for Hobbes, and Locke, and Malebranche, and the vestiges of her progress in the more plastic Leibnitz drew the attention of Europe to this and susceptible elements of human genius study, and the very extraordinary genius and and character, we are answered only by in- talents of those who have since addicted themgenuous silence, or vague anticipations and selves to it, are far more than enough to have find nothing but a blank in the record of her brought it, if not to perfection, at least to such actual achievements. The knowledge and a degree of excellence, as no longer to leave the power of man over inanimate nature has it a matter of dispute, whether it was really been increased tenfold in the course of the destined to add to our knowledge and our last two centuries. The knowledge and the power, or to produce any sensible effects upon power of man over the mind of man remains the happiness and condition of mankind. almost exactly where it was at the first de- That society has made great advances in comvelopment of his faculties. The natural phi- fort and intelligence, during that period, is losophy of antiquity is mere childishness and indisputable; but we do not find that Mr. dotage, and their physical inquirers are mere Stewart himself imputes any great part of this pigmies and drivellers, compared with their improvement to our increased knowledge of successors in the present age; but their logi- our mental constitution; and indeed it is quite cians, and metaphysicians, and moralists, and, obvious, that it is an effect resulting from the what is of infinitely more consequence, the increase of political freedom-the influences practical maxims and the actual effects result- of reformed Christianity - the invention of ing from their philosophy of mind, are very printing-and that improvement and multiplinearly on a level with the philosophy of the cation of the mechanical arts, that have renpresent day. The end and aim of all that dered the body of the people far more busy, philosophy is to make education rational and wealthy, inventive and independent, than they effective, and to train men to such sagacity ever were in any former period of society. and force of judgment, as to induce them to cast off the bondage of prejudices, and to follow happiness and virtue with assured and steady steps. We do not know, however, what modern work contains juster, or more profound views on the subject of education, than may be collected from the writings of Xenophon and Quintilian, Polybius, Plutarch, and Cicero: and, as to that sagacity and justness of thinking, which, after all, is the fruit by which this tree of knowledge must be ultimately known, we are not aware of many modern performances that exemplify it in a stronger degree, than many parts of the histories of Tacitus and Thucydides, or the Satires and Epistles of Horace. In the conduct of business and affairs, we shall find Pericles, and Cæsar, and Cicero, but little inferior to the philosophical politicians of the present day; and, for lofty and solid principles of practical ethics, we might safely match Epictetus and Antoninus (without mentioning Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch, Xenophon, or Polybius,) with most of our modern speculators.

To us, therefore, it certainly does appear, that the lofty estimate which Mr. Stewart has again made of the practical importance of his favourite studies, is one of those splendid visions by which men of genius have been so often misled, in the enthusiastic pursuit of science and of virtue. That these studies are of a very dignified and interesting nature, we admit most cheerfully-that they exercise and delight the understanding, by reasonings and inquiries, at once subtle, cautious, and profound, and either gratify or exalt a keen and aspiring curiosity, must be acknowledged by all who have been initiated into their elements. Those who have had the good fortune to be so initiated by the writings of Mr. Stewart, will be delighted to add, that they are blended with so many lessons of gentle and of ennobling virtue-so many striking precepts and bright examples of liberality, high-mindedness, and pure taste-as to be calculated, in an eminent degree, to make men love goodness and aspire to elegance, and to improve at once the understanding, the imagination, and the heart. But this must be the limit of our praise.

Where, then, it may be asked, are the performances of this philosophy, which makes such large promises? or, what are the grounds upon which we should expect to see so much

The sequel of this article is not now reprinted, for the reasons already stated.

NOVELS, TALES,

AND

PROSE WORKS OF
WORKS OF FICTION.

As I perceive I have, in some of the following papers, made a sort of apology for seeking to direct the attention of my readers to things so insignificant as Novels, it may be worth while to inform the present generation that, in my youth, writings of this sort were rated very low with us-scarcely allowed indeed to pass as part of a nation's permanent literature -and generally deemed altogether unworthy of any grave critical notice. Nor, in truth— in spite of Cervantes and Le Sage-and Marivaux, Rousseau, and Voltaire abroad—and even our own Richardson and Fielding at home-would it have been easy to controvert that opinion, in our England, at the time: For certainly a greater mass of trash and rubbish never disgraced the press of any country, than the ordinary Novels that filled and supported our circulating libraries, down nearly to the time of Miss Edgeworth's first appearance. There had been, the Vicar of Wakefield, to be sure, before; and Miss Burney's Evelina and Cecilia --and Mackenzie's Man of Feeling, and some bolder and more varied fictions of the Misses Lee. But the staple of our Novel market was, beyond imagination, despicable: and had consequently sunk and degraded the whole department of literature, of which it had usurped

the name.

