« AnteriorContinuar »
who undertook to arrange and prepare the whole for publication. The following is Sir Henry Cavendish's own account of his labors.
“My original design was to take down the heads only of the several speeches; but finding, hy practice, even my inferior skill adequate to something rather more extensive, in the subsequent sessions of this Parliament the debates will be found more at large, except in the case of a few members, whose rapid delivery outran my ability to keep up with them. I am conscious of the many imperfections that will be found in them; some most certainly from inability; some from my peculiar and inconvenient situation at the time of writing them; and some, I am sorry to say, from the disorder that now and then used to prevají in the House, - where sometimes members, from an eagerness to hear others, or themselves, made so much noise as to drown the voice of the person speaking ; sometimes premature applause for a former part of a sentence prevented the House from hearing the latter; and sometimes those favorite words, Hear! hear!' so frequently echoed through the House, forbade all hearing. Many gaps, many broken sentences, will be found; but even many of the broken sentences, I believe, will not be altogether useless. Several speeches of the most able members are very imperfect; many sublime and beautiful passages are lost, I fear, for ever : the only comfort I have is, that I believe I have preserved more than the memory of any individual has. I have not, in the smallest degree, certainly not wilfully, altered or misrepresented the sentiments of any one member."
The great value of these papers will be more fully understood by the following extracts from the Editor's prospectus.
“ It may be gratifying to the subscribers to state, that the collection contains upwards of two hundred speeches of Mr. Burke which have never seen the light; together with a number of the most valuable speeches of Mr. George Grenville, Lorth North, Mr. Dunning, Mr. Thurlow, Mr. Wedderburn, Mr. Fox, Colonel Barré, Mr., afterwards Chief Justice, Blackstone, Alderman Beckford, Sergeant Glynn, Mr. Dowdeswell, Lord John Cavendish, Sir George Saville, &c. It embraces the whole of the stirring period of the publication of the Letters of Junius, and exhibits the feeling which prevailed in the House and in the country, previous to the unhappy contest which took place between Great Britain and her American Colonies. Among many others, it contains discussions on the following important subjects ;Expulsion of Mr. Wilkes, Middlesex Election, Privilege of Parliament, Trials of Controverted Elections, Informations er officio by the Attorney-General, Liberty of the Press, Power and Duties of Juries, Law of Libel, Rights of Electors
, Salaries of Judges, Affairs of the East India Company, Proceedings against the Printers for publishing the Speeches of Members, Duration of Parliaments, Coin and Currency, Criminal Laws, Royal Marriage, Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, Civil List, Copyright, Corn Laws, Poor Laws, Administration of Justice in Massachusetts Bay, Boston Port Bill, Quebec Government Bill, &c. Of this period, Gibbon thus speaks in his Memoirs ; — The cause of Government was ably vindicated by Lord North, a consumate master of debate, who could wield, with equal dexterity, the arms of reason and of ridicule. He was seated on the treasury bench, between his Attorney and Solicitor General, the two pillars of the law and State, magis pares quam similes ; and the minister might indulge in a short slumber, whisst he was upholden on either hand by the majestic sense of Thurlow, and the skilful eloquence of Wedderburn. From the adverse side of the House, an ardent and powerful Opposition was supported by the lively declamation of Barré, the legal acuteness of Dunning, the profuse and philosophic fancy of Burke, and the argumentative vehemence of Fox. By such men, every operation of peace and war, every principle of justice or policy, every question of authority and freedom, was attacked and defended, and the subject of the momentous contest was the union or separation of Great Britain and America.'
“A peculiar feature of these debates is, that they were all reported by one person, who was a member of the House, and therefore not liable to be turned out in the middle of a speech; and who had no inducement to undergo the iminense labor, but the honorable desire of possessing a faithful record of the proceedings of the time. By the publication of this collection, the proceedings of a Parliament, which bas hitherto been called "The UNREPORTED PARLIAMENT,' will, at the end of seventy years, be more fully recorded, by the talent and perseverance of one of its own members, than any portion of the Parliamentary History of this country, previously to the relaxation of the standing order of the House of Commons for the exclusion of strangers.”
