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• ner at their devotion ; and, for ought I know, it was through
a design of being revenged on the Dutch, that Captain Johnston lost his life. I find the Malayans, in general, are im
placable enemies to the Dutch ; and all seems to arise from an • earnest desire they have for a free trade, which is restrained • by them not only here, but in the Spice islands, and all other • places where they have any power.
But it is freedom only must be the means to encourage any of • these remote people to trade, especially such of them as are • industrious, and those inclinations are bent this way, as most
of the Malayans are, and the major part of the people of the • East Indies, even from the Cape of Good Hope eastward to
Japan-both continent and islands. For though, in many
places, they are limited by the Dutch, English, Danes, • &c. and restrained from a free trade with other nations;
yet have they continually shown what uneasiness that is to
them. And how dear has this restraint cost the Dutch ! .-when, yet, neither can they, with all their forts and guard. • ships, secure the trade wholly to themselves, any more than • the Barlaventa fleet can secure the trade of the West Indies ' to the Spaniards.'-Such, in homely, but impressive language, are the unprejudiced sentiments of an honest observer, on a question which, in our times, has been studiously darkened by all the arts of sophistry and misrepresentation.
Arr. III. The Speeches of Charles Phillips, Esq. delivered
at the Bar, and on various Public Occasions, in Ireland and England. Edited by Himself. 8vo. pp. 220. London. Longman & Co. 1817.
Fr Phillips is a man of talents certainly ; but he is not
very docile; and has not a very correct taste, we fear, in more things than in style. It is now about two years since we called the attention of our readers to the attempts which were then made to obtain from the English public, a confirmation of the partial judgment of his personal friends, and Irish admirers. We referred reluctantly to the unworthy system of puffing which had been adopted for this purpose; we were extremely glad to be informed, soon after, that Mr Phillips had no concern with it; although it was a little unlucky that the very
letter in which he denied the charge was prefaced by a panegyrick, which we rather think he could not have read without a blush, in a room alone. On that occasion,
we certainly expressed our anxious desire to prevent the im. portation of this false eloquence from the country of Grattan, Burke and Plunkett, *-and did what we could to make the prohibition effectual, by pointing out the manifold vices in which it abounded : Nor were we without some hopes, that the author himself might be reclaimed from the course in which the applauses of the rabble, or of his equally unwise friends, were betraying him, and devote his talents to the cultivation of genuine eloquence, under the discipline of sound taste. The volume before us, however, gives us no reason to believe that this reformation is at hand; and we are very sorry for it: For, whatever he may think of it, we are sure that our admonitions proceeded from the most friendly feelings. What prepossession, indeed, could we entertain that was not favourable to Mr Phillips? We highly approved of his political opinions, though a little exaggerated in the expression; we admired the independence of his conduct; we saw in him many of the highest qualities of an orator. But we perceived him to be surrounded by the worst of enemies, flatterers; and as he has, in his humble sphere, committed the error so often fatal even to great men-mistaken flatterers for friends, and allowed his ear to be tickled by their praises, till he fancied every one his foc who spoke unpleasant truths, he has gone on, not perhaps from bad to worse, but in a repetition of the same kind of composition-all the defects remaining, and the merits having lost the novelty by which they chiefly attracted notice. It would be a disgraceful sacrifice of truth to party feelings, were we to say less than we think upon this subject, because we sincerely agree in most of Mr Phillips's opinions. The sentiments of esteem which all we have heard of his political conduct teaches us to entertşin for his character, and ihe good opinion we still have of his natural talents, make it impossible not to cherish, even after the publication of this volume, a fond hope that his eyes may yet be opened to the deplorable folly of chusing his critics among friends blinded by partiality, or mobs incapacitated by ignorance-and of believing that the advertisements of the one, or the noise of the other, can succeed in changing that eternal rule, still more applicable to oratory than poetry, that' sense is the only source of excellence.'
• The reputation of the two former has long been beyond the reach of controversy or cavil;—but of the last, it may not be altogether unnecessary to say, that we consider him as a model of chaste eloz quence, reaching the highest perfection of the art, and free from every one of the faults to which his countrymen are so liable.
In the publication before us, we have, first of all, to complain of the same system of puffing which has, in Mr Phillips's former publications, given offence to every person of correct notions, and, more especially, to those who possessed any feelings of professional delicacy. A young barrister, printing his Speeches at publick meetings as well as in courts of law, at tavern dinners, in various places both on the mainland and in islands in the Lakes, betokens a zeal for applause not very usual among members of that learned order. The title-page bears that these Speeches are • edited by himself.' He dedicates them himself to Mr Roscoe,—and then modestly steps aside for a moment, that his friend Mr Finlay (the same gentleman, we presume, who is praised largely in one of the Speeches) may come forward, and deliver, in tlie shape of a preface, a highly wrought panegyric of the orator, equally warm, indeed, with any thing said by Quintilian of Cicero, though not in precisely the same style. This piece is entitled • Preface, by John Finlay, Esq.' Mr Finlay. treats his friend exactly as if he had already taken his place among the English classics. • The Speeches of Phillips,' says he, now,
for the first time, offered to the world in an authentic form.' The next sentence is written pretty much in the correct phraseology of the Speeches of Phillips' themselves. • So far as his exertions have been hitherto developed, his admir• ers, and they are innumerable, must admit that the text of this • volume is an acknowledged reference, to which future criticism • may fairly resort, and from which his friends must deduce any . title which the speaker may have created to the character of
an orator.' He then shows that he has borrowed also the correctness of metaphor which distinguishes Mr Phillips.