All this, however, has since been signally, and happily, changed; and that rabble rout of abominations driven from our confines for ever. The Novels of Sir Walter Scott are, beyond all question, the most remarkable productions of the present age; and have made a sensation, and produced an effect, all over Europe, to which nothing parallel can be mentioned since the days of Rousseau and Voltaire; while, in our own country, they have attained a place, inferior only to that which must be filled for ever by the unapproachable glory of Shakespeare. With the help, no doubt, of their political revolutions, they have produced, in France, Victor Hugo, Balsac, Paul de Cocq, &c., the promessi sposi in Italy—and Cooper. at least, in America.-In England, also, they have had imitators enough; in the persons of Mr. James, Mr. Lover, and others. But the works most akin to them in excellence have rather, I think, been related as collaterals than as descendants. Miss Edgeworth, indeed. stands more in the line of their ancestry; and I take Miss Austen and Sir E. L. Bulwer to be as intrinsically original;-as well as the great German writers, Goethe, Tiek, Jean Paul. Richter, &c. Among them, however, the honour of this branch of literature has at any rate been splendidly redeemed ;—and now bids fair to maintain its place, at the head of all that is graceful and instructive in the productions of modern genius.

(July, 1809.)

Tales of Fashionable Life. By Miss EDGEWORTH, Author of "Practical Education," (C "Belinda," Castle Rackrent," &c. 12mo. 3 vols. London: 1809.

If it were possible for reviewers to Envy the authors who are brought before them for judgment, we rather think we should be tempted to envy Miss Edgeworth; - not, however, so much for her matchless powers of probable invention-her never-failing good sense and cheerfulness-nor her fine discrimination of characters- -as for the delightful consciousness of having done more good than

any other writer, male or female, of her generation. Other arts and sciences have their use, no doubt; and, Heaven knows, they have their reward and their fame. But the great art is the art of living; and the chief science the science of being happy. Where there is an absolute deficiency of good sense, these cannot indeed be taught; and, with an extraordinary share of it, they may be acquired

without an instructor: but the most common case is, to be capable of learning, and yet to require teaching; and a far greater part of the misery which exists in society arises from ignorance, than either from vice or from incapacity.

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Miss Edgeworth is the great modern mistress in this school of true philosophy; and has eclipsed, we think, the fame of all her predecessors. By her many excellent tracts on education, she has conferred a benefit on the whole mass of the population; and dis-vulgar wants that are sometimes so importucharged, with exemplary patience as well as mate, are not, in this world, the chief ministers extraordinary judgment, a task which super- of enjoyment. This is a plague that infects ficial spirits may perhaps mistake for an hum-all indolent persons who can live on in the ble and easy one. By her Popular Tales, she rank in which they were born, without the has rendered an invaluable service to the necessity of working: but, in a free country, middling and lower orders of the people; and it rarely occurs in any great degree of viruby her Novels, and by the volumes before us, lence, except among those who are already has made a great and meritorious effort to at the summit of human felicity. Below this, promote the happiness and respectability of there is room for ambition, and envy, and the higher classes. On a former occasion we emulation, and all the feverish movements of believe we hinted to her, that these would aspiring vanity and unresting selfishness, probably be the least successful of all her which act as prophylactics against this more fabours; and that it was doubtful whether dark and deadly distemper. It is the canker she could be justified for bestowing so much which corrodes the full-blown flower of huof her time on the case of a few persons, who man felicity-the pestilence which smites at scarcely deserved to be cured, and were the bright hour of noon. scarcely capable of being corrected. The foolish and unhappy part of the fashionable world, for the most part, "is not fit to bear itself convinced." It is too vain, too busy, and too dissipated to listen to, or remember any thing that is said to it. Every thing serious it repels, by "its dear wit and gay rhetorie" and against every thing poignant, it seeks shelter in the impenetrable armour of its conjunct audacity.

"Laugh'd at, it laughs again;—and, stricken hard,

Turns to the stroke its adamantine scales.
That fear no discipline of human hands."

A book, on the other hand, and especially a witty and popular book, is still a thing of consequence, to such of the middling classes of society as are in the habit of reading. They dispute about it, and think of it; and as they occasionally make themselves ridiculous by copying the manners it displays, so they are apt to be impressed with the great lessons it may be calculated to teach; and, on the whole, receive it into considerable authority among the regulators of their lives and opinions. But a fashionable person has scarcely any leisure to read; and none to think of what he has been reading. It would be a derogation from his dignity to speak of a book in any terms but those of frivolous derision; and a strange desertion of his own superiority, to allow himself to receive, from its perusal, any impressions which could at all affect his conduct or opinions.

