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brisk, sprightly, and delectable, a quintessence of existence, a sublimiscd exentplification of a short life and a merry one. We should die before we had lost any of the vigour and spirit of our humanity, and be bound up like Elegant Extracts from ourselves.
There may be certain classes whom it would be needless to include in this convention, such, for instance, as drunkards, foxhunters, duellists, debauchees, et hoc genus omne ; for as they are sure to take a very moderate lease of life, and are moreover neither orators nor authors, we need not quarrel with them for a year or two, more or less. An increased retired allowance has lately been given to the judges to induce them to resign in decent time, and some such regulation might be advantageously adopted with the members of our proposed society. There might be a fund for completing the plum or assisting the purchase of the dignity which would bring them under the sentence of this regulation, and so enable us to get rid of them. We might in fact help them on, in order to help them off. By the general adoption of my proposition the curtailment of writing and speaking would be much more than proportionate to the number of yoars excised, for it is alter the struggle and bustle of advancement have yielded to leisure, after they have become “swells and big-wigs," (to use Mr. Pierce Egan's phraseology,) that men generally get into parliament, and attend public dinners and charitable meetings for the sake of speechifying, while they promote somnolency by thick pamphlets upon Political Economy, the Tithe question, the Tread-mill, and the Game Laws.
Alter men have been once induced to discount existence, and take it up in ready money, instead of waiting the tedious process of its becoming due to death, and then praying for three days grace, the brevity of style which your correspondent recommends would naturally introduce itsell, and the saving of the public, in the single point of biography, would be incalculable. As to lapidary inscriptions, which may be termed the short-hand of biography, there is very little reform to be desiderated, nine tenths of them only claiming two days as worthy of record, those of the birth and death, the intervening sixty or eighty years being passed over as not worth mentioning. What can more convincingly prove the necessity of abridging the lengthy book of life, when it is admitted to contain nothing particularly interesting between its titlepage and its postscript? The regular biography appropriated to personages of distinction might be condensed after the following fashion :
The Life of the Rig!t Hon. Crafton Supplejack, M. P. one of the Commissioners for preventing the dry rot in the wet docks, Comptroller of Accounts for Ayrshire and the Isle of Sky-Registrar of the missing documents-Auditor of the Deaf and Dumb-Member of the Court of Requests and of the Society for Feathering Nests, &c. &c. &c.
Pro Aris et focis. By Crouch and Crawley, at the Crown and Mitre, 1825. At a time when every member of his most sacred Majesty's Government-stupendous talents-unparalleled virtues-exquisite disinterestedness-heaven-born patriotism-Duty Editor owes to public-Subject this memoir-Educated College of Dublin--indefatigable industryprodigious ability-laudable curiosity to see manners-on foot to London-letter to Scottish member-Clerk in public office-remarkable aptitude for public business-particularly in private affairs of his supe
riors--loan negotiated-mistress removed—recommended to commissioner- official knowledge remarkably displayed in management of contested election-rapid rise-display of eloquence- M. P. for the borough of Knavesmere-invariable--enlightened, and disinterested support of Government-never absent on a division-Privy Council one of the Commissioners for preventing the dry rot in the wet docks Comptroller of Accounts for Ayrshire and the Isle of Sky-Registrar of the missing documents-Auditor of the Deaf and Dumb-member of the Court of Requests and of the Society for Feathering Nests, &c. &c. &c.-pleasing duty of Editor-stupendous talents--- unparalleled virtue-exquisite disinterestedness-heaven-born patriotism-Majesty's Government-Finis.
Here are at least two goodly post octavo volumes condensed into a single half sheet; and I appeal to the readers of such publications whether they cannot, from the above summary, fill up all the omissions. and pursue the whole laudatory narrative of the life, quite as well as if they had toiled through the six or eight hundred pages into which, according to the present method of writing biography, the work would be infallibly expanded. Leaving this as a general specimen of improvement in this department, we will next extend our inquiries to History, beginning with that of a single war, avoiding all allusion to recent occurrences, and framing our example in such a way as that in nine cases out of ten it will be found applicable to such records of hostility.
A Full and Complete History of the Late War.
Cartridge and Ravelin-Horse Guards, Whitehall. Perfidious conduct-unwarrantable aggression-implacable and eternal enemy-honour and glory of England-never can be satisfied until -complete humiliation-insulting foe-Declaration of war-universally popular-numerous addresses-lives and properties-loyal subjecis— Hurra!-Ten years hostilities—H. M. government ever anxious to put an end-calamities of war-same humane and pacific sentiments -part of the enemy-Preliminaries of Peace upon the basis of the status quo ante bellum—Proclamation of peace-universally popular-general illumination-bonfire-feu de joie-innumerable addresses loyal congratulations---Hurra!
