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appears, also, that from thence, a great alteration was made in the longevity of mankind, who, from a range of seven or eight hundred years, which they enjoyed before the flood, were confined to their present period of seventy or eighty years. This epoch in the history of man gave birth to the twofold division of the antediluvian and the postdiluvian style of writing, the latter of which naturally contracted itself into those inferior limits which were better accommodated to the abridged duration of human life and literary labour. Now, to forget this event,—to write without the fear of the deluge before his eyes, and to handle a subject as if mankind could lounge over a pamphlet for ten years, as before their submersion,-is to be guilty of the most grievous error into which a writer can possibly fall. The author of this book should call in the aid of some brilliant pencil, and cause the distressing scenes of the deluge to be portrayed in the most lively colours for his use. He should gaze at Noah, and be brief. The ark should constantly remind him of the little time there is left for reading; and he should learn, as they did in the ark, to crowd a great deal of matter into a very little compass.
Philopatris must not only condense what he says in a narrower compass, but he must say it in a more natural manner.
Some persons can neither stir hand nor foot without making it clear that they are thinking of themselves, and laying little traps for approbation. In the course of two long volumes, the Patriot of Warwick is perpetually studying modes and postures :-the subject is the second consideration, and the mode of expression the first. Indeed, whole pages together seem to be mere exercises upon the English language, to evince the copiousness of our synonymes, and to show the various methods in which the parts of speech can be marshalled and arrayed. This, which would be tiresome in the ephemeral productions of a newspaper, is intolerable in two closely printed volumes.
Again, strange as it may appear to this author to say so, he must not fall into the frequent mistake of rural politicians, by supposing that the understandings of all Europe are occupied with him and his opinicns. His ludicrous self-importance is perpetually destroying the effect of virtuous feeling and just observation, leaving his readers with a disposition to laugh, where they might otherwise learn and admire.
“I have been asked why, after pointing out by name the persons who seemed to be most qualified for reforming our Penal Code, I declined mentioning such ecclesiastics as might with propriety be employed in preparing for the use of the churches a grave and impressive discourse on the authority of human laws, and as other men may ask the same question which my friend did, I have determined, after some deliberation, to insert the substance of my answer in this place.
" If the public service of our Church should ever be directly employed in giving effect to the sanctions of our Penal Code, the office of drawing up such à discourse as I have ventured to recommend would, I suppose, be assigned to more than one person. My ecclesiastical superiors will, I am sure, make a wise choice. But they will hardly condemn me for saying that the best sense expresssed in the best language may be expected from the Bishops of Llandaff, Lincoln, St. David's, Cloyne, and Norwich, the Dean of Christchurch, and the President of Magdalen College, Oxford. I mean not to throw the slightest reproach upon other dignitaries whom I have not mentioned. But I should imagine that few of my enlightened contemporaries hold an opinion different from my own, upon the masculine understanding of a Watson, the sound judgment of a Tomlin, the extensive erudition of a Burgess, the exquisite taste and good nature of a Bennet, the calm and enlightene benevolence of a Bathurst, the various and valuable attainments of a Cyril Jackson, or the learning, wisdom, integrity, and piety of a Martin Routh.”—(pp. 524, 525.)
In the name of common modesty, what could it have signified whether this author had given a list of ecclesiastics whom he thought qualified to preach about human laws? what is his opinion worth? who called for it? who wanted it? how many millions will be influenced by it?—and who, oh gracious Heaven! who are a Burgess,-a Tomlin,– a Bennet,-a Cyril Jackson,- ,-a Martin Routh ? A Tom,-a fack,--a Harry,-a Peter? All good men enough in their generation doubtless they are. But what have they done for the broad a? what has any one of them perpetrated, which will make him be remembered, out of the sphere of his private virtues, six months after his decease? Surely, scholars and gentlemen can drink tea with each other, and eat bread and butter, without all this laudatory cackling.
