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straining at a point. The observations are suggested by the passing scene the gusts of passion conie and go like sounds of music borne on the wind. The whole play is an exact transcript of what might be supposed to have taken place at the court of Denmark at the remote period of time fixed upon, before the modern refinements in morals and manners were heard of. It would have been interesting enough to have been admitted as a bystander in such a scene, at such a time, to have heard and witnessed something of what was going on. But here we are more than spectators. We have not only the outward pageants and the signs of grief,' but we have that within which passes show.' We read the thoughts of the heart, we catch the passions living as they rise. Other dramatic writers give us very fine versions and paraphrases of nature; but Shakspeare, together with his own comments, gives us the original text, that we may judge for ourselves. This is a very great advantage.
The German studies and metaphysics of Coleridge seem to have inspired one powerful writer of the day, THOMAS CARLYLE, author of various works and translations-a Life of Schiller; Sartor Resartas, 1836; The French Revolution, a History, in three volumes, 1837; Chartism, 1839; Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, collected and republished from reviews The character of Hamlet stands quite by itself. It and magazines, in five vols., 1839; a series of lectures is not a character marked by strength of will or even on Hero Worship, 1841; and The Past and Present, of passion, but by refinement of thought and senti- 1843. Familiar with German literature, and admir ment. Hamlet is as little of the hero as a man can ing its authors, Mr Carlyle has had great influence in well be; but he is a young and princely novice, full rendering the works of Goethe, Richter, &c. known in of high enthusiasm and quick sensibility-the sport this country. He has added to our stock of original of circumstances, questioning with fortune, and refin- ideas, and helped to foster a more liberal and peneing on his own feelings, and forced from the natural trative style of criticism amongst us. His philosobias of his disposition by the strangeness of his situa- phical theory has been condemned for its resemblance tion. He seems incapable of deliberate action, and to the Pantheistic system, or idol-worship, Goëthe is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the oc- being the special object of his veneration. It is too casion, when he has no time to reflect-as in the scene fanciful and unreal to be of general practical utility, where he kills Polonius; and, again, where he alters or to serve as a refuge from the actual cares and the letters which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are storms of life. It is an intellectual theory, and to taking with them to England, purporting his death. intellectual men may be valuable for the opinions At other times, when he is most bound to act, he re- and writings of Carlyle tend to enlarge our sympa mains puzzled, undecided, and sceptical; dallies with thies and feelings-to stir the heart with benevolence his purposes till the occasion is lost, and finds out and affection-to unite man to man-and to build some pretence to relapse into indolence and thought-upon this love of our fellow-beings a system of mental fulness again. For this reason he refuses to kill the energy and purity far removed from the operations king when he is at his prayers; and, by a refinement of sense, and pregnant with high hopes and aspira in malice, which is in truth only an excuse for his own tions. He is an original and subtle thinker, and want of resolution, defers his revenge to a more fatal combines with his powers of analysis and reasoning opportunity. a vivid and brilliant imagination. His work on the French Revolution is a series of paintings-grand, terrific, and ghastly. The peculiar style and diction of Mr Carlyle have with some retarded, and with others advanced his popularity. It is more German than English, full of conceits and personifications, of high and low things, familiar and recondite, nixed up together without any regard to order or natural connexion. He has no chaste simplicity, no linked sweetness,' or polished uniformity; all is angular, objective, and unidiomatic; at times, however, highly graphic, and swelling out into periods of fine imagery and eloquence. Even common thoughts, dressed up in Mr Carlyle's peculiar costume of words, possess vicious and affected one (though it may now have an air of originality. The style is, on the whole, a become natural to its possessor), but is made striking by the force and genius of which it is the repre
The moral perfection of this character has been called in question, we think, by those who did not understand it. It is more interesting than according to rules; amiable, though not faultless. The ethical delineations of that noble and liberal casuist' (as Shakspeare has been well called) do not exhibit the drab-coloured quakerism of morality. His plays are not copied either from The Whole Duty of Man, or from The Academy of Compliments! We confess we are a little shocked at the want of refinement in those who are shocked at the want of refinement in Hamlet. The neglect of punctilious exactness in his behaviour either partakes of the license of the time,' or else belongs to the very excess of intellectual refinement in the character, which makes the common rules of life, as well as his own purposes, sit loose upon him. He may be said to be amenable only to the tribunal of his own thoughts, and is too much taken up with the airy world of contemplation, to lay as much stress as he ought on the practical consequences of things. His habitual principles of action are unhinged and out of joint with the time. His conduct to Ophelia is quite natural in his circumstances. It is that of assumed severity only. It is the effect of disappointed hope, of bitter regrets, of affection suspended, not obliterated, by the distractions of the scene around him! Amidst the natural and preternatural horrors of his situation, he might be excused in delicacy from carrying on a regular courtship. When his father's spirit was in arms,' it was not a time for the son to make love in. He could neither marry Ophelia, nor wound her mind by explaining the
cause of his alienation, which he durst hardly trust himself to think of. It would have taken him years to have come to a direct explanation on the point. In the harassed state of his mind, he could not have done much otherwise than he did. His conduct does not contradict what he says when he sees her funeral:
'I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
[The Succession of Races of Men.]
