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tually disregards some of the primary ordinances of morality The nation never confided in our eloquent statesman's integrity; those who admired every thing in his talents, and much in his qualities, regretted that his name never ceased to excite in their minds the idea of gamesters and bacchanals, even after he was acknowledged to have withdrawn himself from such society. Those, who held his opinions, were almost sorry that he should have held them, while they saw with what malicious exultation they who rejected them could cite his moral reputation, in place of argument, to invalidate them. In describing this unfortunate effect of the character, we are simply asserting known matter of fact. There is not one advocate of the principles or of the man, who has not to confess what irksome and silencing rebuffs he has experienced in the form of reference to moral character ; we have observed it continually for many years, in every part of England which we have frequented ; and we have seen practical and most palpable proof, that no man, even of the highest talents, can ever acquire, or at least retain, much influence on the public, mind in the character of remonstrant and reformer, without the reality, or at any rate the invulnerable reputation, of virtue, in the comprehensive sense of the word, as comprising every kind of morality prescribed by the highest moral code acknowledged in a Christian nation. Public men and oppositionists may inveigh against abuses, and parade in patriotism, as long as they please; they will find that even one manifest vice will preclude all public confidence in their principles, and therefore render futile the strongest exertions of talent; a slight flaw, in otherwise the best tempered blade of Toledo, will soon expose the baffled wight that wields it to either the scorn or pity of the spectators, and to the victorious arm of his antagonist. It has possibly been said, that a man may maintain nice principles of integrity in the prosecution of public affairs, though his conscience and practice are very defective in matters of private morality. But this would never be believed, even if it were true: the universal conviction of mankind rejects it, when it is attempted, in practical cases, to be made the foundation of confidence. So far is this from being believed, that even a conspicuous and complete reforination of private morals, if it be but, recent, is still an unsatisfactory security for public virtue; and a very long probation of personal character is indispensable, as a knid of quarantine for a man once deeply contaminated to undergo, in order to engage any real confidence in the integrity of his public conduct; nor can he ever engage it in the same degree, as if an uniform and resolute virtue had marked his private conduct from the beginning. But even if
it were admittéd, that all the virtues of the statesman might flourish in spite of the vices of the man, it would have been of no use, as an arguinént for confidence in the integrity of Fox's principles as a statesman, after the indelible stigma which they received in the famous coalition with Lord North. In what degree that portion of the people, that approved Fox's political opivions, really confided in his integrity as a firm and consistent statesman, was strongly brought to the proof, at the time of his appointment as one of the principals of the late administration. His admirers in general expressed their expectations in terms of great reserve; they rather wished, than absolutely dared, to believe, that it was impossible he should not prefer a fidelity to those great principles and plans of extensive reform, which he had so strenuously inculcated, to any office or associates in office that should require the sacrifice of those plans, and that he would not surely have taken a high official station, without some stipulations for carrying them, at least partially, into effect. But they recollected the tenor of his life; and though they were somewhat disappointed, and deeply grieved, to find him at his very entrance on office proposing and defending one of the rankest abuses, and afterwards inviolably keeping the peace with the grand total of abuses, in both the domestic and the Indian government, they did, at least many of them, confess, that they had always trembled for the consequence of bringing to such an ordeal a political integrity which, while they had sometimes for a moment almost half believed in it, they had always been obliged to refer to some fai different principle from a firm personal morality, supported by a religious conscience:
We have remarked on the slight hold which our great orator had on the mind of the nation at large; it was mortifying also to observe, how little ascendancy his prodigious powers maintained over the minds of senators and ministers. It was irksome to witness that alr of easy indifference, with which his most poignant reproaches were listened to; that readiness of reply tn bis nervous representations of the calamities or injustice of war; the carelessness often manifested while he was depicting the dis: resses of the people; and the impudent gaiety and sprightliness with which arrant corruption could shew, and defend, and applaud itself in his presence. It is not for us to pretend to judge of what matérials ministers and senators are composed ; but we did often think, that if eloquence of such intensity, and so directed, had been corroborated in its impetus by the authoritative force which severe virtue can give to the stroke of taient, some of them would have been repressed into a very different
kind of feeling and manners from those which we had the mortification to behold: we did think that, a man thus armed at once with the spear and the ægis, might have caused it to be : felt, by stress of dire compulsion, “How awful goodness is.”
On the whole, we shall always regard Fox as a memorable and mournful example of a gigantic agent, at once determined to labour for the public, and dooming himself to laboar almost in vain. Our estimate of his talents precludes
all hope or fear of any second example of such powerful la- bours, or such humiliating, failure of effect. We wish the greatest genius on earth, whoever he may be, might write an inscription for our eminent statesman's monument, to express, in the most strenuous of all possible modes of thought and phrase, the truth and the warning, that no man will ever be accepted to serve mankind in the highest departments of utility, without an eminence of virtue that can sustain him in the noble defiance, Which of you convicts me of sin ?
We can see that a good life of Fox will never be given to the public. If his biography is written by any of his intimate friends, who alone possess competent materials, they will suppress, and may even be excused on the ground of affection and propriety for suppressing, many things which are of the very vitality of the character. The historian of such a man ought to be at once knowing, philosophical, and impressed with the principles of religion; and it may easily be guessed whether such a writer is likely to be found, or likely, if he were found, to be put in possession of all the requisite information. We must notice a sentence in Lord Holland's preface. (p. xlv.)
