We have generally blamed what we thought | against them, and feeling grateful to any foworthy of blame in America, without any ex-reign auxiliary who will help us to reason, t press reference to parallel cases in England, rail, or to shame our countrymen out of them. or any invidious comparisons. Their books are willing occasionally to lend a similar as we have criticised just as should have done sistance to others, and speak freely and fairly those of any other country; and in speaking of what appear to us to be the faults and er more generally of their literature and man- rors, as well as the virtues and merits, of all ners, we have rather brought them into com- who may be in any way affected by our ob petition with those of Europe in general, than servations; or Mr. Walsh, who will admit ne those of our own country in particular. When faults in his own country, and no good quali we have made any comparative estimate of our ties in ours-sets down the mere extension own advantages and theirs, we can say with of our domestic censures to their corresponding confidence, that it has been far oftener in their objects abroad, to the score of national rancour favour than against them; and, after repeat- and partiality; and can find no better use for edly noticing their preferable condition as to those mutual admonitions, which should lead taxes, elections, sufficiency of employment, to mutual amendment or generous emulation, public economy, freedom of publication, and than to improve them into occasions of mutual many other points of paramount importance, animosity and deliberate hatred ? it surely was but fair that we should notice, in their turn, those merits or advantages which might reasonably be claimed for ourselves, and bring into view our superiority in eminent authors, and the extinction and annihilation of slavery in every part of our realm.

This extreme impatience, even of merited blame from the mouth of a stranger-this still more extraordinary abstinence from any hint or acknowledgment of error on the part of her intelligent defender, is a trait too remarkable not to call for some observation;—and we think we can see in it one of the worst and most unfortunate consequences of a republican government. It is the misfortune of Sovereigns in general, that they are fed with flattery till they loathe the wholesome truth, and come to resent, as the bitterest of all offences,

We would also remark, that while we have thus praised America far more than we have blamed her-and reproached ourselves far more bitterly than we have ever reproached her, Mr. W., while he affects to be merely following our example, has heaped abuse on us without one grain of commendation-and any insinuation of their errors, or intimation praised his own country extravagantly, with- of their dangers. But of all sovereigns, the out admitting one fault or imperfection. Now, Sovereign People is most obnoxious to this corthis is not a fair way of retorting the proceed-ruption, and most fatally injured by its prevaings, even of the Quarterly; for they have lence. In America, every thing depends on occasionally given some praise to America, their suffrages, and their favour and support; and have constantly spoken ill enough of the and accordingly it would appear, that they are paupers, and radicals, and reformers of Eng- pampered with constant adulation, from the land. But as to us, and the great body of the rival suitors to their favour-so that no one nation which thinks with us, it is a proceeding will venture to tell them of their faults; and without the colour of justice or the shadow moralists, even of the austere character of of apology-and is not a less flagrant indica- Mr. W., dare not venture to whisper a syllable tion of impatience or bad humour, than the to their prejudice. It is thus, and thus only, marvellous assumption which runs through that we can account for the strange sensitivethe whole argument, that it is an unpardon- ness which seems to prevail among them on able insult and an injury to find any fault with the lightest sound of disapprobation, and for any thing in America,-must necessarily pro- the acrimony with which, what would pass ceed from national spite and animosity, and anywhere else for very mild admonitions, are affords, whether true or false, sufficient reason repelled and resented. It is obvious, howfor endeavouring to excite a corresponding ever, that nothing can be so injurious to the animosity against our nation. Such, however, character either of an individual or a nation, is the scope and plan of Mr. W.'s whole work. as this constant and paltry cockering of praise; Whenever he thinks that his country has been and that the want of any native censor, makes erroneously accused, he points out the error it more a duty for the moralists of other counwith sufficient keenness and asperity-but tries to take them under their charge, and let when he is aware that the imputation is just them know now and then what other people and unanswerable, instead of joining his re- think and say of them. buke or regret to those of her foreign censors, he turns fiercely and vindictively on the parallel infirmities of this country-as if those also had not been marked with reprobation, and without admitting that the censure was merited, or hoping that it might work amendment, complains in the bitterest terms of malignity, and arouses his country to revenge!

