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person of five members of the House of Commons, came himself, and openly demanded them of the body of which they formed a part: when they were as openly withdrawn from his indignation, he found no power to further its effects, nor no individuals to espouse its cause.
• When religious fanaticism at its height in Edinburgh, forcibly rejected in a popular tumult the form of worship which the government had dictated, joint stools and benches were the missile weapons which served the wrath of the triumphant party; but the dagger was as little thought of as the lamp-post by either side. When their fanatical associates in England defaced the magnificent Gothic cathedrals, which, having been constructed for the Roman Catholic religion, recalled to them all its abuses, the ministers who officiated in these cathedrals, although suspected of wishing to recal such abuses, were left unmolested.
When the infatuated James the Second had abandoned his metrópolis, and it was known that no accommodation was on foot between him and the Prince of Orange, already in the heart of the kingdom-while a habit of obedience to the laws was in fact the only executive government in London-a rabble of apprentices and populace assembled in crowds, and broke the windows of such houses as they believed harboured priests or papists, not sparing even those of foreign ministers; but no one was killed except by accident, few houses were burnt, and still fewer robberies committed.
Even Jefferies, the hated Jefferies, who was known to have been the ready and unrelenting engine of the misgovernment of his master, and had outraged the laws committed to his administration, when he was discovered in Wapping, under the disguise of a sailor, endeavouring to make his escape from a justly-irritated people, even he was only kicked and cuffed about by the mob, and carried by them immediately before the Lord Mayor (Sir John Chapman), who they insisted should commit him
to the Tower.
In France, at the first tumultuous meetings at the Hôtel de Ville, the lamp-iron was unhesitatingly resorted to, to inflict summary punishment on those who had fallen under the displeasure of the mob; and the first proof of their having always within their reach so ready an engine to execute the dictates of their savage vengeance, was received with universal acclamation. The lamp-iron yet remains at the corner of the Place de Grêve, to which Foulon (one of the first who thus perished), was suspended in July, 1790. He had been joint Secretary at War after the first exile of Neckar. He knew himself to be so unpopular, both from a reputation of avarice, and from professing despotic sentiments, that he had circulated a report of his own death by apoplexy, and had concealed himself in a country-house at Viry, about four leagues from Paris. The syndic of the village arrested him, and sent him under an escort of the inhabitants to Paris. They obliged him to walk on foot the whole way during the night. He had been reputed to say, that "un royaume bien administré étoit celui où le peuple broute l'herbe des champs, and that if he were minister, il feroit manger de foin aux François : his tormentors, therefore, put a collar of nettles round his neck, gave him a nosegay of thistles, and loaded him with hay on his back. Thus accoutred he was conducted to the Hôtel de Ville, where every effort was made in vain by the magistrates to save him from the popular fury. In vain La Fayette harangued, in
vain the wretched man showed himself at the windows in the power of the police, and willing to be conducted to prison. The mob overpowered, all resistance, broke into the Hôtel de Ville, and dragged their victim to the lamp-iron. Here his sufferings were prolonged by the rope twice breaking; and while a new rope was sought, he lay near a quarter of an hour on the pavement where he had fallen, overwhelmed with blows and outrages from the infuriate populace, who, after at last hanging him, cut off his head, and paraded it through the streets of Paris.'-pp. 408-413.