But though, for these reasons, we continue to think that Miss Edgeworth's fashionable patients will do less credit to her prescriptions than the more numerous classes to whom they might have been directed, we admit that her plan of treatment is in the highest degree judicious, and her conception of the disorder most luminous and precise.

There are two great sources of unhappiness to those whom fortune and nature seem to have placed above the reach of ordinary miseries. The one is ennui-that stagnation of life and feeling which results from the absence of all motives to exertion; and by which the justice of providence has so fully compensated the partiality of fortune, that it may be fairly doubted whether, upon the whole, the race of beggars is not happier than the race of lords; and whether those

The other curse of the happy, has a range more wide and indiscriminate. It, too, tortures only the comparatively rich and fortunate; but is most active among the least distinguished; and abates in malignity as we ascend to the lofty regions of pure ennui. This is the desire of being fashionable;-the restless and insatiable passion to pass for creatures a little more distinguished than we really are with the mortification of frequent failure, and the humiliating consciousness of being perpetually exposed to it. Among those who are secure of "meat, clothes, and fire," and are thus above the chief physical evils of existence, we do believe that this is a more prolific source of unhappiness, than guilt, disease, or wounded affection; and that more positive misery is created, and more true enjoyment excluded, by the eternal fretting and straining of this pitiful ambition, than by all the ravages of passion, the desolations of war, or the accidents of mortality. This may appear a strong statement; but we make it deliberately, and are deeply convinced of its truth. The wretchedness which it produces may not be so intense; but it is of much longer duration, and spreads over a far wider circle. It is quite dreadful, indeed, to think what a sweep this pest has taken among the comforts of our prosperous population. To be thought fashionable—that is, to be thought more opulent and tasteful, and on a footing of intimacy with a greater number of distinguished persons than they really are, is the great and laborious pursuit of four families out of five, the members of which are exempted from the necessity of daily industry. In this pursuit, their time, spirits, and talents are wasted; their tempers, soured; their affections palsied; and their natural manners and dispositions altogether sophisticated and lost.

These are the giant curses of fashionable

life; and Miss Edgeworth has accordingly which life can be made tolerable to those who dedicated her two best tales to the delinea- have nothing to wish for. Born on the very tion of their symptoms. The history of "Lord pinnacle of human fortune, "he had nothing Glenthorn" is a fine picture of ennui-that of to do but to sit still and enjoy the barrenness "Almeria" an instructive representation of of the prospect." He tries travelling, gaming, the miseries of aspirations after fashion. We gluttony, hunting, pugilism, and coach-driv do not know whether it was a part of the fair ing; but is so pressed down with the load of writer's design to represent these maladies as life, as to be repeatedly on the eve of suicide. absolutely incurable, without a change of He passes over to Ireland, where he receives condition; but the fact is, that in spite of the a temporary relief, from the rebellion-and best dispositions and capacities, and the most from falling in love with a lady of high char powerful inducements to action, the hero of acter and accomplishments; but the effect of ennui makes no advances towards amend these stimulants is speedily expended, and ment, till he is deprived of his title and estate! he is in danger of falling into a confirmed and the victim of fashion is left, at the end of lethargy, when it is fortunately discovered the tale, pursuing her weary career, with fa- that he has been changed at nurse! and that, ding hopes and wasted spirits, but with in- instead of being a peer of boundless fortune, creased anxiety and perseverance. The moral he is the son of a cottager who lives on potause of these narratives, therefore, must consist toes. With great magnanimity, he instantly in warning us against the first approaches of gives up the fortune to the rightful owner, evils which can never afterwards be resisted. who has been bred a blacksmith, and takes These are the great twin scourges of the to the study of the law. At the commenceprosperous: But there are other maladies, of ment of this arduous career, he fortunately no slight malignity, to which they are pecu- falls in love, for the second time, with the liarly liable. One of these, arising mainly lady entitled, after the death of the blackfrom want of more worthy occupation, is that smith, to succeed to his former estate. Pover perpetual use of stratagem and contrivance- ty and love now supply him with irresistible that little, artful diplomacy of private life, by motives for exertion. He rises in his profeswhich the simplest and most natural transac- sion; marries the lady of his heart; and in tions are rendered complicated and difficult, due time returns, an altered man, to the posand the common business of existence made session of his former affluence. to depend on the success of plots and counterplots. By the incessant practice of this petty policy, a habit of duplicity and anxiety is infallibly generated, which is equally fatal to integrity and enjoyment. We gradually come to look on others with the distrust which we are conscious of deserving; and are insensibly formed to sentiments of the most unamiable selfishness and suspicion. It is needless to say, that all these elaborate artifices are worse than useless to the person who employs them; and that the ingenious plotter is almost always baffled and exposed by the downright honesty of some undesigning competitor. Miss Edgeworth, in her tale of "Manoeuvring," has given a very complete and most entertaining representation of "the by-paths and indirect crook'd ways," by which these artful and inefficient people generally make their way to disap-ness and completeness of effect, that the pointment. In the tale, entitled "Madame de reader can scarcely help imagining that he Fleury," she has given some useful examples has formerly been acquainted with the origi of the ways in which the rich may most ef- nal. Every one, at least we conceive, must fectually do good to the poor-an operation have known somebody, the recollection of which, we really believe, fails more frequently whom must convince him that the following from want of skill than of inclination: And, in description is as true nature as it is creditable "The Dun," she has drawn a touching and to art :— most impressive picture of the wretchedness which the poor so frequently suffer, from the unfeeling thoughtlessness which withholds from them the scanty earnings of their labour. Of these tales, "Ennui" is the best and the most entertaining-though the leading character is somewhat caricatured, and the dé-extraordinary, was her indifference when I was innouement is brought about by a discovery troduced to her. Every body had seemed extremely which shocks by its needless improbability. desirous that I should see her ladyship, and that Lord Glenthorn is bred up, by a false and in- her ladyship should see me; and I was rather surdulgent guardian, as the heir to an immense prised by her unconcerned air. This piqued me. English and Irish estate; and, long before he began to converse with others. Her voice was and fixed my attention. She turned from me, and is of age; exhausts almost all the resources by agreeable, though rather loud: she did not speak

