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Cicero. It is almost impossible to find leads to a distrust and sarcastic con in any British classic, so much verbiage tempt of all reforins, and a want of inand affectation, as in the pages of this telligent and generous sympathy with celebrated writer. A thought, like a other classes of society and the future. carat of gold, is hammered out into the The future is a great bugbear to these thinnest leaf, or wire-drawn to the ex- theorists: they fear it as a dark un. treme limits of sense. Singularity and known, perbaps unknowable state of great command of language, though things. The present condition of things not of style, which is very faulty from they make no impression upon, and seek its pomposity and affectation of ease, not to ameliorate. Like unsound reaa formal familiarity, form the chief soners, they lose sight of the middle characteristics of this once admired term, as it were, of their great arguphilosopher. In mere music and style, ment. Reverencing the past, and conBolingbroke is his superior, but an equal tent to take the future as it happens to lack of close and compact thinking is turn out, they suffer the present time, very palpable in his philosophical dis- the only time, to slip from their grasp, quisitions.
before they have sought to improve it. In miscellaneous writing, the noble In their eulogium upon antiquiiy, they authors of England have produced some neglect what will one day be ancient, of the finest specimens; the Religio and live as it were retrospectively. Medici of Browne, the Essays of Tem- They retreat, Parthian-like, in their ple, Sidney's Defence of Poesy, the contest with old Father Time, and adprose tracts of Halifax, and the critical vance not with the gradual progress of papers of Jeffrey. No two styles are society. Not only the secure feeling finer of their kind than the solemn, gor- that settled rank gives, but also moral geous rhetoric of Browne, and the fa- timidity and construtional indolence, miliar elegance and graceful sentiment too often obstruct the path to the temof Temple. Sidney has been aptly ple of truth. Nor do the infatuated termed " warbler of poetic prose.” Ma- adherents of immobility possess arithcaulay has left it as his opinion that metic sufficient to apply the science of little of the prose of his (Halifax's) probabilities to existing or apprehendtime, is so well worth reading as the ed circumstances. character of a trimmer and the analo The noble author, then, is best in demy of an equivalent. Jeffrey is, per- scribing manners rather than character; haps, the liveliest, though not the most knows more of the world than of hubrilliant of the Edinburgh reviewers. man nature; is better informed on
With all the talent they may, in the points of court etiquetie than able to happiest instances, possess, authors of prepare an elaborate history. Chesterrank, hereditary or acquired, are liable field is more in his place among literary to certain incidental, yet serious defects, noblemen than Clarendon. The courtly the fruit of their social position. They writer is educated to describe the gal. are apt to become zealous partisans, lantries of monarchs and the intrigues sooner than cosmopolitan scholars, who of ministers, to pen a satirical epigram have no particular social or political, or a farcical burlesque oration. Oftener landed or manufacturing interest to a gossip than a philosopher, a Gramprotect. The great man of a county mont than a Rochefoucauld. Clevermust take his side: the poor author ness, taste, graceful raillery, these are "of a toun” may be as tolerant as he the highest aims (in general) of men pleases, and no one will quarrel with of letters in this rank of society. They him for his indifference. The respect lead the ton and set the fashions; it is paid to wealth and literary pretensions 100 much to ask them to write fine united, in the person of ihe possessor poems and frame systems of philosoof them, is expected to be taken, though phy. To talk agreeably, make neat not spoken of as a political bribe. compliments, to preserve the air genMoreover, the noble author is almost teel, and keep down all disagreeable necessarily strongly conservative, for ideas, this is the chief part of ihe chasuch is the inferred tendency of caste racter of noble scholars and authors. and the prejudices of education.* This Much more is looked for in the Great
• Byron's liberal opinions were probably merely assumed for effect, or from mere discontent. He appears to have had little deep interest in the matter.
