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What is Coningsby ?-D'Israeli in politics. What is Egremont?-D’Israeli in love. What is Tancred ?-D’Israeli in a dream. No! no! his Jew chapter comes into every one of his works, and, as the baker of the cream-tarts in the Arabian Nights was recognised by his putting pepper into them, so with D’Israeli, you may be sure of a spice of Jew writing, the infallible sign of who the author is.
FELIX.—True, indeed, but yet there is much earnestness sometimes about the man; witness some of the scenes in “ Sybil," the sketch of Gerard, and the heroine herself.
PRUDENTIUS.—He had no subject here worthy of his pen-a bold, active, unscrupulous opposition leader, like Lord George Bentinck; an overgrown calculating boy was not a theme for D'Israeli.
CRITICUS.—No! and besides he does not even mete out even justice. We hear nothing of the Lord George of the Turf, it is all the man of the House.
[Throws down the book.] FELIX.—The biography is too hasty ; we are too warm with the heat of the struggle to say who was in the wrong and who in the right.
CRITICUS.-[With two gay-looking volumes in his hand.]-Here's a man, however, who is decidedly in the wrong.
FELIX.—Oh! Sir Francis Head. Yet he gives one “ A Faggot of French Sticks" to carry, which is very, very heavy to bear.
PRUDENTIUS.—Some parts are light and frivolous enough for even you, however,
FELIX.— Yes! the worthy Baronet is an odd jumble of shrewdness, simplicity, and vanity.
CRITICUS.—Oh! his estimate of the President is disgusting. I can't fiud another word to express what I mean
FELIX.-But he gives some capital pictures of French life—his lodging, his day at Versailles, his street scenes are very good.
CRITICUS.—No doubt of it; he has a picturesque pen, but don't you agree with me about his estimate of Louis Napoleon. FELIX.-[Abstractedly.]
“Far dearer the grave or the prison,
Illumed by one patriot name,
O'er Liberty's ruins to Fame." PRUDENTIUS.-Hand me the “ Faggot," to see what I can make of it. He did not idle his time, that's clear ; for he got over a large space of ground.
Felix.-Yes! and, as I said before, his pictures are truthful, and many of his observations just.
CRITICUS." Oh! Freedom is a noble thing," as old Barbour says, and very little bave our French neighbours of that “ noble quality."
FELIX.—Criticus, our friend is evidently deeply pondering something- let us have a cup of coffee in the meantime, while he is in his brown study.
[Rings the bell, and orders coffee.] CRITICUS.- Well, I'll read while he thinks.
[Criticus takes up one volume, Felix another, while PRUDENTIUS
reads the “ Faggot.” Coffee is brought in, and little is said
for twenty minutes.] FELIX.—You have thought enough now, Prudentius, to give an opinion, which, to say the truth, I am anxious to hear; for Sir Francis opens up very novel considerations to my mind.
PRUDENTIUS.—It is awful!
PRUDENTIUS.—The state of France and the society of Frenchmen. But pass on to something else ; I'll give you my ideas some of these days, in a different
CRITICUS.—Adieu, Sir Francis ; we must live in hope for “ Prudentius on the State of France.”
FELIX.—Here is one to which, independent of its intrinsic merits, a peculiar and melancholy charm attaches. Poor Warburton ! never did the sea close over a nobler or a more gallant heart than thine! And with all the sorrow caused by the loss of the Amazon, there was a wide-spread sympathy for thee above all others.
CRITICUS.-One of the most charming writers of our time. “ Darien” equals his former efforts. Those foreshadowings of his fate would lead one to believe in a mental state equal to second sight.
PRUDENTIUS. -Yes; the description of a ship on fire at sea is magnificent.
The dying saw the tranquil light
[A pause.] FELIX.--Here is a favourite of mine, “ Pictures of Travel in the South of France," by Dumas. It forms a volume of the Illustrated Library-a capital series of well-written books, at a moderate price.
CRITICUS.— Yes ! Dumas is a clever fellow; that work of his, which you have in your hand, amused me not a little. There may be a certain dash of trickery in his manner, but he is always a pleasant, genial companion. There are some capitally told anecdotes in this volume.
