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Editor. Truly !
Henry Mead. Is it wealth he covets? Away with the thought ; such were only the dream of a madman. Unroll the page of history ; look back upon the records of the times that are past, and around upon those which are present, when Homer begged, and Burns ploughed - ponder on the long line of glorious men, who have gone down to the grave in wretchedness and in despair ; then torn to the opera-house and the concert-room, and the solemn conviction will be forced upon the understanding, that it is more profitable to amuse than to instruct mankind.
Editor. You tell us, that you stand forth as the advocate of those, who are too seldom enabled to advocate their own cause.
Henry Mead. I ask not for them that which themselves would blush to receive ; but, in the sacred name of justice, I demand, that the brand of selfishness should never be affixed on the front of true genius.
Editor. The doctrine sought to be established by Mr. Thomas Moore in his life of Byron, that genius and selfishness are identical, is an abominable dogma. On the contrary, genius and benevolence are, in fact, synonymous terms. The world, however, provides not men of genius frequently with means for its exercise; yet if they have not silver and gold to give, they have that which neither, nor both can buy--the desire to benefit their fellow-creatures.
Henry Mead. The two greatest men the world ever produced were both born in the humblest stations-Homer and Shaksperethe mendicant and the woolcomber ! Long and worthily did that old Greek exercise his sovereignty over the realms of thought. Age after age rolled on! Greece became the mistress, and the slave of the world, and still his supremacy remained unshaken. Rome came, and saw, and conquered, and Homer also became the god of ber idolatry. They who ruled the living, bowed to the superiority of the mighty dead. At length, nature (wearied of her favourite), in a lonely isle of the ocean in a land, where a thousand years after Greece had flourished and fell, the naked savage roamed the barren wilderness), raised up a rival and a victor-men called him William Shakspere.
Editor. And the gods-a poet, or an actor !-a creator-one of themselves !
Henry Mead. Fierce and desperate was the struggle, as beseemed the importance of the contest; but it has long ceased, and the united voices of the civilised earth have proclaimed, that the glorious Englishman is the sole emperor of the mental world. And never was the judgement of mankind more obviously based upon the dictates of reason and justice. It is in estimating the merits of Shakspere that we discover the poverty of the language of praise. Generation after generation seems to have exhausted the terms of admiration, and yet each leaves something behind for the added panegyric of its successor. Other writers may have been unsurpassed in their peculiar department; but it was given to Shakspere alone to unite every variety of literary excellence. So perfect is his superiority, so utterly eclipsing all that has ever preceded or followed him, that it would seem as if nature had mortgaged her power for centuries to come, to produce this one great masterpiece. He has reached the pinnacle of human greatness, above which genius would be incomprehensible to the sons of earth. His fame excites no envy, for it defies competition. Others may be great, Shakspere alone is WONDERFUL.
Editor. Enough. Wonderful, indeed, is the genius of Shakspere, and passing wonderful. He did attain the highest point of wisdom - that in which silence of self is other and higher than any degree of egotism, however sublimated into concentrated essentiality. In Shakspere and Homer's great productions, you never suspect them of having a distinct personality separate from the characters of their poems. You ascribe not their silence to intensified egotism; and yet how strongly it was felt in Shakspere's case his sonnets testify! Why is this? The Silence in them is not an abstraction, but the still hush of acknowledgement that accompanies a superior Power. They are mute under the possession of the god! Self-knowledge, though attained, is merged in a higher consciousness, that of being known, and of knowing itself only, because it is so, and concurrently with being so. There is no egotism possible where man surrenders himself as the vessel of the Supreme, to be consciously spoken through, but not to speak. All that is called our Being is such an utterance; how then can what it utters be more? The Being of God is the Law to his Working, while the Law of this Operation itself suffices for the Being of Man! He who arrives at this Idea abandons Egotism for ever, however he may boast of the work done through him. Nay, of this he can boast all the more, because he is able to say, « Not I, but He who worketh in
PROLEGOMENA TO THE OPENING OF
LORD John Russell has issued his official circular convening Parliament for the 5th instant. Affairs of the most urgent character await its decision.
