Sayfadaki görseller



John Bull, if they read it. Perhaps the minds of the multitude, to whom the honourable member would have the questions which he professed to furnished the house and the country discuss were then new, and who were with a list of papers that might, and therefore liable to be misled by his of papers that ought not to be read. shallow sophistries, rendered his wriThe idea, though a Liberal, is not a tings really dangerous; and it was new one. The days have been, when perhaps proper, at such a time, to put Do good catholic would open a bgok a stop to their circulation (as far as it not sanctioned by his confessor. A could be done) by authority; But board of confession, to determine what there were foolish things prohibited books and papers Englishmen. may, about the samne time, that could have read, is a very liberal idea, and, when done as little harm as 'The Liberal is established, may prove a means of likely to do; and might have been converting the unliberalised tithe to safely left alone. If these did harm, the opinions of the other nine-tenths or attracted the regard of the weakof all the intelligent men in the world, minded, it was because the sale of Yet this is one of the blessings of the them was forbidden. Of this class of triumph of Liberal principles, for publications, I shall mention as an inwhich the projectors may get little stance, THE POLITICAL PROGRESS thanks; and I beg leave to warn the Lic of Britain,” a trifle which its author, berals, that the experiment is a hazard- seems to have produced in a capricious ous one. Their disciples (we find) when mood, more in jest than in earnest, flattered into a conceit that they thuş and with a view of displaying the odd give a proof of their superior intelli, peculiarities in his own character and gence, obligingly shut their eyes, and sentiments, rather than of injuring call every thing black that is called his country, or producing a serious black by their instructors, in order to effect of any kind. shew how very enlightened they are; Men who seek celebrity, and the but might be apt to turn restive and emolument that usually accompanies insist on using their eyes, if ordered it in England, by courting prosecuto keep them shut. They silenced the tion, have of late years fallen upon a Beacon, (which it was weakly per- method which must succeed, unless mitted them to do) ;* but the attempt the government neglects an essential, to forbid the reading of the John Buli, but painful duty. The railers in print, has certainly tended to procure it a seem now to perceive that every thing more general and favourable reception, that can be advanced in the form of than its own merits, great as they are, argument, as objections against the might have done had it never been religion or the civil government of persecuted.

England, has been advanced and re Many works of little merit, and futed again and again. But though more of no merit at all, have been they can produce nothing in the way raised into celebrity and esteem by of argument against them, they can being proscribed. The government do what answers their purpose as well. and country have experienced this, They can shock the ears of the pious, and have profited by their experience the decent, and the loyal, by treating If the Liberals will imitate the con- sacred things with a coarse familiari, duct of their superiors in any thing, ty, and putting rude blasphemies into let it be in some point on which their the mouths of wretches to whom ri, conduct is universally allowed to be baldry and profanity are jests; and a proper ; at any rate, not on one that jest is an argument, indeed the only is condemned by themselves, as well argument they value or .comprehend, as others; not that prosecutions are The venders of such things must be in all cases either unjustifiable or use- prosecuted, and should be punished less. Mr Paine's writings excited a too, did our laws inflict a penalty on very general curiosity at the time they libel, which such miscreants would appeared, in consequence of the noto- feel to be punishment ; for it is derious character of their author, as a grading to the character of our counrebel and a profligate. The unsettled try, that it produces men who can state of the world, and the ferment compose or read such things; and they produced by unusual occurrences in admit not of being answered in any

• A sad mixture it was of internal stupidity and external weakness that permitted this. Witness my hand.-M. ODOHERTY.

other way, for argument can only be abominable composition, (The Vision used against argument. To answer of Judgment,) there is something to railing with railing, is to repeat the shock the feelings of every man who offence with aggravation. The circum- has the least respect for religion, or stance which renders the prosecution love of his country, which makes it of such writers particularly painful to improper to quote the author's idenofficers of government, is, that their tical words. "It probably was meant scoffs and blasphemies against law and as a security against its being too freereligion, are so mixed up with abuse ly quoted. The abhorrence, on some of the ministers of state, and agents occasions, expressed by the Liberals of government, as to give to the pro- at scenes of slaughter and bloodshed, secution some shew of being underta- were it sincere, would teach them to ken on their behalf. It is many years rejoice at the issue of the battle of since any libel against the ministers, Waterloo ; for who sees not, that if it either individually or as a party, has had been different, the carnage, in all been written with sufficient ability, or probability, must have continued to even plausibility, to provoke resent- this day? "But on that auspicious day, ment, or attract serious notice. the cause of Liberty and Old England