PRUDENTIUS.-Dumas is very trivial sometimes.
FELIX.- Well, he is like a journey; every day of our lives we have lighthearted, joyous, trivial thoughts in our mind, as well as serious ones, and particularly when travelling. One can't always be learned, profound, and philosophical-one is often romantic, giddy, flighty, and headstrong.
CRITICUS.—I would like to read you a bit of this “ Perigord Pie."
PRUDENTIUS.-No; let the public take the recommendation of Felix, if he gives it, and do not be offering a highly spiced morsel to tickle their palates.
Felix.-Well, honestly, the book is worth buying. It is admirably printed, the woodcuts excellent, and the matter is as varied as one can imagine. That legend at the conclusion is a tempting tale for extraction; but, warned by Pru. dentius, let the public go and read it themselves.
CRITICUS. -- From grave to gay, from lively to severe." Here's a volume which Felix has quite thrown in the background, and I can't divine for what reason,
FELIX.—You ought to know it ; it is because I deem it too valuable to remain with the others. “ Companions of my Solitude” is, indeed, a delightful bookearnest, truthful, practical, reflective, and poetical, the author ought to be proud of it. Worth a hundred of the usual volumes which issue from the press. Equal to all the speeches of last session in the House, it is the gem of the books which surround it.
CRITICUS.-Bravo ! Felix grows poetical. Who is the happy author ?
FELIX.-Mr. Helps, I believe, who was formerly private secretary to Lord Morpeth; and who, to a well-cultivated mind as a man of letters, unites the ability of a statesman and the general knowledge and information of a man of the world.
PRUDENTIUS.—The book is an admirable one, Criticus.
CRITICUS.-Did I say it was not ? No; for now that I recollect, I consider it to be superior to even “ Friends in Council,” an old companion of mine, and in much the same strain and style.
FELIX.—“Friends in Council," “ Essays written in the Intervals of Business," and “ Companions of my Solitude,” are all written by the same pen.
PRUDENTIUS.-I will take the last home with me; I will read it again.
CRITICUS.-Felix had it at the sea-side last autumn, and he used to lie on one of the dark rocks near the water, reading it, and looking at the white surf and blue waves before him, throughout the live-long day.
Felix.-Those were golden hours of quiet thought and reflection. I well remember, too, Criticus, lying in a harvest-field among the yellow sheaves, with the glorious sun of September shining on them, and tinting the purple skies with crimson, and there, amid all the tranquillity of the country, reading that Essay on
“ The Sin of Great Cities,” perhaps the most earnest and tender argument on a difficult subject that was ever written ; but no more of this, these “ Companions'' will cheer many another solitude besides the author's.
CRITICUS.--"Here is M.Douall's Introductory Lecture; never delivered, but worthy of the man. I suppose we will lose him here soon.
FELIX.-I will be both glad and sorry.
PRUDENTIUS.- I am sorry altogether at the thought of one of our best Professors being removed from us. I am selfish, no doubt, but I can't help it.
CRITICUS.—Hancock on “ The Lothians of Scotland.” Clever as usual, butPRUDENTIUS.-Beware! You are on dangerous ground with Felix now,
CRITICUS.-Nay, you quite mistake me ; I was only going to say that it is a great pity that Professor Hancock does not write some important book at once. Now, an “Introduction to Jurisprudence” is much wanted, and is a subject just suited to his peculiar talents.
Felix.—All in good time; he is only sending messenger balloons as yet, the large one will follow.
CRITICUS, -Here's a bundle—“A Scottish Philhellen;" “ A Caution for the Times;" “ Notes on the Construction of Sheepfolds"
FELIX.—No more of them, I pray you. The “ Philhellen” is very learned, “ The Caution” very clever, and “ The Sheepfold ” very odd.
PRUDENTIUS.- What a pile of green literature you have there.
FELIX.—Yes! the number of shilling volumes, now-a-days, is astonishing. An Irish house may claim the credit, however, of starting the trade.