This remarkable opposition in the demonstration of excited popular feeling in the two nations, is a much stronger, and more evident proof of an essential difference in the state of their manners, than any other. There may be variations in the form of social intercourse, while the spirit of society is the same. And, again, the fashions of two countries, both in dress, and in the favourite sentiments of polished life, may be similar, while whatever lies beneath the outward garb, is perfectly different. Both these cases appear to have existed in the relations of France and England. The truth is, the state of society is incessantly varying, as one set of men gain the ascendant, or various circumstances give a temporary charm to certain objects. There is, however, a limit to these changes, and every nation in a certain state of civilization, experiences them all by turn. The difference which exists in their manners at the same period, is owing to the causes which at one time or the other operate on both not operating on both at the same time, or with the same force. In the passage, however, which we have just quoted, it is clearly proved, that, to whatever degree similar circumstances may assimilate the manners of two nations, in the slighter matters of social life, the operation of like causes, when those causes are great and powerful, serves in a remarkable degree to show the distinctions of national character. In courtly manners and sentiments; in the luxuries of dress and the table, English manners have frequently tended to a close imitation of those of France. They have so tended whenever the circumstances which introduced luxury and its corresponding vices into the latter country, have operated on the former; but when the causes to which the revolutions and breakings-up of society are attributable, have affected both nations in the same degree, very different results have been the consequence, and the national characters of the two countries have been seen distinctly apart.
The style of the Comparative View,' will be understood by the passages we have given from its contents. The author has evidently not over-rated his ability, or the opportunities he possessed of observation, in presenting his work to the public. Judiciously avoiding the example of the writers who, in treating of such subjects, fill their pages with inapplicable or trite stories, he has selected from the records of the period he describes the most striking and the least known facts that could be found. The style of the work is clear, and the sentiments temperate, and it well
deserves to be considered as a supplemental volume, to the histories of France and England, from 1660 to the revolution of the former country. The author has given us to understand in his preface, that it is his intention, should the present volume be received with approbation, to publish another containing a view of the social state of the two countries since the period at which the one before us closes. This, we doubt not, would to many readers present a subject of still greater interest, and from the manner in which the former part of the undertaking has been completed, we have reason to urge the author to a speedy renewal of his labours.
ART. IV.-1. Herbert Lacy. By the Author of Granby. 3 vols. 8vo. London: Colburn. 1828.
2. The Roué. 3 vols. 8vo. London: Colburn. 1828.
3. Pelham; or the Adventures of a Gentleman. 3 vols. 8vo. London: Colburn. 1828.
SUCH was the influx of novels, fashionable, historical, romantic, and sentimental, upon us during the publishing season, which may be said to have expired only with the session of parliament, that we found it impossible to read, still less to review them, with that attention which they required. We now propose to go gradually through the pile, a formidable one, of those publications which crowd our shelves, under the impression that, as the public has had time to consider their character and merits, it will be the more readily disposed to acquiesce in the opinions which we shall take leave to express concerning them. As it is not the object of this journal to usher forth new works into the world with high sounding eulogies, like auctioneers whose business it is to describe all the wares which pass through their hands as the very models of perfection, we shall make no apology for being thus tardy in our criticism.
The number of novels which have appeared during the last and the preceding season, forms, indeed, a remarkable feature in the literature of the times. Twenty years ago, a few shabby circulating libraries received the whole stream of inventive genius, and dispensed it out in penny draughts to the superannuated spinsters of the neighbourhood. Three, four, or, at the utmost, five pounds a volume, was the price paid for the copy-right of a promising romance; and the generality of authors were well satisfied with their treatment, if the publisher gave them half a score copies for their friends. But this was before the great middle-class of readers, which now form so large a proportion of the literary world, came into existence. There were then but two kinds of readers, and those as opposite to each other as light and darkness: the men who studied for reputation, or who read or profitable information; and the women who read novels all their
lives long, to save themselves from an ennui of equal duration. There were none of those active minds at work, which, without being studious, read away a vast portion of their leisure time, and without ever thinking of turning authors, or belonging to debating clubs, devour every subject that the art of printing can bring into discussion. This portion of the reading public owes its existence, as such, to the concurrence of the same causes as those which have brought the middle classes of the community into respectability and opulence, and diffused the spirit of inquiry as widely as the love of freedom, through the whole body of the English public. The lightest work of fiction, the most ingenious theory of the political economist, and the profoundest inquiry of the historical antiquary, are, at present, almost equally sure of finding readers; the one satisfying the ever-restless, ever-craving appetite for novelty which characterizes the public mind; and the other furnishing it with the materiel of thought and speculation; the substantial truth, as it supposes, out of which the rules are to be evolved of public action and public justice. The principles of political feeling at present prevalent in England, are all in close, permanent connection with the intellectual state of the community, and the scale which measures the one will give accurate results as to the other. The consequence is, that they aid each other; the prevalence of inquiry on all matters of state and national interest giving a spur to literature, and the diffusion of knowledge increasing the spirit of public debate.
