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opinions of the sovereign have considerable influence upon the whole course of public affairs,-being felt alike in that courtly sphere around them where tbeir attraction acts, and in that outer circle of opposition where their repulsion comes into play. To this influence, then, upon the government and the community, of which no abstraction can deprive the person of the monarch, the Whig principle in question (which seems to consider entireness of prerogative as necessary to a king, as the entireness of his limbs was held to be among the Athenians,) superadds the vast power, both actual and virtual, which would flow from the inviolability of the royal office, and forecloses, so far, the chance which the more pliant Tory doctrine would leave open, of counteracting the effects of the king's indirect personal influence, by curtailing or weakening the grasp of some of his direct regal powers. Ovid represents the Deity of Light (and on an occasion, too, which may be called a regency question) as crowned with moveable rays, which might be put off when too stroag or dazzling. But, according to this principle, the crown of prerogative must keep its rays fixed and immoveable, and (as the poet expresses it) "circa caput OMNE micantes."

Upon the whole, however high the authorities by which this Whig doctrine was enforced in 1789, its manifest tendency, in most cases, to secure a perpetuity of superfluous powers to the Crown, appears to render it unft, at least as an invariable principle, for any party professing to have the liberty of the people for their object. The Prince, in his admirable letter upon the subject of the regency to Mr. Pitt, was made to express the unwillingness which he felt “ that in his person an experiment should be made to ascertain with how small a portion of kingly power the executive government of the country might be carried on;"—but imagination has not far to go in supposing a case, where the enormous patronage vested in the Crown, and the consequent increase of a royal bias through the community, might give such an undue and unsafe preponderance to that branch of the legislature, as would render any safe opportunity, however acquired, of ascertaining with how much less power the executive government could be carried on, most acceptable, in spite of any dogmas to the contrary, to all true lovers as well of the monarchy as of the people.

In speaking of the connexion of Whigs with the Prince of Wales, Mr. Moore reads them a great moral lesson.”

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The Whigs, who had now every reason to be convinced of the aversion with which they were regarded at court, had lately been, in some degree, compensated for this misfortune by the accession to their party of the heir-apparent, who had, since the year 1783, been in the enjoyment of a separate establishment, and taken bis seat in the House of Peers as Duke of Cornwall. That a young prince, food of pleasure and impatient of restraint, should have thrown himself into the arms of those who were most likely to be indulgent to his crrors, is nothing surprising, either in politics or ethics. But that mature and enlightened statesmen, with the lessons of all history before their eyes, should have been equally ready to embrace such a rash alliance, or should count upon it as any more than a temporary instrument of faction, is, to say the least of it, one of those self-delusions of the wise, which show how vainly the voice of the past may speak amid the loud appeals and temptations of the present. The last Prince of Wales, it is true, by whom the popular cause was espoused, had left the lesson imperfect, by dying before he came to the throne. But this deficiency has since been amply made up; and future Whigs, who may be placed in similar circumstances, will have, at least, one historical warning before their eyes, which ought to be enough to satisfy the most unreflecting and credulous.

We would willingly quote likewise, had we room, some very good remarks on the trial of Hastings. They will be found in page 381, and well merit perusal.

Mr. Moore's estimate of Burke, both as an orator and a politician, is much higher than we are disposed to allow. We cannot well understand the facility of temper, which urges Mr. Moore to mitigate the mercenary character of that political windmill's abrupt gyrations. For ourselves, we never could fancy that well-turned sentences, lofty figures,

or impassioned language, however excellent, were justly entitled to the noble appellation of eloquence, if divested of clearness and precision of idea. We have ever regarded them, when used to cover vagueness of thought and sophistical argument—to make the worse appear the better cause,—but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals; and even when our ear has been most flattered, our understanding has revolted from a charm, the prevalence of which portends the permanence of error and the multiplication of abuse. With respect to the moral estimate to be made of Burke's “ratting" at the French Revolution, we still possess two infallible tests,—the virulence of his attacks on the friends he had deserted and the opinions he had abandoned,-and the pecuniary rewards which accompanied or followed the change. Emolument, indeed, may go along with conviction; much more frequently it precedes it: and self-defence requires that we should think the worst of him, who, in a sudden variation of political creed, does not scrupulously avoid the stain of a pecuniary advantage. It is the peculiar misfortune of our form of government that it holds out vast encouragement to political speculators, and a proportionate severity is necessary in our judgments of public characters: men of all ranks, too much familiarized with corrupt ideas, gradually content themselves with a more limsy pretext for covering their venality. But the easy con plaisance of the people, a too facile cullibility, which accepts of any excuse that is offered for abandoning the popular cause, is perhaps the most dangerous form of political indifference. There is no sentiment more frequently forgotten among Englishmen than the necessary indignation at fraud and dishonesty, whenever these vices are clothed in purple, and . fare sumptuously; and the same man who spurns the necessitated aberrations of the lowly, and cants by the hour at the faults of the poor, too often imagines himself neither disgraced nor degraded by an intimacy with a public defaulter, or a venal turn-coat. As far therefore as our influence may extend, we shall always be prepared to denounce that sort of “liberal concession," that ill-conceived moderation,” which tends to screen the naked deformity of him who sells his country's cause and his own principles, and to beget a consideration for the vices of the great, which is denied to those of smaller and less successful knaves. We turn with pleasure to Mr. Moore's own words on a similar occasion. On the secession of the Duke of Portland he observes :

It is to be regretted that, in almost all cases of conversion to the side of power, the coincidence of some worldly advantage with the change should make it difficult to decide upon the sincerity or disinterestedness of the convert. That these noble Whigs were sincere in their alarm, there is no reason to doubt; but the lesson of loyalty they have transmitted would have been far more edifying, had the usual corollary of honours and emoluments not followed, and had they left at least one instance of political conversion on record, where the truth was its own sole reward, and the proselyte did not subside into the placeman.

