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THE WILFUL MISSTATEMENTS OF THE QUARTERLY REVIEW.
EVERY one knows that "The Quarterly Review" arrogates to itself the protection of the Church and the guardianship of our morality, as well as of our literature. Will it astonish any of our readers to learn that, in its righteous office, this pious declaimer on the vices of the age and the sanctity of religion, has lent itself to the most perverted falsification of history, and slandered the characters of the dead for the amiable purpose of slandering those of the living? In its paper on "The Revolutions of 1640 and 1830," it has done all this with a strange and desperate dishonesty.
That paper professes to owe its title to a very ingenious and well-written pamphlet," published by Mr. Murray, for the purpose of showing us what signs the history of antecedent periods had recorded for our guidance and, as the author says, "of justifying the dealings of God towards man by showing that Providence has not left us without a guide." The Reviewer, in furtherance of the same pious object, but resolved, at the same time, not to attain it at the sacrifice of truth, tells us that, while "turning over Clarendon to verify the quotations of the pamphlet," he met with some additional passages, which seemed to him to make up a "wonderful and most instructive resemblance" between the present times and "the great Rebellion of 1640." This forms the staple of his article. Will it be believed that the man who could thus unblushingly profess such honest scruples against taking the quotations, even of his own party, without an examination and verification of the original sources, would himself falsely misrepresent and misquote every passage on which he laid his hand, and only cease from misquotation and misrepresentation to show an ignorance of the times he writes of, if possible, still more deplorable and equally to be despised? "Of outward show elaborate, of inward less exact," he has given the letter, and page, and edition, of his pretended quotations. Out of his own letter, page, and edition, he shall be condemned.
"The first remarkable similarity," says the Reviewer, "is, that in 1640, as in 1830, there was elected a new Parliament."
We leave him in possession of this important fact. But then he goes on to prove a more wonderful resemblance-that they were both dissolved before they had voted the ordinary supplies, and that the dissolution was produced, in both cases, by a gross misrepresentation made to the Kings by their respective Ministers, as to the indisposition of the House of Commons to grant the supplies.
"Sir Henry Vane, the Secretary of State,'" says the Reviewer, quoting Clarendon, "had made to the King a worse representation of the honour and affection of the House than it deserved. By this means he wrought so far with the King, that, without so much deliberation as the affair was worthy of, his Majesty, in the beginning of May, dissolved the Parliament.''
Now we shall not quarrel with the Reviewer for saying honour, instead of humour,' though with the context of Clarendon it is of some importance; but we charge him with melancholy ignorance on this matter. It is sufficiently notorious that Clarendon is not the most accurate or impartial of historians, and needed no petty scribe to come after him, to interpolate or exaggerate his statements. In April.-VOL. XXXIV. NO. CXXXVI. 2 D
this particular instance, the noble historian is universally admitted to have unjustly aspersed Vane; and had the Reviewer not been entirely ignorant of the evidences of that history, he must have known it. Nay, a few pages before, Clarendon himself flatly contradicts it; and in his collection of State Papers, the integrity of Vane is made broadly
The next charge is a little more seriously ridiculous.
"The first important measures proposed in 1640 and in 1830 were the King's revenue, or civil list, but the Reformers had in neither case quite made up their minds how much they would give him, and so they proposed, with all the expression of duty and affection to the King which can be imagined, and presented a grant of those Duties for a few months.'-Clar. vol. i. p. 366.
"The forms which this business took were not exactly the same at both periods, from the differences of our modern practice, but the principle was the same; the provision for the King was in both cases delayed, and a provisional grant for a few months only voted."
It is scarcely possible to believe that any person could so perversely prostitute his pen as to write thus of one of the noblest among the noble assertions of the privileges of Englishmen-one of the greatest benefits we have derived from the virtuous struggles of our ancestors. Be it known that those "Duties," which the Reviewer would falsely have us to believe were the King's legitimate "Civil List," and which, he fraudulently asserts, our ancestors had restricted because "they had not made up their minds how much they would give him," were neither more nor less than the unlawful claims of Tonnage and Poundage, by which the lawless Charles had oppressed the merchants and merchandise of London, and for the repression of which the Reformers of 1640 received the thanks and blessings of their contemporaries, and have entitled themselves to the gratitude and admiration of posterity. Even Mr. Hume-no devoted partisan of freedom -does not withhold his praise from them for this; and we refer the reader even to his words.
