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the number of four hundred, “gleaming from the green leaf of the wood, and foiled by the deep blue sky,” is graphically described ; then the various contests are particularized, carried on beneath the gaze of assembled Greece, the victor being rewarded by the olive wreath, and the highest honours which his native city could confer; we are told also of more refined exhibitions, wherein history, poetry, and music, held each a place ; several useful purposes of these games are there exhibited, and opportunity is taken, in a passage of exquisite sarcasm, to place them in advantageous comparison with the scenes of the modern racecourse; the whole concludes with a pictorial exhibition, in which, by an allowable anachronism, the great men of Greece are all assembled, -the philosopher, the bard, the artist, the patriot; it is a noble passage, but to quote would be to spoil it, for the procession of personages maintains stately march through several closely printed pages, till all are congregated, and all gathered around the banqueting board. We had marked several passages as peculiarly worthy of quotation ; we must introduce one alone. It is the noble peroration of the first paper. The author is speaking of the disappearance of the ancient paganism, with its “most unbridled libertinism:"
“And how has it disappeared ? Did Epicurus reason down its madness? Or did the dreams of Plato spiritualize away its grossness? To the eternal infamy of those philosophers, they made common cause with it, lent it their advocacy, and flung over it their shield. But too late came their help. Its hidden recesses were already profaned. Its mighty pillars were visibly shaken. And soon the dread and awe, which had held the human mind so long enslaved, were indignantly renounced. A new cause of fear, a new cause of hostility, arose. A light had pierced and scared it. A power was moving over the minds of men, which smote it to the ground. It had withstood time, political shock, all mortal chance and change it could not resist Christianity! This brings with it no secrets, but its wonders of love. It is the revelation of the mystery, and would make all men see what is its fellowship. Every artifice of iniquity, imposture, superstition, shrunk from the eye of this blessed religion. Hers was the triumph of this overthrow. It was her unassisted victory. She did more. She achieved, for the first time, human happiness. Every other attempt to relieve the condition of our world, and the destiny of our race, had been disconcerted. Jurispru. dence, philosophy, art, civilization, all bad failed. Their experiments lay in ruins. She met them retiring, flying from the struggle. She advanced the more confident and assured. She lifted up her meek but sublime standard. And still she is the living power of all truth and goodness. Still she builds for virtue its only foundation, and for peace its only safeguards. Government cannot boast so solid a pillar, and patriotism cannot imbibe so pure a motive. She lives in light; she walks in love; knowledge is her herald, and benevolence fills her train."-p. 43.
The next two papers may be classed together. “The History and Prospects of the Human Species considered, in relation to Intellectual and Social Improvement,” is a philosophical argument, to show that man is a progressive being; while well-merited derision is poured on the unphilosophical notion of his advancement from the mere animal, or even the savage state, it is shown that it is his distinction to rise, and
that while all the inferior orders are stationary as races, “man can never be more in a state of nature, than when pursuing a course of improvement; for he then follows out a law equally impressed upon him with the love of life.”
The paper “On the Grounds and Sources of History," while it discriminates the true from the false, asserts the credibility and the validity of historic testimony, in opposition to the scepticism which would fain attach uncertainty to all its records. We wish we had space to insert the description of Thucydides in page 168, and the eulogy of Herodotus in page 173. We cannot refrain from quoting a truthful and stirring passage from the former of the two papers :
" That a crisis now solemnly pauses over the human family, that the chronicle of our world has now reached a surpassing interest, few will deny. The spirit of this age, growing long and maturing fast, struggles for expression. It teems, it travails, with glorious presages. What are its signs? It is the spirit of vindication. Man feels that he has been the subject of atrocious wrong. He has been crushed to the dust. His claims have all been mocked and spurned. He but asserts himself, but that assertion is a business of no mean import, and must prove one of mighty earnest. It is the spirit of knowledge. The soul feels that to be without it, is not good. As the eye covets light, and even the flower of the cavern turns towards it, man disdains the ignorance which has been forced upon him, and more than they who wait for the morning,' invokes the irradiation which can change mental darkness into day. It is the spirit of independence. The postulates of intellectual exaction are refused. The watchwords of general opinion are slighted. Proof is craved ; test is applied; theory is sifted. It is the spirit of liberty. The quenchless passion which found an inbeing in the bosom of the enlightened and the virtuous few of old, has now awakened an all but universal sympathy. Even the slave breaks his bond, and shall idiot-sway hold nations captive? It is the spirit of dignity. Man emulates his proper place and rank.