Man, a character, to an elevation with the other may avoid. It were idle to which the highest of the nobility rarely dwell on the evil accidents of a literary aspire to raise themselves. Walpole career; a wise man heightens the joys himself, who drew up the catalogue, and rejects (by silent endurance) the and who was one of the most enter- sorrows of his calling, whatever it be. taining scandal-mongers that ever Fame is a noble chimera, yet fame is lived, was nothing else. A cold, clever, not the fruitful mother of exuberant malicious wit, though able and indus. authorship. Even the choicest classics trious, a skilful literary artist to boot, (with very rare exceptions) wrote less yet from his inability to appreciate for posterity than their own'age. They greatness no less than from his incapa- knew their works would be sifted; and city to produce any work of conse- the few great or fine conceptions adequence, always a mediocre writer, in quately executed would alone be treaeverything but gossiping letters and sured, while a large proportion of their antiquarian anecdotes. Scorn, and that works would be thrown into the lumnot a manly indignation, but the fruit ber-room of obscurity. Much is writof a hollow, contracted heart, was his ten to suit time and place, and for only weapon. With a full knowledge daily bread; a moiety only of the most (confessed in more than one place) of excellent works of the selectest authors his defects, he at one time affected to can stand. underrate writers and literary reputa Criticism may therefore be less cletion; at which period he was used to ment on the productions of mere amadescant on the advantages of family teur authors, and a title should be no and fortune; at another, he would pre- protection to a weak writer. Where tend to despise rank, and affect a genial rank is embellished by the charm of enthusiasm for literature and writers. genius, there may we render a sincere His literary sins were many and seri- reverence, to the man but not to the ous. He libelled Sidney, and for the nobleman. Genius is, itself, both noble sake of the paradox flaitered Richard and republican; to be found in every III. He broke with Gray, and insulied class of society and under every possible Chatterton. He calumniated almost form of government, yet most free, every author of eminence of his time. most magnanimous, most elevated, He spoke and wrote sneeringly of the when discovered in close alliance with Duchess of Newcastle and the Count- perfect liberty, in the true democratic ess of Winchelsea. Without manly state. sentiment or delicacy of feeling, his
We had concluded our brief survey, judgments are often based on paradox when we recalled to mind the capital and the perverse conclusions of a cap- essay of Hazlitt on the Aristocracy of tious fancy. He was a fickle trifler Letiers, altogether as different from and a bollow worldling, without a sin- the present sketch in its design as it is cere admirer or true friend, the Pelham superior to it in the composition. In of literateurs, a literary coxcomb, a examining the claims of the pretenders wit, too often, without wisdom. to this rank in the literary common
Unless urged by the strong impulse wealth, he brings to light some singuof rare genius, it appears ihen, that lar revelations of characters, most litethe true province of ihe literary noble. rary persons must have seen and man should be that of friend and pa- known. The classical scholars, who tron, and not rival or competitor of ihe seem to think by mere dint of study to author. What leisure for study and take precedence of original but compawhat means of aid in advancing the ratively uneducated authors; on this poor scholar, are in the possession of ground Burns would yield to Porson ihe wealthy lover of literature! How and Shakspeare to Bentley.
The many hearis he may gain by his gene- friends of great authors, who seem to rosity, when he might convince few think themselves implicated in the heads by his arguments. How much works of the great man, and who share pleasanter, too, to enjoy the great au- his reputation among themselves. Inihors than to add another name to deed we have known those who consi. the list of indifferent writers! The dered their relationship to a fine writer wealthy scribe has not the same excu was “glory enough” for them, and ses for publication as his needier brother who refrained from making a reputams prefer; the latter must do what tion, however small, for themselves,
because he had made one for the family. cayed authors, great authors become There are also the authors of great unpopular by some of the sudden works in embryo, which never see the freaks of public favor, authors of real light, always promising, never com- merit never popular, and all deserving pleting. We are acquainted with a literary men, in every department, who respectable professor who has been need not only pecuniary aid but hono about composing the first truly philo- rary distinction to sustain them, should sophical history of the English Com- become members of it. It should inmonwealth, any time these last five clude rich men as almoners, but they years; yet we dare wager the first should not be mere rich men; but chapter will never be written.
among the merchants a Roscoe; the Ii appears to us, there should be physicians, a Currie; the lawyers, a even here in these democratic United Wirt; for ihe metaphysicians, an AbraStates of America, an institution, in ham Tucker; for ihe clergy, a Channame at least, resembling the Royal ning. Such a “Royal Society” wisely Academy of Artists. We should have a conducted, and composed of the proper
Royal Society” of Authors. Entrance men, would constitute an aristocracy into this association should be consi- of genius and virtue, that the most condered a badge of honor and an assur. sistent Democrat might point to with ance of governmental protection. De pride and respect withoui censure.
THE SPIRIT OF PARTIES.
BY HARRY FRANCO.
The crying evil of all free govern- himself like a green bay-tree, and ments, or rather of all representative honesty and public virtue chilled 10 governments, for freedom and govern- death in his shadow,--but they are unment are terms that do not draw per- moved by the saddening speciacle befectly well together in harness, is cause they are no-party men. Poor, the Party Spirit which they necessa- snivelling creatures! what a host of rily engender. And yet they who them start up in our historical recolmost clearly discern and unfeignedly lections, who have been in all ages of lament this evil, do themselves help to the world the surest props of tyranny, keep it alive by becoming partisans, and the saddest oppressors of innosince they must either be party men, cence and sturdy virtue ! or no men at all; for the most con In our day they can see nothing in temptible of all creatures is an her- politics but a brawling lawyerata ward maphrodite, whether in nature or in meeting, or a dirty-faced voter at the morals; and your neutral in politics is polls, with whose person they would scarcely deserving of even the pitiful not bring their superfine dresses in title of an hermaphrodite. They contact, to save their country from diswho have well considered that king- grace. We have, indeed, seen good doms rise or fall, and that their inhabit- professing Christians, men who have ants are happy or miserable not so taken their degrees at colleges, well to much from any local or accidental ad- do in the world, well born and respecvantages or disadvantages, but accord- tably connected, genteelly dressed and ing as they are well or ill governed, free from debt, (and these we believe may well determine how far a vir- are the titles of nobility with us), who tuous mind may be neutral in politics." made no scruple of urging as a reason,
It is therefore a positive duty for that they absented themselves from every man to become a partisan, save the polls, because they were disgusted only when acting in an executive ca- with party warfare. They cry peace ! pacity, wherein to be a partisan is to peace! when there is no peace. They be a knave and a traitor; although it shut themselves up in their own is true, beyond a question, that no houses, and foolishly dream that the reasoning and honest man can approve blast which levels the dwellings of of all the acts and professions of any others will pass harmlessly by them, party; yet it must be, that some party because they are so quiet, and trouble will conform more nearly to his con- themselves about nobody's business but ceived rules of right than another, and their own. They are lineal descento that one he should attach himself dants of that timid servant who and fight under its banners.
