Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

fian would assuredly break the basin in his into dimness when laid aside for a long struggles; his face would be lacerated; and, time into dark repositories ; but, upon bewhen his howling had brought the police to ing brought back to sunlight, revive graduhis assistance, the streaming blood would ally into something of their early life and give an air of plausibility to his odious ca- coloring.* There are four separate reaJumny—that you had been attempting to sons why the authorship of this book will cut his throat; whereas, he knows, as well always remain an interesting problem for as you know, that not a drop of blood would the historical student :have been spilt, and very little water,

had Ist. Because it involves something of a he forborne making so horrid an uproar." mystery. In this respect it resembles the

Asier such a passage, I suppose few peo- question as to the Gowrie Conspiracy, as ple would be satisfied with Sir James's con- to the Iron Masque, &c. &c.; and unless struction of the book :-“ It is an account some new documents should appear, which of the means by which the art of assassina- is not quite impossible, but is continually tion is to be acquired and preserved; it is growing nearer to an impossibility, it will a theory of that class of phenomena. It is remain a mystery; but a mystery which essential to jis purpose, therefore, that it might be made much more engaging by a should contain an exposition of murder in better mode of presenting the evidence on all its varieties." In reality, the state of either side, and of pointing the difficulties Italian society in those days, as Sir James that beset either conclusion. himself suggests, is the best key to the pos- 2dly. Because it is an instructive examsibility of such a work as The Prince, but, ple of conflicting evidence, which having at the same time, the best guarantee of its long been sisted by various cross-examiners, absolute sincerity. We need only to read sharp as razors, from ability and from rethe autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, ciprocal animosity, has now become interwho was a contemporary of Machiavel, to esting for itsell; the question it was, which see with what reckless levity a man, natu- interested at the first; but at length the rally generous and brave, thought of aveng- mere testimonies, illustrated by hostile criting his slightest quarrel by à pistol shot ics, have come to have a separate interest from some cowardly ambuscade. Not mil- of their own apart from the point at issue. itary princes only, but popes, cardinals, 3dly. The book has a close connexion bishops, appear to have employed murder- with the character of Charles I., which is ers, and to have sheltered murderers as a a character ineriting even a pathetic atiennecessary part of their domestic garrisons— tion, where its native features are brought often to be used defensively, or in menace; under the light of the very difficult circumbut, under critical circumstances, to be used stances besetting its natural development. aggressively for sudden advantages. It was 4thly. The book is one of that small no mistake, therefore, in Frederick of Prus- number which (like the famous pamphlet sia, to reply calmly and elaborately to The of the Abbé Sieyes, on the Tiers état), Prince, as not meant for a jest, buit as a se- produced an impression worthy to be called rious philosophic treatise offered to the national. According to my present recolworld (if, on such a subject, one may say lection, I must, myself, have seen the fortyso) in perfect good fuith. It may, perhaps, ninth edition; at present (May, 1846] it also be no mistake, at all events it proves wants but thirty-two months of full two the diffusive impression as to the cool wick- hundred yearst since the publication of edness of the book, that, in past times, many the book; such an extent of distribution in people seriously believed the name of old Nick [one of the vulgar expressions for the pened, three or four years ago, to what are called

*" Life and coloring :"-Such a change hap. devil), to have been an off-set from the name The Raphael Tapestries. After having been laid of Niccolo Machiavelli.

up in darkness for about ten years, they were brought out and exhibited at Manchester; after which the crimsons deepened remarkably under

constant exposure to light, the blues clarified MACKINTOSH ON THE ICON BASILIKÉ." themselves, and the harmonies of the coloring

began to revive. People, in general, imagine that the

† The king suffered on the 30th of January, question relating to the Icon Basiliké is 1619. And I have somewhere read an anecdote, obsolete and hastening to decay. But, that Royston, the publisher, caused several copies, more properly, it should be described as in the first that were sufficiently dry, to be distributthe condition of those tapestries which fade fold. This was a bold act. For Royston, and

ed amongst the crowd that surrounded the scaf.

