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chical, aristocratic, and democratic, grew up and came to maturity not simultaneously, but successively. Each system, each principle, has in some degree bad its turn. One age belongs, it would be too much to say exclusively, but with a very marked predominance, to feudal aristocracy, for example ; another to the mona

narchical principle ; another to the democratic. Compare the middle age in France and in England, the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries of our bistory with the corresponding centuries north of the Channel. In France, you find, at that epoch, feudality nearly absolute—the Crown and the democratic principle almost null. In England, the feudal aristocracy no doubt predominates, but the Crown and the democracy are not without strength and importance. Royalty triumphs in England under Elizabeth, as in France un. der Louis XIV., but how many ménagements it is compelled to observe ! How many restrictions, aristocratic and democratic, it has to submit to! In England also, each system, each principle, has had its turn of predominance, but never so completely, never so exclusively, as on the Continent. The victorious principle has always been constrained to tolerate the presence of its rivals, and to concede to each a certain share of influence.'

The advantageous side of the effect of this more equable development is evident enough.

• There can be no doubt that this simultaneous unfolding of the different social elements, has greatly contributed to make England attain earlier than any of the continental nations to the establishment of a government at once orderly and free. It is the


business of governo ment to negotiate with all interests and all powers, to reconcile them with each other, and make them live and prosper together : now this, from a multitude of causes, was already in a peculiar degree the disposition, and even the actual state, of the different elements of English society: a general, and tolerably regular government had therefore less difficulty in constituting itself. So, again, the essence of liberty is the simultaneous manifestation and action of all interests, all rights, all social elements and force :: England, therefore, was already nearer to it than most other states, From the same causes, national good sense, and intelligence of public affairs, formed itself at an earlier period. Good sense in politics consists in taking account of all facts, appreciating them, and giving to each its place: this, in England, was a necessity of her social condition, a natural result of the course of her civilization.'

But to a nation, as to an individual, the consequences of doing every thing by halves, of adopting compromise as the universal rule, of never following out a general idea or principle to its utmost results, are by no means exclusively favourable. Hear, again, M. Guizot:

• In the continental states, each system or principle having had its turn of a more complete and exclusive predominance, they unfolded themselves on a larger scale, with more grandeur and éclat. Royalty and feudal aristocracy, for example, made their appearance on the continental scene of action with more boldness, more expansion, more freedom. All political experiments, so to speak, have been fuller and more complete.' [This is still more strikingly true of the present age, and its great popular revolutions. ] • And hence it has happened that political ideas and doctrines, (I mean those of an extended character, and not simple good sense applied to the conduct of affairs,) have assumed a loftier character, and unfolded themselves with greater intellectual vigour. Each system having presented itself to observation in some sort alone, and having remained long on the scene, it has been possible to survey it as a whole ; to ascend to its first principles, descend to its remotest consequences ; in short, fully to complete its theory. Whoever observes attentively the genius of the English nation, will be strnck with two facts—the sureness of its common sense and practical ability ; its deficiency of general ideas and commanding intellect, as applied to theoretical questions. If we open an English book of history, jurisprudence, or any similar subject, we seldom find in it the real foundation, the ultimate reason of things. In all matters, and especially in politics, pure doctrine and philosophy-science, properly so called —have prospered far more on the Continent than in England ; they have at least soared higher, with greater vigour and boldness. Nor does it admit of doubt, that the different character of the development of the two civilizations has greatly contributed to this result.'

Art. V.— The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of

Chesterfield; including Numerous Letters now first published from the Original Manuscripts. Edited, with Notes, by LORD

Mahon. 4 vols: 8vo. London: 1845. T. He name of Chesterfield has become a synonyme for good- ,

breeding and politeness; it is associated in our minds with all that is graceful in manner and cold in heart, attractive in appearance and unamiable in reality. The image it calls up is that of a man rather below the middle height, in a court suit and blue riband, with regular features wearing an habitual expression of gentlemanlike ease. His address is insinuating, his bow perfect, his compliments rival those of Le Grand Monarque in delicacy: laughter is too demonstrative for him, but the smile of courtesy is ever on his lip; and by the time he has gone through the circle, the great object of his daily ambition is accomplished — all the women are already half in love with him, and every man is desirous to be his friend. But the name recalls little or nothing of the statesman, the orator, the wit. We forget that this same little man was one of the best Lords-Lieutenant Ireland ever knew, the best speaker in the House of Lords till Pitt and Murray en. tered it, one of our most graceful Essayists, and the wittiest man of quality of his time—a time when wit meant something more than pleasantry or sparkle, and men of quality prided themselves on having dined in company with Swift, supped at Button's with • the great Mr Addison, or passed an evening at Pope's villa at Twickenham. Nescia mens hominum fati, sortisque future : what would be the feelings of the all-accomplished, eloquent, and lettered Earl himself, were he to wake from the dead and find his reputation resting on his confidential letters to his son ! He would be little less astonished than Petrarch, were he to wake up and find his Africa forgotten, and his Sonnets the keystone of his fame.

Dr Johnson has said, that whenever the public think long about a matter, they generally think right. Perhaps they do when they are familiar with the facts, and no twist or warp has been given to the judgment they found upon them. But the best of Lord Chesterfield was that of which he left no lasting or no easily accessible memorials; and Dr Johnson himself gave a warp to the judgment of the public when he said of his lordship, that he was a lord among wits and a wit among lords,' and pronounced his famous diatribe against the Letters, (that they taught the morals of a - and the manners of a dancingmaster;) though we find him afterwards telling Boswell—* I * think it might be made a very pretty book. Take out the

immorality, and it should be put into the hands of every young gentleman.'

