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defective in moral; encouraging a sentimen- to us most unnatural. Such things may have tal reserve betwixt husband and wife, calcu happened in real life, but “truth is stronger lated to effect extensive injury; and further, than fiction;" that is, incongruities are dismarvellously improbable. The last, “The covered in life which may not be permitted Battle of Life," was infinitely below the level in works of art. The probable alone is the of the lowest of the former three ; traces of relatively true;, though, practically speaking, a master-hand might, indeed, still be dis- the all but impossible may have occurred. cerned in it; but improbability was therein “Mr. Toots” is a delightful individuality in developed into the impossible, and a false his way, and his union with “Miss Susan morbid notion of that holy thing, “ self-sacri- Nipper,” despite her comparatively low fice,” inculcated, but too much in keeping origin, is highly satisfactory. Finally, "- Domwith the exaggerations of the day; a loved bey and Son” is, on many points, an advance; and loving maiden being actually induced to and, taken as a whole, evidence to us of yet abandon her lover and pretend to run away higher powers residing in our author than he with another man, to the anguish and all has till now exhibited ; not that we believe but despair of that lover, and her sister and he will exhibit these in straining after the father, in order that the said sister might romantic and poetical. No; unless correct have a chance for securing for herself that principles, moral and intellectual, religious affection which the supposed lost one had and political, broaden and deepen within his
And this childish, not childlike, mind and soul, he will, in our opinion, retromean, not noble, desire of the younger maid grade in future works. But so much is certo rival her eldest sister's natural and be- tain--there is no standing still for Charles coming self-sacrifice, since she was not be- Dickens : if he adds to his stock of realized loved, is commended and held up by Charles truths he will advance; if he does not, he Dickens as a model for the imitation of Eng- will be driven to take refuge in exaggeration land's daughters ! But let us not dwell on to avoid repetition; and then is sure to dethis unhappy theme.
cline, perhaps to fall. Finally, then, “Dombey and Son" has And now let us turn our attention to his appeared in a great degree to restore our great, in some respects indeed greater, conconfidence as to the moral soundness of this temporary, who, however, cedes the palm to author and his recovery from morbid ten- him in various qualities of high art. For, dencies; and, on the other hand, to convince first, Thackeray, though he has an accurate us that his reverence for revelation has perception of the outward world in his way, deepened and is deepening. The first quar- cannot paint and describe as Dickens can; ter of this work, up to little Dombey's death, he has not that strong instinct of locality ; is one of the most exquisite things in all he rather tells us what has happened than literature; the sequel has great beauties, but places all the scenes actually before us, as suffers much by coming after it. Though we does the author of “Dombey and Son.” cannot understand the father's horror of the Then, again, though he writes in the spirit sweet sister, we can well understand why of love, and though he has decidedly more she should fail in replacing little Paul: we of the serpent's wisdom, he is comparatively cannot attach that vivid interest to her which deficient in the harmlessness of the dove, we did to the odd and yet so natural child, He does not understand childhood in its ideal whose life and death are, from beginning to and ofttimes real purity and innocence, as end, in such wonderful keeping with one an does Dickens; his is a harsher, sterner view. other, and constitute in themselves a work He directs our attention to that “original of the highest art. But we have no in- sin” which manifests itself in the young tention of devoting a careful criticism to child at so early a period : he has given us, “ Dombey and Son:" it is, in some respects, indeed, one wonderful childlike and yet better written, though with more apparent manly character, superior to anything Dicklabor than any of the works that have gone ens has achieved in that line, we before it. Its general purpose, to teach the Dobbins ;” but “Amelia,” though meant valuelessness in themselves of the greatest to be innocent and amiable, is really mean earthly possessions, is highly to be comi and selfish; and after all his exaggerated enmended ; and the character of “ Mr. Dom-comiums, the author is compelled to confess bey," which elucidates this moral, is drawn as much himself. There is not much unity with a master-hand, though the portraiture of design in “ Vanity Fair," for to this we is exaggerated. “Mrs. Dombey” we think propose to confine our remarks. The “Snob overdrawn, and her line of conduct appears Papers,” the “ Yellow-Plush Papers,” the