an age of readers so limited, such a dura-/rect there : "horror” is his own word ; tion of the interest connected with a ques- and a horror it was until a late act for extion so personal, is the strongest testimony alting the weak and pulling down the extant of the awe pursuing so bold an act mighty. Sir James seems to have thought as the judicial execution of a king. this phrase of "a horror," un peu fort for

Sir James Mackintosh takes up the case so young a prelate. But it is to be conas against Dr. Wordsworth. And, being a sidered that Dr. G. came immediately from lawyer, he fences with the witnesses on the rural deanry of Bocking, where the the other side, in a style of ease and adroit- pastures are good. And Sir James ought ness that wins the reader's applause. Yet, to have known by one memorable case in after all, he is not the more satisfactory for his own time, and charged upon the injusbeing brilliant. He studied the case neither tice of his own party, that it is very possimore nor less than he would have done a ble for a rural parson leaving a simple recbrief: he took it up on occasion of a sudden tory to view even a bishopric as an insupsummons ab extra: and it is certain that no portable affront; and, in fact, as an atrocijustice will ever be done to all the bearings ous hoax or swindle, if the rectory happened of the evidence, unless the evidence is ex- to be Stanhope, worth in good mining years amined con amore. It must be a labor of six thousand per annum, and the bishopric love, spontaneous, and even impassioned ; to be Exeter, worth, until lately, not more and not of mere compliance with the sug- than two. But the use which Sir James gestion of a journal, or the excitement of a makes of this fact, coming so soon after new book, that will ever support the task the king's return, is—that assuredly the of threshing out and winnowing all the doctor must have bad some conspicuous materials available for this discussion. merit, when so immediately promoted, and

Were I proprietor of this journal, and amongst so select a few. That merit, he entitled to room à discretion, perhaps I might means to argue, could have been nothing be indiscreet enough to take forty pages for else, or less, than the seasonable authorship my own separate use. But, being merely of the Icon. an inside passenger, and booked for only It is certain, however, that the service one place, I must confine myself to my which obtained Exeter, was not this.

Worown allotment.

This puts an end to all cester, to which G. afterwards obtained a idea of reviewing the whole controversy ; translation, and the fond hope of Winchesbut it may be well to point out one or two ter, which he never lived 10 reach, may oversights in Sir James Mackintosh. have been sought for on the argument of

The reader is aware of the question at the Icon. But Exeter was given on another issue, viz., whether the Icon, which is sup- consideration. This is certain ; and, if posed to have done so much service to the known to Sir James, would perhaps have cause of royalty, by keeping alive the mem- arrested his final judgment. ory of Charles I., in the attitude of one 2. Sir James quotes, without noticing forgiving injuries, or expostulating with their entire inaccuracy, the well-known enemies in a tone of apparent candor, were words of Lord Clarendon—that when the really written by the king himself, or writ- secret (as to the Icon) should cease to be ten for him, under the masque of his char- such,“nobody would be gladd of it but Mr. acter, by Dr. Gauden. Sir James, in this Milton.” I notice this only as indicating case, is counsel for Dr. Gauden. Now, it the carelessness with which people read, happened that about six months after the and the imperfect knowledge of the facts Restoration, this doctor was made Bishop even amongst persons like Lord Clarendon, of Exeter. The worthy man was not very having easy access to the details, and conlong, viz., exactly forty-eight days, in dis- temporary with the case. Why should the covering that Exeter was a horror"* of disclosure have so special an interest for a bishopric. It was so; he was quite cor- Milton? The Icon Basiliké, or royal im

age, having been set up for national worship, all his equipage of compositors, were in great Milton, viewing the case as no better than prisonmert for political offences was fatal to three idolatry, applied himself to pull down the out of four in those days: but the penalties were idol; and, in allusion to the title of the sometimes worse than imprisonment for offences book, as well as to the ancient Iconoclasts, 80 critically perilous as that of Royston.

