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national independence; though we should condemn as impolitic and unjust that monopolizing spirit which would exclude every country but our own from a fair share of the benefits of commerce. It is absurd to flatter ourselves, that the English nation, though it may be admired and dreaded, is not looked upon with eyes of jealousy by the continent in general, and in no other manner can we so powerfully attach allies to our cause as by allowing them to participate in those commercial advantages which we exclusively possess.
The Berlin and Milan decrees are considered by M. Montgalliard as striking monuments of the political sagacity of Buonaparte, and the ministers of the Regent are told, that nothing but a pacific system of policy can avert all the evils which must follow from these formidable measures.' The confident tone in which the effects to be expected from the operation of the continental system s announced, will be amusing enough to those who have witnessed its total failure.
'Heureusement pour l'Europe, l'Empereur Napoléon tient entre ses mains le sort de l'Angleterre, la liberté des mers, l'independance du commerce des deux hemisphères, la paix du monde; le maintien du decret qui declare les Isles Britanniques en état de blocus, et l'affaiblissement de la puissance Russe, assurent ces grands et heureux resultats.'
Though it was from the beginning quite apparent that the late unprovoked attack by Buonaparte upon Russia, was chiefly to be attributed to the mortal hatred which he bears to this country, and to the injury which he trusted would result to us from the subjugation of our ally, we have never seen this fact so explicitly avowed as in the work before us.
'Ce sont les continuelles hostilités de l'Angleterre qui forcent l'Empéreur Napoléon de porter ses armées aujourdhui jusque dans le centre de la Moscovie.'-p. 229.
We are not surprized at the spleen which is throughout betrayed by our author at the intimate union which now happily subsists between the two powers; we trust the insidious attempts of France to sow divisions between Great Britain and her allies will all meet with as little success as those of the work before us, and we earnestly pray that two powers, which for the good of the civilized
ought to be united, may cordially continue so for the sake of their own prosperity and renown.
ART. VIII. Memoirs of William Paley, D. D. By George Wilson Meadley. Second Edition, with an Appendix. Edinburgh, Constable, and Co. London, Cradock and Joy. 1810. 8vo. pp. 404.
SEPULCHRUM haud pulchrum pulchrai feminai' is an incongruity not peculiar to Gruter. But departed genius, as well as departed beauty, claims a master's hand; the one in the sculptor, the other in the biographer. Yet it has too often been the misfortune of both to have their memories consigned to humble friends and unskilful, though flattering, artists.
Paley was among the few gifted men of the present age who have merited an union of talent and affection in the man that should undertake to deliver their lives and characters to posterity. Such, moreover, and so intimate had long been his connexion with one family eminently qualified for the purpose, that, after his decease, the public naturally looked with some degree of hope and expectation to that quarter. But the reserve of high rank, and the engagements of a laborious profession may be supposed to have prevented the exertions of one individual, while another and an earlier friend, broken down by bad health, and expecting soon to follow the subject of this memoir, could only cultivate in private conversation, or in secret recollection, the memory of him whom he most loved while living, and most venerated when dead.
Dr. John Law was one of those accomplished Englishmen who have been transplanted from subordinate stations of competence and usefulness in England,
To waste their sweetness on the desert air;'
to spend their remaining days in the tumult of Hibernian politics; and, in the midst of bigotry and hatred, to exercise spiritual jurisdiction over a clergy without congregations. Such has been the lot, such indeed the reward of ill-judging ambition in more tranquil times: but this unfortunate prelate fell upon evil days as well as evil tongues; and situated as he found himself, at its eruption, in the very focus of the Irish rebellion, by an unhappy determination not to quit a post in which his presence could have little effect, anxiety and alarm laid the foundation of those complicated diseases which hurried him to the grave.
This event, and those which led to it, the public have to deplore on their own account as well as his; since the leisure and tranquillity of Carlisle, from which he was transplanted, would probably not only have prolonged his days, but produced that tribute to the memory of his friend, which (without meaning any disrespect to the present biographer) must be allowed to have fallen into
very different hands: for, in addition to a manly and penetrating understanding, a severe integrity, and an erudition able not only to comprehend the attainments of his friend, but to assist and promote his inquiries, there was in the temper and manner of Dr. John Law, though the younger man of the two, something which, without either effort or intention, in the earlier days of their friendship, acquired and long maintained an high ascendant over the mind of Paley. Of the other able and intimate companions of his youth, some were gone before, and the rest did not long survive him: so that the memory of Paley might, in the course of a few years, have been preserved only in his works, had not the diligence and zeal of his present biographer exerted themselves, before it was too late, to collect many scattered anecdotes which, with their present depositaries, would quickly have been no more, and out of these, assisted by his own recollections, to embody such a resemblance, as his skill would permit, of this extraordinary man.
To Mr. Meadley, therefore, we feel and acknowledge some obligation; for, though we could antecedently have wished the task in other hands, yet before he seized it the undertaking appeared to have become a derelict, and it is no longer matter of censure, or even of surprize, that he undertook it; for it ought to be a rule of criticism, as it is of law, in every case to accept the best evidence which can be procured.
