Billeder på siden

himself master of the subject, sees that the articles of the union would be infringed, and knows how very unpopular this bill is, I can have no doubt that he will send for the minister for Scotland, and tell him, in a determined tone,

“ Dundas! Dundas, for shame! Here is a rock upon which we might have split, as Fox did upon his India bill. I'll

no more of this Court of Sellion job ! It is a monstrous measure! “Let it be quashed !"

We shall now submit to our readers a portion of the letter before us, which we consider as peculiarly characteristic of Mr. Bofwell.

* This letter, haftily written upon the four of the occasion, is already too long. Yet allow me, my friends and countrymen, while I with honeit zeal maintain your cause, allow me to indulge a little more of my own egotism and vanity. They are the indigenous plants of my mind ; they distinguish it. I may prune their luxuriancy ;

but I must not entirely clear it of them; for then I should be no longer " as I am ;" and perhaps there might be something not fo good. Virtus laudata crefcit.-Snme Superbiam quefitam meritis. I last year claimed the credit of being no time-server ; I think I am giving pretry good proof that I am not to this year neither. Though ainbitious, I am uncorrupted ; and I envy not high fituations which are attained by the want of public virtue, in men born xvithout it; or by the prostitution of public virtue, in men born with it. Though power, and wealth, and magnificence, may at first dazzle, and are, I think, most desirable ; no wise man will upon reflection, envy a situation which he feels he could not enjoy. My friend (my Mæcenas Atavis edite regibus) Lord Mountstuart flat tered me once very highly without intending it. “ I would do any < thing for you (said he) but bring you into parliament; for I could

not be sure but you might oppose me in something the very next “ day." His lordship judged well. Though I should consider with much attention, the opinion of such a friend, before taking my resolution, most certainly I should oppose him, in any measure which I was satisfied ought to be opposed. I cannot exist with pleasure, if I have not an honest independence of mind and of conduct ; for though no man loves eating and drinking, fimply considered, better than I do, I prefer the broiled blade-bone of mutton and humble port of “ down-right shippen," to all the luxury of all the statesmen who play the political game all through.

It is my system to regard, in a public capacity, measures, and not men ; in a private capacity, men, and not measures. I can difcuss topics of literature, or any other topics, with mitred St. Afaph, with Wyndham of Norfolk, with Capel Loft, with Dr. Kippis, with Dr. Price, with the Reverend Mr. John Palmer ; yet there are points of government in some of them, and points of faith in others, as to which, had I any thing to do in the administration of this

country, I should' “ withstand them to the face.” I can drink, I can laugh, I can converse in, perfect good humour, with Whigs, with Republicans, with Disfenters, with Independents, with Quakers, with Moravians, with Jews. They can do me no harm. My

mind is made up. My principles are fixed. Bat I would vote with Tories, and pray with a Dean and a Chapter.

• While I arraign what itrikes me as very wrong in Mr. Henry Dundas, and the Lord "Arivocate in their public conduct, I am ready to meet them on friendly, but equal terms, in private. To the Lord Advocate I am moit willing to allow all nis merit. He has rien tổ the head of our Bar. No man, with us, ever pushed the busineís of * Payer to that extent that he has done. He has made it a Peruvian profesion; yet he is free from the fordidness which fometimes attends those who get a great deal of money by laborious employment ; upon every occafion that I have known him tried, he was generous. And he is a very friendly man, I thould be exceedingly ungrateful if I did not acknowledge it.

• That Mr. Dundas and he should think of attempting such a bill as this, inult make us wonder, and for a moment, shew us how weak the ableft men are, upon some occasions. I may, without offence, account for it, by using the very expression of Mr. Dundas himself, when attacking, at the bar of the House of Lords, a decree of the Court of Sellion, in the case of a schoolmaiter, where I was counsel on the other lide. I can swear to the phrase.“ They have been “ feized with some infatuation."

In characterizing this performance, we must allow, that it is not only argumentative but fpirited. It is withal, how+ ever, rather defultory. The falhes go from fide to fide, and lose their force from their want of concentricity. At the same time, there is in it too great an abundance of extraneous matter; and if the abilities of the writer had been greater than they are, we should have excused more readily his eter nal vanity and egotism.


