« PreviousContinue »
ment of schools-let him give us the assistance of his enlightened mind against the taxes on knowledge-and cruelty to animals will very soon disappear. All the most flagrant instances of cruelty are committed by men the most brutally ignorant. The woman who boiled her cat for eating her victuals, said, very gravely," that she had remonstrated with the cat before, and assured him of her intention to boil him if he persisted in his practices." And when it was answered to the woman that the cat did not understand her language, she might fairly have replied, that the cat knew as much of her language as the poor in general know of the law. The taxes on knowledge are a cruelty to human beings, who are hanged for ignorance; and the true cause of cruelty to cats, who are boiled for the same offence with about the same justice!
CURIOUS PLAGIARISM.-Extract from Prince Puckler Muskau's Travels.
"We are a selfish people," said a favourite leader of fashion, "I confess, and I do believe that what in other countries is called amor patriæ, is amongst us nothing but a huge conglomeration of love of ourselves; but I am glad of it; I like selfishness, there is good sense in it."
In a novel called "The Anglo-Irish," written by Mr. Banim, author of the "O'Hara Tales," published years ago by Mr. Colburn, at page 192 of the first Volume, the following sentence will appear, supposed to be babbled forth by a fictitious character, and who is painted by the author as a sneering, scandal-talking, gouty, ill-dressed old man.
"We are a reflecting people, selfish if you will, and I do believe that what in other countries is called amor patriæ, is amongst us nothing but a huge conglomeration of love of ourselves; but I am glad of it; I like selfishness, there is sense in it."
So much for the "favourite leader of fashion" of the German Prince.
The plagiarism denounced by our Correspondent is glaring enough. But fifty such plagiarisms would not counterbalance, though they would assuredly lessen, the merit of the Prince's book.
Answer to a letter in Blackwood's Magazine, by the Right Hon. T. P. Courtenay, on the subject of the Foreign Policy of Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning.
N.B. This letter was received too late to appear in our last Month's Number, but the interest of the subject treated on will bear a little delay. For our own part, in according to our Correspondent the justice of a reply to Mr. Courtenay's article in Blackwood's Magazine, we really take no share whatever in the dispute. Our own opinions respecting Mr. Canning's Foreign Policy were expressed freely and largely in our last Number. For Mr. Courtenay we have (putting politics aside) all the respect which his literary abilities deserve.
"In the January Number of your valuable publication, I addressed to you a few remarks in answer to an article in the Foreign Quarterly Review,* relating to the Foreign Policy of Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning. To those remarks the author of that article has replied, in a letter published in Blackwood's Magazine for March-and in so doing, he has avowed his name to be-Thomas Peregrine Courtenay!
"In reference to this reply, I am only desirous of directing the attention of those, who are interested in the controversy, to the Right Hon. Gentleman's abandonment of the most important position which he advanced in his Review. He no longer imputes to Mr. Stapleton an erroneous description of Mr. Canning's Policy, but is compelled to confess, that, throughout his work, his error lies in misrepresenting, not Mr. Canning, but Lord Castlereagh.'+
"This unlooked-for recantation simplifies the matter in dispute between us, in a most extraordinary degree; for while Mr. Stapleton was accused of misrepresenting both parties, there was no defined standard by which either could be compared; but decision
* Foreign Quarterly, No. XVI.
+ Blackwood's Magazine, No. CXCII. p. 526.
is easy, when the single point which remains to be determined is, whether Lord Castlereagh's management of our foreign affairs was, in fact, precisely similar in character to the confessedly-accurate description given of Mr. Canning's by Mr. Stapleton.
"Let a comparison, then, be instituted between Mr, Canning's acts thus correctly described, and Lord Castlereagh's known acts, and I would almost be willing to leave the result to the partial judgment of my antagonist-certain I am that I leave it with perfect confidence to the impartial judgment of disinterested individuals.