wrapped his talent in a napkin, and hid Your neutral man in politics is just it in the earth, lest he should lose it; the person upon whom the contempt and the reward of the timid servant of mankind may be heaped without will be theirs. fear of injustice; the saliva of an From the foregone observations the honest, free-thoughted citizen is too reader may rightly conclude, though precious an ointment to bestow upon we are partisans ourselves, that party him; he is a good-for-nothing, and men may find favor in our sight, deserving of noihing; the Greeks of even though their professions be opold were not mistaken in deriving from posed to our own.
But there are parhis case the word “idiot;" and yet iies which we hold in utter dread, parsuch creatures go about like very pic. ties which we neither approve ourtures of complacency, and, glorying in selves, nor like those who approve of their shame, boast that they are no them. Tea-parties we abhor! Dinparty men. They may see rogues in ner-parties may be endured. They are high places-the wicked spreading often of a character to win over the
most ultra of party haters. The very quite light when we arrived, and a name, indeed, of a dinner-party has in considerable portion of the partisans it something exceedingly agreeable, were on the ground; that is, sitting in and a host of mild and pleasant im- Mrs. Pederson's parlor/ The good lady ages, laughing, jolly, and mirthful was delighted to see us, and made a fancies, throng around one, at the bare thousand tender inquiries about our mention of it. But a tea-parıy! Oh, health, although she had seen us but it has no redeeming qualities. We the very day before, and knew perfectly firmly believe that one-half the dys- well the exact state of our bodily con peptics in the world, if not the whole, dition. Mrs. Pederson wore a white might trace the origin of their com- muslin apron, to distinguish herself plaints to a tea-party:
from her guests, who made their apIn the fashionable circles of our pearance in the discarded fashions of large cities tea-parties are no longer the last ten years, so that the assemendured; but in country towns and in blage had the jumbled up and helerorural districts, in the latter of which geneous aspece of a collection of oldI live, they are held in as high esteem fashioned plates, cut out of some odd as ever they were since the first years volumes of a lady's magazine. of the Revolution, when tea-drinking Ourself and our wise enjoy the unwas particularly aristocratic and tory- restrained use of our eyes, and are alish.
lowed to be quite as knowing as our The worst of tea-parties is their neighbors in the common affairs of uniformity; there is no more variety in life, but this did not prevent each one them than in a flock of sheep. We of the assembled company from inhave been to some thousands of them forming us in a very grave and obliging in our time, in different parts of the manner, that it was quite a pleasant Union, and the only difference we afternoon; a fact which we could not could ever discover in them was, that be ignorant of, after a ride in an open in North Carolina and Virginia they waggon of eight miles and a half. But gave you hot short-cakes, and in the our wife received the information with New England States apple-pies in their great good humor, and replied to each
In the district where I now one, “Very indeed!" as though it were reside they give neither, but in all other a great comfort to her to confirm the things there is a wonderful similarity intelligence; for ourself, we merely to all other tea-parties.
said “ Yes,” because it was a matter The last tea-party that we attended that did not admit of either dispute or was something more than a year past; amplification. our invitation was received and accept-, The weather having been first dised by our wife, and there was no get-' posed of, as though we were an asting clear; we tried a thousand expe- sembly of almanac makers, the healths dients, but without avail, and at last of the party were then discussed, as we were compelled to give in and go; though we were a collection of inalthough we wish it to be understood firmary patients; and each individual that we went, according to the fashion related his or her complaint with surof the day with those who are coin- prising particularity, and a degree of pelled to do things against their consti- candor, which on any other subject tutional scruples, under protest. would have been praiseworthy and de
It is bad enough, when one's daily la- lightful in the extreme. For ourself, bor is done, to dress and set off to a tea- we only acknowledged to an overpowerparty after dark; but to ride off in broad ing feeling of drowsiness, and we took daylight with the sun an hour above our seat in a Boston rocker with the the horizon, on such an expedition, is hope of enjoying a nap. But sleep a thing to make a man blush. We was out of the case, for the ladies felt as though the whole world were having dismissed the weather and gazing at us, and pointing its finger at their complaints, immediately took up ourself and wife, as we rode through the subject of dress, upon which they the towns of Westfield and Middle entered with such lively feelings, and Westfield, Northfield and Middle made such prodigious displays of their Northfield, towards the house of Mrs. abilities in talking about nothing, that Pederson, in Swampville, by whom so gentle and noise-hating a spirit as the party was given. It was still sleep was fairly put to flight, and all