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depends their health and safety, had lain in separate masses, accumulating through generations, and France was the scene of their fiercest explosion. But the final issue was not unfolded in that country; nay, it is not yet anywhere unfolded. Political freedom is hitherto the object of these efforts ; but they will not and cannot stop there. It is towards a higher freedom than mere freedom from oppression by his fellow mortal that man dimly aims. Of this higher, heavenly freedom, which is “man's reasonable service,” all his noble institutions, his faithful endeavours, and lofliest altainments, are but the body, and more and more approximated emblem.

On the whole, as this wondrous planet Earth is journeying with its fellows through infinite space, so are the wondrous destinies embarked on it journeying through infinite time, under a higher guidance than ours.

For the present, as our astronomy informs us, its path lies towards Hercules, the constellation of Physical Power. But that is not our most pressing concern. Go where it will, the deep Heaven will be around it. Therein let us have hope and sure faith. Tore form a world, to reform a nation, no wise man will undertake ; and all but foolish men know that the only solid, though a far slower reformation, is what each begins and perfects on himself.

SOUTHEY'S COLLOQUIES ON SOCIETY.*

It would be scarcely possible for a man of Mr. Southey's talents and acquire ments to write two volumes, so large as those before us, which should be wholly destitute of information and amusement. Yet we do not remember to have read with so little satisfaction any equal quantity of matter, written by any man of real abilities. We have, for some time past, observed with great regret the strange infatuation which leads the Poet-laureale to abandon those departments of literature in which he might excel, and to lecture the public on sciences of which he has still the very alphabet to learn. He has now, we think, done his worst. The subject which he has at last undertaken to treat is one which demands all the highest intellectual and moral qualities of a philosophical statesman,-an understanding at once comprehensive and acute,-a heart at once upright and charitable. Mr. Southey brings to the task two faculties which were never, we believe, vouchsafed in measure so copious to any human being,--the faculty of believing without a reason, and the faculty of hating without a provocation.

It is, indeed, most extraordinary that a mind like Mr. Southey's,-a mind richly endowed in many respects by nature, and highly cultivated by study,-a mind which has exercised considerable influence on the most enlightened generation of the most enlightened people that ever existed-should be utierly destitute of the power of discerning truth from falsehood. Yet such is the fact. Government is to Mr. Southey one of the fine arts. He judges of a theory or a public measure, of a religion, a political party, a peace or a war, as men judge of a picture or a statue, by the effect produced on his imagination. A chain of associations is to him what a chain of reasoning is to other men; and what he calls his opinions are, in fact, merely his tastes.

* Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society. By Robert Southey. Esq., LL.D., Poei Laureate. 2 vols. 8vo. Loudon, 1829. – Vol. I. page 528. Ja

nuary, 1830.

Part of this description might perhaps apply to a much greater man, Mr. Burke. But Mr. Burke, assuredly, possessed an understanding admirably fitted for the investigation of truth,-an understanding stronger than that of any statesman, active or speculative, of the eighteenth century, -stronger than everything, except his own fierce and ungovernable sensibility. Hence, he generally chose his side like a fanatic, and defended it like a philosopher. His conduct in the most important events of his life, -at the time of the impeachment of Hastings, for example, and at the time of the French Revolution,-seems to have been prompted by those feelings and motives which Mr. Coleridge has so happily described

“ Stormy pity, and the cherish'd lure

Of pomp, and proud precipitance of soul.” Hindostan, with its vast cities, its gorgeous pagodas, its infinite swarms of dusky population, its long descended dynasties, its stately etiquette, excited in a mind so capacious, so imaginative, and so susceptible, the most intense interest. The peculiarities of the costume, of the manners, and of the laws, the very mystery which hung over the language and origin of the people, seized on his imagination. To plead in Westminster Hall in the name of the English people, at the bar of the English nobles, for great nations and kings separated from him by half the world, seemed to him the height of human glory. Again, it is not difficult to perceive that his hoslility to the French Revolution principally arose from the vexation which he felt at having all his old political associations disturbed, at seeing the wellknown boundary-marks of states obliterated, and the names and distinctions with which the history of Europe had been filled for ages swept away. He felt like an antiquarian, whose shield had been scoured, or a connoisseur who found his Tilian retouched. But however he came by an opinion, he had no sooner got it than he did his best to make out a legitimated lille to it. His reason, like a spirit in the service of an enchanter, though spell-bound, was still mighty. It did whatever work his passions and his imagination might impose. But it did that work, however arduous, with marvellous dexterity and vigour. His course was not determined by argument ; but he could defend the wildest course by arguments more plausible than those by which common men support opinions which they have adopted after the fullest deliberation. Reason has scarcely ever displayed, even in those well-constituted minds of which she occupies the throne, so much power and energy as in the lowest offices of that imperial servitude.

