Imatges de pàgina

firable : we gave a similar opinion * some years since, which we still retain. While we disapprove the design, let us except particular passages in the execution. Where Homer displays in a striking manner his poetical excellence, Mr. Cowper generally follows his steps, æquis paflibus. His spirit and manner is happily transfused into the following description of the adverse armies marching to battle :

- Then, many a yell was heard, and many a thout Loud intermix'd, the layer o'er the maimed Exuliing, and the field was drench'd with blood. As when two winter torrents rolling down The mountains, loot their foods through gullies huge Into one gulph below, station'd remote 'The shepherd in the uplands hears the roar ;

Such was the thunder of the mingling hosts.' The majestic fimplicity which marks the original, in the subsequent passage, is likewise admirably preserved ; and it would be injustice not to remark, that many others of the fame kind might be produced :

Nor Neptune, rov'reign of the boundless Deep,
Look'd forth in vain ; he on the summit sat
Of Samothracia,'d, the stir
Admiring thence and tempest of the field;
For thence appear'd all Ida, thence the tow'rs
Of lofty Ilium, and the feet of Greece.
There fitting from the deeps upris'n, he mourn'd
The vanquish'd Grecians, and resentment fierce
Conceived and wrath against all-ruling Jove.
Arising sudden, down the rugged fteep
With rapid frides he came; the mountains huge
And forests under the immortal feet
Trembled of Ocean's Sovereign as he strode.
Three itrides he made, the fourth convey'd him home
To Ægæ. At the bottom of th' abyss,
There stands magnificent his golden sane,
A dazzling incorruptible abode.
Arrived, he to his chariots joined his steeds
Swift, brazen-hoofd, and man'd with wavy gold;
Himself attiring next in gold, he seized
Hi golden scourge, and to his feat sublime
Ascending, oe'r the billows drove; the whales
Leaving their caverns, gambold on all sides

• Crit. Rev. Vol. Iviii. P. 333.


Around him, not unconscious of their king;
He swepe che surge that tinged not as he pass’d
His axle, and the sea parted for joy.',

(To be continued.)

Yarious Opinions of the Philosophical Reformers considered, para

ticularly Paine's Rights of Man. By C. Hawirey, M. A.

890. 35. Stockdale. 1792. THE new political doctrines of the present moment, whe

? ther as the subjects of speculative enquiry in this, or of a practical experiment in a neighbouring country, have awakened the attentions of every inquisitive mind, and drawn forth numerous tracts of various and unequal merit. They have, however, contributed to show the failacy of some apparently well founded doctrines on the one hand, and the futility of some specious reveries on the other. Mr. Hawtrey is a firm and able champion for the church and state : he defends every inch of ground, and his formidable entrenchments, against supposed or expected attacks, should be carefully reconnoitred by opponents. We have, indeed, little hesitation in adding, that his eagerness leaves him occasionally unguarded in some elsential parts, and the insecurity of his ground renders him less successful in other repulses. On the whole, a skilful adverfary may be often able to annoy him from those batteries which are erected for opposition, and which, after a very flight contest, may be taken.-But let us drop metaphors, and be a little more particular.

The declamation at the beginning is fpirited.

• Modern 'philosophy has evident'y iis tendency to produce the most banefal effects on society. I's chject is first to annihilate every thing that is social, to diffolve all those lies and connections which hitherto have linked men togetier, and wrich have hindered them from preying upon each other; and out of the chaotic diffolution to introduce a new system and order of things, by which wonders the most absurd and the most imposible are to be brought to pass, by which all the wisdom of mankind, from the beginning of the creation to the present day, is to be considered as folly, and all the folly which conceit can be the parent of is to be established in its room. All are to be free; there is to be no flavery, and yet in the conflitution of the world, which the iinpotent efforts of these worthics cannot alter, we see it is ordained otherwise. All are to be equal, which at the same time we know, except man has a new nature given him, cannot be : but, notwithstanding the equality, fill there is to be power in the world; and, to complete the admirable excellence of the system, the power is


to be derived from those who are to be the subjects of it; that is, who are not in pofleffion of the power which is to be derived from them.'

But how is modern philosophy chargeable with so many faults? Her beams have illuminated many obicure recesses ; and nature, properly interrogated, has revealed some valuable secrets, which the industry, perhaps the avarice, of mankind have eagerly applied to the increase of our comforts or pleafures; but the ncarest connection between philosophy and government that we can trace is, in calling the new planet the Georgium Sidus. In fact, we notice this early error not so much for the sake of these remarks, as to observe, that the Teafoning is very often affccted by the little inaccuracies which are seemingly owing to haste. In the present instance philosophy is not in fault : the errors are owing to visionary refinements, which, to serve the purpose, have been drefled in her specious garb; and to have been correct the author should have said the pretended political philosophy of the present ära. He proceeds to notice various errors of Paine, whose work we can scarcely mention without indignation. Many of this incendiary's remarks are too trilling and absurd for notice, and many a very slight degree of ingenuity might have detected. In one or two instances, however, Mr. Hawtrey has failed from the causes just now hinted at. He has certainly not proved that a nation is to be considered as the fame, during the succeeding æras of different individuals. It is undoubtedly another and the same,' a nation of the same name, but composed of men differing perhaps in sentiments, in inclinations, and passions ; nor is there any reason, from this view, why they may not correct what they find wrong, or add what may appear deficient.-We may observe too, not from speculation but from experience, that Mr. Hawtrey's arguments on the propriety of placing the power of making war or peace in the hands of the monarch, have less force than they seem to pc:" is. At prefent, the question is of little importance : the people know their rights and their power; they will refst any wild, mad, or ambitious, attempt of this kind.