• De• fects and detraction,' says he, are as the spots and shadow • which of necessity adhere and attach to every object of ho( nourable toil.' He afterwards boasts, that these Speeches " are read in all the languages of Europe,' at this moment; meaning, of course, in the foreign newspapers, where it is unquestionable that far worse compositions than Mr Phillips's are translated daily from the public papers of this country. The criticism to which they have been subjected, is next ascribed to the influence of Government; for Mr Finlay observes, that Mr • Phillips's political principles have been a drawback on his re• putation ; and the dispraise of these Speeches has been a dis• countable quantity for the promotion of placemen, and the • procurement of place.' As, however, he was probably aware that we had not so negotiated our paper, he must needs find another reason for the opinions expressed in the Edinburgh Review, upon the Speech in the case of Guthrie v. Sterne (No. L.) It seems we
took for the basis of the criticism, an unauthorized and incor• rect publication of a single forensic exertion in the ordinary • routine of professional business.' Now, we have a strong suspicion that this unauthorized publication was printed from Mr Phillips's own handwriting: At all events, it bore manifest proofs of having been corrected, or rather written by him ; and, if any further evidence were wanting, the book before us contains it; for it contains that Speech, almost word for word as in the edition reviewed by us; the only alterations being a word here and there, probably typographical errors in the former edition. * Nor is it less unfair to represent that Speech as an ordinary effusion; one of a great number daily made in the course of a barrister's practice. Mr Finlay must know, that it was a most elaborate effort of a person who had little or no practice, and who probably made no other speech of any kind for some time before and after it was delivered. Indeed it happens, whimsically enough, that this is the very speech selected by our judicious
panegyrist a few pages further on, as the best instance of Mr Phillips's reasoning powers, and skilful selection of topics.
One word more, before leaving the Preiace, upon the standard of criticism erected by Mr Finlay in rhetorical matters. • To juries and public assemblies' says he alone the following • speeches have been addressed ; and it is by ascertaining their • effect on these assemblies or juries, that the merit of the exer• tion should in justice be measured.
• But there seems a general and prevalent mistake among our • critics on this judgment. They seem to think that the taste • of the individual is the standard by which the value of orato. ry
should be decided. We do not consider oratory a mere • matter of taste: it is a given means for the procurement of a
given end; and the fitness of its means to the attainment of • its end should be in chief the measure of its merit ;---of this fit-.
ness success ought to be evidence.' (p.xi. xii.) And then he proceeds to boast of Mr Phillips's success in a case where he obtained large damages, and to assert also that he has procured a larger • number of readers through the world than ever resorted to the • productions of any man of these countries,' (meaning, by this
* It is worthy of remark, however, that the sentence about an artery torn from the heart-strings,' is omitted in the present edition. But does Mr Finlay mean to say, that Mr Phillips never spoke of such an artery? We can have no doubt that the original edition was correct in this particular; and that the words are now left out, because they were laughed at. What printer, indeed, could have inserted then ?
plural, the country of Ireland, as we find elsewhere.) Now, as to this last assertion, it is so ridiculous an assumption of fact, that we really wonder how even the secret vanity of any man's own heart could make it in the choicest moment of self-complacency, Do Messrs Finlay and Phillips verily and indeed believe, that more nations read their compositions, than are to be found reading the vilest effusions of our newspaper writers and our hustings orators ? But we are more anxious to protest against the new canon of criticism which these gentlemen would introduce; and which, if adopted, must at once put an end to all classical
Success with a jury or a mob, it seems, is the criterion of good oratory. Now, we venture to assert, that no worse test can be conceived ; for every one who knows any thing of those audiences, but especially in Ireland, is aware that they are liable to be led away by the glare of the worst style of speak, ing, ---although we have no manner of doubt, that the purest and most chaste oratory, if adapted to the occasion, would always insure a still greater success even with the multitude.
The preface concludes with the following expressions, which we cite in support of the censure reluctantly passed on Mr Phil. lips, for want of delicacy. They are not indeed written by himself; but he gets a friend to write them, and does not scruple to publish them. We really thought that the old practice of introducing an author with a flourish of recommendatory, verses had been wholly exploded--and even in former days we think it was never applied to prose compositions.
Unaided by the advantages of fortune or alliance; under the frown of political power and the interested detraction of professional jealousy, confining the exercise of that talent which he derives from his God to the honour, and succour, and protection of his creatures
- this interesting and highly-gifted young man runs his course like a giant, prospering and to prosper ;-in the court as a flaming sword, leading and lighting the injured to their own; and in the public assembly exposing her wrongs-exacting her rights--conquering envy-trampling on corruption—beloved by his country-esteemed by a world-enjoying and deserving an unexampled fame--and actively
* Mr Phillips pays back his friend's panegyrick almost in ready money. The extract in the text praising the author of the book, is from the end of the preface. The second page of the book thus speaks of the author of the preface. One whose patriotism has al• ready rendered him familiar to every heart in Ireland ; a man, who,
conquering every disadvantage, and spurning every difficulty, has ' poured around our misfortunes the splendour of an intellect that at
once irradiates and consumes them. p. 2,