"Travels, Irish and Egyptian,” “ Jeames's is very deep and very sweet, and none the less Diary,” “Christmas Tales," and various deep and sweet because used with a certain papers contributed to “ Fraser's," have pos “retinue" and reserve; never “set in for,” sessed great merit in their way, though this as it were, but appearing to come unsought merit has been generally tinctured by flip- for, arising naturally and inevitably from the pancy, and sometimes attainted by downright circumstances of the tale, and generally conwant of taste; but they fall far below the veyed in the most simple, plain, matter-oflevel of this one great work of fiction, fact language. Mr. Thackeray does not deal “ Vanity Fair.” It is called “a novel with much in the flowers of fancy. Those of senout a hero." It is scarcely a novel at all, timent and thought spring spontaneously and for it is sadly deficient in unity. Could we constantly in his garden ; he seeks for no regard “ Dobbins” as the centre of interest, hothouse plants, no exotics, however frawe should, indeed, secure a beginning, grant; nothing is forced, nothing artificial ;
* middle, and end; but he is too long removed the very gravel which strews the paths befrom the scene, and only becomes very twixt the flower-beds seems as if it must prominent towards the conclusion of the have lain there forever. book. Its aim seems to be to castigate the Dickens, in music, would be a combination follies and lighter vices of society. "Rebec- of “ Meyerbeer” with “Bellini ;” that is, of ca," who reflects them in an exaggerated yet the latter's simple melody with the former's pleasant shape, is the type of the " sinful strong effects, startling and dramatic. Thackeuse or abuse of this world,” which is held ray is more equable, perhaps more genuine, up to contempt.
bearing a stronger affinity with “Mozart.” Thackeray is, in truth, a far more power- And yet there is the fairy lightness of “ Menful moralist than Dickens; he understands delssohn,” in his happiest moments, to be grown men and women better, at least in traced in Dickens's creations ; and we must society; of the poor, of any, indeed, beyond not be understood to place them beneath the what may be called the privileged classes, more thoroughly self-consistent “ Vanity he has exhibited little cognizance. Unspar. Fair.” Dickens certainly sinks far below ingly, and yet lovingly, has he mirrored all. Thackeray at times ; he has done so in the the conventional vices of modern life. Who greater part of “Dombey and Son ;” but he can doubt that the life of young Osborne,” also, at times, rises above him, and soars to as here presented to us, is calculated to effect ja purer ideal. Nothing equal to little Paul more extensive good among thoughtless Dombey's visit, and the children's party, youths, proud of their capacities for vice, and his subsequent death-bed scenes has, we than might he wrought by the most power- think, proceeded from Thackeray's pen. If ful of pulpit orators ? Selfishness, under we balance, then, these merits, it would be every guise, Thackeray delights to hold up hard to say on which side the balance preto contempt; but, perhaps, he has never ponderates. Shall we prefer a beautiful pilloried it with more evident “gusto” in the spring day, with all the sweetness of that act, than in his portraiture of this vain and season of youth and love, overclouded at rather heartless fast young Osborne,” so noonday, but beauteous at its dawn and glomuch admired by the ladies, boasting of his rious at its eve ? Or the genial happiness of “ bonnes fortunes,” lighting cigars with love fresh, sunny, healthful, delightful autumn letters, and slavishly imitated and followed weather-say in October—a frosty kindliby the wonder-struck youngsters of his regi- ness in the air, no raptures of delight from ment. By repeated strokes of consummate bird or beast, but an universal sense of healthart almost the impossible is achieved. Reck- ful enjoyment; a little haze, perchance, now lessness is made to appear despicable and and then, here and there, but, generally license mean. Well may Mr. Thackeray re- speaking, a glorious day, leaving a sense of joice in his endeavors to effect such ends. If deep content and gratitude behind it ? Both, conceived and carried on in a spirit of faith no doubt, are good and beautiful; and for and love, we scruple not to declare that they both may we thank the Giver of good things. shall be a crown of glory to him even here. But true it is, that Dickens has more of Such things carry with them their “exceed- spring and Thackeray more of autumn. May ing great reward." The pathos of our author they long enjoy a sunny summertide!