• Himself he too much prizes to be proud,
And nothing thinks so great in man as man.' And though there may be much superficial boast, though the malapert sciolist may be often observed, though the affected confidence may be the look of vacancy, though the vaunted march may be the strut of conceit and the stalk of pride—yet is there in all that encourages our hope and confirms our augury, depth as well as diffusion, and strength as well as lustre. The pillar is massive in every proportion to its ornament. The bed of the river will sustain every rush of its tides, and every confluence of its waters. The time shall come when the universal plan will be expounded; how all has subserved one end, and hastened to one goal; then shall wem
• All this pilgrimage dilate, Whereof by parcels we have something heard, But not intentively.""
pp. 145-6. But we must check ourselves. Our space forbids even such brief analyses of the remaining papers, as we have attempted in regard to the earlier ones; and quotation we must almost altogether forbear. Again we have to class two papers together; one “ On the Tragic Genius of Shakspeare;” the other entitled, “ The Classical Comedy compared with that of Shakspeare.” Shakspeare has evidently been a study with
our author. While he strongly condemns the acted drama, he displays a taste for dramatic literature, as it serves to exhibit the various phases of human character, and the workings of human passion ; and he has shown himself well prepared to institute a comparison between the ancient and the modern masters in this department of writing.
Two papers are devoted to verbal criticism ; they are, “On the Yorkshire Dialect,” and “ On Correlates and Synonymes.” They might almost supply a third volume to the “ Diversions of Purley.” The virtuoso who have a taste for the curiosities of language may find ample gratification here. Many ingenious conjectures are interspersed with much etymological learning, Whilst the author exhibits most amusing specimens of the dialect of his adopted county, he vindicates for a large proportion of them a genuine Saxon origin, and shows how wide is the difference between the provincialism which retains the rough roots and primitive stems of a language, and the vulgarisms which pervert and debase it. Sometimes, however, we are disposed to think that words and phrases are claimed for the northern, which are as rife in the southern counties; such words as “ lief,” “handsell,” “stark,” “prise,” and “wurret,” may be heard, we apprehend, quite as often in our author's nation, as in his adopted county. Side by side with the most diverting illustrations which a humorous vein can supply, appear remarks and passages of philosophical acumen ; we have never seen the true distinction and the philosophy of the auxiliaries, “shall" and “will,” so luminously exhibited as in these papers.
Metaphysics next claim our attention. The last three papers bear the following titles, “ On the Passions of the Human Mind; “On Personal Identity;" “ On Craniology." These all display our author's taste for metaphysical speculation ; they contain much sound and clear reasoning; and the last is an amusing essay, in which the keenness of his wit is made to be felt in connexion with the strength of his argumentative powers. Here, as throughout the volume, Mr. Hamilton wields his logic to inflict the heaviest blow, and sharpens his wit to direct its keenest shafts, against the sceptic and the materialist. Whether it be the sciolist or the philosopher that abuses science or metaphysics, to throw discredit on revelation and on religious belief, he meets the opponent on his own ground, and forces him from his position. We could have wished to multiply extracts illustrative both of his argumentative and humorous attacks on modern scepticism. The following are inserted rather for their brevity, than as adequate specimens:
“It is worthy of notice that, if we assume our identity, they who deny it more than rival the assumption. What do they assume who take for granted that they exist, that they can reason, and more inconsistently than all, beg their own identity, to dispute it? They cannot debate it without supposing that they are themselves, that they are now thinking themselves, that in meeting objections, they must defend themselves; in short, as a perfect specimen of arguing in a circle and of self-confutation, they must
believe that they are themselves to be convinced that they are not themselves." pp. 444-5.
“As no science can have any chance of patronage in our day, which does not eulogise Bacon, and shout induction, we are informed by craniologists that their system is conducted on the most rigid principles of scientific inquiry. “We never,' says Spurzheim, 'venture beyond experience; we never deny nor affirm any thing that cannot be verified by experiment. We never make researches on the dead body alone, nor upon the soul alone, but upon man as he appears in life.' Be it remembered that induction must have facts to collate ; what are the facts of this investigation? It maintains that every brain has certain organs, and that these are expressed by the superficial skull. And the facts are these. They can multiply busts at pleasure, see the identity of Homer, the form of Phidias, the causality of Aristotle. No rational doubt can exist that each is true to its rototype !