Such is the naked outline of a story, more rich in character, incident, and reflection, than any English narrative which we can now call to remembrance:-as rapid and various as the best tales of Voltaire, and as full of prac tical good sense and moral pathetic as any of the other tales of Miss Edgeworth. The Irish characters are inimitable ;-not the coarse caricatures of modern playwrights-but drawn with a spirit, a delicacy, and a precision, which we do not know if there be any paral lel among national delineations. As these are tales of fashionable life, we shall present our readers, in the first place, with some traits of an Irish lady of rank. Lady Geraldine-the enchantress whose powerful magic almost raised the hero of ennui from his leaden slumbers is represented with such exquisite liveli

"As Lady Geraldine entered, I gave one involun tary glance of curiosity. I saw a tall, finely-shaped woman, with the commanding air of a person of rank: she moved well; not with feminine timidity, yet with ease, promptitude, and decision. She had of feature. The only thing that struck me as really fine eyes, and a fine complexion, yet no regularity

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with the Irish accent; but, when I listened maEriously, I detected certain Hibernian inflexionsnothing of the vulgar Irish idiom, but something that was more interrogative, more exclamatory, and perhaps more rhetorical, than the common language of English ladies, accompanied with infinitely more animation of countenance and demonstrative gesture. This appeared to me peculiar and unusual, but not affected. She was uncommonly eloquent; and yet, without action, her words were not sufficiently rapid to express her ideas. Her manner appeared foreign, yet it was not quite French. If I had been obliged to decide, I should, however, have pronounced it rather more French than English. To determine which it was, or whether I had ever seen any thing similar, I stood considering her ladyship with more attention than I had ever bestowed on any other woman. The words striking-fascinating-bewitching, occurred to me as I looked at her and heard her speak. I resolved to turn my eyes away, and shut my ears; for I was positively determined not to like her; I dreaded so much the idea of a second Hymen. Í retreated to the farthest window, and looked out very soberly upon a dirty fish-pond.

"If she had treated me with tolerable civility at first, I never should have thought about her. Highborn and high-bred, she seemed to consider more what she should think of others, than what others

thought of her. Frank, candid, and affable, vet opinionated, insolent, and an egotist: her candour and affability appeared the effect of a naturally good temper; her insolence and egotism only that of a spoiled child. She seemed to talk of herself purely to oblige others, as the most interesting possible topic of conversation; for such it had always been to her fond mother, who idolized her ladyship as an only daughter, and the representative of an ancient house. Confident of her talents, conscious of her charms, and secure of her station, Lady Geraldine gave free scope to her high spirits, her fancy, and her turn for ridicule. She looked, spoke, and acted, like a person privileged to think, say, and do, what she pleased. Her raillery, like the raillery of princes,