The same lesson is read more severely by Sheridan himself to the seceders.

Will the train of newly-titled alarmists, of supernumerary negotiators, of pensioned paymasters, agents, and commissaries, thank him for remarking to us how profitable their panic has been to themselves, and how expensive to their country? What a contrast, indeed, do we exhibit! What! in such an hour as this, at a moment pregnant with the national fate, when, pressing as the exigency may be, the hard task of squeezing the money from the pockets of an impoverished people, from the toil, the drudgery of the shivering poor, must make the most practised

collector's heart ache while he tears it from them ;-can it be that people of high rank, and professing high principles, that they or their families should seek to thrive on the spoils of misery, and fatten on the meals wrested from industrious poverty? Can it be, that this should be the case with the very persons, who state the exprecedented peril of the country as the sole cause of their being found in the ministerial ranks? The constitution is in danger, religion is in danger, the very existence of the nation itself is endangered; all personal and party considerations ought to vanish; the war must be supported by every possible exertion, and by every possible sacrifice; the people must not murmur at their burdens, it is for their salvation, their all is at stake. The time is come, when all honest and disinterested men should rally round the throne as round a standard ?--for what? ye honest and disinterested men, to receive, for your own private emolument, a portion of those very taxes wrung from the people, on the pretence of saving them from the poverty and distress which you say the enemy would inflict, but which you take care no enemy shall be able to aggravate.

The portion of the volume before us which we have read with the greatest pleasure, is that in which the Poet speaks of the Poet, and brings all the warmth of his sympathies, and all the light of his experience, to illustrate the writings of Sheridan. There is one chapter in particular on the “School for Scandal,” in which he has been enabled, by the possession of Sheridan's MS. to trace “the best comedy in the English language,” through all its long and laboured progress, from the first crude conception, to the latest polish. Of this production Mr. Moore remarks :

It is, perhaps, still more remarkable to find, as in the instance before us, that works which, at this period of life, we might suppose to have been the rapid of spring of a careless, but vigorous fancy, -anticipating the results of experience by a sort of second-sight inspiration,-should, on the contrary, have been the slow result of many and doubtful experiments, gradually unfolding beauties unforeseen even by him who produced them, and arriving, at length, step by step, at perfection. That such was the tardy process by which the School for Scandal was produced, will appear from the first sketches of its plan and dialogue, which I am here enabled to lay before the reader, and which cannot fail to interest deeply all those who take delight in tracing the alchemy of genius, and in watching the first slow workings of the menstruum, out of which its finest transmutations arise.

“Genius,” says Buffon, “is Patience ;” or, (as another French writer has ex. plained his thought)“ La Patience cherche, et le Génie trouve ;" and there is little doubt that to the co-operation of these two powers, all the brightest inventions of this world are owing ;-—that Patience must first explore the depths where the pearl lies hid, before Genius boldly dives and brings it up full into light. There are, it is true, some striking exceptions to this rule; and our own times have witnessed more than one extraordinary intellect, whose depth has not prevented their treasures from lying ever ready within reach. But the records of Immortality furnish few such instances; and all we know of the works, that she has hitherto marked with her seal, sufficiently authorise the general position, that nothing great and durable has ever been produced with ease, and that Labour is the parent of all the lasting wonders of this world, whether in verse or stone, whether poetry or pyramids.

These observations are doubly interesting, from their value as coming from such an authority, and from their evident allusion to the author's manner of producing his own exquisite poetry. The mistaking easy reading for easy writing, is as fatal to young writers, as it is natural to them. But how little the felicities of composition depend upon lucky hits, is evinced even in the present work ; in which thoughts and images sometimes occur which want that “finish” that Mr. Moore is accustomed to bestow on his lesser efforts, and which renders the setting often more valuable than the stone. After giving a copious extract from the early MS. of the play, in which only the germs of Sheridan's bright thoughts and happy turns of expression are to be found, -txtracts to which a far different interest attaches than to the dry catalogue of various readings so often appended to the works of Poets, Mr. Moore continues :

To trace even the mechanism of an author's style through the erasures and alterations of his rough copy, is, in itself, no ordinary gratification of curiosity; and the brouillon of Rousseau's Heloise, in the library of the Chainber of Deputies at Paris, affords a study in which more than the mere " auceps syllabaruni" might delight. But it is still more interesting to follow thus the course of a writer's thoughts-to watch the kindling of new fancies as he goes—to accompany bim in his change of plans, and see the various vistas that open upon him at every step. It is, indeed, like being admitted by some magical power, to witness the mysterious processes of the natural world—to see the crystal forming by degrees round its primitive nucleus, or observe the slow ripening of

" the imperfect ore, “ And know it will be gold another day!". In respect of mere style, too, the workmanship of so pure a writer of English as Sheridan, is well worth the attention of all who would learn the difficult art of combining ease with polish, and being, at the same time, idiomatic and elegant. There is not a page of these manuscripts that does not bear testimony to the lastidious care with which he selected, arranged, and moulded his language, so as to form it into that transparent channel of his thoughts, which it is at present.