Now, in the mind of Mr. Southey reason has no place at all, as either leader or follower, as either sovereign or slave. He does not seem to know what an argument is. He never uses arguments himself. He never troubles himself to answer the arguments of his opponents.

It has never occurred to bim that a man ought to be able to give some belter account of the way in which he has arrived at his opinions than merely that it is his will and pleasure to hold them, that there is a difference between asserlion and demonstration, that a rumour does not always prove a fact,—that a fact does not always prove a theory,—that two contradictory propositions cannot be undeniable truths,—that to beg the question is not the way to setlle it,—or that when an objection is raised it ought to be met with something more convincing thap " "scoundrel" and blockhead.'

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It would be absurd to read the works of such a writer for political instruction. The utmost that can be expected from any system promulgated by him is that it may be splendid and affecting,—that it may suggest sublime and pleasing images. His scheme of philosophy is a mere day-dream, a poetical creation, like the Domdaniel caverns, the Swerga or Padalon; and, indeed, it bears no inconsiderable resemblance to those gorgeous visions. Like them, it has something of invention, grandeur, and brilliancy; but, like them, it is grotesque and extravagant, and perpetually violates that conventional probability which is essential to the effect even of works of art.

The warmest admirers of Mr. Southey will scarcely, we think, deny that his success has almost always borne an inverse proportion to the degree in which his undertakings have required a logical head. His poems, laken in the mass, stand far higher than his prose works. The Laureat Odes, indeed, among which the Vision of Judgment must be classed, are, for the most part, worse than Pye's, and as bad as Cibber's; nor do we think him generally happy in short pieces. But his longer poems, though full of faults, are nevertheless very extraordinary productions. We doubt greatly whether they will be read fifty years hence; but that if they are read they will be admired, we have no doubt whatever.

But though, in general, we prefer Mr. Southey's poetry to his prose, we must make one exception. The life of Nelson is, beyond all doubl, the most perfect and the most delightful of his works. The fact is, as his poems most abundantly prove, that he is by no means so skilful in designing as in filling up. It was therefore an advantage to him to be furnished with an outline of characters and events, and to have no other task to perform than that of louching the cold sketch into life. No writer, perhaps, ever lived whose talents so precisely qualified him to write the history of the great naval warrior. There were no fine riddles of the human heart to read-no theories to found—no hidden causes to develope-no remote consequences to predict.

The character of the hero lay on the surface. The exploils were brilliant and picturesque. The necessity of adhering to the real course of events saved Mr. Southey from those faults which deform the original plan of almost every one of his poems, and which even his innumerable beauties of detail scarcely redeem. The subject did not require the exercise of those reasoning powers the want of which is the blemish of his prose. It would not be easy to find, in all literary history, an instance of a more exact hit between wind and water. John Wesley, and the Peninsular War, were subjects of a very different kind,-subjects which required all the qualities of a philosophic historian. In Mr. Southey's works on these subjects, he has, on the whole, failed. Yet there are charming specimens of the art of narration in both of them. The Life of Wesley will probably live. Defective as it is, it contains the only popular account of a most remarkable moral revolution, and of a man, whose eloquence and logical acuteness might have rendered him eminent in literature, whose genius for government was nol inferior to that of Richelieu, and who, whatever his errors may have been, devoted all his powers, in defiance of obloquy and derision, to what he sincerely considered as the highest good of his species. The History of the Peninsular War is already dead : indeed, the second volume was deadborn. The glory of producing an imperishable record of that greal conflict seems to be reserved for Colonel Napier.

The book of the Church contains some stories very prettily told. The

rest is mere rubbish. The adventure was manifestly one which could be achieved only by a profound thinker, and in which even a profound thinker might have failed, unless his passions had been kept under strict control. In all those works in which Mr. Southey has completely abandoned narration, and undertaken to argue moral and political questions, his failure has been complete and ignominious. On such occasions his writings are rescued from utter contempt and derision solely by the beauty and purity of the English. We find, we confess, so great a charm in Mr. Southey's style, that, even when he writes nonsense, we generally read it with pleasure, except, indeed, when he tries to be droll. A more insufferable jester never existed. He very often attempts to be humorous, and yet we do not remember a single occasion on which he has succeeded further than to be quaintly and flippantly dull. In one of his works he tells us that Bishop Sprat was very properly so called, inasmuch as he was a very small poet." And in the book now before us, he cannot quote Francis Bugg without a remark on his unsavoury name. A man might talk folly like this by his own fire-side ; but that any human being, after having made such a joke, should write it down, and copy it out, and transmit to the printer, and correct the proofsheets, and send it forth into the world, is enough to make us ashamed of our species.