Art. X. Philofophical Rbapsodies. Fragments of Akbur of Betlis,

Containing Reflections on the Laws, Manners, Cuftoms, and Religions of certain Afiatic, Afric, and European Nations. Cola lected and now first published. By Richard Jofeph Sullivan, Efq; 3 vols. 8vo. 155. boards. Becket. 178.4. "HE manners, cuftoms, and opinions of nations form

an object that is not only curious, but instructive in the highest degree. They demand, however, no common share of ability. They open a career which ordinary writers thould avoid with anxiety. They are apt, however, to be ftruck with the fplendour which surrounds almoft every topic of this fort; and books of travels and voyages are so common, that little search is necessary for materials. The path is inviting : and the vanity of authors does not allow them to perceive that it is dangerous.

Mr. Sullivan writes under the name of a native of Allyria; a fiction that permitted him to seize many advantages which


he has negle&ted. His range is moft extensive. He turns his attention to the Tartars, the Chinese, the inhabitants of Japan, the Hindoos, the Arabs, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. The grandeur of his subjects is infinitely in their favour. But the manner in which he treats them is, by no means, commendable. His credulity leads him often into inaccuracies; and his carelessness multiplies them. His collections are made with little choice or propriety; and while his facts are feldom to be depended upon, they are produced for the establishment of no regular end or parpose. He cannot think in a system ; and his volumes are a chaos. Men of sense will throw them aside with disgust; and they will appear uninteresting even to gay and idle men. For they carry along with them no traces of penetration or ingenuity: It is true, indeed, that the author affects to join philosophy with history; but this junction is no easy matter; and it has been attempted unsuccessfully by many living authors, whose pretensions to reputation are much higher than those of Mr. Sullivan.

As a specimen of his ability, we shall submit to our readers the whole of his fourth fragment :

• A little arbitrarily, but not without ingenuity, naturaliíts have classed the race of man in fix divisions. To begin with the polar regions : Here he is said to be brown, short, oddly shaped, and savage ; the Tartar is represented olive-coloured, middle-lized, ugly, and robuít; the southern Asiatic, of a dark olive tint, Blender shape, straight black hair and feeble ; the negro of Afric, black, smooth skinned, woolly-headed, and well shaped; the American, coppercoloured, with black hair, small eyes, and flight limbs ; the European and bordering nations, white, of different llades, with fine hair, large limbs, and much bodily vigour.

These are the fix classes in which we are placed ; and here close the divisions ; systematical enough, but erroneous and incomplete. Before we get to the end of our subject, instances in proof will probably present themselves ; for the present therefore we will content ourfélves with a disposition fo regularly made.

• Thus filed off in bodies, to use a military phrase, mankind have been observed in some countries to diminish in nuinbers confiderably, and in others to increase, but not at the same time, and in such perfect ratio, that the increase of the one can postibly fill up casualties of the other, If we give credit to the calculations that have been made on this head, and which are suppoled (I will not say how juit. y.) to be tolerably exact; one tenth part of the people do not now exist that did in former days. An astonishing decrease, if true ; but whence has it proceeded? Disease has not been more prevalent, wars have not been inore desolating, nor have any lu. pernatural calamities afflicted us, fince our fubmerfion by the flood.

• Some hidden defect, fome latent poison, must work this alarming catastrope. A lingering disease of this nature, a decay fo ferious in

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

its progress, portends no permanency to mankind : should it continue, adieu ye dreams, adieo ýe phantafies of existence! No crimes, no monstrous enormitirs, need bring on a second destruction of such miserable flutterers of a day. The crowd presling on each other, will gradually quit the stage. the hour must come when the race will be extinct, when all shall be at an end.

• The human species however, (and let us dwell on the subject while we are able) whether in a savage or a civilized state, news itself, in its offspring, every where alike; the form is the fame. The capacity for receiving, by imitation, every necessary information, proves, that in the intellectual faculty, there is little differe ence. The arrangement and cultúrë of the young ideas, therefore, and the society into which we may be thrown, are the efficient causes on which we must rest the fuperior exertion of every particular talent and virtuous disposition. Properly speaking, indeed, we should stile ourselves factitious, and not natural beings; creatures of art, formed by discipline and society, into mere machines :

'Tis Education forms the common mind:
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd."