Imprimis, the Earl of Durham has returned from Canadabig with wrath at being disappointed in enacting first business in the drama of despotism, and liable to censure for having appealed from his sovereign to the people over whom he had delegated authority. Some say, that for deserting his post in the hour of peril, he has incurred the certainty of impeachment. But, as the civilian is not a soldier, he may be permitted to run away from the brunt of battle. Besides, Her Majesty's present ministry want the requisite courage-if there were no other reason.
Secondly, The part designed to be played by Lord Brougham in the next session, is an important question. His position in Parliament is almost unique, and relatively to the present ministry, his
talents are really dangerous. The public have been eager to attribute to his pen the “ Letter to the Queen," advocating the rights of the operatives against the shopkeepers, and declaiming against the lamentable circumstance that Her Majesty is now in the hands of a faction. This is somewhat irreverently stated--but the fact is even so, nevertheless. The defects of the Reform Act are also strongly urged—and the crisis in which we stand correctly enough described.
Meantime in every direction the Man, as we once before remarked, is working. The Birmingham Chartists have proclaimed the Rights of Labour against Capital and the Masters of some of the Trades of London have combined against Workmen's unions. The cause of the former has been immensely aided by the indiscreet arrest of the Rev. Joseph Rayner Stephens, a religious enthusiast, in a political cause, whereof he is now stamped the martyr, whose punishment will be the seed of future germinations. In fine, the people, perceiving the imbecility of the ministry, have taken their own affairs into their own conduct, and the Government, as a Government, is in abeyance.
To divert attention, the present cabinet has resorted to the trade of agitation, and has succeeded in exciting an opposition to the Corn Laws. Much needless apprehension exists on this point. The only necessary results of their repeal are these : a decrease of the rate of interest on the National Debt to a minimum, or an increase in the relative value of the debt. Either effect is very tolerable. The virtual extra taxation produced in the latter case, would be readily met by the increased production of wealth on the part of the people. The better measure, however, would be the former, as the surplus revenue could then be applied to the reduction and ultimate abolition of the Debt itself-a consummation more easily practicable than is generally imagined. As in many other instances, the Will only is wanted. Should the Debt, however, be abrogated, it would still be expedient to promote a National Fund to as great, or even larger, amount, for the investment of private savings, and the properties of widows, orphans, and other annuitants. Such a fund, however, should be raised, not for the manufacture of soldiers' habiliments, to be hacked and hewed to pieces on the horrid field of mutual slaughter, but for the projection and execution of public works, so profitable as to produce the requisite income for the discharge of the interest, or so advantageous as to justify the popular mind in bearing, without a murmur, the burthen of the assessment.
Whatever arrangements of this kind may be made, there are two classes of society who should, if possible, be indemnified against loss—the highest and the lowest. The landed mortgager, and the mere labourer. If wages are to be reduced to the new prices, attempts will be made to reduce them below the average. Care must be taken that the proprietors of human industry and ingenuity become not the only class of persons benefited by the change. The interests of the master manufacturer undoubtedly, at this juncture, require it-but it should be made generally beneficial. The way to elevate the whole of society, is by beginning at the base. Give to workmen of every description the highest rate of wages that can be possibly paid, and as much leisure for self-in. struction as the business of the world allows.
But it is not in the State alone that public authority is substituted by private exertion. The acknowledged deficiencies of the Protestant Reformation, have become the motives of certain Oxford divines, to reproduce that unity of discipline and doctrine, once erroneously supposed to have characterised the Church of the Papacy, and which certainly ought to distinguish the Church of the Christ. The Bishops, who ought to have taken the initiative in this business, are, like the laity themselves, mere lookers-on and indifferent volunteers of passing and conflicting opinions on the spectacle presented. Of these, the judgement of the diocesan set over the divines themselves, is, of course interesting.