• It is true, that at the melancholy period of his death, advantage was taken of the interest excited by all that concerned him, to impose upon the public a variety of memoirs and anecdotes, (in the form of pamphlets) as unfounded in fact, as they were painful to his friends and injurious to his memory. The confident pretensions with which many of those publications were ushered into the world, may have given them some little circulation at the time, but the internal evidence of their falshood was sufficiently strong to counteract any impression which their "contents might be calculated to produce. It is not therefore with a view of exposing such misrepresentation, that any authentic account of the life of Mr. Fox can be deemed necessary.'
His Lordship is quite mistaken. These publications have produced a permanent effect on the generality of their readers. They may not indeed implicitly believe every particular those 'pamphlets contain, but there is not one reader in twenty, that doubts of their being mainly true. How should the case be otherwise ? Persons remote from the sphere of Mr. Fox's acquaintance, can detect no internal evidence of falsehood. They have all heard anecdotes, which they have never heard contradicted, of his earlier habits, adventures, companions, and places of resort ; and when they are furnished with a large addition of what seems to them quite of a piece with what they have heard or read before, how are they to perceive any internal evidence of falsehood.? or who can blame them for believing straight forward, if there be no contradiction between one part of the production they are reading and another, and no material contradiction between the several productions they happen to meet with? The substance of these pamphlets is so settled in the minds of the great majority of their readers, as the true history and character of Mr. Fox, that a formal work from one of hiş friends would have no small difficulty in displacing the belief. They will judge, however, whether they ought not to attempt it, and whether justice to him be not a superior consideration to any points of delicacy relating to his surviving associates or opponents in political concerns.
In beginning this article, we were very far from designing such an extended train cf reflections on Mr. Fox's character, previously to the observations to be made on his book : from having occupied so much space, we must defer those observations to our next number. Art. V. Scripture Dialogues; or, Dialogues between a Pilgrim and
Adam, Noah, and Simeon Cleophas; containing the History of the Bible, and of the Jews, to their Dispersion at the Destruction of Jeru. salem ; with which are connected some of the most remarkable Events in Profane History, extracted from the best and most ancient Authors. Originally translated from the Dutch. A new Edition, carefully revised and corrected. 8vo. pp. 460. Price 8s. bds. Jones, Hatchard.
1808. WITHOUT urging now the inexpediency of employing
fiction in communicating the knowledge of sacred history, we must observe that the plan of this work is singu. larly uncouth and unnatural. A pilgrim in his travels is sup posed to meet with Adam, from whom he receives such in. formation as only that unique among mortals could bestow; then, without informing us how he escaped the flood, whether by slumbering in a whale's belly, or by taking a trip to the moon, he falls into company with Noah, who gives him an account of the deluge and other events, to the time of Abrabam; at length the pilgrim, who by this time must look down upon Methuselah as a mere boy, finds himself on the ruins of Jerusalem, after its final destruction, and there converses with Simeon Cleophas, from whom he obtains what
furtber information was necessary, to spin out the thread of sacred history, to the end of the first century of the Christian era. The history of the church of God is the grand theme of the dialogue; but it is enriched with brief notices of human affairs in the principal nations of the beathen world.
It will easily bę anticipated, that Adam, Noah, and Cleophas, furnish the mass of information which the volume contains; and that our pilgrim, however enabled by his travels and experience, or inclined by the garrulity of age, to take his full share in the conversation, has little else to do, than to draw instruction from his superiors by appropriate questions, or to excite the reader's attention by scasonable interruptions of the narrative. The anonymous author, however, had no reason to be ashamed to affix his name to the work; for it displays the hand of a master. A sound judgement, cul. tivated by the stu ly of useful knowledge, and a taste for simple elegance, are here combined. in rare but'auspicious union, with a most devotional temper, and a faith inspired by the oracles of God. Without any parade of learning, the simple tale of Adam or Noah communicates to us what must have cost the writer much reading and study; for where the sacred scriptures are silent, he las had recourse to Josephus and profane historians, to form a complete history of the church and the world. A fertile imagination has furnished him with embellishments, which are disposed with so much ingenuity as to instruct while they entertain.
We shall extract a passage from each of the three dialogues.
A curious interpretation is given by Adam of Lamech's well known speech.
Adam. Besides what I told you of his transgressing the law of wedlock, he was of a very quarrelsome, choleric temper, and it appeared but too plainly that the divine vengeance still hung over Çain's head, to retaliate the unnatural murder he had committed ; and herein God always uses suitable instruments. Lamech, harbouring a secret revenge against Cain, as the murderer of his brother, one day rose up against him and slew him; and immediately after killed an innocent young man; for wickedness, when once it gets head, is ever urging on to more mischief.
qwever, being, agitated with a dread of God's anger for these epormities, he told his two wives, Adab and Zillah, what he had done. This failed not to excite the resentment of Cain's friends, who revenged his death seven-fold; and others again revenged the death of Lamech seventy and seven-fold. Such was the divine chastisement for the innocent blood of Abel; and the race of Cain has ever hardened itself against any salutary impressions from the preaching of my good son Seth's descendants.' pp. 22, 23.
The building of the ark is thus related by Noah :