So little have I of the esprit de corps was completely triumphant, and at of authorship, that I feel a greater once the carnage ceased. Reasonable concern for my rights as a reader than and honourable terms of peace, our as a writer. I would much rather see country could never get from her enethe press subjected to a judicious cen- mies, whilst a hope remained of ensorship, than be accountable for what slaving her ; but the moment that her I read to any tribunal, however libe- righteous cause, (the cause of all manral and intelligent, or liable to control kind, not excepting her enemies,) was in my choice of books and papers that triumphant, she accorded indulgent are allowed to be published; and such terms to them, and not one man has only I desire to read. A loyalist and since fallen by the hand of war, in patriot never knowingly looks into a Christendom. And this is the sad work, of which the publication and catastrophe deplored above all others, sale have, by a verdict and sentence of by the Liberal party all over the a court, been declared to be illegal, world. though no penalty attaches to the But the issue of our glorious strugreading of it; for a patriot's is a gene- gle, had it been merely that the forrous and willing, 'not a slavish and tune of England prevailed over that of forced, obedience to the laws. It is her ancient enemy, though that would not the dread of the penalty, but a have been hard to digest, would have consciousness, that to transgress or to been endurable ; but, alas ! the cause countenance the transgressors of the of England was the cause of freedom laws is wrong, that withholds him against tyranny, of right against rio from offending

lence and usurpation. There was the In a former part of the preface, the rub. The foul and deformed spirit of author calls his Grace of Wellington, jacobinism, when touched by thesword “ The Duke of What's-his-name now of liberty, was compelled to quit his flourishing ;" and at the part to which disguise, and appear in his own hidewe have arrived, where he condescend- ous shape; and the charm being broke, ingly recollects the title of this very the less intellectual half of mankind, insignificant person, he tells us that (if I may thus speak of nine-tenths of "he is a good hunting captain, a sort all the intelligent men in the world), of human setter, who has confounded waked from the vain dream in which the rights of nations with those of a their faculties had been entranced for manor.” Were not the cause of the half an age, never to be subjected to spleen shewn by the Liberals against the spells of the demon again. Many the Duke otherwise sufficiently appa- of them give their deliverer no thanks. 'rent, it receives an ample explanation With Caliban, they could cry to dream in one of the profane stanzas, that again, and some there are who wilfully form the principal article in the vo- shut their eyes, and talk as if they lume, where the battle of Waterloo is were dreaming still. But they are called “ the crowning carnage" of that awake for all that. Something now and era of horrors, the French Revolu- then slips out, to shew that they see tion, when each day slew its thou- and understand as other people do, and sands. In almost every line of this their perversity serves but to divert


those whom they wish to vex by it. expressed. But Southey, though hangThe composers of the Liberal would ed, or sentenced to be hanged, in verse, laugh at any besotted Jacobin, (for will live the term of nature, if nothing some few there are so besotted as to befalls him till the triumphal day of dream on, and are not to be awaken- Liberalism. * ed), that supposed them to be serious I know not whether to call “ The in their anticipations of success for the Vision of Judgment" a travesty on a cause which they advocate and.eulo- composition of the same name by Mr gise. They do not, (and it is credite Southey, or a gloss on a sorry and able to their wits that they do not), witless sarcasm of Quevedo's. A jest seriously attempt to disguise from any that do not excite a smile, drawled but dunces and dreamers, that the mo- out through nine-and-thirty pages; tives that prompt them to write are, a must be a dull one. I wish this were desire to be admired as wits and clever the worst that could be said of it. The fellows; to fill their pockets, (motives object of its author is less to amuse which I do not blame, for they are my than to shock. own); and to ease their hearts of a part It will be perceived, that the few of their load of bitterness, by spitting observations that follow, though occaout venom at those who have wounded sioned by the perusal of this vile com. their vanity, or lessened their gains by position, are not criticism on the work neglect or censure. Foremost amongst itself. thesestands Mr Southey, against whom Southey's Vision of Judgment apthey denounce sentence of hanging, peared to me to be an ill-judged, and (see the Vision of Judgment, near the not a well-executed work. It certainly end), to be executed whenever Liberal- has added nothing to the reputation of ism'shall prevail over legitimate pre- its author in any respect. The notence. In the excess of their glee, when bleness of his motive, (to do justice to pronouncing sentence of summary ex- the memory of our late sovereign, the ecution against Southey, they seem for great and good George III. whom i a moment to have forgotten that Ja- venerate above any other man recordcobinism is a dream from which the ed in history), does not atone for the world has awaked, and to be dreaming indiscretion of putting it into so reprethemselves. The execution of Southey hensible a form. Milton's example is the only particular advantage to be will perhaps be pleaded in his vindiderived from the triumph of Liberal- cation, as it has been pleaded in deism, which they condescend to speci- fence of the author of Cain. But Milfy. Come what will of the rest of us ton alone has ever founded a fiction on legitimate pretenders, Southey's doom the basis of revelation, without degradis fixed. He is a “ MARKED MAN!” ing his subject. He alone has succeedThis term, by the bye, in such high ed in carrying his readers into the spifavour among the Jacobins in their - ritual world. No other attempt of the high days, I observe, has fallen into kind has ever appeared that can be read disuse of late ; and it is not amiss that without a constant feeling of somethe party on whom a portion of their thing like burlesque, (it requires no -spirit has fallen should occasionally let travesty to excite this feeling), and a us see, that if they do not use the wish that the Tartarus and Elysium words, they have not forgotten their of the idolatrous Greeks should still " meaning, nor lost sight altogether of be the hell and the heaven of poetry. the humane and liberal purpose they A smile at the puerilities, and a laugh