CRITICUS.-Not the idea, though. “ Honour to whom honour.”
CRITICUS.—Yes! the “ Napoleon of Literature," as they called him, had most magnificent, but just ideas of the spread of cheapness, and we only see the beginning as yet.
Felix.--I agree with you heartily; the time will come when, for a shilling, we will get every book of value in the English language circulated through the cottages of our country. All these cheap novels are but the precursors of something better.
CRITICUS.—But sometimes a good novel passes an hour pleasantly enough. Now, there's “ Grace and Isabel" for a shilling. There are many Americanisms, no doubt, in the story ; but yet Miss M'Intosh throws much quiet grace and beauty about her descriptions.
FELIX.-" Charles Tyrrell,” too, is not the worst of James'; but he writes too much, and Simms and MʻIntyre give the public quite enough of him.
CRITICUS.— Yes! more of Mrs. Marsh, and less of G. P. R. James, would pay better, I should think.
FELIX.-Well they try, I see, to diversify their bill of fare as much as they can.
PRUDENTIUS.- I suppose they circulate fifty thousand copies of each month's issue.
FELIX.-And allowing three readers to each copy, one hundred and fifty thousand people read “ Charles Tyrrell ” and “Discipline."
CRITICUS. -I will be content if we have as many readers.
Felix.—Ha! ha! do you hear young Hopeful ; or, rather, young Rapid? No! no! my boy; here is our fractional circulation, I should think
PRUDENTIUS.- Nay! don't tell-don't be rash; we should never let the public know what we expect.
FELIX.-“ Least said, soonest mended.” But, gentlemen, I will say--and you, Prudentius, need not shake your head ; and you, Criticus, need not laugh and shrug your shoulders ; nor need “the Public" be astonished-but I firmly believe that we will be read in hall and in hamlet, in parlour and in cottage, throughout the length and breadth of Ireland ; and that, ere many a year elapse, Irish literature will find not only Irish readers, but bind the sister kingdoms still closer to us ; and that we, my friends, advance this good cause, by giving now to the public the first number of our “ NORTHERN MAGAZINE."
ALL.-Long may it live and flourish !
We sometimes hear the loss of Ame- Another reason of the neglect of Carica mentioned as the great disaster of nada by the British, is the way in which the reign of George the Third. Yet at the Americans always obtain the nothis hour Britain possesses an empire tice, and sometimes the admiration of in North America, nearly as populous, strangers, by constant boasting and and probably much richer and more puffing—a practice which the people of valuable to our commerce, than were the British provinces are too English the United States at the time of their to adopt. The Americans, says Proseparation from the mother country- fessor Johnston, in his recently puba region of boundless extent and im- lished work on the agriculture of Amemeuse, unexplored resources, well a- rica, are always boasting, while the dapted to afford a home to millions of Canadians, like the British, are always emigrants from the old countries of grumbling; and travellers seem to take Europe, and to become the abode of a both at their word. The error has been great civilized nation—a region chiefly fostered by those partizan writers at inhabited by a race kindred to ourselves home who can see no good in the colonial in language, religion, and blood, and connexion, who praise everything Ame. united to us by the strongest ties of rican and depreciate everything British. loyalty and attachment.
But the British people are at length Various causes have combined to con- beginning to take a deeper interest in ceal the real value of the British domi- the colonies, and to regard them, not nions in America from the eyes of with the foregone conclusions of party Britons; among which we may mention politics, but in an enlightened and imthe greater size and wealth of the cities partial manner, with a view to coloniof the United States, with which those zation and commerce; and, as a result of Canada are most unfairly contrasted; of this change, more accurate notions for the United States' cities are the are now prevalent of the prosperity and markets and ports of a far greater ex- the vast resources of our American emtent of country than the Canadian ; pire. The Great Exhibition, too, of and the local circumstances of the States last year, tended to raise the character have called manufacturing towns into of our Canadian fellow-subjects for proexistence, such as Pittsburg and Lowell, ficiency in the arts of civilized life. to which the British possessions have We do not deny that there is some nothing similar. But if we take the truth in the potion of the inferiority of state of agriculture and the condition Canada to the United States. But of the rural population as the test of this is the result of French blood, not comparison, then we sball find the Brit- of British domination. The rural disish provinces in no way inferior to the tricts of Upper Canada, which are inAmerican States; for Upper Canada, habited by a British population, are at though it did not begin to be colonised least as prosperous as the neighbouring until after the American Revolution, is and similar districts of the United at least as well cultivated as any State States; but the great commercial cities in the Union.