We are anxious to part with Mr. W. in good humour;-but we must say that we rather wish he would not go on with the work he has begun at least if it is to be pursued in the spirit which breathes in the part now before us. Nor is it so much to his polemic and vindictive tone that we object, as this tendency to adulation, this passionate, vapouring, thetorical style of amplifying and exaggerating the felicities of his country. In point of talent and knowledge and industry, we have no

Which, then, we would ask, is the most fair and reasonable, or which the most truly patriotic?-We, who, admitting our own mani- doubt that he is eminently qualified for the fold faults and corruptions, testifying loudly | task-(though we must tell him that he does

not write so well now as when he left England) but no man will ever write a book of authority on the institutions and resources of his country, who does not add some of the virtues of a Censor to those of a Patriot-or rather, who does not feel, that the noblest, as well as the most difficult part of patriotism is that which prefers his country's Good to its Favour, and is more directed to reform its vices, than to cherish the pride of its virtues. With foreign nations, too, this tone of fondness and self-admiration is always suspected; and most commonly ridiculous-while calm and steady claims of merit, interspersed with acknowledgments of faults, are sure to obtain credit, and to raise the estimation both of the writer and of his country. The ridicule, too, which naturally attaches to this vehement selflaudation, must insensibly contract a darker shade of contempt, when it comes to be suspected that it does not proceed from mere honest vanity, but from a poor fear of giving offence to power-sheer want of courage, in short (in the wiser part at least of the population), to let their foolish AHMOΣ know what in their hearts they think of him.

And now we must at length close this very long article-the very length and earnestness of which, we hope, will go some way to satisfy our American brethren of the importance we

(November, 1822.)

Bracebridge Hall; or, the Humorists. By GEOFFREY CRAYON, Gent. Author of "The Sketch Book," &c. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 800. Murray. London: 1822.*

We have received so much pleasure from this book, that we think ourselves bound in gratitude, as well as justice, to make a public acknowledgment of it,-and seek to repay, by a little kind notice, the great obligations we shall ever feel to the author. These amiable sentiments, however, we fear, will scarcely furnish us with materials for an interesting article-and we suspect we have not much else to say, that has not already occurred to most of our readers-or, indeed, been said by ourselves with reference to his former publication. For nothing in the world cau be so complete as the identity of the author in these two productions-identity not of style merely and character, but of merit also, both in kind and degree, and in the sort and extent of popularity which that merit has created-not merely the same good sense and the same good humour directed to the same good ends, and

attach to their good opinion, and the anxiety we feel to prevent any national repulsion from being aggravated by a misapprehension of our sentiments, or rather of those of that great body of the English nation of which we are here the organ. In what we have now written, there may be much that requires explanation and much, we fear, that is liable to misconstruction.-The spirit in which it is written, however, cannot, we think, be misunderstood. We cannot descend to little cavils and altercations; and have no leisure to maintain a controversy about words and phrases. We have an unfeigned respect and affection for the free people of America; and we mean honestly to pledge ourselves for that of the better part of our own country. We are very proud of the extensive circulation of our Journal in that great country, and the importance that is there attached to it. But we should be undeserving of this favour, if we could submit to seek it by any mean practices, either of flattery or of dissimulation; and feel persuaded that we shall not only best deserve, but most surely obtain, the confidence and respect of Mr. W. and his countrymen, by speaking freely what we sincerely think of them, and treating them exactly as we treat that nation to which we are here accused of being too favourable.