Look at the farage wild in the woods, and with him contrast the
man who is polifhed by society. What a difference ! Not so much
in externals; but, in their passions and inclinations, what a diflimi-
litude! The happiness of the one, you will find, requires nothing
more than liberty, food, indolence, and repose ; beyond these grati-
fications he has not a thought. The man of cultivated understand.
ing, on the other hand, lickens at the barbarous dispositions of lo
senseless a wretch; the felicity hc delights in, dwells in refinement;
in the luxury of ease, and in sensual enjoyment; his mind, enlight-
ened and penetrating, foars to the contemplation of this mighty
maze, a wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot." He
labours in the pursuit of ambition ; or he modestly treads, with re-
fignation, the paths of inorality and peace.

* And yet the positive advantages which the one poffeffes over the other, are not perhaps so great as might be expected. Society entails anxiety and care; the unfettered itate, again, brings with it a total disregard to thought or apprehenfion; to-morrow may provide for the wants which to-morrow may occasion ; but we will not give into the idea, that the rude stare in man can be equally gratifying and comfortable with that which has been polished by time and atten: tion. A civilized community is certainly preferable to one that is uncultivated, although some extraordinary virtues may be seen to exist in the characters that form the latter ; for candour, fincerity, Tesolution, and perseverance; pafsive and active courage, together with hospitality and good faith, are frequently the strongest marked traits in a refined society as in a people denominated barbarous and wild.

. With incontrovertible propenfities to society, observable in every quarter of the universe, what infatuation is it in certain writers, paradoxically to conjecture, that man was ordained to roam a solitary being! If no other reagon preented itself, surely the fupe

[ocr errors]


rior advantages which he derives from social intercourse would be alone sufficient to prove, that he was destined to mix with his fellow, creatures... Can the affociation of any other animals turn to the same account? No one, I fancy, will hazard the conjecture. Why then cannot the human specie be supposed to follow that unerring principle of instinct, which is observed to regulate the conduct of every other animal of the creation? If the bird, the fish, and the beast of the field, follow invariably the law preferibed to its immediate class, why should we alone differ so greatly from the predetermined order of Providence ? Is man alone, man the firft acknowledged of created beings, is man alone to run counter to the ends, for which he is declared to have been formed ? If we had been destined from the beginning to stalk about melancholy and wretched wanderers, through the woods, how came it that we lo soon started from the law which had been prescribed to us, and feeling the inconveniency of solitude, that we should so universally hare formed ourselves into hordes and associated bodies?

• Moft animals herd with each other, from the smallest infect that Aits around the pool, to the towering elephant that ranges through the foreit. Of these, though evidently not calculated for society, as is the human species, many will be found, it is true, to straggle; but are we therefore to conclude, that because they are sometimes scattered, because they are indiscriminate in their connections, and because they are unrestrained by formal laws, that we should by consequence be doomed to a solitary and a more unsociable existence than it is evident they are? What unaccountable hypotheses ! What extravagant chimæras !

• The real disposition of the human species hath been in all ages and in all countries alike. There has always been a natural sympathy and attraction ; the instinctive affection of the sexes, has principally served to establish the permanency of fociety, by the ties and the obligations it has occasioned. Self-love is predoininant in all; our wives, our children, every object that contributes to our felicity, is dear to us. Man is fond of what he can call his own, In short, if the propagation of the human race be a natural and instinctive paffion : if the care of our offspring in helpless childhood, be not repugnant to the feelings of the parent; it then will folloir, and rashi is he that will deny it, that socicry is, and must be, natural to man ; and that estranged from each other, the buman species never did nor ever can sublist.'

As this performance excels not in any exactness or extent of erudition, nor in any novelty or brilliancy of philosophy, it might have been expected, that the author would have recommended himself, by the elegance and charms of fine writing. This, however, is not the case. His language, indeed has a considerable proportion of freedom and facility. But the facility with which he wrote, has only served to fritter down the vapidness of his sentiment. Nor is his ftyle disgufting only from its extreme verbosity. It liops and bounds without connection or equality. His taste is evidently unformed; and he attends not to the rules of


« ForrigeFortsæt »