of Quebeo and Montreal in Lower Ca
pada, which were built by the French, tion of French performance to French are far inferior to New York, though projects. A stream of British populawith equal natural advantages. The tion began to flow into the new colony, French are inferior to many other na. but not rapidly at first, until the tions in those qualities which build cities American Revolution, when a number and colonise continents. In the middle of the loyalist refugees from the States ages France could boast of no such cities settled in Upper Canada ; they were ab Milan, Florence, and Venice; Ghent, the first colonists of that country. In and Bruges; Lubeck, Augsburg, and 1791 an Act of the Imperial Parliament Nuremberg : and, in the present age, separated the colony into the two proFrance has nothing like Manchester, vinces of Lower and Upper Canada, Liverpool, and Glasgow. Neither has giving to each a free parliamentary any French colony ever approached to constitution. This separation was a the prosperity of the British ones in great mistake ; as great as that made America and Australia. The happiest by the government of the Restoration, event that ever befel Canada was its in repealing the union that Cromwell conquest by the British, who gave it free had effected between the parliaments institutions, and filled it with industrious of the three kingdoms; and it was found and enterprising settlers.
necessary to unite them again during Yet the French plan of colonising the present generation, after the rebel. North America was the most statesman- lion of the French Canadians was at like and vast over formed. Planting an end. The error has not been fatal, colonies at the mouths of the two great but it has thrown Lower Canada more rivers of the Continent, the St. Law- than a generation back. The right rence and the Missisippi, they projected policy would have been to continue the and went far to execute the design of absolute government, which the French establishing a chain of forts and settle- had founded, until the British popula. ments between these two extreme points, tion had obtained a clear majority, and thus securing to themselves the whole of then given one parliament to the whole the vast regions drained by the great province. Had this been done, British rivers, and confining their British rivals enterprise would have made itself felt to the strip of country between the Alle- in Lower as well as in Upper Canada, ghanies and the Atlantic. The British, and Quebec and Montreal would have meanwbile, colonised the eastern coast at competed with New York on equal various points, almost at random, and terms. without any vast ulterior desigu like The vast regions which surround the the French. But the colonies of France North American lakes had no navigawere governed despotically, and those ble outlet to the sea until many years of England received free institutions at after the American Revolution, for the their foundation; and, therefore, when St. Lawrence, which discharges their war came between the rival kingdoms, waters into the ocean, had its naviga. the English colonists seconded the Eng. tion stopped by rapids; and the Niagara Jish Government's schemes of conquest, river, which connects lakes Erie and while the French ones looked on with Ontario, is rendered impassable, by its indifference while the battles were celebrated Falls. A few miles of canal, fought that transferred Canada to the so situated as to enable vessels to avoid crown of Britain. We know the re- these obstacles, if made at the time of sult. North America is alive with the the American Revolution, would have energy of the British race ; and the secured for ever the trade of the country best parts of the Continent are occupied round the lakes to Quebec and Monby a republic which, in another genera. treal, the ports of the St. Lawrence. But tion, will probably be the greatest nation Canada was inhabited by Frenchmen, in the world. Had the French gained and the State of New York by English: the victory, how different would have men, The Canadians allowed a few been the result! The state of North miles of falls and rapids to impede their America would then have been no bet- magnificent natural navigation of two ter than that of the Spanish republics. thousand miles, from the Atlantic to
Canada was conquered by the British the head of Lake Superior ; while the in 1759. It then contained but 65,000 State of New York made the Erie inhabitants ; so small was the propor- canal of about two hundred miles in