My heart is still so much in the subject of the preceding paper, that I am tempted to add this to it; chiefly for the sake of the powerful backing which my English exhortation to amity among brethren, is there shown to have received from the most amiable and elegant of American writers. I had said nearly the same things in a previous review of The Sketch Book," and should have reprinted that article also, had it not been made up chiefly of extracts, with which I do not think it quite fair to fill up this publication.


with the same happy selection and limited variety, but the same proportion of things that seem scarcely to depend on the individualthe same luck, as well as the same labour, and an equal share of felicities to enhance the fair returns of judicious industry. There are few things, we imagine, so rare as this sustained level of excellence in the works of a popular writer-or, at least, if it does exist now and then in rerum natura, there is scarcely any thing that is so seldom allowed. When an author has once gained a large share of public attention,-when his name is once up among a herd of idle readers, they can never be brought to believe that one who has risen so far can ever remain stationary. In their estimation, he must either rise farther, or begin immediately to descend; so that, when he ventures before these prepossessed judges with a new work, it is always discovered, either that he has infinitely surpassed himself, or, in the far greater number of cases, that there is a sad falling off, and that he is hastening to the end of his career. In this way it may in general be presumed, that an author who is admitted by the public not to have fallen off in a second work, has in reality improved upon his first; and has truly proved his title to a higher place, by mereÎy maintaining that which he had formerly

earned. We would not have Mr. Crayon, however, plume himself too much upon this sage observation: for though we, and other great lights of public judgment, have decided that his former level has been maintained in this work with the most marvellous precision, we must whisper in his ear that the million are not exactly of that opinion; and that the common buzz among the idle and impatient critics of the drawing-room is, that, in comparison with the Sketch Book, it is rather monotonous and languid; and there is too little variety of characters for two thick volumes; and that the said few characters come on so often, and stay so long, that the gentlest reader detects himself in rejoicing at being done with them. The premises of this enthymem we do not much dispute; but the conclusion, for all that, is wrong: For, in spite of these defects, Bracebridge Hall is quite as good as the Sketch Book; and Mr. C. may take comfort,-if he is humble enough to be comforted with such an assurance-and trust to us that it will be quite as popular, and that he still holds his own with the efficient body of his English readers.

parasites who are in raptures with every body they meet, and ingratiate themselves in gene ral society by an unmanly suppression of al honest indignation, and a timid avoidance of all subjects of disagreement. Upon due consideration, however, we are now satisfied that this was an unjust and unworthy interpret etion. An author who comes deliberately be fore the public with certain select monologues of doctrine and discussion, is not at all in the condition of a man in common society: whom various overtures of baseness and folly are daily obtruded, and to whose sense and honour appeals are perpetually made, which must be manfully answered, as honour ard conscience suggest. The author, on the other hand, has no questions to answer, and no society to select: his professed object is to instruct and improve the world-and his real one, if he is tolerably honest, is nothing worse than to promote his own fame and fortune by succeeding in that which he professes. Now, there are but two ways that we have ever heard of by which men may be improvedeither by cultivating and encouraging their amiable propensities, or by shaming an frightening them out of those that are vicious; and there can be but little doubt, we should imagine, which of the two offices is the highest and most eligible-since the one is left in

The great charm and peculiarity of this work consists now, as on former occasions, in the singular sweetness of the composition, and the mildness of the sentiments,-sicklied over perhaps a little, now and then, with that cloy-a great measure to Hell and the hangman.ing heaviness into which unvaried sweetness and for the other, we are taught chiefly to is too apt to subside. The rythm and melody look to Heaven, and all that is angelic upon of the sentences is certainly excessive: As it earth. The most perfect mora discipline not only gives an air of mannerism, from its would be that, no doubt, in which both were uniformity, but raises too strong an impres- combined; but one is generally as much as sion of the labour that must have been be- human energy is equal to; and, in fact, they stowed, and the importance which must have have commonly been divided in practice, withbeen attached to that which is, after all, but out surmise of blame. And truly, if men have a secondary attribute to good writing. It is been hailed as great public benefactors, merevery ill-natured in us, however, to object to ly for having beat tyrants into moderation, or what has given us so much pleasure; for we coxcombs into good manners, we must be perhappen to be very intense and sensitive ad- mitted to think, that one whose vocation is mirers of those soft harmonies of studied different may be allowed to have deserved speech in which this author is so apt to in- well of his kind, although he should have dulge; and have caught ourselves, oftener confined his efforts to teaching them mutual than we shall confess, neglecting his excellent charity and forbearance, and only sought to matter, to lap ourselves in the liquid music of repress their evil passions, by strengthening his periods and letting ourselves float pas- the springs and enlarging the sphere of those sively down the mellow falls and windings of that are generous and kindly. his soft-flowing sentences, with a delight not inferior to that which we derive from fine versification.