To this second edition of the work before us, (which, on account of the enlargement' it has received, gives us an opportunity of completing the sketch which we laid before the reader in a former No.*) we have, as a whole, no very material objections: the style is not exceptionable; the facts and dates are accurate; the writer's apprehension of the character which he has undertaken to delineate, though somewhat faint, is usually right: while, with a becoming interest in the subject, his admiration is never excessive, his panegyric never disgusting. With all these merits, this Life of Paley as a man of genius and originality not surpassed in our days, has one radical deficiency, which the writer could not help-an absence of those magic touches of art which constitute the difference between a dead and living resemblance, between the tame though faithful strokes of a moderate artist and the magic touches of a Reynolds, which are able to draw intellect and passion out of canvass, and appear almost to reanimate the dead. The political party, indeed, to which this writer belongs, have never been celebrated for such powers: the faculty, however, of distorting and misrepresenting, of seeing every object through their own coloured medium, of depreciating the most generous acts and darkening the
No. III, Art. IV.
brightest characters, they have abundantly imparted to their pupil Mr. Meadley. But more of this hereafter.
William Paley, though not actually born in the district of Yorkshire called Craven, was descended of Craven parents, and transplanted thither in his infancy. The inhabitants of this rugged and remote tract have, like other mountaineers, a character more strongly marked than their lowland neighbours, from which Paley derived an early tincture, which no intercourse with the world ever wore off, or produced an inclination to wear off. With clear and shrewd understandings, great humour and naivetè in their conversation, fondness for old stories, rusticity often affected, and a dialect which heightens and sets off every other peculiarity, that country has produced many archetypes of this extraordinary man, though none perhaps with equal powers of reasoning, or even invention.
In this congenial soil and climate, therefore, he appeared less original, less of a phenomenon than any where else. But here too the unworn asperities of his manner, by exciting the least surprise, gave the least offence, and here perhaps to the last day of his life he most willingly reposed, and found himself most at home. The highest advancement in the church would, in this respect, have had no effect upon him. He was, and ever would have been, what Lipsius called Vespasian,-homo subrusticus et vere Sabinus.
In his education every thing seemed prepared and disposed in order to demonstrate what some minds can do for themselves. From the school of his own obscure village, where little was taught, and that little far from well, he was sent to Cambridge to contend with the polished sons of Eton and Westminster, and the result was that he bore away one of the most honourable prizes from them all. Here two of the three years allotted to a severe course of academical study were loitered away by Paley in unconnected and desultory reading. A third year of severe appli cation placed him above his competitors.
The Cambridge system of study is a forcing system, which, applying itself almost wholly to one subject, and being adapted to minds of a single cast, frequently debilitates the understanding through life, by the effort to produce a single fruitage. Paley was none of these sickly productions of toil and art: his powers once roused became spontaneously and abundantly prolific, and the native fertility of his mind, instead of being exhausted or impaired by a single push, appeared to be invigorated by severe exertion.
We are next to contemplate him as a teacher and a guide, as fellow and tutor of his college. Here he had the fortune to be associated with an admirable coadjutor, Mr. John Law, in concert with whom he planned and executed a laborious and comprehen
sive system of institution, supported by a vigorous and spirited discipline. This deserves to be remembered as one of the last attempts in that, and perhaps either University, to sustain or to revive the ancient tone of authority, which was at once rough and affectionate, peremptory and parental. You do not treat me like a gentleman,' said a young man to one of these faithful reprovers, in the new spirit which was just beginning to appear, You do not treat me like a gentleman.' I never meant to do so,' was the answer, but as a boy under discipline.' We record this as a specimen of the true temper of an old tutor in an English university before the spirit of gentlemanship had eaten out both authority and attachment, which are now succeeded by an intercourse between the governors and the governed, the teachers and the taught, so perfectly elegant and well-bred, and at the same time so cool and mutually indifferent, that it might seem as if the only object in view was for the one party to maintain his popularity, and the other his independence. How far the Universities have given way to the general spirit of the times, or how far, by concession to youthful encroachment, they have contributed to the lamentable. diffusion of that spirit through the kingdom, we shall not at present inquire. Thus much, however, is certain, that its effects have been equally pernicious in public and domestic life; and even in the Universities themselves what has been gained (or rather what has not been lost) by the exchange? The tutor was more loved when he was more feared, and the pupil, instead of the liberty which he claims, has, at the most dangerous period of life, become the slave of his own will and passions.
'Di majorum animis tenuem et sine pondere terram,
The following anecdote, which reflects the highest honour on these two virtuous and independent young men, shall be told, after a short preface, in Mr. Meadley's words. About the time of a great contest for the High Stewardship of the University, which is in the recollection of many persons yet alive, the members of the Senate had ranged themselves under two noblemen of very opposite characters, though both of great abilities. The partizans very naturally resembled their respective patrons. The leaders of the former party shall be nameless; of the latter, we mention with honour that intrepid spirit the present Bishop of Landaff.
When,' says our biographer, the hall of Christ's College, which had been promised through the interest of Dr. Shepherd, was fitting up for a benefit concert for Ximines, a Spanish musician, warmly patronised by Lord Sandwich, Mr. Paley and Mr. Law peremptorily insisted