Of the “School for Scandal” itself the author expresses himself as follows.

With but little interest in the plot, with no very profound or ingenious develope. ment of character, and with a group of personages, not one of whoin has any legitimate claims upon either our affection or esteem, it yet, by the admirable skill with which its materials are managed,—the happy contrivance of the situations, at ouca both natural and striking,—the fine feeling of the ridiculous that smiles throughout, and that perpetual play of wit which never tires, but seems, like running water, to be kept fresh by its own flow,-hy all this general animation and effect, combined with a finish of the details, almost faultless, it unites the sufivages, at once, of the refined and the simple, and is not less successful in ministering to the natural enjoyment of the latter, than in satisfying and delighting the most fastidious tastes among the former. 'And this is the true triumph of genius in all the arts, whether in painting, sculpture, music, or literature, those works which have pleased the greatest number of people of all classes, for the longest space of time, may without hesitation be pronounced the best ; and, however mediocrity may enshrine itself in the admiration of the select few, the palm of excellence can only be awarded by the many.

In defending Sheridan's play from the charge of a superabundance of wit, Mr. Moore is în some sort defending himself

. Indeed the resemblances between these two distinguished Irishmen are not few. In both, the love of ambitious writing frequently betrays them into splendid faults; and provided an idea is "new and rare," they neither of them seem to trouble themselves to inquire “how the devil it got there.” It is worth while however to remark, that this charge of excessive wit is the cuckoo note of little writers in all ages, who are apt to think successful comedies too witty, merely because their own are too dull. Perhaps the pleasantest comedy in existence is Beaumarchais? Marriage of Figaro, of which the mere English reader has not the slightest conception. It is from beginning to end an incessant firework of wit, pleasantry, sarcasm, and satire. There is scarcely a line without a hit; and the success of the piece was commensurate with its VOL. X. No. 59.-1825.


merit. Yet, even to this day, the pedants of Paris (and the Parisian Academy produces more pedantry than is to be found in the most recluse German University) gravely tell you that there is too much "recherche d'esprit;" and complain of the violation of the delicacy and purity of French taste. To all such criticism there is one triumphant answer—full houses and multiplied editions ; and with these on their side, the Sheridans and the Beaumarchais have nothing to fear from puny critics and drivelling academicians. On the morality of the play, which has been attacked much on the same grounds as the Beggars' Opera, Mr. Moore's criticism is, as usual, judicious.

The business of Comedy, and its utility as a school of morality, is not forwarded by depicting, as some would have it do, a race

“Of faultless monsters which the world ne'er saw;" nor can there be a more false and ridiculous conception, than that the theatre holds out all it represents, for imitation, even in its favourite characters. Comedy should show men as they are," a mingled web of good and ill together;" it does not take up a virtue or a vice for a theme to be treated in isolation ; but it shows the operation of a given propensity upon the whole moral system, in that ever-changing miscellany of contradiction, the human heart. None but a driveller or an idiot would suppose that Sheridan strove to promote extravagance, merely because he employed that vice to show the redeeming efficacy of a good heart under the most desperate circumstances. After all, however, the morality of Charles Surface is a very subordinate consideration. Sheridan's comedy is a satire on what is called the world, on the weakness and vices of polite society; and for this purpose, it is not required that any of the personages should be better than the world usually is. If there is any additional moral to be extracted from the situations, that is so much gain, but it is not necessary for the justification of the author.

Another part of Mr. Moore's subject, which he has treated with great effect, is that which concerns Sheridan's first wife, Miss Lindley. There is something in the character and conduct of this extraordinary lady, so touching, that we are by no means surprised at the effect it has produced on her biographer. The beauty of her person, her musical and literary attainments, and the romantic story of her love, were enough to influence such a writer as Mr. Moore to give additional delicacy and tenderness to the narration, which bestows upon it all the interest of a novel. The halo of idealism which is thus thrown round Sheridan's character may not however exacıly correspond with the reality. It is not alone the composition of charming verses that would make such a man as Sheridan a good every-day husband ; his habits were any thing but calculated to render domestic life happy.

Miss Lindley was not one of those doll-like beauties, who are only made for a ball-room ; neither was she of that class of wits, which is scarcely satirized by the appellation of blue-stocking. With a feeling heart and a clear head she was not less fitted to stem the current of adversity than to adorn the hour of success. The refinement of her taste did not place her above the drudgery of household cares, which the first struggles of her married life rendered so necessary; nor did it incapacitate her for that literary industry by which her husband so

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