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anticipation, relative to the future history of the most powerful states of which that commonwealth is composed. There are every where to be seen the most unequivocal symptoms of that struggle of opinion and principle which has evidently begun in every kingdom of Europe: '" and wbich, bowever, its progress may be disguised, or its crisis delayed by the varying circumstances of each particular state, menaces in sem. all a consummation which it is in the nature of things should ultimately take place.”.
boos “ Our generation," says he, “ will not see it, nor probably the next; its approach, however, is not therefore the less actual: and not a day passes over us that does not insensibly add its co-opera. tion to the accomplishment of this mighty catastrophe. In the cursory review of our labours, in which we sometimes indulge in these prefatory remarks, we have more than once alluded to this aspect of modern politics; and we recur to it again, because it is the consideration that most powerfully forces itself upon the mind, in the contemplation of every portion of our contemporary history. And it is this circumstance that gives to that history a distinctive character; imparting even to its subordinate details, a kind of interest, which, in the eyes of the reflecting reader, is hardly possessed by all the court favour and ministerial ascendency, or even the vicissitudes of dynasty and conquest with which the history of former times is almost exclusively occupied."
We cannot refrain from participating in these thoughts and forebodings. There is, assuredly, a spirit at work in many parts of Europe which will not rest satisfied without effecting very material innovations both in politics and religion. Public opinion is every where acquiring a most gigantic. strength: and if rulers have not wisdom enough to direct-its energies and in some degree to concede to its claims, it will be sure to unsettle the foundations even of some of those institutions wbich seem to have the firmest hold of our habits and principles. The only chance of -safety, or at least of avoiding the severity of the shock which would not fail to result from the collision of twoʻsuch antagonist forces as appear to be marshalling against each other, is afforded by the hope that government will maintain an equal progress with the great body of the people, in the advancement of knowledge and liberal ideas, and thereby find themselves able to yield where résistance would be wrong, and to resist where concession would be dangerous. If knowledge bé power, the most valuable exercise of it consists in discovering the weak parts of ancient systems, and in accommodating them to the inevitable changes of society and the demands of more enlightened times. The want of this knowledge brought
Charles the First to the block : whilst, to the seasonable application of it may be ascribed some of the most successful adventures which have distingaished the politics of Europe since the era of the Reformation.
But it is our duty to give some account of this volume, and not to speculate on political contingencies. We bave to ob- ' serve then, in the first place, that the abstract which is bere given of the national business during the year 1822, is extremely well drawn up. The agricultural question was the most important of those domestic interests that occupied the attention of parliament at the period now stated; and its merits are well appreciated by the Editor, and the views of both sides of the house candidly recorded. That the pressure complained of by farmers and landlords arose from an: excess of production, admits no longer of the smallest doubt; and that this excess was occasioned by a succession of good seasons backed by improved methods of managing the soil, is equally obvious to every reflecting observer whether of rural or mercantile affairs.
In general, indeed, the History of Europe” is most judiciously compiled: supplying at once the best materials for the future historian, and condensing, for the convenience of the modern reader, a mass of valuable information, which he would in vain look for in any other species of literary work. ;
The “ Chronicle" contains the usual abridgment of occurrences and accidents, which supplies to every reader a fund of entertainment, more amusing than a novel, and more instructive than the most brilliant effort of imagination. His Majesty's visit to Scotland occupies a considerable number of its pages; presenting in colours of the most pleasing description, the leading events of that royal excursion, so dear to the remembrance of our fellow-subjects in the north.
The “ State Papers" are a most important addition to the value of the Register. In truth, they constitute the only anequivocal commentary on the motives of the European governments, and afford a key whereby to gain an accurate and consistent view. at once of their actions and intentions.
The Literary and Philosophical departments are as complete as the object of such a compilation will admit. Amusement and instruction are 'so skilfully combined, that each promotes the furtherance of the other; with the exception of those extracts from St. Helena novels wbicb profess to give the Memorabilia of Bonaparte, but which have always appeared to us more remotely allied to facts than the Tales of my Landlord, or the exploits of Quenten Durward.
As a specimen of the manner and style in which this volume of the Annual Register is brought forward, we shall transcribe a paragraph or two from the first chapter of the History of Europe, in which is given a“ general view of the state of domestic politics at the commencement of the year."
“ If public considerations alone influenced the votes of members in the House of Commons, ministers perhaps would never have had less ground of apprehension in meeting Parliament than in the present instance. Aware, however, that other views and motives are apt to interfere in the decision of these matters, they conceived it prudent to strengthen themselves as a party by all the means which circumstances allowed to them. Mr. Peel was associated to the cabinet as Secretary of State for the Home Department: Lord Sidmouth being induced by the state of his health to retire from the active duties of office, though he still retained his seat in the cabinet. There is, perhaps, no public man of the present day who has acquired so considerable a portion of public confidence and esteem as Mr. Peel, and his acceptance of office was generally considered to confer a very important accession of character and talent upon administration. His conduct hitherto has been marked by that frankness and manliness of tone and consistency of principle, which, taken together, constitute both the best and the most popular qualifications
for an English statesman. It is these, principally, which have gained him the ear of the House of Commons; for though his sentiments are always those of a man of sense and sound judgment, and his language is that of a scholar, yet as an orator, he is not fluent, nor can his speeches be said to betray much brilliancy of imagination, nor perhaps much extraordinary superiority of intellect, distinctively so called; two qualities, the want of which, would stand more in his way as a speaker than as a statesman.