The objection in this general form, therefore, we soon found could not be maintained: -But, as we still felt a little secret spite lingering within us at our author's universal affability, we set about questioning ourselves more strictly as to its true nature and tendency; and think we at last succeeded in tracing it to an eager desire to see so powerful a pen and such great popularity employed in demolishing those errors and abuses to which we had been accustomed to refer most of the unhappiness of our country. Though we love his gentleness and urbanity on the whole, we should have been very well pleased to see him a little rude and surly, now and then, to our particular opponents; and could not but think it showed a want of spirit and discrimi nation that he did not mark his sense of their demerits, by making them an exception to his general system of toleration and indulgence.

We should reproach ourselves still more, however, and with better reason, if we were to persist in the objection which we were also at first inclined to take, to the extraordinary kindliness and disarming gentleness of all this author's views and suggestions; and we only refer to it now, for the purpose of answering, and discrediting it, with any of our readers to whom also it may happen to have occurred. It first struck us as an objection to the author's courage and sincerity. It was quite unnatural, we said to ourselves, for any body to be always on such very amiable terms with his fellow-creatures; and this air of eternal philanthropy could be nothing but a pretence put on to bring himself into favour; and then we proceeded to assimilate him to those silken

Being Whigs ourselves, for example, we could not but take it a little amiss, that one born and bred a republican, and writing largely on the present condition of England, should make so little distinction between that party and its opponents and should even choose to attach himself to a Tory family, as the proper type and emblem of the old English character. Nor could we well acquit him of being "pigeon- The question then comes to be, not properly livered—and lacking gall," when we found whether there should be any neutrals in great that nothing could provoke him to give a pal-national contentions-but whether any man pable hit to the Ministry, or even to employ should be allowed to aspire to distinction by his pure and powerful eloquence in reproving acts not subservient to party purposes?—a the shameful scurrilities of the ministerial question which, even in this age of party and press. We were also a little sore, too, we be- polemics, we suppose there are not many lieve, on discovering that he took no notice of who would have the hardihood seriously to Scotland! and said absolutely nothing about propound. Yet this, we must be permitted to our Highlanders, our schools, and our poetry. repeat, is truly the question:-For if a man Now, though we have magnanimously cho- may lawfully devote his talents to music, or sen to illustrate this grudge at his neutrality architecture, or drawing, or metaphysics, or in our own persons, it is obvious that a dis- poetry, and lawfully challenge the general adsatisfaction of the same kind must have been miration of his age for his proficiency in those felt by all the other great and contending par- pursuits, though totally disjoined from all poties into which this and all free countries are litical application, we really do not see why necessarily divided. Mr. Crayon has rejected he may not write prose essays on national the alliance of any one of these; and reso- character and the ingredients of private haplutely refused to take part with them in the piness, with the same large and pacific purstruggles to which they attach so much im- poses of pleasure and improvement. To Mr. portance; and consequently has, to a certain C. especially, who is not a citizen of this counextent, offended and disappointed them all. try, it can scarcely be proposed as a duty to But we must carry our magnanimity a step take a share in our internal contentions; and farther, and confess, for ourselves, and for though the picture which he professes to give others, that, upon reflection, the offence and of our country may be more imperfect, and disappointment seem to us altogether unrea- the estimate he makes of our character less sonable and unjust. The ground of complaint complete, from the omission of this less tractis, that we see talents and influence-inno-able element, the value of the parts that he cently, we must admit, and even beneficially has been able to finish will not be lessened, employed-but not engaged on our side, or in and the beneficial effect of the representation the particular contest which we may feel it will, in all probability, be