"Here, then, I should close my observations, were it not that Mr. Courtenay, towards the termination of his letter, in making a sort of personal defence, accuses me of having improperly given him a pretty severe rebuke in not very courteous language.' Now, had Mr. Courtenay confined himself in his Review to attacking Mr. Stapleton's correctness, or sneering at his amiable prejudices,' I, as the friend of Mr. Canning, should have had neither the right nor the temptation to depart from the strictest courtesy of expression. The Right Hon. Reviewer was doubtless at liberty to comment as he pleased upon Mr. Stapleton's performance; but he was not free to attempt, by unworthy insinuations, to injure the reputation of an individual now no more, of whose 'favour and confidence,' as he somewhat strangely volunteers to proclaim, he had obtained' no inconsiderable share.'*
"Mr. Courtenay, indeed, dextrously puts forward as his real offence' his support of the Government of the Duke of Wellington: but so far is that from being the case. I agree with him in thinking, that had he seceded with Mr. Huskisson from the Government, he would only have made himself ridiculous.' No, his real offence' was his having written a Review, in which he appeared to me, through design, most ungraciously and, I will add, most unfairly to disparage Mr. Canning's reputation. It is true that he asserts in his letter, that he does not know' that he has said 'one word derogatory' to that statesman. But let any one read his comments on Mr. Canning's Speech 'on sending troops to Portugal; and his ridicule of Mr. Stapleton for certain praises which he bestowed on Mr. Canning, and then lay his hand on his heart and say that that Review could by possibility have been published by what Mr. Courtenay professes himself to be a sincere and faithful admirer'§ of Mr. Canning.
“Mr. Courtenay, it is well known, lies under considerable obligations to Mr. Canning under the consciousness that he does so, he affirms that he has not sought to vilify his memory. Be it so. But he escapes the imputation upon his heart at the expense of his head; for it is impossible not to compassionate that obliquity of intellect which enables Mr. Courtenay to lay the flattering unction to his soul,' that he has not written one word 'derogatory to Mr. Canning.' The occasional eulogy which he bestows upon him, serves but to give weight to his injurious insinuations, by conferring on his comments the appearance of impartiality.
"Give me the avowed, the erect, the manly foe,
"In conclusion-if I have mistaken the character of Mr. Courtenay's article, I can only say that I most sincerely beg pardon of the Right Hon. Gentleman. One thing I am ready to admit, viz. that it has not been in any way injurious to Mr. Canning. But it is with the apparent intention of the writer, not with the result of his efforts with which I have had to deal. On the other hand, if I have not mistaken the character of his essay, I must observe, that if I have administered a 'pretty severe rebuke,' he certainly has most richly deserved it.
"I am, Gentlemen, your most obedient servant,
"A FRIEND OF MR. CANNING."
An article relative to Goethe, prepared for the New Monthly, by one of the most accomplished German scholars of the age, must remain over until next month. It will, however, be found worth waiting for.
* Mr. Courtenay's Letter, p. 533.
Vide conclusion of Mr. Courtenay's Letter.
Vide Mr. Canning's Poem of " New Morality," in the Anti-Jacobin.
The Usurpation of the House of Commons in regard to Secrecy of
Monthly Commentary :
The Rail-road Newspaper-The Threatened Revolution-Candour
OUR PRESENT STATE.
We live in much disturbed times, of which it is hardly likely that any but the youngest will see the end. All political changes arising from the same cause, arrive at last at the same result, albeit their course may be more or less regulated by the genius of the period on which they fall, and the conduct and disposition of the men who exercise an influence over their destinies.
A new mind is first infused into society-it takes root, it expands, June 1832.-VOL. XXXIV. NO. CXXXVIII. 2 L
silently, almost imperceptibly-for the surface of things remains the same: the same laws, the same form of government, the same acknowledged practices and customs-though these fall much into disuse. In the mean while, the spirit that is abroad is breathed from individual to individual, from family to family-it traverses districts -and new men, men with new hearts and feelings, unknown to each other, arise in different parts. A new people is dwelling with the old people-but their power is little, for they have no ties of association. At last, a word is spoken which appeals to the hearts of alleach answers simultaneously to the call-a compact body is collected under one standard, a watchword is given, and every man knows his friend.