On the subject of tythes, our author's remarks are more judicious, and they deserve a very attentive consideration. We had intended to have enlarged on this subject; but, as we sufpeil that neither our author's arguments, nor our own obserVations could render an unpopular impost pleasing, or give credit to what may perhaps be considered as an injudicious method of providing for the clergy, we shall content ourselves with wishing success to every step towards a commutation, till the period arrives when the whole may be changed. Mr.

Hawtrey's Hawtrey's defence of the right of primogeniture is, in many parts, exceptionable; and he has perhaps a little too rashly engaged in an eager defence of creeds, particularly that called from Athanasius.

The English constitution he dates from the period of Al-' fred in the ninth century; and we shall extract, from this part, some observations and facts which are curious and little known. It has been objected that the English government arose out of conquest not out of society, and consequently it arose over the people. Our author replies to the remark.

"The answer to this is, that the English government did not arise out of a conquest, because there was a government regular and formed (as needs not to be proved) long prior to the coming over of the duke of Normandy; that William the First did not become a king of England by conqueft, but by right, as the appointed successor of king Edward ; that king Edward had notified to him that he was to be his successor, as Ordericus Vitalis informs us Primo per Robertum Cant. Summum Pontificen, poftea per eundem Haruldum, integrum Anglici regni Mandaverat concellionem ipfumque concedentibus Anglis, fecerat totius juris sui bæredem. And upon the principie of his having a legal citle, William justified his claim to the crown in the answer which he returned to Harold, who demanded of him on what ground he invaded England ; and the same language he used constantly after he was in po.Tellion of the crown, never grounding his title to the kingdom on conquest, but always on his inheritance of consanguinity, and on his being the adopted heir of the kingdom ; and when at any time he is called conqueror, it never is by reason of his having conquered the people of England, but on account of his having conquered the usur. per Harold. A conquest of the people of England was wholly unnecessary, as they made no opposition to him, and indeed themselves had invited him to come and take possession of the crown, which Harold had usurped : and William the First was no more a conqueror of the people of England than William the Third was ; both were invited over by the people, both governed by the voluntary submission of the people, and according to the established laws of the realm, which were solemnly rarified in the instance of the Norman William in the fourth year of his reign.'

The observation deferved notice ; but the conduct of William is the best proof that he considered himself as a conqueror, and of the nation, that they supposed themselves conqucred. From the following extract, with which we shall conclude, our readers will judge how far the assembly of Alfred can be considered as a parliament. • Long before the reign of the descendants of William, and


long before the reign of even William himself, were parliaments known in England ; not indeed with the formalities of the present day, but with the same essential properties of parliament, as might be evidenced in a great variety of instances, were there any occasion in a matter of such general notoriety : therefore let one only instance suffice; it is curious, but little known, and well au. thenticated, of a parliament holden at Shifford, in the county of Oxford, in the days of Alfred the Great. The account of it is given in a manuscript in fir Robert Cotton's library, in the fole lowing terms:

AT Sirrond reten Diner mante. Fele Biscopr, er rele Beclered fr. les prude, et Cnihter' eglöche. Der þarnlerfic' or de lage sinuch pire, - ec Alfred i nglehind, engle depling, on nzland he par Cynz, hen he gan lejen, spo hi hepen mihten hu hi here if ieden scolden.

• In English chus : There sat at Shifford many thanes, many bishops, and many learned men, wife earls, and awful knights. There was earl Elfrick, very learned in the law, and Alfred, England's berdsman, England's, darling; he was king of England; be taught thex that could hear him bow they should live..

- The manuscript as referred to by Dr. Plot in his history of Oxfordshire, ed. 1677, fol. 22; and the trantlation is given in Dr. Plot's own words.

• In confirmation of the truth of the above manuscript, the Teader is to be informed, that the remembrance of this parliament is still preserved at Shifford by a name being given to the spot whereon it was holden, which from that event is to this day called the Court Clofe. There is moreover one of the common fields in the neighbourhood of Shifford which, from the same event, is called the Kinsea or Kinsey Field.

• Before the days of Alfred the affemblies of the people used to be tumultuous, and without any order or regularity; but this wife prince taught those who could hear him how they ought to live ; that they ought to regulate themselves by wisdom, and some certain and standard rule ; that in their assemblies their chief object ought to be the public good, and that men of all orders ought to contribute their endeavours towards it; and for this purpose he conwened all the various orders in his kingdom, thanes, earls, knights, &c. to meet him at Shifford.' From this venerable then, but at present forsaken fpot, issued the first dawnings of the English government (in a meeting of the king with his people in their feveral ranks and orders), which from that time went on meliorating and receiving improvements through various fucceflions of ages, till it received its final completion and establishment at the revolurion.'


« AnteriorContinua »