“ What we have here said of Mr. Peel, by something of the association of contrast, reminds us of another distinguished character of the present day, who, it was hoped, would be again in, duced to resume a seat in the Cabinet. Mr. Canning may, in some respect, be said to be illustrative of the fact, how important it is for a public man in this country, that his conduct should be marked by a certain character of openness and simplicity, which may, in all cases, enable the plain, straight-forward, and not very refining people of England, perfectly to understand and sympathize wită his motives. We are persuaded that Mr. Canning is, personally, as honourable and disinterested as any public man of the present day; he has been, too, perfectly consistent in his opinions and principles throughout; and, we think, has grounded his elaim to these praises, by occasional sacrifices as meritorious as any which the most Roman of his contemporaries can boast of. Yet certain it is that he has by no means acquired the confidence of the country on some of those points at all in proportion to what we believe to be his real claims for it; and the unfavourable impression which exists is, we think, exclusively attributable to the circumstance, that, on more than one occasion of his public life, his deportment has been wanting in that frankness and directness of proceeding, which alone can leave no room for the malice of party to suggest the operation of any equivocal molive. Whatever injustice has been done to Mr. Canning in these respects, he has had a full measure of credit on the score of ability and talent. He was allowed by all parties, to be at this time the best speaker in the House of Commons; and it was a subject of some curiosity to know how this talent which could not be expected to lie idle, would be disposed of in the future arrangements of the administration. We have spoken in our last volume, of the circumstances which we supposed to have opposed his resumption of a seat in the cabinet; and it was at length announced that he was about to succeed the Mar, quess of Hastings in the supreme government of our Indian pos . sessions. This certainly did not appear to be the most appropriate destination of Mr. Canning's powers; and it is probable that the single inducement for its selection was the circumstance that it is the only office, not of the cabinet, that he could with honour or credit condescend to accept. His approaching departure seemed to be contemplated by people in general, less with any apprehension of material inconvenience to the public arising from the want of his counsels as a statesman, than with regret for the loss of those delightful flashes of eloquence and pleasantry with which he, and we might almost say he alone, was accustomed to relieve the dryness of our parliamentary discussions.”.
Opon the whole, we are perfectly satisfied that this volume is equal to any of those which have preceded it in point of good principle, impartial judgment, and careful compilation. It contains a magazine of the most important information, digested with the utmost regard to perspicuity and intelligence, and produced without any reference to party interests or temporary feelings. Its greatest merit consists in its being a book for all classes and orders of politicians, and in its having no cause to support but that of truth, honour, and integrity. It propounds itself to all generations, and looks for support and approbation, rather to the future than to the present. We know no record of passing events that we should so much like to be put into the hands of our children, aadi by which we should like our friends to be weighed, even our enemjes being judges.
ART. IV. Morning Thoughts in Prose and Verse on single
Verses in the successive Chapters in the Gospel of St. Matthew. By a Country Clergyman. 12mo. 108 pp. 3s.
Hatchard. 1824. IR
the “ Country Clergyman” wbo.penned this volume “ be as much in love as his rbymes speak," then, to continue in the words which the Bard of Avon uses elsewhere,
Reason and Love keep little company together now-a-days." What! shall not a plain Parish Priest turn his “ Morning Thoughts” to the solemn truths of Religion, without at the same time tacking on sickly sonnets to the tail of bis nieditations? Must he sing as well as say his heats of divinity? And cannot be preach without also
“ Playing on pipes of corn, agd versing love!" O thou omnipotent Cupid ! " that in some respects makest a beast á man, in some other a man a beast,” canst thou not confine thy vagaries to some plumpy and purple-ligbted youth among our laity, but must thou turn out a middle-aged parson also, in wanton masquerade, to catch butterflies and play fooleries among flowers, till his hot blood, and hot thoughts, and hot words, almost set fire to his cassock.
'It was in the early hours of some winter mornings, in 1822-3, (we should rather have supposed it to have been in the following May,) that “particular circumstances” induced a Country Clergyman contrary to his usual habit, as, these words seem to imply, to read the New Testament; and, from an uncomfortable fidgettiness of constitution, finding it difficult to fix his thoughts upon the subjects. therein des livered, he determined to commit to paper his observations, as they arose in his mind. The next very
y natural step was to believe that what he wrote was worth printing; and thus får many an honest, simple hearted, village divine has trod in company with him; to the waste of nobody's time, but his own, and to the injury of no interests but those of his publisber-if his evil stars should happen to provide him with one. Not content, however, with dilating the Gospels into maudlin prose, and trịcking out the Evangelists in flaunting and meritricious fişery, he went on to fancy that his daily meditations would be much improved, if he fastened rhynres. to them as rudders.
“ But, having sought in vain for verses touching on the various to-: pics of the successive
commentaries, which altogether met his wishes, he has been compelled, with the assistance of a Friend, to compose for himself what he could not obtain from others. If that Friend had found the opportunity of contributing more largely to this little collection of verses, the apology would be less necessary for the manner of their execution, which the Author now feels it incumbent on him to offer. Should the readers of this work' feel any curiosity to determine to which of the two writers the various copies of verses are to be ascribed, they will not err in setting. down all which have any real merit to the Friend to whom the Author has referred, and the rest to the Author himself." P. vi.