" A horror :"-It is true that Dr. G. received a lapsed during the Commonwealth suppression of sum of twenty thousand pounds within the first he sees; and notbing so great was likely to oc. year; but that was for renewal of leases that had cur again.

*

1

he called his own exposure of the Icon by false, it was easy for him to reply with the the name of Iconoclustes, or the Image-bold front of an innocent man. There was breaker. But Milton has no interest in next a second charge, of having negotiated Lord Clarendon's secret. What he had with the rebels subsequently to their insurmeant by breaking the image was—not the rection. To this also there was a reply : showing that the king had not written the not so triumphant, because, as a fact, it book, but that whoever had written it (king could not be blankly denied; but under the or any body else), had falsely represented state difficulties of the king, it was capathe politics and public events of the last ble of defence. Thirdly, however, there seven years, and had falsely colored the was a charge quite separate and much king's opinions, feelings, designs, as ex- darker, which, if substantiated, would have pounded by his acts. Not the title to the ruined the royal cause with many of its authorship, was what Milton denied : of staunchest adherents. This concerned the that he was comparatively careless : but secret negotiation with the Popish nuncio the king's title to so meek and candid a through Lord Glamorgan. It may be ninecharacter as was there portrayed. It is ty years since Dr. Birch, amongst his many true that laughingly, and in transitu, Mil- useful contributions to English history, ton notices the unlikelihood of a king's brought to life this curious correspondence : finding leisure for such a task, and he no- and since that day there has been no room tices also the internal marks of some chap- for doubt as to the truth of the charge. lain's hand in the style. That same prac- Lord Glamorgan was a personal friend of tice in composition, which suggested to Sir the king, and a friend so devoted, that he James Mackintosh his objections to the submitted without a murmur to be represtyle, as too dressed and precise for a prince sented publicly as a poor imbecile creawriting with a gentleman's negligence, sug- ture,* this being the sole retreat open to gested also to Milton his suspicion of a the king's own character. Now, the Icon clerical participation in the work. He does not distinguish this last charge, as to thought probably, which may, after all, which there was no answer, from the two turn out to be true, that the work was a others where there was. In a person situjoint product of two or more persons. But ated like Gauden, and superficially acall that was indifferent to his argument. quainted with political facts, this confusion His purpose was to destroy the authority might be perfectly natural. Not so with by exposing the falsehood of the book. the king; and it would deeply injure his And his dilemma is framed to meet either memory, if we could suppose him to have . hypothesis-that of the king's authorship, benefitted artfully by a defence upon one or that of an anonymous courtier's. Writ- charge which the reader (as he knew) ten by the king, the book falsifies facts in would apply to another. Yet would it not a way which must often have contradicted equally injure him to suppose that he had his own official knowledge, and must there- accepied from another such an equivocating fore impeach his veracity : written for the defence? No: for it must be recollected king, the work is still liable to the same that the king, though he had read, could charge of material falsehood, though proba- not have had the opportunity (which he bly not of conscious falsehood ; so far the anticipated) of revising the proof sheets; writer's position may seem improved; one consequently we know not what he might who was not in the Cabinet would often finally have struck out. But, were it otherutter untruths, without knowing them to be such : yet again this is balanced by the de- * This “ poor imbecile creature" was the origiliberate assumption of a false character for nal suggester of the Steam-engine. He is known

in his earlier life as Lord Herbert, son of Lord the purpose of public deception.

Worcester, who at that time was an earl, but af3. Amongst the passages which most afterward raised to a Marquisate, and subsequently fect the king's character, on the former hy- the son was made Duke of Beaufort

. Apart from pothesis, (viz., that of his own authorship.; the negotiations with the nuncio, the king's peris the 12th section of the Icon, relating to Erl of Glamorgan as a means of accrediting him

sonal bargain with Lord Herbert (whom he made his private negotiations with the Irish Ro- for this particular Irish service) was tainted with man Catholics. The case stands thus : marks of secret leanings to Popery. Lord Gla. Charles had been charged with having ex- morgan's family were Papis's; and into this famicited (or permitted his Popish queen to food in their veins, the king was pledged to give

ly, ihe house of Somerset baving Plantagenet excite) the Irish rebellion and massacre of 1641.