Table of the ships, towns, and men, taken, burnt, and destroyed in the late most glorious struggle-Statement of the additions made to the national debt, in the same period of unexampled wealth, prosperity, and success-Finis,
From the narrative of a single war, we might ascend to general history, which is little better than a succession of wars, though it has been jacobinically defined as the Newgate calendar of Kings. That of Enge land has been already turned into verse by Mr. Dibdin, which is too long; and printed on a single card under the title of Royal Genealogy, which is as much too short, besides being exclusively confined to regal dates; but we do not see a single desideratum that would be left unsupplied, if it were to assume the following form.
A compendious History of England from the earliest dawn of time to the Accession of his present Majesty, whom God preserve.
Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari. Printed for Canter and Claptrap, Crown Office Row. Tower of Babel - dispersion of mankind-Shem, Ham and Japhet
Celtic tribes—North of Europe-Roman Empire Invasion under Julius Cæsar-Cassibelanus-Boadicea - Picts and Scots—Heptarchy
- Alfred, chid for suffering the cakes to burn-Canute commands the waves not to touch his feet--Norman Conquest-Rufus, Tyrrel, and Westminster Abbey-King John-glorious æra Magna ChartaTudors-Plantagenets-white and red roses-Henry the 8th, Defender of the Faith and seceder from dittoReformation-Queen Maryfires in Smithfield-glorious Queen Elizabeth-defeat of the Spanish Armada-Goose on Michaelmas day-Charles the Martyr-Eikon Basilike-Commonwealth-detestable beast and fool Cromwell-Restoration-Abdication--glorious Revolution of 1688-glorious Queen Anne-glorious Hanover succession-particularly glorious George the Third. Wars, treasons, stratagems, plots, insurrections, executions, usurpations, tyrannies, murders, crimes and sufferings of all sorts, in the usual proportion.
When once this is committed to the memory and the imagination, which may easily be effected in half an hour, we really do not see why all our voluminous historians might not be sold by the hundred weight as waste paper. By thus far abbreviating lise and literature, we shall have conferred a most important benefit on mankind, but the grand desideratum will still remain to be accomplished. There is no doubt that the world itself requires condensing and abridging; it is infinitely too populous, the danger is daily increasing, we approach the Malthusian dilemma with a frightful rapidity. If we could but weed out and extirpate a lew nations, leaving just enough to make war upon one another, which seems to be the great object of their existence; if we could but reduce and thin the respective communities, so as just to leave the privileged classes to enjoy the good things of the world, and sufficient of the labouring class to work in procuring them, it would effect an incredible improvement in human destiny. Old mother Earth has been too prolific ; she has more pigs than teats, (we may quote from the Ilouse of Commons,) and we must imitate the gardeners who cut off part of their fruit to improve what is left. Painful necessity! we must-but it is too important a measure to be discussed at the tail of an article. We reserve its consideration for a future number.
AUTHORS AND EDITORS. I dine say that there are few amateurs or incipient professors of literature, who do not think that the Editor of a Magazine is the most comfortable workman in the craft.—He is not subject to the rejections and mortifications which sometimes fall to the lot of less potential persons, and has the power of patronising his friends and annoying his enemies just as much as he pleases. All this is very true, but, to my sorjoil,
I must dispute the inference. I was once, in a dark hour of my fate, induced to become the Lord of one of these great creations niyself, and, though I was deposed immediately after the publication of my first number, I obtained quite enough experience to turn pale ai the sight of a proof-sheet ever after. I set to work with the determination of being popular, and encountered the cares and fatigues of widdling hieroglyphic manuscripts, and patching up broken sentences, with the constancy of a literary martyr. I hunted in holes and curpers for genius in obscurity, that I might display it to the noon day, and I felt my heart warm at the gratitude with which I was about to be rewarded. I reviewed new publications, paintings, and performances of all descriptions with the tenderness of a parent to the first pledges of his fondness; I was on both sides in politics; and I never received a communication from the veriest ask which was not attended to as punctually as a love-letter. One would have thought that with so many claims to universal good-will I could not fail of obtaining it. Alas! after fidgetting and severing myself to a skeleton, I discovered that foiks of my calling are something in the predicament of house dogs, which are not only cursed for every honest bark they make, but mistrusted and vilified even when they fawn for favour. Before I was in power, I was considered a good sort of a person enough, and had as many friends as most people. I could walk the streets without thought of danger, and go about my business without fear of criticism. In one brief quarter of a year I have outfallen the fall of Phaeton. I have not