The proper word here would be Jacobinism, but Jacobin is a mere party nickname, a word that had not a meaning till it became the name of a party; and having received its meaning from the character and conduct of a party who were every thing that is infamous, unrelieved by any thing that is tolerable, it is a name not to be written or uttered by the Candid where there is a possibility of its being misapplied. It was the more than implied, the strongly expressed regrets at the triumph of Liberty and Old England at Waterloo, and the more than Liberal sentiments conveyed in that ingenious piece of satire, the threat of a halter denounced by the poet against his reviewer when. ever a reform shall take place, that led me to use it at all. As the Bishop is a figure that denotes the church, the Southeys” may mean all reviewers and authors who presume to despise the works of “ The Liberal.”

at the absurdity of the poet, might mentioned the authors of the North then be enjoyed by the reader without Briton and of Junius's Letters, it bean apprehension that he was guilty of comes necessary to observe, that these profanity in giving way to it. Milton worthies are in some sort the heroes of has been blamed by the most judicious the travesty. The OLD Jacobin, who critics, and his warmest admirers, for was a liar from the beginning, calls expressing the counsels of Eternal myriads of spirits to prove his claim Wisdom and the decrees of Almighty to George III., and this respectable pair Power, by words assigned to the Deity. are selected as spokesmen. Junius It offends against poetical propriety utters a notable Liberalism in the only and poetical probability. It is impos- line of the travesty which I shall quote. sible to deceive ourselves into a mo

“ I loved my country, and I hated him." mentary and poetical belief, that words proceeded from the Holy Spirit, ex- That is to say, the King. I do not cept on the warrant of inspiration it. think that any injustice is done to this self. It is here only that Milton fails, writer in having such a sentiment imand here Milton sometimes shocks. puted to him, for it is one that he oft, The language and conduct ascribed by en betrays, though he is careful not to Milton to his inferior spirits, accords utter it. If he had plainly expressed so well with our conceptions and be- his hatred to the King, his pretence of lief respecting their nature and ex- loving his country would have availed istence, that in many places we forget him little, and his popularity would that they are in any respect the crea have been at an end; for when he tures of imagination. The blasphemies wrote, even the mob were but half of Milton's devils offend not a pious liberalised, or, if there were some ear, because they are devils who utter truly liberal and enlightened spirits them. Nor are we displeased with the among us, (as there always are in every poet's presumption in feigning lan- country,) they were men who had not guage for heavenly spirits,

because it been taught to read, and whose favour is a language that lifts the soul to was of no value to an author. But

Heaven; and we more than believe, with this man of bombast I have no- we know and feel, that whatever may thing to do. I take the expressions be the nature of the language of an- put into his mouth to be the senti gels, the language of the poet truly ments of the authors of The Liberal, interprets their sentiments. The words and the party for whom they write. are human, but the truths they ex- It is in vain to disclaim them as none press, and the doctrines they teach, are of their own, and to say they are exdivine. Nothing of the same kind can pressions in character, which they put be said of any other fable, serious or into the mouth of a noted liar, speakludicrous, pious or profane, that has ing at the instigation of the father of yet been written in any age or lan- lies. The author, speaking in his own guage. No one ever for a moment person, pretends no love for his counthought of Cain, or of good or evil try, and it is creditable to his sincerity spirits, or of St Peter, or of John that he does not. His unnatural haWilkes of disinterested memory, or of tred to the great and good King is the lying and braggart author of Ju- ostentatiously displayed throughout. nius's Letters, on reading the writings It is not easy to explain how it is perof Byron. It is the author alone who ceived, yet it is always easy to perscoffs and blasphemes throughout. ceive, when the words which an ay.