a daughter in marriago, with a portion of three To this charge, being factious and hundred thousand pounds.

one.

wise, Sir James Mackintosh argues that the phalia. That treaty it was, balancing and dishonesty would, under all the circum- readjusting all Christendom, until the stances, have been trivial, when confined French Revolution again unsettled it, that to the act of tolerating an irrelevant de- first proclaimed to the Popish interest the fence, in comparison of that dishonesty hopelessness of further efforts for extermiwhich could deliberately compose a false nating the Protestant interest. But this

So far I fully agree with Sir James : consummation of the strife had not been his apology for the defence of the act, sup- reached by four or five years at the time posing that defence to be Gauden’s, is suf- when Charles entered upon his jesuitical ficient. But his apology for the act itself dealings with the Popish council in Ireland; is, I fear, untenable. He contends,—that dealings equally at war with the welfare of “ it certaiuly was not more unlawful for struggling Europe, with the fundamental him," (the king] " to seek the aid of the laws of the three kingdoms which the king Irish Catholics, than it was for his oppo- ruled, and with the coronation oaths which nents to call in the succor of the Scotch he had sworn. I, that love and pity the Presbyterians." How so? The cases are afflicted prince, whose position blinded him, most dif ent. The English and the Scottish of necessity, to the truth in many things, Parliaments were on terms of the most am the last person to speak harshly of his brotherly agreement as to all capital points conduct. But undoubtedly he committed of policy, whether civil or religious. In a great error for his reputation, that would both senates all were Protestants; and the have proved even a fatal error for his inpreponderant body, even in the English terests, had it succeeded at the moment, senate, up to 1646, were Presbyterians, and that might have upset the interests of and, one may say, Scottish Presbyterians; universal Protestantism, coming at that for they had taken the covenant. Conse- most critical moment. This case I notice, quently no injury, present or in reversion, as having a large application ; for it is too to any great European interest, could be generally true of politicians, arguing the charged upon the consciences of the two Roman Catholic claims in these modern Parliaments. Whereas the Kilkenny treaty, days, when the sting of Popery, as a polion Charles's part, went to the direci formal tical power, is extracted, that they forget establishment of Popery as the Irish Church, the very different position of Protestantism, to the restoration of the lands claimed as when it had to face a vast hostile confedchurch lands, to a large confiscation, and eration, always in procinctu sor extermito the utter extermination of the Protestant nating war, in case a favorable opening interest in Ireland. The ireaty did all this, should arise. by its tendency; and if it were to be pre- Taking leave of the Icon Basiliké, I venied from doing it, that could only be would express my opinion,—that the questhrough prolonged war, in which the king tion is not yet exhausted: the pleadings must would have found himself ranged in battle be reopened. But in the mean time no against the Protestant faith. The king not single arguments have been adduced against only testified his carelessness of the Pro- the king's claim of equal strength with testant interest, but he also raised a new these two of Sir James's: one drawn from and a rancorous cause of civil war.

external, the other from internal evidence: The truth is, that Mackintosh, from the First, that on the Gauden hypothesis, long habit of defending the Roman Catholic Lord Clarendon's silence as to the Icon in pretensions, as applying to our own times, his history, though not strictly correct, is was tempted to overlook the difference the venial error of a partisan; but that, on which affected those pretensions in 1645-6. the other, or anti-Gauden hypothesis, his Mark the critical point of time. A great anti- silence is fatal to bis own character, as a Protestant league of kingdoms had existed man decently honest; and yet without an for a century, to which Spain, Austria, intelligible motive. Bavaria, many Italian states, and, intermir. Secondly, that the impersonal character of tingly, even France, were parties. The the Icon is strongly in favor of its being great agony of this struggle between Popery a forgery. All the rhetorical forgeries of and the Reformation, came to its crisis, the later Greek literature, such as the finally and for ever, in the Thirty years' war, Letters of Phalaris, of Themistocles, &c. which, beginning in 1618, (just one hun- are detected by that mark. These forgeries, dred years after Luther's first movement,) applying themselves to ages distant from terminated in 1648, by the peace of West- the writer, are often, indeed, sell

by their ignorant anachronisms. That station under changing circumstances in was a Aaw which could not exist, in a the age or in the subject. He moves slowly, forgery, applied to contemporary events. or with velocity, as he moves amongst But else in the want of facts, of circum- breakers, or amongst open seas.