From the Edinburgb Review.
THE DIPLOMACY OF LOUIS XIV. AND WILLIAM III.
1. Négociations relatives à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV.; ou Cortes
pondances, Mémoires, et Actes Diplomatiques, concernant les Pretentions et l'Avènement de la Maison de Bourbon au Trône d'Espagne, accompagnés d'un Texte Historique et précédés d'une Introduction. Par M. Mignet. Tomes 1-IV.
1835–42. 2. Letters of William III. and Louis XIV., and of their Ministers. Extracted
from the Archives of France and England, and from Family Papers. Edited by P. GRIMBLOT. 2. vols.
2. vols. 1848.
We trust that among the consequences of great. Though its contents may not subthe Revolution of 1848, we shall not have to stantially vary the judgments which an atinclude the abandonment of the great his- tentive reader might have formed from the torical undertaking of M. Mignet, which we materials already published in the Hardhave named at the head of this article. It wicke' and other collections, yet it abounds forms one of the series known as the “ Ar- in new and interesting particulars. While it chives de France ;" the publication of which has the immense advantage of presenting for was set on foot by M. Guizot when he held the first time, in an accessible and popular the Ministry of Public Instruction. Its con- . form, a mass of documents which will enaception was, doubtless, recommended to the ble every one to appreciate the national imRoyalty of July, as an engine for familiar- portance of the interests involved in that izing to the public mind that revival of great question, the gallantry with which family policy in Spain, which the late dy- William III. confronted the vast resources nasty contemplated so long ago, which was and the disciplined intelligence at the comso perseveringly followed up, and which, at mand of Louis XIV., and also (we grieve the opening of the last year, seemed nearer to add) the indifference and ingratitude than ever to a prosperous consummation. with which the English people requited their But the purely bistorical interest of the great deliverer. Spanish Succession in the last century does We should not forget to remind our readnot require the adventitious support of co
ers that M. Grimblot is a foreigner, publishtemporary politics. The age of Louis XIV., ing in what is to him a foreign language. after every allowance for its corrupting ac But he has introduced the collection by a cessories, is one of which European civiliza- preface, written in a style singularly correct tion is fairly proud ; and among its best and easy. It retains something of that picliterary memorials we may place this elabo- turesque antithesis and aptitude for generalrate exposition of its diplomacy. M. Mignetization which form so attractive a peculiarity had proposed to give a full history of the in contemporary French literature; but its negociations that either directly or indirectly idiomatic accuracy would not discredit any bore on the claims of Louis XIV. to the English writer, nor need we expect to find throne of Spain. At present he has not in any a juster appreciation of the most imadvanced beyond the peace of Nmeguen, portant points in English history. in 1679.
The greater part of the materials, now first M. Grimblot, again, has given us selec published by him, are drawn from three diftions from the correspondence between the ferent sources. We have, first, the corresFrench and English governments during the pondence between Louis XIV. and Marshal attempted arrangement of this question by Boufilers, which preceded the peace of Rysthe Partition Treaties of 1698 and 1700. wick, and in which it was long supposed The literary value of this work, also, is very I that the first idea of the Partition Treaty had
been broached. The Bentinck family have | Frenchman though I be, I look upon Wilplaced in M. Grimblot's hands the confiden- liam III. as one of the greatest characters in tial correspondence that passed between history; and I willingly say with Mr. Hallam, William III. and their ancestor, the Earl of that ' a high regard for the memory of WilPortland ; and no one can peruse these let- liam III. may justly be reckoned one of the ters without heartily sharing the editor's tests by which genuine Whiggism, as opregret that such a thorough justification of posed both to Tory and Republican princian eminent public servant should have been ples, has always been recognized.' Was it suffered to remain so long unknown. We not he, in fact, that accomplished the Revohave, finally, the letters, (originally trans- lution of 1688? And this Revolution, what lated from the Dutch by Sir James Mackin was it but the triumph of those principles, tosh,) which passed between William III. which in the language of our day are styled and the Pensionary Heinsius.