These pages may fall into the hands thor puts into the mouth of any of his of some who have not seen the Vision characters express his own sentiments, of Judgment, or the travesty. Having or sentiments which he wishes his

• I remark not on the unmanly conduct of the writer of the letters of Junius, in persisting in his concealment after outraging the feelings of respectable individuals by injurious misrepresentations of matters with which the public had no concern, as well as the feelings common to every honest Briton by insulting his King, because, for the present, I mean not to entrust the reading public with more of my own name than the ini. tials ; although I trust I shall never publish any thing that should make it inconvenia' ent to avail myself, if it is my wish, or unbecoming to remain concealed whilst such is my pleasure.


* The

reader to approve. The inference des From the imperfect remembrance ducible from the line quoted is, that have of some of Lord Byron's produce the authors think, or wish it to be tions, which I read not many years thought, that there is no necessary since, I cannot but think that this is connexion between loyalty and patrioté not what his readers had a right to exism, but that it is possible for a man pect, in a work given to the world at the same time to hate his King and evidently with his Lordship’s 'sance love his country. Instead of com- tion, though published without his menting on this paradox, I shall state name, although there has been a womy own opinion of the matter, which ful falling off in his more recent proI need not say is completely the reverse ductions, and it is also understood, of theirs.

that whilst engaged on The Liberal, e Loyalty and patriotism, it is admit- has been condemned to keep' very dull ted, are not terms that mean the same company, not all unknown to the reada thing; they are not always convertible ing public within the bills of mortality. terms that may be used indiscrimiz When a man is banished from gena nately; and a metaphysician, when teel society, it is usual to say that he inquiring into the nature and cause, is sent to Coventry; When an author the origin and end, of our feelings and is refused a second hearing at the theaaffections, does right to distinguish tres, or a perusal by the reading pubbetween them. But it is distinguish- lic, he is said to be damned. ing too curiously to attend to this on spirit of the age-the current of opi. any other occasion. For though loyé nion," sets strong against capital pualty and patriotism are terms that do nishments; and I think the sentence of not denote the same affection, they are damnation pronounced against the una affections that cannot subsist asunder; successful poet may very well be comand where the one is destroyed, the muted in future for banishment to other vanishes. Each, in its turn, be- Pisa. A lady cannot, without violating comes a criterion by which to judge of decorum, express the sentence passed the soundness of pretensions to the on a poor poet who is damned; but other. It is no want of charity to con- could have no hesitation in telling her sider that man's pretrnsions to pa- company, that the audience at the triotism as hypocrisy, whose loyalty theatre last night sent the author of may be fairly ealled in question; and Fustiano to Pisa. The spirit of Mr it is in vain for any man to pre- Southey, till he shall have redeemed. tend to love his King, who betrays a the error he committed in writing want of feeling for the honour and the Vision of Judgment, by producing prosperity of his country. That man something more worthy of himself, neither fears God nor honours the condemned to wander in the doleful King, nor loves liberty and Old Eng- purgatory of Pisa. His penance, it is land, whose heart does not glow with to be hoped, will be of short duration. gratitude and pride at the name of But a new kingdom, another Erebus, Trafalgar or Waterloo.

opens before me, and I must not purOf the other pieces that fill up the sue the tempting theme farther, or publication, (with the exception of people my new dominion too fast. Besome lines in the last page, to be con ing about to appear before the reading sidered by themselves,) I have never public, * with many chances against heard any body speak, and believe me of being sent to Pisa myself, it few but inyself have ever read them. would be imprudent to make too many The perusal was a task I should never enemies amongst those who may be have got through, had I not consider- there before me. ed it a duty, and made it a point of Were it not probable, that the comhonour with myself to perform it, after posers of The Liberal have attempted making choice of their preface for my to hoax their readers by imitating and foot-cloth, in walking over the dreary burlesquing the style and manner of and dirty field of Liberalism. each other, I should say that the inge

It'any one else has done the same, nious conceits, the happy alliterations, I venture to say, he will hereafter be such as a collar made by Wilkins, form: disposed to yawn whenever “ The Li- ing a main ingredient of life, Motherberal” is mentioned in his hearing. wit and Mother West-end, and flowers

• In the form of a folio, which all the world must read.

« ÖncekiDevam »