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our command all the advantages which he regards as the necessary result of our system, it is not to be denied that we are at least in a fair way of attaining them. This work necessarily leads him to take a comprehensive view of the fortunes of human society--to glance st Egypt, and Greece, and Rome, and pursue the thread of events, -as knotted and tangled it finds its way through the mazes of the middle ages, and conducts us up to the lofty platform on which we at present stand. In pursuing this compound series of discussion and narrative, the author displays much reading and ability, and puts forward many sound remarks and enlightened opinions. But, thoroughly to compre hend modern civilisation, it is necessary to investigate far more minutely the older cycles out of which it has proceeded. What we think and know, and possess now, would not be what it is, were 'it not for what was thought and known and possessed formerly. Fully to comprehend, therefore, the history of civilisation, it is necessary to lift the veil from antiquity, to study the early workings of the springs that move us still ; not merely in the rough realisations presented by the forms of ancient society, but in the recondite and profound speculations of philosophers, the first ideal shadowings forth of what was afterwards converted into practice. Hereafter Mr. Mackinnon may bestow more attention on this part of his work. In the modern divisions there is very considerable development. The author undertakes to interpret the histories of England and France, and of the other great kingdoms on the Continent, and even extends his examination to the antique despotisms of Asia. Over so vast a field he could only be expected to glance. To descend into minutiæ, to study particulars, to enter into all the wild and almost infinitely varied opinions which have exercised a forming influence on society, would have been a task too Herculean perhaps for any one. Mr. Mackinnon has done what he could, and the result is an interesting and useful work, interspersed with quotations from the ablest authors, and enlivened more especially by pas. sages from the poets. The writer has displayed much judgment in thus having recourse to the earliest and most popular teachers of mankind. There is often, moreover, a philosophy in poetry which prose can seldom reach. The poet walks over the summits of things, and yet we may discern from his gait that he has sometime or another inspected their foundations. We highly approve, therefore, of Mr. Mackinnon's plan of calling in their vaticinations to his aid. The most elaborate por tions of his work are those which treat of the histories and institutions of England and France, in which, though we might find matter for controversy, we likewise discover a great deal to approve. It is quite right to call old notions in question, and at every step we take in civilisation to cast our eyes backwards, and see how the old landmarks look from our novel position. The result must always be beneficial upon the whole. Here and there proofs are given of curious reading, as in the chapter on witchcraft, where the author andertakes to lay open some of the sad lapses of our forefathers. The remarks on the
history of France are particularly valuable, as they seem to explain a series of political events, which have generally been misrepresented by historians. We behold sown broadcast over the face of the past, the seeds of events and disasters which have grown up and borne fruit beneath our eyes, and Mr. Mackinnon seems generally anxious to draw liberal inferences from the facts under his view, halyot har helton
KM LISWICH BE,
r. (210"10DJS 90 DISCOVERIES IN AUSTRALIA : with an account of the Coast and Rivers explored and surveyed during the voyage of H.M.S. “ Beagle,” in the years 183738-39-40-41-42-43. By, command of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. Also a narrative of Captain OwEN STANLEY's visits to the Islands in the Arafara Sca. By T. LORT STOKES, Commander, R.N. London : T. and W. Boone. 1846. wala
1965,614 TUINS We generally entertain extremely false notions respecting the amount of knowledge possessed by the present age. Commerce and navigation are supposed to have rendered us familiar with the surface of our own planet, at least in all its broad and characteristic features, and yet there are whole continents, our acquaintance with which extends little beyond the sea-coast. Australia, for example, previously to the last surveying voyage of the “Beagle,” was in nearly all parts a terra incognita at the distance of a very few miles inland, and in many places the shore line was unknown. Considering that we have been settled on one point at least of the Continent for nearly sixty years, that out of the great original colony several smaller ones have sprung up, that communication is perpetually maintained between them and the mother country, that fact might at first appear incredible. But being a trading nation, we are chiefly guided in our undertakings by the principle of utility, and would not be at the expense of long and laborious surveys until the safety of our shipping engaged in the Australian trade peremptorily required it.