Philopatris has employed a great deal of time upon the subject of capital punishments, and has evinced a great deal of very laudable tenderness and humanity in discussing it. We are scarcely, however, converts to that system which would totally abolish the punishment of death. That it is much too frequently inflicted in this country, we readily admit; but we suspect it will be always necessary to reserve it for the most pernicious crimes. Death is the most terrible punishment to the common people, and therefore the most preventive. It does not perpetually outr the feelings of those who are innocent, and likely to remain innocent, as would be the case from the spectacle of convicts working in the high roads and public places. Death is the most irrevocable punishment, which is in some sense a good ; for, however necessary it might be to inflict labour and imprisonment for life, it would never be done. Kings and legislatures would take pity after a great lapse of years; the punishment would be remitted, and its preventive efficacy, therefore, destroyed. We agree with Philopatris, that the executions should be more solemn; but still the English are not of a very dramatic turn, and the thing must not be got up too finely. Philopatris, and Mr. Jeremy Bentham before him, lay a vast stress upon the promulgation of laws, and treat the inattention of the English Government to this point as a serious evil. It may be so, but we do not happen to remember any man punished for an offence which he did not know to be an offence; though he might not know exactly the degree in which it was punishable. Who are to read the laws to the people? who would listen to them if they were read? who would comprehend them if they listened ? In a science like law there must be technical phrases, known only to professional men : business could not be carried on without them : and of what avail would it be to repeat such phrases to the people? Again, what laws are to be repeated, and in what places ? Is a law respecting the number of threads on the shuttle of a Spittalfields weaver to be read to the corn-growers of the Isle of Thanet? If not, who is to make the selection ? If the law cannot be comprehended by listening to the viva voce repetition, is the reader to explain it, and are there to be law lectures all over the kingdom? The fact is that the evil does not exist. Those who are likely to commit the offence soon scent out the newly-devised punishments, and have been long thoroughly acquainted with the old ones. Of the nice applications of the law they are indeed ignorant; but they purchase the requisite skill of some man whose business it is to acquire it; and so they get into less mischief by trusting to others than they would do if they pretended to inform themselves. The people, it is true, are ignorant of the laws; but they are ignorant only of the laws which do not concern them. A poacher knows nothing of the penalties to which he exposes himself by stealing ten thousand pounds from the public. Commissioners of public boards are unacquainted with all the decretals of our ancestors respecting the wiring of hares; but the one pockets his extra percentage, and the other his leveret, with a perfect knowledge of the laws—the particular laws which it is his business to elude. Philopatris will excuse us for differing from him upon a subject where he seems to entertain such strong opinions. We have a real respect for all his opinions :- :--no man could form them who had not a good heart and a sound understanding. If we have been severe upon his style of writing, it is because we know his weight in the commonwealth : and we wish that the many young persons who justly admire and imitate him should be turned to the difficult task of imitating his many excellencies, rather than the useless and easy one of copying his few defects.
ROSE'S CRITICISMS OF FOX'S HISTORY.
Observations on the Historical Work of the Right Honourable Charles James Fox. By the Right Honourable GEORGE ROSE. Pp. 215.
With a Narrative of the Events which occurred in the Enterprise of thė Earl of Argyle in 1685. By Sir PATRICK HUME. 4to. Pp. 67. London :
1809. THIS is an extraordinary performance in itself ;- but the reasons
assigned for its publication are still more extraordinary. A person of Mr. Rose's consequence, incessantly occupied, as he assures us, “ with official duties, which take equally,” according to his elegant expression, “from the disembarrassment of the mind and the leisure of time," thinks it absolutely necessary to explain to his country the mctives which have led him to do so idle a thing as to write a book.
He would not have it supposed, however, that he could be tempted to so questionable an act by any light or ordinary consideration. Mr. Fox and other literary loungers may write from a love of fame or a relish for literature, but the official labours of Mr. Rose can only be suspended by higher calls. All his former publications, he informs us, originated in “ a sense of public duty," and the present in “an impulse of private friendship.” An ordinary reader may perhaps find some difficulty in comprehending how Mr. Rose could be " impelled by private friendship” to publish a heavy quarto of political observations on Mr. Fox's History: and for our own parts we must confess that after the most diligent perusal of his long explanation we do not in the least comprehend it yet. The explanation, however, which is very curious, it is our duty to lay before our readers.
Mr. Rose was much patronised by the late Earl of Marchmont, who left him his family papers, with an injunction to make use of them, "if it should ever become necessary.” Among these papers was a narrative by Sir Patrick Hume, the Earl's grandfather, of the occurrences which befel him and his associates in the unfortunate expedition undertaken by the Earl of Argyle in 1685. Mr. Fox, in detailing the history of that expedition, has passed a censure, as Mr. Rose thinks, on the character of Sir Patrick, and to obviate the effects of that censure he now finds it“ necessary” to publish this volume.