The extraordinary bitterness of spirit which Mr. Southey manifests towards his opponents is, no doubt, in a great measure to be attributed to the manner in which he forms his opinions. Differences of taste, it has often been remarked, produce greater exasperation than differences on points of science. But this is not all. A peculiar austerity marks almost all Mr. Southey's judgments of men and actions. We are far from blaming him for fixing on a high standard of morals, and for applying that standard to every case. But rigour ought to be accompanied by discernment; and of discernment Mr. Southey seems to be utterly destitute. His mode of judging is monkish ; it is exactly what we should suspect from a stern old Benedictine who had been preserved from many ordinary frailties by the restraints of his situation. No man out of a cloister ever wrote about love, for example, so coldly, and at the same time so grossly. His descriptions of it are just what we should hear from a recluse, who knew the passion only from the details of the confessional. Almost all his heroes make love either like seraphim or like cattle. He seems to have no notion of any thing between ihe Platonic passion of the Glendoveer, who gazes with rapture on his mistress's leprosy, and the brutal appetite of Arvalan and Roderick. In Roderick, indeed, the two characters are united. He is first all clay, and then all spirit: he goes forth a Tarquin, and comes back too ethereal to be married. The only love scene, as far as we can recollect, in Madoc, consists of the delicate attentions which a savage, who has drunk too much of the Prince's metheglin, offers to Goervyl. It would be the labour of a week to find, in all the vast mass of Mr. Southey's poetry, a single passage indicating any sympathy with those feelings which have consecrated the shades of Vaucluse and the rocks of Meillerie.

Indeed, if we except some very pleasing images of paternal tenderness and filial duty, there is scarcely any thing soft or humane in Mr. Southey's poetry. What theologians call the spiritual sins are his cardinal virtues hatred, pride, and the insatiable thirst of vengeance. These passions he disguises under the name of duties; he purifies them from the alloy of vulgar interests; he ennobles them by uniting them with energy, fortitude, and a severe sanctity of manners, and then holds them up to the admiration of mankind. This is the spirit of Thalaba, of Ladurlad, of Adosinda, of Roderick after his regeneration. It is the spirit which, in all his writings, Mr. Southey appears to affect. “I do well to be angry,” seems to be the predominant feeling of his mind. Almost the only mark of charity which he vouchsafes to his opponents is to pray for their conversion, and this he does in terms not unlike those in which we can imagine a Portuguese priest interceding with Heaven for a Jew delivered over to the secular arm after a relapse.

We have always heard, aud fully believe, that Mr. Southey is a very amiable and humane man; nor do we intend to apply to him personally any of the remarks which we have made on the spirit of his writings. Such are the caprices of human nature. Even Uncle Toby troubled himself very little about the French grenadiers who fell on the glacis of Namur. And, when Mr. Southey takes up his pen, he charges his nature as much as Captain Shandy when he girt on his sword. The only opponents to whom he gives quarter are those whom he finds something of his own character reflected. He seems to have an instinctive antipathy for calm, moderate men for men who shun extremes and render reasons. He has treated Mr. Owen of Lanark, for example, with infinitely more respect than he has shown to Mr. Hallam or to Dr. Lingard; and this for no reason that we can discover, except that Mr. Owen is more unreasonably and hopelessly in the wrong than any speculator of our time.

Mr. Southey's political system is just what we might expect from a man who regards politics, not as a matter of science, but as a matter of taste and feeling All his schemes of government have been inconsistent with themselves. In his youth he was a republican; yet, as he tells us in his preface to these Colloquies, he was even then opposed to the Catholic claims. He is now a violent Ultra-Tory. Yet while he maintains, with vehemence approaching to ferocity, all the sterner and harsher parts of the Ultra-Tory theory of government, the baser and dirtier part of that theory disgusts him. Exclusion, persecution, severe punishments for libellers and demagogues, proscriptions, massacres, civil war, if necessary, rather than any concession to a discontented people—these are the measures which he seems inclined to recommend. A severe and gloomy tyranny-crushing opposition-silencing remonstrance-drilling the minds of the people into unreasoning obedience-has in it something of grandeur which delights his imagination. But there is nothing fine in the shabby tricks and jobs of office. And Mr. Soulhey, accordingly, has no toleration for them. When a democrat, he did not perceive that his system led logically, and would have led practically, to the removal of religious distinctions. He now commils a similar error. He renounces the abject and paltry part of the creed of his party, without perceiving that it is also an essential part of that creed. He would have lyranny and purity together ; though the most superficial observation might have shown him that there can be no tyranny without corruption.

It is high time, however, that we should proceed to the consideration of the work, which is our more immediate subject, and which, indeed, illustrates in almost every page our general remarks on Mr. Southey's writings. In the preface, we are informed that the author, notwithstanding some stalements to the contrary, was always opposed to the Catholic claims. We fully believe this; both because we are sure that Mr. Southey is incapable

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