Liberal, over those of absolute monarchyBefore we proceed to a separate examina- the great cause, whose brilliancy is at times tion of the period to which these documents eclipsed, but cannot be extinguished—which refer, we must quote the following admira- under different names is debated in every ble estimate of Louis XIV.'s diplomatic land—which, if it must be said, has been compositions, with the addition of M. Grim- triumphed over but yesterday in France, blot's feeling and dignified allusion to the and on which I had fixed all my hopes and very different fate which in our own day has thoughts for the welfare of my country. waited on an attempt to imitate his policy. Time was when we were wont to say, that
“ They (William III.'s correspondence) since France had had the misfortune to have lose throughout by the side of the grand, her Stuarts, Providence bad provided for brilliant, and glowing style of the dispatches her a William of Orange, in a prince whose of Louis XIV. It is the imposing grandeur of calamities I deplore too deeply to feel at Versailles in contrast with the meaner edifices liberty to condemn him. I only regret that of Kensington or Loo. In reading these he had too much before his eyes the melengthened dispatches, with their flowing mory of his ancestor, rather than that of the periods, elaborate expositions, and inexhaust- great man whose career presents to the gaze ible meaning, we are involuntarily reminded of posterity a far different grandeur from the of Bossuet. It must not be thought that miserable satisfaction of placing a Duke of these State Papers were the composition of Anjou on the throne of Spain.” (Grimblot, a secretary. Written by Torcy from notes I. xi.) taken in council, and carefully corrected by We are surprised that no English writer Louis XIV. as they were read to him, they should have thought of analyzing, in its full bear the mark of his singular genius for development, the controversy that was ingrandeur and éclat. To be convinced that terrupted, rather than closed, by the peace to him alone is the merit of their production of Utrecht. Of course, no Englishman would to be attributed, it will be sufficient to com have the same command as M. Mignet of pare them with the dispatches written by the French State Paper Office; but the maTorcy in his own name, or even with his terials that already existed in the published Memoirs; although it must be admitted that correspondence and authentic memoirs of all secretaries would not have succeeded so such statesmen as D'Estrades, Torcy, Temwell in conveying the thoughts of their mas- ple, Villars, might have been compressed
But it was in some degree the lan- and generalized into what the Germans call guage of the period. The dispatches of a monogruphie on this subject; and might Tallard, Harcourt, and Villars are hardly thus have given form and method to the inferior in style to those of Louis XIV., yet fragments of negotiations which are scatthey were all military men, but scantily tered up and down the pages of Hume and educated. May we not say, with M. Cousin, Lingard ; and might have ended with that · Tout est grand dans un grand siècle?' systematic examination of the treaties of
“But if we pass from the style to the 1713, in which Lord Mahon's work on the kernel of the thought, the superiority ceases Spanish Succession is so provokingly defito be on the side of Louis XIV. In all their cient; for the question has as essentially an ruggedness the letters of William III. have English as a French or European interest. a stamp of honesty which we might seek in Through the whole period that elapsed from vain in the grander dispatches of his rival. the Restoration to the accession of the ise It is the same with the proceedings of both. of Hanover, while the fortunes of England
were still trembling between absolutism and