increased. For our our duty to wage against the errors or delu- own parts, we have ventured, on former occasions of our contemporaries. Now, in the first sions, to express our doubts whether the poplace, is not this something like the noble in- lemical parts, even of a statesman's duty, do dignation of a recruiting serjeant, who thinks not hold too high a place in public esteemit a scandal that any stout fellow should de- and are sure, at all events, that they ought not grade himself by a pacific employment, and to engross the attention of those to whom such takes offence accordingly at every pair of a station has not been intrusted. It should broad shoulders and good legs which he finds never be forgotten, that good political instituin the possession of a priest or a tradesman? tions, the sole end and object of all our party But the manifest absurdity of the grudge con- contentions, are only valuable as means of sists in this. First, That it is equally reason- promoting the general happiness and virtue able in all the different parties who sincerely of individuals;—and that, important as they believe their own cause to be that which ought are, there are other means, still more direct to prevail; while it is manifest, that, as the and indispensable for the attainment of that desired champion could only side with one, great end. The cultivation of the kind affecall the rest would be only worse off by the tions, we humbly conceive, to be of still more termination of his neutrality; and secondly, importance to private happiness, than the That the weight and authority, for the sake of good balance of the constitution under which which his assistance is so coveted, and which we live; and, if it be true, as we most firmly each party is now so anxious to have thrown believe, that it is the natural effect of political into its scale, having been entirely created by freedom to fit and dispose the mind for all virtues and qualities which belong only to a gentle as well as generous emotions, we hold state of neutrality, are, in reality, incapable it to be equally true, that habits of benevoof being transferred to contending parties, and lence, and sentiments of philanthropy, are the would utterly perish and be annihilated in the surest foundations on which a love of liberty attempt. A good part of Mr. C.'s reputation, can rest. A man must love his fellows before and certainly a very large share of his in- he loves their liberty; and if he has not learned fluence and popularity with all parties, has to interest himself in their enjoyments, it is been acquired by the indulgence with which impossible that he can have any genuine conhe has treated all, and his abstinence from all cern for that liberty, which, after all, is only sorts of virulence and hostility; and it is no valuable as a means of enjoyment. We con

doubt chiefly on account of this influence and favour that we and others are rashly desirous to see him take part against our adversariesforgetting that those very qualities which render his assistance valuable, would infallibly desert him the moment that he complied with our desire, and vanish in the very act of his compliance.

sient and perishing glories of art, amidst the eve springing and reviving fertility of nature.


sider, therefore, the writers who seek to soften and improve our social affections, not only as aiming directly at the same great end which politicians more circuitously pursue, but as preparing those elements out of which alone a generous and enlightened love of political freedom can ever be formed-and without which it could neither be safely trusted in the hands of individuals, nor prove fruitful of individual enjoyment. We conclude, therefore, that Mr. Crayon is in reality a better friend to Whig principles than if he had openly attacked the Tories-and end this long, and perhaps needless apology for his neutrality, by discov-where every air breathed of the balmy pasture and ering, that such neutrality is in effect the best the honeysuckled hedge. I was continually com g upon some little document of poetry, in the biosnursery for the only partisans that ever should somed hawthorn, the daisy, the cowslip, the prin be encouraged the partisans of whatever can rose, or some other simple object that has received be shown to be clearly and unquestionably a supernatural value from the Muse. The firs right. And now we must say a word or two time that I heard the song of the nightingale, I was intoxicated more by the delicious crowd of rememmore of the book before us. bered associations, than by the melody of its notes and I shall never forget the thrill of ecstasy w which I first saw the lark rise, almost from bener à my feet, and wing its musical flight up into the morning sky."-Vol. i. pp. 6-9.