was without fear of retort. She was not ill-natured, yet careless to whom she gave offence, provided she produced amusement; and in this she seldom failed; for, in her conversation, there was much of the raciness of Irish wit, and the oddity of Irish humour. The singularity that struck me most about her ladyship was her indifference to flattery. She certainly preferred frolic. Miss Bland was her humble companion; Miss Tracey her butt. It was one of Lady Geraldine's delights, to humour Miss Tracey's rage for imitating the fashions of fine people. Now you shall see Miss Tracey appear at the ball to-morrow, in every thing that I have sworn to her is fashionable. Nor have I cheated her in a single article: but the tout ensemble I leave to her better judgment; and you shall see her, I trust, a perfect monster, formed of every creature's best: Lady Kilrush's feathers, Mrs. Moore's wig, Mrs. O'Connor's gown, Mrs. Leighton's sleeves, and all the necklaces of all the Miss Ormsbys. She has no taste, no judgment; none at all, poor thing; but she can imitate as well as those Chinese painters, who, in their drawings, give you the flower of one plant stuck on the stalk of another, and garnished with the leaves of a third.'"-i. 130-139.

This favourite character is afterwards exhibited in a great variety of dramatic contrasts. For example:

"Lord Craiglethorpe was, as Miss Tracey had described him, very stiff, cold, and high. His manners were in the extreme of English reserve; and his ill-bred show of contempt for the Irish was sufficient provocation and justification of Lady Geraldine's ridicule. He was much in awe of his fair and witty cousin and she could easily put him out of countenance, for he was, in his way, extremely bashful. Once, when he was out of the room, Lady

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Geraldine exclaimed, 'That cousin Craiglethorpe of mine is scarcely an agreeable man: The awkwardness of mauvaise-hont might be pitied and pardoned, even in a nobleman,' continued her ladyship, if it really proceeded from humility; but here, when I know it is connected with secret and inordinate arrogance, 'tis past all endurance. As the Frenchman said of the Englishman, for whom even his politeness could not find another compliment, Il faut avouer que ce Monsieur a un grand talent pour le silence ;"-he holds his tongue till people actually believe that he has somothing to say-a mistake they could never fall into if he would but speak. It is not timidity; it is all pride. I would pardon his dulness, and even his ignorance; for one, as you say, might be the fault of his nature, and the other of his education: but his self-sufficiency is his own fault; and that I will not, and cannot pardon. Somebody says, that nature may make a fool, but a coxcomb is always of his own making. Now, my cousin (as he is my cousin, I may say what I please of him,)-my cousin Craiglethorpe is a solemn coxcomb, who thinks, because his vanity is not talkative and sociable, that it's not vanity. What a mistake!'"-i. 146-148.

These other traits of her character are given, on different occasions, by Lord Glenthorn:

and intent solely upon her own amusement; but I "At first I had thought her merely superficial, soon found that she had a taste for literature beyond what could have been expected in one who lived so dissipated a life; a depth of reflection that seemed inconsistent with the rapidity with which she thought; and, above all, a degree of generous indignation against meanness and vice, which seemed incompatible with the selfish character of a fine lady; and which appeared quite incomprehensible to the imitating tribe of her fashionable companions."

i. 174. little arts, and petty stratagems, to attract attention. "Lady Geraldine was superior to manoeuvring She would not stoop, even to conquer. From gentemen she seemed to expect attention as her right, as the right of her sex; not to beg, or accept of it as a favour: if it were not paid, she deemed the genFar from being tleman degraded, not herself. mortified by any preference shown to other ladies, her countenance betrayed only a sarcastic sort of pity for the bad taste of the men, or an absolute indifference and look of haughty absence. I saw that she beheld with disdain the paltry competitions of the young ladies her companions: as her companions, indeed, she hardly seemed to consider them; she tolerated their foibles, forgave their envy, and never exerted any superiority, except to show her contempt of vice and meanness."-i. 198, 199.

This may suffice as a specimen of the high life of the piece; which is more original and characteristic than that of Belinda-and altogether as lively and natural. For the low life, we do not know if we could extract a more felicitous specimen than the following description of the equipage in which Lord Glenthorn's English and French servant were compelled to follow their master in Ireland.

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From the inn yard came a hackney chaise, in a most deplorably crazy state; the body mounted up to a prodigious height, on unbending springs, nodding forwards, one door swinging open, three blinds up, because they could not be let down, the perch tied in two places, the iron of the wheels half off, half loose, wooden pegs for linch-pins, and ropes for harness. The horses were worthy of the harness; wretched little dog-tired creatures, that looked as if they had been driven to the last gasp, and as if they had never been rubbed down in their lives; their bones starting through their skin; one lame, the other blind; one with a raw back, the

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