The authority of the Letters is certainly impaired by the popular notion entertained of his lordship as a mere courtier; and we are convinced that a short review of his life will form the best introduction to his writings, which are peculiarly of a class requiring to be read by the light that personal history throws upon them ;-like Rochfoucauld's Maxims, which it is impossible to appreciate or apply without an intimate knowledge of the men and women of the Fronde. It is, moreover, good for literature to take retrospective views occasionally of books and characters that have obtained a prescriptive reputation ; and there are passages in Lord Chesterfield's career which deserve to be dwelt upon, independently of their use in illustrating his rules of conduct and speculations on society. We propose, then, with the aid of Dr Maty and Lord Mahon, to bring this ornament of his order once more before that public for which he loved to drape himself-to sift his claims, and settle definitively his place and precedence as a writer, a moralist, and a man.

The Memoirs of the Life of the Earl of Chesterfield,' which occupies the whole of the first volume of the edition of his mis

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cellaneous works published in 1777, consists of six sections. The first five were written by Dr Maty; the sixth by Mr Justamond, who, on Dr Maty's death, took charge of the publication. This Memoir is a tolerably fair specimen of second-rate biography

Lord Mahon has contented himself with prefixing to his edition of the Letters the sketch of Lord Chesterfield's life and character published in his (Lord Mahon's) History of England.* It is so well written that we could wish it had been longer. Lord Mahon, himself a Stanhope, has of course enjoyed ample opportunities of making his edition complete. He says he had two objects in view—to combine the scattered correspondence in one uniform arrangement, with explanatory notes; and to publish many characteristic letters which have hitherto been kept back. He has succeeded in both; the new matter is valuable, the arrangement judicious, and the only fault we are inclined to find with the notes is, that they are very short and far between. We will now proceed at once to the immediate purpose of this article.

The family of Stanhope is one of the best in England, and now boasts three peerages, Chesterfield, Stanhope, and Harrington. The date of the Earldom of Chesterfield is 1628. The first earl, a devoted Royalist, died in 1656, and the title descended to his grandson, the · Milord Chesterfield' who plays so conspicuous a part in Grammont's Memoirs. His son, the father of the Earl, was unknown beyond the circles of private life. He is described as a man of a morose disposition and violent passions, who often thought that people behaved ill to him, when they did not in the least intend it.' He married one of the daughters of George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. She did not live long enough to take charge of their education, and in consequence of the unaccountable dislike or indifference of the father, the care of the eldest devolved on his grandmother, Lady Halifax, a woman of understanding, conduct, and sensibility. Dr Maty somewbat magniloquently compares her house io that of the mother of the Gracchi; and it was undoubtedly the resort of the leading politicians and best company, from whom much might be learnt by so apt a scholar and nice observer as Lord Chesterfield. ' was very young' (says Dr Maty) when Lord Galway–who, though not a very fortunate general, was a man of uncommon penetration and merit, and who often visited the Marchioness of • Halifax-observing in him a strong inclination for a political

. He

* See Vol. III.

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• life, but at the same time an unconquerable taste for pleasure, • with some tincture of laziness, gave him the following adviceIf you intend to be a man of business, you must be an early • riser. In the distinguished posts your parts, rank, and for• tune, will entitle you to fill, you will be liable to have visitors

at every hour of the day, and unless you will rise constantly at 'an early hour, you will never have any leisure to yourself.' He took the hint, and acted upon it through life ; nor, though his education till his eighteenth year was strictly private, does he appear to have ever wanted the spur of emulation, which it is thought the peculiar privilege of a public school to apply. . When I was at your age (eleven) I should have been ashamed

if any boy of that age had learned his book better, or played at • any play better than I did; and I should not have rested a mo'ment till I had got before him.'

In 1712, being then in his eighteenth year, he was entered at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and became a resident member of that university. We are tempted to translate a letter which he wrote in French to his language-master, M. Joumeau, soon after his arrival:

• I had a lively pleasure in reading the letter which you were so kind as to write to me. It seemed as if you were speaking to me, and that I was in the company of the man in the world I esteem the most, and whom I wish most ardently to please. I should have answered it sooner, had I not been passing this week at the Bishop of Ely's, who lives fifteen miles off. In this short time I have seen more of the country than I had seen before in all my life, and which is very agreeable in this neighbourhood.

• I continue constant to my studies, which as yet are but Latin and Greek, because the fair, which is to take place in ten days, would have interrupted them; but as soon as this diversion is over, I am to commence civil law, philosophy, and a little mathematics ; but as for anatomy, it will not be in my power to learn it, for, although there is a poor devil that was hanged ready, the surgeon, who was wont to perform these operations, has objected this time because the subject is a man, and then he says the students are not desirous to attend. I find this college infinitely the best in the whole university, for it is the smallest, and it is filled with lawyers, who have been in the world, and understand life. We have but one clergyman, who is also the only man in the college who gets drunk. Let them say wbat they will, there is very littie debauchery in this university, and particularly among people of condition; for it would require the taste of a porter to put up with it here.'

This Letter is curious, not merely as giving an insight into the writer's habits, but as showing that, even at this early period, he possessed the same liveliness of remark, light humour, and careless ease of expression, which form the great charm of his Letters

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