The most unfortunate effect of this state of things, with regard to literature, is, that having become a fashionable and popular pursuit, it is liable to all the fluctuations, the rise and fall of excellency, to which every thing depending on public caprice is subject. Thus, at one time, a good style may obtain the patronage of the people, and at another one equally vicious. One season may bring forth works of the purest taste and the noblest principles, and the next, publications equally disgraceful to their authors and detrimental to public morals. This holds true in respect to the highest species of literature, and it is well deserving of attention in how important a degree every kind of science, both moral and natural, is dependant in such periods on moods of the popular mind. As soon as they are removed from the cloister, and become the pursuit of the world at large; as soon as they have begun to shed their light, not through the equal medium of long cultivated learning, but in direct, uncertain flashes of novel opinion and discovery, the advantages appendant to the diffusion of knowledge become, to a considerable extent, counterbalanced by an instability of opinion and principle that may almost always be discovered in a country so circumstanced. But the effects of fashion and popular caprice are, of course, still more perceptible on all the lighter classes of literature, which are, by their very nature, dependant on the factitious judgment of a self-tutored taste.
breath destroys them, as a breath calls them into existence. They are the gossamer stuff of letters; the work of a thousand busy insects, whose productions depend on the chance brightness of the favouring sun. It is not talent, but tact, which is wanted to secure success. The public is not to be surprised into admiration, but flattered into it; and the first requisite in such works is, that they come out at the right time, not that they are formed on right principles. The fact is, that it is in literature as it is in morals, the correct-minded, as well as the pure-hearted, will always be by far the smaller number in a community; and as in a matter of business it is usually more profitable to please the many than the few, magazine writers, novelists, and publishers, will seldomer be found to lead than follow the public taste. There is, again, another circumstance to increase the evil. The love of science, and of the purer kinds of literature, is a calm, steady, easily regulated passion. It can rest on one object for a long time. It has no cravings after perpetual novelty, but seeks its gratification in objects that have long fed the flame. A very few works, therefore, of such intrinsic worth and beauty as would meet the approbation of minds of this class, would be sufficient for a season. More would not be desired or looked for. They would be a solid, palpable addition to the intellectual treasures of the country, and those who are capable of appreciating their merits would brood long and contentedly over them. But this is very far from being the case in a different style of literature. The lighter, the more frivolous and unsubstantial it may be, the greater will be the mass called for. Not only will every body be able to comprehend, and so far enjoy it, but every body will be perpetually craving for fresh supplies of the highly flavoured food. There is no necessity for a tutoring of the appetite to catch the proper relish, and no one, therefore, will even think of abstaining from it. Accordingly, booksellers, and their employés, the purveyors of the literary feast, pour out their viands without any fear of causing a glut in the market, and to their satisfaction find that there is no modern luxury forming a better source of regular commercial speculation, than the articles of intellectual pleasure.
We should almost feel ourselves guilty of an absurdity were we to set about formally deprecating the conduct of either booksellers or authors, in pandering, as it is called, to the public taste. It would be quite as reasonable to expect your tailor should stop from making nankeen trousers, for fear of people getting the rheumatism, or that a silk-mercer should recommend the ladies to wear camlet instead of silk, as that a certain class of booksellers should insist on publishing only such works as a correct critic might approve. It is the same with authors. A new race has been called into existence in modern days;-a race of writers, who not only owe their materials but their very wit and invention to the fashion of the day;-who, had they to rest their claims to