Generation after generation takes to itself the form of a body, and forth issuing from Cimmerian night on heaven's missions appears. What force and fire is it each he expends; one grinding in the mill of indus try; one, hunter-like, climbing the giddy Alpine heights of science; one madly dashed in pieces on the rocks of strife, in war with his fellow; and then the heaven-sent is recalled; his earthly vesture falls away, and soon even to sense becomes a vanished shadow. Thus, like some wild-flaming, wild-thunder- || ing train of heaven's artillery, does this mysterious mankind thunder and flame, in long-drawn, quick
succeeding grandeur, through the unknown deep. Thus, like a God-created, fire-breathing spirit-host, we emerge from the inane; haste stormfully across the astonished earth, then plunge again into the inane. Earth's mountains are levelled and her seas filled up in our passage. Can the earth, which is but dead and a vision, resist spirits which have reality and are alive? On the hardest adamant some footprint of us is stamped in; the last rear of the host will read traces of the earliest van. But whence? Oh heaven! whither? Sense knows not; faith knows not; only that it is through mystery to mystery, from God and to God.
On, then, all Frenchmen that have hearts in their bodies! Roar with all your throats of cartilage and metal, ye sons of liberty; stir spasmodically whatsoever of utmost faculty is in you, soul, body, or spirit; for it is the hour! Smite, thou Louis Tournay, cartwright of the Marais, old soldier of the Regiment Dauphiné; smite at that outer drawbridge chain, though the fiery hail whistles round thee! Never, over nave or felloe did thy axe strike such a stroke. Down with it, man; down with it to Orcus: let the whole accursed edifice sink thither, and tyranny be swallowed up for ever! Mounted, somie
say, on the roof of the guard-room, some C on bayonets stuck into joints of the wall,' Louis Tournay smites, brave Aubin Bonnemère (also an old soldier) seconding him: the chain yields, breaks; the huge drawbridge slams down, thundering (avec fracas). Glorious; and yet, alas! it is still but the outworks. The eight grim towers with their Invalides' musketry, their paving-stones and cannon-mouths still soar aloft intact; ditch yawning impassable, stone-faced; the inner drawbridge with its back towards us: the Bastille is still to take!
Mr Carlyle is a native of the village of Ecclefechan, in Dumfriesshire, the child of parents whose personal character seems to have been considerably more exalted than their circumstances. He was reared for the Scottish church, but stopped short at laborious business of teaching, devoted himself to a the threshold, and, after some years spent in the literary life.
[Attack upon the Bastille.]
[From the work on the French Revolution.]