All this sounds very chivalrous and affectionate; but we have three little remarks to make. In the first place, Mr. Fox passes no censure on Sir Patrick Hume. In the second place, this publication does by no means obviate the censure of which Mr. Rose complains. And, thirdly, it is utterly absurd to ascribe Mr. Rose's part of the volume, in which Sir Patrick Hume is scarcely ever mentioned to any anxiety about his reputation.
In the first place, it is quite certain that Mr. Fox passes no censure on Sir Patrick Hume. On the contrary, he says of him that “he had early distinguished himself in the cause of liberty;" and afterwards rates him so very highly as to think it a sufficient reason for construing some doubtful points in Sir John Cochrane's conduct favourably that “he had always acted in conjunction with Sir Patrick Hume, who is proved by the subsequent events, and indeed by the whole tenor of his life and conduct, to have been uniformly sincere and zealous in the cause of his country.” Such is the deliberate and unequivocal testimony which Mr. Fox has borne to the character of this gentleman, and such the historian, whose unjust censures have compelled the Right Honourable George Rose to indite 250 quarto pages out of pure regard to the injured memory of this ancestor of his deceased patron.
Such is Mr. Fox's opinion, then, of Sir Patrick Hume, and the only opinion he anywhere gives of his character. With regard to his conduct, he observes, indeed, in one place, that he and the other gentlemen engaged in the enterprise appear to have paid too little deference to the opinion of their noble leader, and narrates in another that at the breaking up of their little army they did not even stay to reason with him, but crossed the Clyde with such as would follow them. Now,
Sir Patrick's own narrative, so far from contradicting either of these statements, confirms them both in the most remarkable manner. There is scarcely a page of it that does not show the jealous and controlling spirit which was exercised towards their leader; and, with regard to the concluding scene, Sir Patrick's own account makes infinitely more strongly against himself and Sir John Cochrane than the general statement of Mr. Fox. So far from staying to argue with their general before parting with him, it appears that Sir Patrick did not so much as see him, and that Cochrane, at whose suggestion he deserted him, had in a manner ordered that unfortunate nobleman to leave their company. The material words of the narrative are these :-
“On coming down to Kilpatrick, I met Sir John (Cochrane), with others accompanieing him ; who takeing mee by the hand, turned mee, saying, My heart, goe you with mee? Whither goe you, said I? Over Clide by boate, said he. I: Wher is Argyle? I must see him.-He: He is gone away to his owne countrey, you cannot see him.-I: How comes this change of resolution, and that wee went not together to Glasgow ?-He: It is no time to answer questions, but I shall satisfy you afterward. To the boates wee came, filled 2, and rowed over, &c.—An honest gentleman who was present told mee afterward the manner of his parting with the Erle. Argyle being in the room with Sir John, the gentleman coming in, found confusion in the Erle's countenance and speech. In end he said, Sir John, I pray advise mee what shall I doe; shall I go over Clide with you, or shall I goe to my owne countrey ? Sir John answered, My Lord, I have told you my opinion ; you have some Highlanders here about you ; it is best you go to your owne ccuntrey with them, for it is to noe purpose for you to goe over Clide. My Lord, fare you well. Then call’d the gentleman, Come away, Sir; who followed him when I met with him.”—Sir P. Hume's Narrativé, pp. 63, 64.
Such are all the censures which Mr. Fox passes upon this departed worthy, and such the contradiction which Mr. Rose now thinks it necessary to exhibit. It is very true that Mr. Fox, in the course of his narrative, is under the necessity of mentioning, on the credit of all the historians who have treated of the subject, that Argyle, after his capture, did express himself in terms of strong disapprobation both of Sir Patrick Hume and of Sir John Cochrane, and said that their ignorance and misconduct was, though not designedly, the chief cause of his failure. - r. Fox neither adopts not rejects this sentiment. He gives his own opinion, as we have already seen, in terms of the highest encomium on the character of Sir Patrick Hume, and merely repeats the expressions of Argyle as he found them in Woodrow and the other historians, and as he was under the necessity of repeating them, if he was to give any account of the last words of that unfortunate nobleman. It is this censure of Argyle, then, perhaps, and not any censure of Mr. Fox's, that Mr. Rose intended to obviate by the publication before us. upon this supposition, how did the appearance of Mr. Fox's book constitute that necessity which compelled the tender conscience of Lord Marchmont's executor to give to the world this long-lost justification of his ancestor? The censure did not appear for the first time in Mr.