« PreviousContinue »
In the character, then, of a Christian, of a Minister of the Gospel, of a Clergyınan of the Church of England, and one, as his friend would assure us, of peculiar seriousness; Mr. Gisborne de. nounces all those who have dared to oppose the principle, or to arrest the progress of the Bible Society, as enemies of God and man, and as impelled by the same influence of evil, and of the author of evil, as the very Jews who slew the Prince of Life. All, we say, for Mr. Gisborne has made an exception in favour of none; nor do we see in what manner he will be able, even if future expediency should render him inclined, to shelter bimself under a single clause of reservation. And for what crime is this denunciation thus solemnly made? For the crime of preferring one Bible Society to another, and for upholding the cause of that Church which they are sworn to defend, against the influx of that heresy and schism, from which both Mr. Gisborne and themselves daily pray to the mercy of God to be delivered.
A more decisive and alarming proof of the spirit which animates but too many among the patrons of this new Society, cannot be exhibited, than in the pamphlet before us. When a Minister of Mr Gisborne's meekness and sanctity, assumes not only so inquisitorial, but even so damnatory a strain, we shudder at the influence of the same cause on tempers more infuriated, and minds less disciplined. The accusing and the avenging spirit, we know, is one..We defy the records even of Popery itself to speak in a language more overwhelming. Mr. Gisborne, indeed, appears to have studied the Bulls of the Roman Pona tiff, and to have borrowed almost their very expressions. It is commanded, ex cathedrá, by the Conclave of Saints, that every soul in their dominions do contribute either according to, or ex.. ceeding his means, to the support of the cause of the Bible Sou, ciety : Si quis hoc attentare præsumpserit, indignationem sancti Petri et Pauli et Apostolorum omnium noverit se incursurum *,
The enthusiasm of Popery and of Methodism have before been brought into comparison; their resemblance is no lunger incredible, nor their union mysterious.
Our readers have heard the denunciation of Mr. Gisborne upon the enemies of the Bible Society, they shall now hear, once for all, our judgment on its friends, and they shall be the judges which are conceived in charity the most christian, and most rea : şembling the spirit of that holy volume, whose very title is des secrated by the repetition of these disgusting disputes.
For the honest intentions, and Christian views of a great majority of those who are supporters of that institution, we have formed a very high respect, and if we should call their judg
* The general conclusion, with slight sanctions, of all Papal bulls.
ment in question, we should do it with a tender regard to the weakness and infirmity of our common nature. The artlessness and generosity of some, the vanity and rąshness of others, have led them into an error, not of intention, but of action, not of heart, but of judgment. But that there are those even among the foremost ranks of that society, whose aim and ambition it is to puritanize the whole community, and by this mighty engine of wealth and power, to raise the fabric of enthusiasm upon the ruins of Church and State we will not deny.
We should now take our leave of the pamphlet before us, did not the name of the Prelate to whom it is addressed, claim for á moment our respectful attention. From the style and fanguage in which he is addressed, the Bishop of Gloucester will form no very favourable idea of Mr. Gisborne's veneration for the Episcopal authority. Like those of his party, he will condescend to offer the incense of the lowest Aattery to those among his Lordship's sacred order, who have expressed themselves favourable to the Society, in the promotion of which he feels so warm an interest. But towards those, who have considered it as their duty to oppose its progress, and to resist its allurements, he has expressed bimself in terms, which can be designed alone to stigmatize and deride, not the individuals, but the order to which they belong. Quamdiu bene se gesserit, is the rule of action, which the friends of the Bible Society have universally adopted. As long as a Prelate is subservient to their views, he is approached with an adulation which a wise man will suspect, and a good man will despise ; but the very moment he shall oppose even the slightest obstacle to the torrent of their zeal, he is pursued with all the rancout which malignity can devise, or fanaticism denounce, and the more so, because he is a Bishop: The Bishop of Gloucester will clearly perceive, that it is to his power, not to his order, that this offering is addressed. How far he will choose to submit to the leading-strings in which Mr. Gisborne would pláče him, we cannot determine; we are assured that of the spirit, in which Mr. Gisborne has uttered these anathemas, as a Christian Bishop he will never partake.
That the elevation of that Prelate to the Bench, was consi dered as an event most inauspicious to the interest of our national Church, we will not condescend to deny; but that the forepodings of good and pious nien, may, under the blessing of Providence, prove vain and unfounded, we cherish yet the warmest liopes. There are few who have been placed in a state of more awful responsibility. By strengthening the influence; and promoting the views of a self-constituted party, he may form a'rallying point of discord and confusion, and draw, in still stronger characters, the fatal line which divides us within our very walls, and call in the unnumbered host of unholy fanatics, who wait
but for the signal of their allies within, to rush into our temple, and to raze our sanctuary even to the dust. Or, by emancipating himself from party views, it is for him to consolidate the strength, to confirm the unity of our established Church, and thus to disappoint the views of its treacherous friends and, of its inveterate foes, who still triumph in the hope, that an ally is now in the garrison. The determination rests with himself; and we pray that a good Providence may direct his choice. The cause is that of the Established Church, and of the Gospel on which it is founded, and, as such, we are yet assured that it will find a firm, an affectionate, and an active friend, in the newly created' Prelate; because we are' persuaded that a man so.conscientious as himself, would have accepted his elevation upon no other terms, and with no other views.
ART. II. Memoirs of the War of the French in Spain. By
M. de Rocca, Officer of Hussars, and Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour. Translated from the French.