No marvel that others exclaim at the sudden uprising of a power, of which those who compose it knew not, until they were gathered together, the force-nay, hardly even the existence. No marvel that they ignore that the vision which appears erect and firm before them now is the condensation of a vapour that has long been rising from the earth, whose present aspect is no sudden phenomenon, but the last link in a long chain of causes, the first of which it is difficult to find, and which it has become impossible to destroy.
It is because the pre-existing change in society, which precedes every great change in legislation, is so silent and imperceptible, that states, in their progression, will always undergo certain crises, which may be rendered more or less long, more or less severe, but which must always be of some duration and some severity. Those who have neither perceived nor taken part in the social change, look naturally upon the legislative one as unnecessary and uncalled for: they take that to be the transitory desire of the moment which has been the long-travailed progeny of years, and they wonder how so stern a wish can start up at once for vast innovations. On the other hand, the men whose spirits have long been aspiring into futurity, whose minds have formed themselves an existence apart from the present, who see a prejudice separate from the prestige of a habit, are equally incensed at the bigotry of such as obstinately defend the very threshold of existing institutions. However much it may be desired, it is almost impossible that there can be any friendly understanding between the two parties; they do not reason with the same mind; they do not see with the same eyes; there is no kind of sympathy between them. It is easy to foresee the side to which victory must belong; it is, unfortunately, hopeless to attempt to avoid the contestbut with a contest come the heat and the excitement which blind men to the reality of their desires. The thing contended for is frequently forgotten in remembering the person whom we contended
against-the passion of vengeance gets mixed up with the determination for justice. The force of the movement which is making, acquires an impetus from the strength of the resistance it is met with. The excitement which urges us on becomes, sometimes, as unfortunate as the irresolution which would keep us back, and hurries us past the object which we set out with the sober intention to arrive at.
For this reason it is well, after each battle, to meet in council-to call our minds calmly to the consideration of the object for which we have fought to observe how much we have done, or have yet to do, in order to obtain it-not forgetting that, though vigilance is at all times necessary, the weaker that our enemy has become, the less necessity there is for any desperate means to overcome him.
About three weeks since, Lord Grey, having reason to fear that it was impossible to carry the Bill for a Reform in Parliament through the House of Lords, on stating those fears to the King, and not receiving from his Majesty such an assurance as he deemed necessary to counteract them, resigned office. Every one knows what the assurance solicited by his Lordship was-that the royal prerogative should be exerted to such an extent as might be necessary to carry the measure effective in its important parts through both branches of the body legislative.
It is not for us to deny, that so large a creation of Peers as might be wanted for this purpose was an act to be viewed, under ordinary circumstances, with jealousy and apprehension. If we were to continue to possess a House of Commons open, like the present, to corruption, we should be more unwilling than we are to sanction and approve a precedent, by which the sovereign, having obtained a venal majority in one assembly, might so easily constitute for himself a dependant majority in the other. But it was to deliver the people from the chance of such a calamity-it was to elevate the House of Commons beyond the fears of Montesquieu or the devices of a Sir Robert Walpole-it was to place the real representatives of the people in an incorruptible security, that the sovereign was advised to an extraordinary exercise of his power, which might indeed be dangerous if employed to keep them beneath the influence of corruption:
the cause for which the counsel was given, the immediate object it would effect, was the best guarantee against its future disadvantage the act itself destroyed the only evil to be apprehended from its example. The letter of the Constitution sanctioned it; but it was not as an ordinary constitutional measure, but as an extraordinary act of policy and expediency, justified, as all such acts must be, by the extraordinary circumstances of the times which called for it, that Lord Grey may boldly vindicate the advice that he gave, and