Caput argutæ præbet histor > And it is very probable that they may have a hundred skulls out of the few millions which, at one time or other, have appeared on the earth! The result must be most satisfactory! The research must be most complete! Who can resist the inference that the brain has thirty-three divisions; and the external cranium as much raised and indented as may correspond! Proud generalization ! Man has certain dispositions; if not in the brain, where can they be? Therefore they are in the brain. But of what use can they be if only in the brain? Therefore they have an ostensible revelation. But if not ostensibly revealed on the cranium, where are they? Therefore they are revealed on the cranium. Triumphant induction! Never had theorem a more victorious right to claim its Quod erat demonstrandum ; never had statute stronger claim to its Be it enacted, and it is hereby enacted.” —pp. 492-3.
Glancing over page after page, we would fain add graver passages, and more lengthened extracts ; but the reader must be referred to the work itself. We earnestly commend it to his studious perusal.
It is a very imperfect analysis that has been furnished; but enough has been supplied to enable our readers to judge for themselves what is the character of the volume. Our high estimate of it is obvious. Were it necessary to the completeness of a review, we could qualify eulogy by the exhibition of imperfections, and on some questions we might be ready to break a lance with the author. But we are little disposed to hunt for flaws.
We regret the addition of the poetry, or at least, that if inserted, it had not been subjected to a much more severe correction. No one can doubt whether Mr. Hamilton has a poetic taste, nor do we suppose him to be without a musical ear ; but we are not unfrequently disturbed by meeting, amid much beauty and power, with a halting measure. We confess ourselves surprised that it should be so, and cannot easily account for it; how certain lines have been suffered to mar stanzas which, but for them, would, in many instances be beautiful, and even" exquisite. There is the sentiment, and there is the imagery of true poetry; the skill to construct a more perfect vehicle could not be wanting. A more careful revision and correction was required, and then the verse might have been made more uniformly worthy of the poetic sentiment.
We cannot conclude this notice, without adverting to the dedication. N. S. vol. V.
It is addressed to the author's early friend, now his fellow-townsman, and breathes a spirit that does honour to the affections of his heart, and demonstrates them to be in no wise inferior to the powers of his intellect. It is refreshing to see a college friendship maintained during a period of thirty years, unabated by separation, undisturbed by any collision under the severe test of joint residence for several of the latter of those years in the same locality. This touching dedication stands at the head of the volume, exhibiting the portraiture of the man, ere we enter on the study of the author.
China ; or, Illustrations of the Symbols, Philosophy, Antiquities, Cus
toms, Superstitions, Laws, Government, Education, and Literature of the Chinese. Derived from Original Sources, and accompanied with Drawings from Native Works. By Samuel Kidd, Professor of the Chinese Language and Literature, University College, London.
Taylor and Walton. 8vo, pp. 403. 1841. The Chinese as they are : their Moral, Social, and Literary Character;
a new Analysis of their Language, with succinct views of their principal Arts and Sciences. By G. Tradescant Lay, Esq., Naturalist in Beechey's Expedition, late Resident at Canton, fc. London: W. Ball. 12mo. 1841.
In presenting these able and interesting volumes to the notice of our readers, we cannot refrain from observing, that they are both written by members of the denomination with which this magazine is connected. And we take this opportunity to record our devout gratitude to the Head of the Church, for the honour with which he has endowed it in connexion with missionary efforts for China. Morrison and Milne were, and Medhurst, Kidd, and Lay, are ours. At a time when our religious legitimacy is denied, and we are adjudged to be aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, we may perhaps be pardoned for giving prominence to the redeeming fact, that we have furnished to China all the Protestant missionaries that England has ever sent forth. Our "unauthorized teachers” have compiled the Chinese dictionary, translated the whole Bible into the language of China, laboured for the last thirtyfour years among them, and have already returned “bringing their sheaves with them ;” and, as will be seen by the volumes before us, as well as by others we have formerly had to notice, they have presented to the world some of the most valuable information it possesses respecting the state and prospects of the Celestial Empire.
The student of human nature cannot deny the claim to his attention presented by the strange phase which humanity exhibits in China. In contemplating the physiological varieties that distinguish nations, we are led into a vast field of inquiry as to the causes by which those