The necessity for the surveys to which we have alluded was fully recognised in 1837, when, under the command of Captain Wickham, the “Beagle” was sent out to complete the work commenced several years
Wickham returned, through bad health, to England, and was succeeded by Captain Lort Stokes, who, having effected the purpose of the expedition, returned home also, to present the public with the history of it. This he has now very ably and satisfactorily done in the two volumes before us, in which he throws much light on the geological structure of the Australian continent, on the character and manners of the aboriginal inhabitants by whom it is peopled, and on the progress and prospects of our own colonies, which may soon be expected to belt it entirely round.
Captain Stokes has selected the popular form of a discursive and miscellaneous narrative in which to embody his information, and will thus, in all likelihood, be extensively read. By the same process, however, he has greatly increased the difficulty of the reviewer, who has to enter into many calculations and comparisons, and to institute, as it were, original inquiries for himself, before he becomes master of the views which the work is calculated to give birth to. Sometimes our attention is solicited by the condition of the natives, whom we deeply commiserate, brought suddenly into contact with a colonising and conquering race, too impetuous, practical, and calculating, to reflect maturely on their moral responsibilities, or conscientiously to perform their duties towards the primary possessors of the soil. Captain Stokes appears, however, to be convinced that by a judicious and humane system of policy the natives might be civilised and preserved ; and it would therefore afford us much satisfaction to see him promoted to some position in Northern Australia which would enable him to reduce his theory to practice Others may take the commercial view of colonies ; but to us the para. mount duty of all who make new settlements in lands already peopled seems to be not merely to attempt, but to achieve, the civilisation of the first occupants. The task, no doubt, is a difficult one, but that it may be accomplished we feel persuaded ; and that which with any degree of pains is practicable ought, most assuredly, to be done. In taking this view of the matter we are strongly supported by the facts and reasonings contained in the last voyage of the “Beagle." Again and again were our countrymen brought face to face with the sarages, under circumstances the most likely to give rise to hostilities, and yet through the judgment, forbearance, and humanity displayed both by officers and crew, the impression left ultimately on the minds of the Australians must have been highly favourable to their white visitors. And this is the more praiseworthy in that some few incidents occurred which might, under less skilful management, have led to the most deadly feuds. Excited and bewildered by the novel circumstances in which the arrival in their country of a strange race placed them, the natives yielded to the first impulse of man, and sought to delirer themselves from the intruders by the employment of whatever force was at their command. This urged them, among other things, to the spearing of Captain Stokes himself. But when it certainly appeared from experience that the new comers were friends and not enemies, the natives, in nearly all instances, relinquished their hostile designs, and gave evident tokens of a wish to enter into friendly relations with them. Whether our future intercourse with the race shall correspond or not to this auspicious beginning will depend very much on the character of the men who may be selected to watch over and develop the resources of our multiplying and growing settlement. Hitherto there has been, we believe, no instance of the appointment of a statesman to be governor of an infant colony, and yet no political operation is more delicate or difficult than that which is intrusted to the leader of such a colony. The spread of our external empire has rather been brought about by a combination of circumstances and the daring enter
prise of individuals, than by any subtle or profound arrangements of policy. A rough, rude, good sense has no doubt been visible; but to carry the system to perfection we must have recourse to principles which range higher than mere good sense, and bring into play that enlarged and generous statesmanship which is based exclusively on goodwill towards men. We refer to the volumes of Captain Stokes for innumerable practical illustrations of the truths we have been advancing. They are especially rich in details, though the author has slightly and cautiously shadowed forth many theories which he probably did not think it prudent to develop fully. On the subject of steam navigation from Singapore to Sydney, by way of Port Essinton and Torres Straits, he supplies exceedingly useful information; and when that scheme is thoroughly carried out, his work will probably become the manual of those who undertake the voyage. It is furnished with several very correct charts, and illustrated by graceful engravings and woodcuts.