And stantialities, and of personalities, such as upon every theme which he treats, in were sure to grow out of love or hatred, proportion as it rises in importance, the there is exactly the samne air of vagueness, reader is sure of finding displayed the and of timid dramatic personation, in the accomplishments of a scholar, the philoIcon, as in the old Greek knaveries. sophic resources of a very original thinker,

the elegance of a rhetorician, and the large sagacity of a statesman controlled by the

most skeptical caution of a lawyer. MACKINTOSH'S MISCELLANEOUS WORKS.

From the Westminster Review.

Perhaps it would bave been an advantageous change for this republication of Sir James Mackintosh's works, if the entire third volume had been flung overboard, so as

RESEARCHES ON MAGNETISM. to lighten the vessel. This volume consists 1. Philosophical Transactions of the Roy. of political papers, that are at any rate

al Society of London, for the year

1846. imperfect, from the want of many docu- Part I. : containing Experimental Rements that should accompany them, and searches in Electricity. By Michael are otherwise imperfect, laudably imperfeci, Faraday, Esq., D. C. L. F. R. S., &c. from their author's station as a political

19th, 20th, and 21st Series. partisan. It was his duty to be partial. 2. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des These papers are merely contributions to a

Scéances de l'Academie des Sciences. vast thesaurus, never to be exhausted, of Tome XXII. Paris : 1846. similar papers : dislocated from their gen- 3. Abstract of Researches on Magnetism eral connexion they are useless; whilst, by and certain allied subjects, including a compelling a higher price of admission,

supposed new Imponderable. By Barthey obstruct the public access to other

on von Reichenbach. Translated and articles in the collection, which have an

abridged from the German by W. Greindependent value, and sometimes a very

gory, N. D., F. R. S. E., M. R. I. A. high value, upon the very highest subjects. London : 1846. The ethical dissertation is crowded with just views, as regards what is old, and with The nineteenth century is remarkable suggestions brilliant and powerful, as re- for triumphs of science, enterprise, and gards all the openings for novelty. Sir perseverance over great and acknowledged James Mackintosh has here done a public difficulties, and for the solution of probservice to education and the interests of the lems, practical and theoretical, sought in age, by setting his face against the selfish vain, or despaired of in former ages. But schemes of morality, too much favored by rapid and triumphant as is the march of the tendencies of England. He has thrown science, it is at the same time so gradual, light upon the mystery of conscience. He so imperceptible, that we cease to wonder has offered a subtle method of harmonizing at facts, which, but a few short years back, philosophic liberty with philosophic ne- would have been regarded as little short of cessity. He has done justice, when all miraculous. The steps by which we admen were determinately unjust,—to the vance are so numerous, that we do not leading schoolmen, to Aquinas, to Ockham, note the height to which we have climbed, to Biel, to Scolus, and in more modern until we turn to gaze behind us: the stone times to Soto and Suarez. To his own is hollowed, and we do not count the watercontemporaries, he is not just only, but drops wbich have worn it away. Nor can generous, as in the spirit of one who wishes the attentive observer of the advance of to make amends for the past injustice of physical science in our day fail to remark others. He is full of information and the effect of this progress upon the human suggestion upon every topic which he treats. mind. The obstinate refusal to receive Few men have so much combined the and acknowledge scientific truths decreases power of judging wisely from a stationary with proportionate rapidity, and the philosposition, with the power of changing that opher, who, in his laboratory, successfully

« AnteriorContinuar »