"The Ministers of Charles and of William," the Reviewer goes on-❝ though they had ineffectually attempted a budget,”—(this is false) “had obtained some supplies and this modified civil list, and it was therefore thought necessary by those crafty popularity hunters to conciliate and reward the people with a Bill of Parliamentary Reform."
And it is thus that this pert and shallow Reviewer speaks of the famous Triennial Bill, a measure to which the political reputation of its great originators had been pledged years before-on which they staked their political existence,—and without which they could have had no check on the false and deceitful King:-"Finding that nothing less would satisfy his Parliament and people," says the Reviewer, quoting Hume," the King gave his assent to a Bill, which produced so great an inroad into the Constitution."" This is a false quotation. Hume does not say it was an "inroad" into the Constitution; he calls it merely an innovation"--and distinctly says that, in his opinion, it supplied a defect-that it was grounded upon the old acknowledged Statutes of Edward the Third,-and he ends by an emphatic testimony that "nothing could be more necessary than such a statute for completing a regular plan of law and liberty." Vol. 5, p. 263.
We are next favoured by the Reviewer with certain extracts from
Hume-every one of them misquoted-describing the violence of the people and of their representatives in Parliament; and he goes on to tell us that Hume wonders that any of the Lords should have sided with the innovators.
"But the tide of popularity,'" says he, quoting that historian, "seized many, and carried them wide of the best-established maxims of civil policy.'"
We will not stop to say that the Reviewer might as well have given us Hume's own words-"most established" for the truth's sake; but we charge him with deceit in omitting the next paragraph, and going on with his quotations. Why was he afraid to tell us in Hume's own words who and what they were among the Lords that supported the people, and the people's advocates, in that great crisis? Would it have interfered with the object of his parallels to tell us honestly and with truth, that Hume describes among those noble opponents of arbitrary power, men
"Of the first family and fortune, endowed with that dignified pride so well becoming their rank and station-celebrated for rigid inflexibility of honour, the proper ornaments of noblemen and soldiers-and persons distinguished by humanity, generosity, affability, and every amiable virtue?"
But this would have been candid and true, and unworthy of a person whose object was neither fair nor manly. Let the reader only turn from the quotations to the original, and he will read in the pages of Hume the context of those isolated passages which the Reviewer had misquoted for his purposes, and discover there the eloquent vindication, even by that partial historian, of the "violence of the Reformers of 1640," whose “merits," he will read,
“So much overbalance their mistakes, as to entitle them to very ample praises from all lovers of liberty." Vol. 5, p. 281.
We now come to that portion of the article which it is our principal object to expose. It is introduced in the following imposing sen
"Human nature, and, of course, human affairs, are much the same in all times; the same human passions will produce similar political events, and a similar course of events will, by reaction, produce the same temper in mankind. It is, therefore, not surprising to trace a similarity of characters in the actors of these two revolutions, and it is curious to find sometimes even an identity of names."
We shall give a sample or two of the misrepresentations made by the Reviewer, to support this very profound and magnificent dogma, by printing Clarendon's own words, and the Reviewer's report of them, in parallel columns. We shall take the liberty of marking with italics the passages particularly misquoted. One word, however, before we proceed:-the reader will perceive that the extracts of the Reviewer do not only strike at the living, to whom they are applied, but are so perverted and misstated as to malign the deceased, of whom they were written. Nor are these accidental and hasty errors -they were done, the Reviewer himself says, "while turning over Clarendon to verify other quotations," viz. designedly and systematically, with the book before him. What notions must this man have of morality? or what conduct could more deservedly rob, not only the writing but the writer, of that character, which all persons,
whatever their persuasions, desire in the partizan, or esteem in the man? Now to our task.
The first character attempted is that of Lord John Russell.
THE QUARTERLY REVIEWER.
"The House of Russell, as Clarendon informs us in his notice of the Earl of Bedford, took the lead, and "were the great contrivers and designers' of the measures proposed by the innovating party, though it appeared in the sequel that they had not seriously intended to subvert the Government, (though they did so,) but only to get themselves and their friends into place.' -Vol. i. p. 317.”
"Of the House of Peers, the great contrivers and designers were, first, the Earl of Bedford, a wise man, and of too great and plentiful a fortune to wish a subversion of the Government; and it quickly appeared, that he only intended to make himself and his friends great at Court, not at all to lessen the Court itself."—Vol. i. p. 317.