The work will be completed in sixteen parts, making four volumes in royal octavo, printed uniformly with The ParliaMENTARY HISTORY OF ENGLAND. It is but partial justice to say of the volume before us, the only one which has as yet been published, — that it more than answers the high expectation which the above notices are calculated to excite. Mr. Wright has executed his task with good judgment and skill. He has enriched the text with frequent notes, consisting of matter well selected and well applied, and throwing much light on the actors and events of the time. We cannot but regard this work as an important accession, as well to the history of the United States as to that of England. It has brought out for the first time, and in an ample form, many of the transactions of the British Parliament on American affairs in the early stages of the Revolution, and contains the opinions of the great British statesmen on the topics which were then agitating the minds of all parties in the two countries.
2.- Thoughts on Moral and Spiritual Culture. By R. C.
WATERSTON. Boston : Crocker & Ruggles, and Hilliard, Gray, & Co.
1842. 16mo. pp. 317.
The author of this work is a young clergyman, who devotes moral and intellectual powers of no common order to the noble duty of preaching the gospel to the poor, in the city of Boston ; and most of the contents of this volume have grown out of the strong interest which his vocation has given him in religious education, especially of the young. Works proceeding from such a source, and written for such an object, deserve a praise higher than any which literary criticism awards; and the end aimed at imparts its dignity even to imperfect means and instruments. But independently of this consideration, Mr. Waterston's book has literary merit enough to challenge the same principles of criticism as we apply to those whose themes are drawn from the passions and follies of mankind. The work is made up of prose and poetry. In the prose part, which occupies most of the volume, there is an Introduction, and essays or lectures on Childhood, Growth of the Mind, Religious Education, Diffusion of Christianity through Sunday Schools, Moral and Spiritual Culture in Day Schools, the Influence of Home, the Culture of the Imagination, the Love of Nature, and the Death of Children; also an Address before the Teachers of Boston. These are linked together by several pleasing pieces of poetry, that harmonize in sentiment and feeling with
Mr. Waterston's style is ardent and glowing ; such as belongs to a man of strong religious feeling and warm sensibility. A deep interest in the welfare of mankind gives fervor to his eloquence and earnestness to his appeals. Without any marked profoundness or originality of thought, he is rich in that wisdom of the heart which instinctively leads the head aright, and from his own experience and observation he has learned many practical truths. The sense of duty in parents and teachers may be strengthened and elevated by contemplating the high standard which he holds up to them. His style has the great merit of being an earnest one, and there are many passages which rise into genuine eloquence and the glow of poetry. From his felicity of illustration and his persuasiveness of manner, we should deem his volume especially useful to persons who are desirous of improving themselves and their children, but who have not read much or thought much upon the topics he discusses.
Mr. Waterston's style, so far as its literary merit is concerned, might be improved by somewhat pruning its luxuri
1842.] Waterston's Thoughts on Spiritual Culture. 487 ance and compressing its diffuseness. His practice of extemporaneous speaking has probably led him to form the habit of paraphrasing and reproducing the same thought in a variety of forms; a habit against which he must be on his guard when he writes. This quality of style, however, may render the work more useful to a large class of readers, whose limited cultivation requires truth to be much expanded and illustrated before it can be profitably received.
An extract or two will give our readers a correct impression of the spirit and objects of this work. We take a few paragraphs from an essay “On the Culture of the Imagination.