384 pp. 9s. Murray.' 1815. In this age of reading, every one who succeeds in giving to the world a work of merit and interest, is nearly certain of obtain ing a degree of credit and notoriety tolerably proportioned to the depth of thinking which his effort evinces. It is perhaps surprising that among the many officers who have been engaged of late years upon the continent, scarcely one of our own countrymen, who would have been most fitted for the task, by their superiority in point of education over the soldiers of every other nation, has employed the leisure of a military life to throw into the form of a simple journal the active events of the day; to describe the manners of people, differing not more in language than in genius and nature, from his own habitual associates ; or to sketch some general outline of a country which his situation gave him daily opportunities of observing in its most intimate "relations. The volume which is before us, is, in fact, little more than the military journal of an intelligent officer in the French army, serving in the Spanish peninsula during the years 1808, 1809, and 1810, M. de Rocca is a Genevese, and well known on the continent by his connection with Madame de Stael, to whom he has been some time married.
His memoirs have been perused with considerable interest; the first edițion was in the press at London before the Bour. bons arrived in France; and a second, published in Paris, was speedily exhausted. It could not be doubtful, that, during the government of Bonaparte, even at the time when he professed
the greatest anxiety for the liberty of the press *, its circulation would not have been permitted in France ; since it speaks in no measured terms of the impolicy, unpopularity, and hopelessness of the Spanish war. It is the work of an observant, intelligent man, aware of the injustice, and ashamed of the cause which his duty obliged him to defend, glad to escape at any price, at the expence of two severe wounds, from an inglorious contest, where his heart and his sword were at unceasing variance, and his better sentiments forced bim continually to disavow the evil to which his arm was condemned. A subsequent residence of a year in England enabled him to verify the truth of many of his statevients, and from the materials which he .col. lected here, he has added to the description of those scenes of which he was a personal witness, an account of the campaign of Portugal, which he denominates the chef-d'oeuvre of a defence at once national and military. We conceive that some detail of those parts of his book, which do not so much regard the miJitary operations, as the manners of a people, which has deservedly attracted much of the public attention, will be acceptable to such of our readers as are pleased with contemplating at a distance those varieties of life and manners, of which the greater number are precluded from taking a nearer view by their insular situation.
The crowd of important events which have recently contributed to plant the tree of liberty in every soil but that on which it was first boastfully erected, must not make us forget that Spain and Portugal were for no inconsiderable period, the only countries in which continental freedom could find a safe restingplace. Now that a long and arduous struggle appears to have ended as all honest men must wish every contest for independence should end, it is interesting to look back upon the spot
* Napoleon in one of his celebrated conversations at Elba iš reported to have confessed his surprise, that the censors of the press should have found any thing worthy of suppression in Madanie de Stael's work on Germany, which he read for the first time during his exile. He is likewise said, while reflecting bitterly on the conduct of Chateaubriand, to have expressed his gratitude to Madame de Stael, for the silence she observed respecting him during his fall; and subsequently on his return to Paris, he intimated to her, through his brother Lucien, that it was perfectly unnecessary for her to leave the capital at his approach, adding this singular assurance, that she might perhaps enjoy there more liberty than she desired. M. de Stael knew Napoleon too well to trust to his civilities, and retired early in March to her estate at Coppet on the lake of Geneva.
where the strife began, and trace the spread of that feeling, which statesmen at one time characterised as a fugitive and momentary ebullition, unsafe, inefficient, unproductive; while at another its very existence was obstinately denied, and they who believed and trusted in it, were denounced as unwise and credulous. It now appears, that it is not force of arms, but public opinion, which must be employed to keep in subjection above 175,000 square miles, and more than twelve millions of the descendants of that people who expelled the Moors after seven centuries of uninterrupted fighting, and who patiently bore the various result of 3600 battles. It is painful to reflect that a nation of such unwearied constancy, may not yet have reaped all the fruits of its perseverance, and the name of Ferdinan lo Settimo, long the watchword and rallying cry of loyalty and freedon), may have already become the synonyme of slavery and despotism, and persecution.
In point of information, and in the perfection of social babits, Spain was more than a century behind the other states of the continent. Few traces were to be found there of the
progress of the liberal sciences, fewer still of those enlarged principles which were becoming prevalent in all other lands. She had taken no part in the disputes and controversies of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, which, while they agitated, enlightened the rest of Europe. Knowledge spread slowly and partially, unassisted by those, powerful engines which have served to disseminate it through most other countries, and checked by that unworthy interest which induced the priests to continue, as far as was in their power, the reign of moral darkness and error. It was therefore long a subject of curiosity, what means enabled a handful of people, uņorganised, unused to war and privations, liceutiously impatient of control, often regardless of the advice of even a popular chief, long without a leader, and always without an efficient government,--a people who gave no signs of enjoying national blessings of such a deep and determined character, as to make the very idea of a foreign yoke insupportable,“what means enabled them to support for more than five years the weight of the immense power of the French empire, long directed solely against themselves. By what moral principle was a people, little enlightened, and not easily susceptible of receiving an external impulse, enabled to oppose the will of him who had dispensed law almost without resistance, in Italy, on the banks of the Danube, the Elbe, and the Niemen, at Petersburgh, at Vienna, and at Berlin? How could the undisciplined and unarmed and unequipped moun. taineers of the Spanish provinces, present any effectual barrier to the progress of armies which were recruited among the ex•