The second is that of Lord Brougham, and is a curious instance of what an adventurous literary desperado, such as our Reviewer, will attempt at all hazards, with presumptuous confidence in the efficacy of downright falsehood, little dreaming of the judgment of parallel columns. Unable to find an "identity of names," or to twist out a resemblance in that way, he is resolute in tracing a "similarity of character," and with unparalleled effrontery proceeds coolly to blacken and misrepresent even Clarendon's characters of four most illustrious men, Lord Say and Sele, Sir Henry Vane the elder, Sir Henry Vane the younger, and Nathaniel Fiennes, in order that he may extort from them separate lines to fill in what he considers a sketch of the Lord Brougham!
THE QUARTERLY REVIEWER.
"Next Clarendon mentions a man of a mean and a narrow fortune, of great parts, and of the highest ambition, who had been for many years the oracle of the dissenters, and was a notorious enemy to the Church. He had always opposed and contradicted all acts of State. Some circumstances of opposition to the King at York, the year before, had given him much credit, and, in a word, he had a very great authority with all the discontented throughout the kingdom.'- Vol. i. p. 318."
"A man of a close and reserved nature, of a mean and narrow fortune, of great parts, and of the highest ambition; but whose ambition would not be satisfied with offices and preferments, without some condescensions and alterations in Ecclesiastical matters. He had for many years been the oracle of those who were called Puritans in the worst sense, and steered all their counsels and designs. He was a notorious enemy to the Church, and to most of the eminent Churchmen, with some of whom he had particular contests. He had always opposed and contradicted all acts of State, and all taxes and impositions, WHICH WERE NOT EXACTLY LEGAL, and so had as eminently and as obstinately refused the payment of ship money as Mr. Hampden had done. His commitment at York, the year before, because he refused to take an oath, or rather subscribe a Protestation, against holding intelligence with the Scots, when the King first marched against them, had given him much credit. In a word, he had very great au
THE QUARTERLY REVIEWER.
"He had spent some time abroad, in Geneva, where he improved his disinclination to the Church; and he finished his education in Scotland, and was very little known, except amongst that people, until he was found in Parliament, when it was quickly discovered that he was like to make good what he had for many years promised.'Vol. i. p. 325."
"He was a man of great natural parts, of a very profound dissimulation, of a quick conception, and a very ready, sharp, and crafty expression. He had an unusual aspect, which (though he might have had it from his parents, neither of whom were beautiful) yet made men think there was something in him of extraordinary, and his whole life made good that imagination.' His first appearance in public life was in Colonial affairs, in which he soon became an authority; but his working and unquiet fancy' soon turned the other way, and he became the greatest and most effectual enemy of the quiet and prosperity of the Colonies. He had 'contracted, in France and Geneva, a full prejudice and bitterness against the Church,' and was remarkable for cultivating the good will of all discontented and seditious persons.'-Vol. i. p. 326-328."
thority with all the discontented party throughout the kingdom, and a good reputation with many who were not discontented, who believed him to be a wise man, and of a very useful temper, in an age of licence, and one WHO WOULD STILL ADHERE TO THE LAW."-Vol. i. p. 317-19.
- had spent his time abroad, in Geneva, and amongst the Cantons of Switzerland, where he improved his disinclination to the Church, with which milk he had been nursed. From his travels he returned through Scotland, (which few travellers took in their way home) at the time when that Rebellion was in the bud; and was very little known, except amongst that people, which conversed wholly amongst themselves, until he was now found in Parliament, when it was quickly discovered, that as he was the darling of his father, so he was like to make good whatsoever he had for many years promised."-Vol. i. p. 325-26.
"a man of great natural parts, and of very profound dissimulation, of a quick conception, and very ready, sharp, and weighty expression. He had an unusual aspect, which, though it might naturally proceed both from his father and mother, neither of which were beautiful persons, yet made men think there was something in him of extraordinary, and his whole life made good that imagination. Within a very short time after he returned from his studies in Magdalen College, in Oxford, where, though he was under the care of a very worthy tutor, he lived not with great exactness; he spent some little time in France, and more in Geneva; and after his return into England, contracted a full prejudice and bitterness against the Church, both against the form of the Government, and the Liturgy, which was generally in great reverence, even with many of those who were not friends to the other. In this giddyness, which then much displeased, or seemed to displease, his father, who still appeared highly conformable, and exceeding sharp against those who were not, he transported himself into New England, a Colony within a few years before planted by a mixture of all religions, which disposed the professors to dislike the Government