only made no new friends, but have lost all my old ones. I cannot show my face without being hooted like an owl by daylight, and shall never again put pen to paper without seeing each miserable sentence drawn and quartered and hung up to public view as the remnants of the malefactor, who presumed to lord it over his betters. Expostulation is out of the question. A blockhead who has undergone the scratching out of a sentence is as impatient as though it had been his eye; a manuscript which has been returned is morally certain of becoming wadding for a pistol ; and I look upon all the obligations which I have conferred as so many thunderbolts which are destined to crack my ex-editorial crown. In addition to all these grievous circumstances, the numerous assurances which I have received of the fallibility of my judgment, have altogether destroyed the confidence which I used formerly to repose in it. I feel shy of hazarding an opinion upon the merest trifle, for fear it should be disputed. My taste, vision, and hearing, seem totally different from those of other people; and had I not materials to prove what I have here advanced, I doubt very much whether I should have ventured to say a word upon the subject. Fortunately, when I commenced my editorial functions, I bought a huge band-box to hold contributions. The favours of my friends soon crammed it to splitting, but when store-houses of this kind come to be threshed out and winnowed, it is astonishing what a cloud of chaff is produced for every particle of solid grain. My whole treasury was expended in my one campaign, and I set about filling my box (which has been the very box of Pandora in every thing save the article of Hope) with the first fruits of it. It is now, if possible, fuller than it was before, and if the reader likes the samples I am about to give him, I will feast him as long as he has an appetite. The first morceau I have laid my hand upon is from a gentleman to whom I wrote—“ The Editor of the Magazine presents his complimerts to Mr. and begs to offer his best thanks for the perusal of his Essay on Pathos, which he regrets exceedingly his great supply of that article obliges him to return."
The reply to this polite billet is as follows:
6. Sir, I am extremely glad to have my Pathos again, as it was only sent for the support of a Magazine which has no chance of succeeding by its wit. At the same time, I must inform you that it was a matter of some condescension for a person so well know as myself (in private circles) to submit my works to the judgment of one who is only likely to be conspicuous from his incapacity to appreciate them. My friends, upon whose taste I can fully rely, are of opinion that my Essay on Pathos has great power, for it was read before them a month ago, and they have been dull ever since. This, however, is not said that you may send for it back, and I think it right to inform you that I shall listen to no future solicitations to write for the Magazine ; and remain, Sir, Yours, &c. &c.”
One would have thought that the indignation of this lover of dulness, with whom I had the misfortune to feel so little sympathy, would at any rate have been counterbalanced by the kind words of those whose effusions I had printed in preference. But no such thing. The same post brought the following from a young beginner, who had intreated that I would do him the favour of cutting down and altering his papers as I thought best ; and I vow that, in my fatherly anxiety for his reputation, I spent more time upon them than I did upon my own.
« Dear Sir,--Pray be kind enough to inform me which are my articles in your last number, for they are so altered that I do not recognise them. I have no doubt that they are a great deal the better for it, and am excessively obliged to you, and extremely sorry that it will not be in my potver to forward any more contributions. Please to beg your publisher to send me his account, as I am going to take in another Magazine--and believe me, dear sir, truly yours.
The next little note was left at my publisher's with an article “to be continued,” which would have filled a decent-sized folio volume.
“Sir, I have left the accompanying paper for your perusal, and shall be obliged by an answer respecting its admissibility into your magazine by to-morrow morning. Yours, &c."
The next day I received another billet to inform me that my reply was of extreme consequence, and that, in fact, the author did not understand such unwarrantable delays. On the third day I returned the MS. with a polite note expressive of my sorrow at my total inability to get through it in less than a month—which drew forth the subjoined.
Sir,--You have done me a most serious injury. Had you returned my MS. in due time, I could have disposed of it to a publisher who has now had leisure to change his mind. I am determined upon having ample reparation, and, if I do not hear from you by return of post, shall most undoubtedly place the affair in the hands of my lawyer. I remain, &c."
This, I believe, cannot fail of being thought a little unreasonable, but, if so, what will be said of the next, which was written by a son of Apollo whom I had lauded out of pure friendship to his calling.
“Sir,--I have just seen in your Magazine a review of my poem, which you clearly do not understand, and of which you have materially injured the sale by misleading the public opinion. You call it sub