The Life of the Right HONOURABLE GEORGE CANNING. By ROBERT
BELL, Author of " The History of Russia," " Lives of English Poets," &c., post 8vo. London : Chapman & Hall,
A LIFE of Canning was a desideratum in our literature. He is every way entitled to a distinct biography. He was the means, if not the cause, of many legislative enactments, and bore a prominent part in the business of the state during an eventful period. But he had a still greater claim to a separate record and development of his character. He may be esteemed the first man of a class that undoubtedly is fast advancing to its proper importance in the social scale. He was the first purely literary and intellectual man that became, solely by the exercise of these means, prime minister of the most practical and business-like government in the world. It may be said that Wolsey and Wentworth and others advanced to that position by their talents; but they were the tools or the favourites of kings. Lord Chatham and Sheridan may also be cited as instances of the same kind. But the elder Pitt advanced entirely by his oratory and his political powers, and Sheridan received only an inferior appointment in the short ministry of his party ; Canning alone by his literary powers, for his oratory consisted more of literary graces than any profound political feeling or knowledge. He was the first faint dawning of that kind of rule which will doubtless hereafter have as great effect in other states as it has in France. He was the representative, or rather the outward symbol, of the literary and intellectual class; and loomed forth a strange monstrosity to the old nobility and landed and even monied interests of the country. In his advancement might be traced, and it was felt with an instinctive horror by the old powers, the destruction of the borough influence, the commencement of the real power of the many, and the ultimate oblitera
tion of that remnant of mere external power which had gradoally dwindled from the possession of collared serfs to subseryient voters.
In this point of view the “Life of Çanning" is, of real importance, although the present biographer has taken it up with no such idea ; o the contrary, the earlier part of his narrative is occupied with a xěry needless dissertation on the legitimacy of his birth and his hereditary connexion with the aristocracy. With Mr. Bellis liberal views it is surprising he did not at once claim for him the diploma of geniis, and cast aside all factitious endeavours to elevate his hero. His conduct to his mother was an honour to him, not because she was so high in the social scale, but because she was so low. i A country actress of the last century, who had failed in London, and, after two on three equivocai marriages, became the wife of a bankrupt country tradesman, cab, by no force of argument, be converted into a connexion of the aristocracy. The only weakness is the refusal to give Canning the full benefit of his own talents. , And here, by the way, we must say, we can hardly think Mr. Bell has been rightly informed when he assures us that a great statesman could divulge his political plans to any mother, much more such a one. Gracchus nright to Cornelia, but hardly. Canning ta Mrs. Reddish ; of whom Mrs. Hannah More said, it is reported, & She is married, but it seems there are a bunch of Reddishes."... "
Mr. Bell's peculiarly easy and agreeable style are well known, and are ably manifested in the present volume. He has been diligent in collecting illustrative anecdotes; has himself moved in political circles; and must have had a personal glimpse of Canning in his later careers or if not personally, at all events is familiar with his compeers and contemporaries. He is intimately acquainted with the politics, literature, and sentiments of the last half century, and indeed has a smack and flavour of the old and really the past school, that we should not have expected. Whatever opinions there may be of its political parti. alities, or its philosophical tendencies, every one will rejoice that it is written in the easiest and most readable of styles, and that it gives a clear view of the man as well as the legislator; and above all, that it is a conpact yolume, and not a ponderous quarto stuffed with state papers and political dissertations. We believe there is not any other Life of Canning extant, and are quite sure there is none other 80 suitable as Mr. Bell's to the times and to the modern reader.
LIFONIAN TALEs. By the Author of " Letters from the Baltic." - Murray's
Colonial Library. Sqr. 16mo. London : J. Murray, , We perfectly remember the sensation caused by the “Letters from the Baltic,” by the authoress of this volume ; revealing as they did a picture of middle-age barbarism still to be witnessed in a secluded nook of Northern Europe. The same observant touches of character, the same good sense and good feeling, are apparent in the present Tales. Exhausted as the other parts of Europe are by travellers, tourists, and