constitutional government, our foreign rela- , any such ground of exclusion was tions, and especially those which regarded pleaded against the Bourbon line ; nor was the Spanish Succession, constituted our point it probable that such would be the case; of attack with Catholic and Monarchical for the competing houses of Austria, BavaFrance on the one hand, and on the other ria, and Savoy, all, equally with France, with the invigorating sympathies of a free derived their claim through females; the and Protestant Commonwealth in Holland. two former from a younger sister of Maria They associated us to the old traditional Theresa, the French Queen; the latter from policy-a policy to which even Charles I. Catherine, the great aunt of that princess. was true—which absolutely prohibited the But Maria Theresa's claim was barred by a establishment of a French viceroy at Ant- renunciation, executed on her marriage in werp or Ostend ; which revived for a mo 1660, of all her rights to the succession; ment, when Sir William Temple achieved, and the whole question turns on the validity in the Triple Alliance of 1668, the one credit of this act. able act of Stuart diplomacy; and which In the original draft of the treaty, Maria was illustrated by the genius and heroism Theresa absolutely and unconditionally recalled forth in the great war of 1702. All nounced all her right to any part of the the later princes and statesmen whom Eng- Spanish inheritance. In the treaty, as actulish history has emphatically and deliber-ally signed, Cardinal Mazarin contrived that ately convicted of treason to the fundamental she should renounce it “ moyennant” (in conprinciples of our free monarchy-Charles II., sideration of the dowry which Don Louis the Cabal ministry, James II., Queen Anne, de Haro had stipulated should be paid by Bolingbroke---all were false to us, especially the Spanish government. It was agreed, in the matter of France and Spain. All the by France, that Maria Theresa should renew names which should be graven on English her renunciation immediately after her marhearts, and for ever “frequent in our mouths,' riage. That renunciation, however, originally the Republican opposition to Charles II., the made on the 2d of June, 1660, was never Whig leaders of the Revolution, William III., renewed. On the other hand, it had been Marlborough, and Somers, are now chiefly stipulated that the dowry should be paid in remembered in connection with their brave three instalments—the first immediately after struggle to prevent a disturbance of the the celebration of the marriage. But not European balance, and to arrest the territo- one of these instalments was ever paid. Louis rial extension and diplomatic preponderance was careful to insist on this failure on the of France. With Louis XIV., again, the part of Spain; and to contrast it with his Spanish Succession was the great business own exact observance of similar pecuniary of his reign. It coincides almost exactly engagements. Each party ultimately tried with the limits of his European supremacy. to throw on the other the odium of being The peace of the Pyrenees was the first the first to break the treaty ; but, on a strict public act in which he personally intervened: interpretation, Louis seems to have had the and the last great event of his life was the best of this dispute. Subsequently to the treaty of Utrecht, by which the Maritime peace of the Pyrenees, he certainly procured Powers recognized his grandson as King of the ratification of the renunciation in several Spain. We propose taking advantage of the of the French parliaments; while it does not two works before us to sketch some of the appear that Spain took a single step to permain negotiations which, from 1660, the form her part; content to rely on the general year of the English Restoration, and of Louis accidents of the public temper, and, in the XIV.'s marriage with Maria Theresa of Spain, nervous language of Boling broke, “to sue attended the development of this question, for empire, in forma pauperis, at the gates of till its settlement at Utrecht in 1713; one every court in Europe.” The real answer to year before the accession of the House of Louis's claims, however, was that other powHanover, and about two years and a half ers beside Spain were interested that her before the death of Louis XIV.
provinces should not become the appanage It may be as well to state clearly the na- of a French prince; and that all the great ture of his claims to Spain. Louis XIV. was, states of Europe had openly accepted the by the Spanish law of succession, in right renunciation as a bona fide guaranty. Louis, of his wife, the direct heir to Charles II. indeed, is proved to have felt this, by the M. Mignet has shown with, we think, need very pains he took, first, to familiarize the less pains, that the Salic law never existed English and Dutch statesmen with the idea in Spain. We are not aware, indeed, that that the renunciation was originally invalid ;