“ And now we would add, that the imagination should be addressed in general studies. In Biography, in Geography, in History, as well as in all those studies that relate to nature. How much more will a' child enjoy History, if, instead of dates, statistics, and meagre details, the events themselves can be brought before his mind. That which has passed away will seem present, and all may be presented as a life-like and vivid reality. History may be made the dullest, or the most interesting study; a sepulchre filled with departed events, or the living past moving in vigor before us. A child inay study a synopsis of events, and know as little of the world's movements as if he had committed to memory a merchant's ledger. We do not wish history iningled with fancy, or colored in false hues; neither do we wish it in skeleton nakedness. Let it be reality. When the child hears or reads of past events, bring the whole scene before him. Let him feel that he can see it. Give him the customs, the appearance of the country; — the workings of the mind;- the idea that was evolving itself. Then it will not be a mere phantasmagoria, but body and mind. Then emperors, and popes, and abbots, and monks, and Scandinavian chiefs, and pilgrims with shells and staffs of ivory, would stand before us, and we should behold also the feeble, the neglected, the peasant, and the child.
“Let the young see, moreover, the progress of the past, from barbarism to civilization. Let them see the difference between savage life and Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and Christian civilization. Show thein Man as the child of the Ages, - working out by severest toil his high destiny; grappling with difficulties; struggling through darkness; now driven back, but again pressing forward into higher and nobler life. History might thus be given, and the grand ideas of past movements in some measure brought out. We should then feel as if we had seen and held intercourse with Jewish pontifis, Roman orators, Scotch covenanters, and Pilgrim fathers. We should behold them in their lives, and understand what they did, or sought to do, and what we have gained by their efforts. It is said by Macaulay, in his magnificent article on Hallam's 'Constitutional History,' that · History should be a compound of poetry and philosophy, impressing general truths on the mind by a vivid representation of particular characters and incidents. While our historians,' he says, “are practising all the arts of controversy, they miserably neglect the art of narration, the art of interesting the affections, and presenting pictures to the imagina
tion. That a writer may produce these effects without violating truth, is sufficiently proved by many excellent biographical works. The instruction derived from history thus written, would be of a vivid and practical character. It would be received by the imagination as well as by the reason. It would be not merely traced on the mind, but branded into it. Many truths, too, would be learned, which can be learned in no other manner.'
“ The same remarks apply generally to Geography. Names, statistics, latitude and longitude, give but a poor idea to the young mind. Let then see, in thought, the icy shores of the north, and the perpetual verdure of the tropics; the desert sand, the rocky coast, the prairie, and the wilderness; the foaming cataract, which leaps into the abyss; and the river, which, in its long course, mirrors mountain crags, fields, and rneadows, the quiet village and populous city. In speaking of any country, let the idea of that country be presented as distinctly as possible. Bring before the mind not only its general outlines, but the character of its vegetation, the manners of the people, the aspect of the scenery, and the characteristics of thought and trade, whether in literature or the arts, commerce or manufacturing. Then will there be an understanding of things, and not merely a recollection of words. Much has of late been accomplished in this way to facilitate study, and much more, we doubt not, will yet be done. The same remarks which have been made in relation to history and geography, will apply in a great measure to geology, botany, and the various branches of natural history. If mere scientific terms are brought together, all will be dry and dead; but if we will take the terms and connect them with nature, we shall gain our end. Barren rules and unintelligible phrases may be retained by the memory, but of how much more value are they if connected with clear thought, and a full understanding of their connexion with reality. We can hardly be surprised, that Herder reverently exclaimed, “My God! how dry and withered a thing many people figure to themselves the soul of a child!' And no wonder that it should be withered and dry, if it is made a mere storehouse of names, instead of ideas; of sound without sense, and shadows without substance. Let realities be taught, as well as techvicalities, and, in the place of abstruse generalizations, there will be vivid perception and practical knowledge." — pp. 242-246.
The following is a pleasing specimen of the poetry.
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD.
“ (Göthe relates, that he met, in the Campagna of Rome, a young woman nursing her child, seated on the remains of an ancient column. He questioned her on the ruins with which her dwelling was surrounded: she was ignorant of every thing concerning them, being wholly devoted to the affections which filled her soul; she loved, and to her the present moment was the whole of existence.] “TEMPLES, and monuments, and crumbling fanes,
Altars, and broken shafts are scattered round;
And stamped this sacred spot as classic ground,
While Art and Genius here their home have found! -