But, in fact, to me every thing was fal matter: The footsteps of history were every wher to be traced; and poetry had breathed over a sanctified the land. I experienced the delight freshness of feeling of a child, to whom every th is new. I pictured to myself a set of inhabitar and a mode of life for every habitation that I saw from the aristocratical mansion, amidst the lordy repose of stately groves and solitary parks, 10 h straw-thatched cottage, with its scanty garden and its cherished woodbine. I thought I never co be sated with the sweetness and freshness of 1 country so completely carpeted with verdure

There are not many of our readers to whom it can be necessary to mention, that it is in substance, and almost in form, a continuation of the Sketch Book; and consists of a series of little descriptions, and essays on matters principally touching the national character and old habits of England. The author is supposed to be resident at Bracebridge Hall, the Christmas festivities of which he had commemorated in his former publication, and among the inmates of which, most of the familiar incidents occur which he turns to account in his lucubrations. These incidents can scarcely be said to make a story in any sense, and certainly not one which would admit of being abstracted; and as we are under a vow to make but short extracts from popular books, we must see that we choose well the few passages upon which we may venture. There is a short Introduction, and a Farewell, by the author; in both which he alludes to the fact of his being a citizen of America in a way that appears to us to deserve a citation. The first we give chiefly for the beauty of the writing.



England is as classic ground to an American, as Italy is to an Englishman; and old London teems with as much historical association as mighty Rome. But what more especially attracts his notice, are those peculiarities which distinguish an old country, and an old state of society, from a new one. I have never yet grown familiar enough with the crumbling monuments of past ages, to blunt the intense interest with which I at first beheld them. Accustomed always to scenes where history was, in a manner, in anticipation; where every thing in art was new and progressive, and pointed to the future rather than to the past; where, in short, the works of man gave no ideas but those of young existence, and prospective improvement; there was something inexpressibly touching in the sight of enormous piles of architecture, grey with antiquity, and sinking to decay. I cannot describe the mute but deep-felt enthusiasm with which I have contemplated a vast monastic ruin, like Tintern Abbey, buried in the bosom of a quiet valley, and shut up from the world, as though it had existed merely for itself; or a warrior pile, like Conway Castle, standing in stern loneliness, on its rocky height, a mere hollow, yet threatening phantom of departed power. They spread a grand and melancholy, and, to me, an unusual charm over the landscape. I for the first time beheld signs of national old age, and empire's decay; and proofs of the tran

We know nothing more beautiful than the the reader be not struck with its music, we melody of this concluding sentence; and if think he has no right to admire the Vision of Mirza, or any of the other delicious cadences of Addison.

it is matter to which we shall miss no fit ocThe Farewell we quote for the matter; and casion to recur,-being persuaded not only that it is one of higher moment than almost any other to which we can now apply ourverance, even of such a work as ours may in selves, but one upon which the honest persetime produce practical and beneficial effects. We allude to the animosity which intemperate writers on both sides are labouring to create. America, and which we, and the writer beor exasperate, between this country and fore us, are most anxious to allay. There is no word in the following quotation in which we do not most cordially concur. We receive with peculiar satisfaction the assurances of the accomplished author, as to the kindly disposition of the better part of his countrymen; and are disposed to place entire conndence in it, not only from our reliance on his judgment and means of information, but from the accuracy of his representation of the sort of persons to whom the fashion of abusing the Americans has now gone down, on this side of the Atlantic. Nothing, we think, can be more handsome, persuasive, or grateful, than the whole following passage.

"And here let me acknowledge my warm, my thankful feelings, at the effect produced by one of my trivial lucubrations. I allude to the essay in the Sketch-Book, on the subject of the literary feuds between England and America. I cannot express the heartfelt delight I have experienced at the unexpected sympathy and approbation with which those remarks have been received on both sides of the Atlantic. I speak this not from any paltry feelings of gratified vanity; for I attribute the effect to no merit of my pen. The paper in question was brief and casual, and the ideas it conveyed were simple and obvious. It was the cause; it was the cause' alone. There was a predisposi

« 前へ次へ »