“In these days of lax and spurious liberality," says the Bishop of Oxford in his Charge, “anything which tends to recall forgotten truths, is valuable, and where these publications have directed men's minds to such important subjects as the union, the discipline, and authority of the Church, I think they have done good service.
* * But I would implore them by the purity of their intentions to be cautious, both in their writings and their actions, to take care lest their good be evil spoken of, lest in their exertion to re-establish unity, they unhappily create fresh schism-lest in their admiration of antiquity they revert to practices, which heretofore have ended in superstition.”
Evil spoken of by protestants, the writers of the Tracts for the Times have been; and, doubtless, the whole affair will take a very serious complexion. Their main error lies in an exclusive sensuous and historical view of the subject; and their thus mistaking one half of the question for the whole. But how blind, how weak, how foolishly absurd, how ignorantly extravagant, are their opponents ! Nevertheless, we tell them that we will no more submit to the Paper-pope that the said writers would set up, than we would to the dominion of a foreign priest. Neither will we, in any degree, surrender the great point of the primacy of man to the official!"
Such are the great-the important the extraordinary matters that will press on our attention for the next month ;--and, in truth, we feel neither the burthen light, nor the yoke easy to bear. But we have a city of refuge, and a rock of safety in the ineffable source to Being and Power and Law, however revealed, developed or manifested; and though in ourselves the weakest of advocates and of men, in his ever-present aid and the wisdom of his specially signalized providence, we are strong. We shall have a tough campaign, but our armour is of proof.
• How much, nevertheless, we are desirous of unity, our insertion in this number, of a loyal address to the Queen by a respected correspondent, on catholicity and syncretism may sufficiently evince. Doubtless it is the privilege of her majesty, as the visible head of the English Church, to stand in the situation of mediator between all sects and parties in the state ; but to God alone, belongs the power of so disposing the hearts of her subjects, as to make such an attempt either possible or prudent.
New SERIES.-Edited by John A. Heraud, Esq.
NORSE PAPERS.-No. I. BY GEORGE DOWNES, M. A., M. R. I. A.-Author of Letters from Mecklenburgh
(Under this title it is intended to insert an occasional notice of the literature, localities, and habits of the North of Europe, which was lately visited by the writer, who maintains a correspondence with the Scandinavian capitals.]
ANTIQUITATES AMERICANÆ.First Notice. The Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, of Copenhagen, have lately published a work under the above title, which is distinguished by novelty and research, In fostering this expensive publication, by far the most important which has yet emanated from the Society, they have been actuated by a laudable anxiety to exhibit a satisfactory ear. nest, both as to matter and manner, of their future labours. This appears from some letters addressed to the late Dr. West, of Dublin, by Professor Rafn, the original projector of the present work, which was, indeed, nearly half printed before it, in lucky hour, came into the Society's hands. We say in lucky hour, because it is to this transfer. ence of the proprietorship (as stated in the Introduction by the Professor himself), that the work is indebted for its numerous illustrations, consisting of maps, plates, and fac-similes of various manuscripts, in which the illumination, and even the colour, of the originals appear to be faithfully imitated.
But it is time to let the work speak for itself, which it does through an English prospectus :
"ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT, who, of all modern travellers, has thrown the greatest light on the physical circumstances, first discovery, and earliest history of America, has admitted that the Scandinavian Northmen were the true original discoverers of the New World ; a fact which several later writers of eminence have nevertheless either flatly denied, or called in question. The above-mentioned great inquirer has, however, remarked, that the information which the public as yet possess of that remarkable epoch in the middle ages is extremely scanty; and he has expressed a wish that the Northern Literati would collect and publish all the accounts relating to that subject. The Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries considers it a matter of duty to comply with this wish, embracing a three-fold purpose : that of illustrating
N. S.-VOL. I.