All morning, since nine, there has been a cry everywhere, To the Bastille!' Repeated deputations of citizens' have been here, passionate for arms; whom De Launay has got dismissed by soft speeches through port-holes. Towards noon Elector Thuriot de la Rosière gains admittance; finds De Launay indisposed for surrender; nay, disposed for blowing These three eminent men have lately, by the colup the place rather. Thuriot mounts with him to lection and republication of their contributions to the battlements: heaps of paving-stones, old iron, the Edinburgh Review, taken their place avowedly and missiles lie piled: cannon all duly levelled; in every embrasure a cannon-only drawn back a little! among the miscellaneous writers of the present cenBut outwards, behold, O Thuriot, how the multitude issued a highly amusing and powerful political tract, tury. MR SMITH had, about thirty years previous, flows on, welling through every street; tocsin furiously entitled Letters on the Subject of the Catholics, to my pealing, all drums beating the générale: the suburb Brother Abraham, who lives in the Country, by Peter Sainte-Antoine rolling hitherward wholly as one man! Plymley. These letters, after going through twentySuch vision (spectral, yet real) thou, O Thuriot! as one editions, are now included in the author's works. from thy Mount of Vision, beholdest in this moment: prophetic of other phantasmagories, and loud-gibber-lished in 1839), some speeches on the Catholic Claims He has also included a tract on the Ballot (first pubing spectral realities which thou yet beholdest not, and Reform Bill, Letters on certain proposed Reforms but shalt. Que voulez-vous?' said De Launay, in the Church of England, and a few Sermons. turning pale at the sight, with an air of reproach, Sidney Smith is one of the wittiest and ablest men almost of menace. Monsieur,' said Thuriot, rising into the moral sublime, 'what mean you? Consider of his age. His powers have always been exercised if I could not precipitate both of us from this height' on practical subjects, to correct what he deemed -say only a hundred feet, exclusive of the walled errors or abuses, to enforce religious toleration, exditch! Whereupon De Launay fell silent. pose cant and hypocrisy, and to inculcate timely reformation. No politician was ever more fearless or effective. He has the wit and energy of Swift, without his coarseness or cynicism, and a peculiar breadth of humour and drollery of illustration, that are potent auxiliaries to his clear and logical argument. Thus, in ridiculing the idea prevalent among many timid though excellent persons at the time of the publication of Plymley's Letters, that a conspiracy had been formed against the Protestant religion, headed by the pope, Mr Smith places the subject in a light highly ludicrous and amusing:
Wo to thee, De Launay, in such an hour, if thou canst not, taking some one firm decision, rule circumstances! Soft speeches will not serve; hard grape-shot is questionable; but hovering between the two is un-questionable. Ever wilder swells the tide of men; their infinite hum waxing ever louder into imprecations, perhaps into crackle of stray musketry, which latter, on walls nine feet thick, cannot do execution. The outer drawbridge has been lowered for Thuriot; new deputation of citizens (it is the third and noisiest of all) penetrates that way into the outer court: soft speeches producing no clearance of these, De Launay gives fire; pulls up his drawbridge. A slight sputter; which has kindled the too combustible chaos; made it a roaring fire-chaos! Bursts forth insurrection, at sight of its own blood (for there were deaths by that sputter of fire), into endless rolling explosion of musketry, distraction, execration; and overhead, from the fortress, let one great gun, with its grape-shot, go booming, to show what we could do. The Bastille is besieged!
"The pope has not landed- -nor are there any curates sent out after him—nor has he been hid at St Albans by the Dowager Lady Spencer-nor dined privately at Holland House-nor been seen near Dropmore. If these fears exist (which I do not believe), they exist only in the mind of the chancellor of the exchequer [the late Mr Spencer Perceval]; they emanate from his zeal for the Protestant interest; and though they reflect the highest honour upon the delicate irritability of his faith, must certainly be considered as more ambiguous proofs of the sanity and vigour of his understanding. By this time, however, the best-informed clergy in the neighbourhood of the metropolis are convinced that the rumour is without foundation: and though the pope is probably hovering about our coast in a fishingsmack, it is most likely he will fall a prey to the vigilance of the cruisers: and it is certain he has not yet polluted the Protestantism of our soil. Exactly in the same manner the story of the wooden gods seized at Charing Cross, by an order from the Foreign Office, turns out to be without the shadow
REV. SIDNEY SMITH-LORD JEFFREY-
his humour, at the same time that they drive home his argument with irresistible effect. Sidney Smith, like Swift, seems never to have taken up his pen from the mere love of composition, but to enforce lord-practical views and opinions on which he felt strongly. His wit and banter are equally direct and cogent. Though a professed joker and convivial wit-a diner out of the first lustre,' as he has himself characterised Mr Canning-there is not one of his humorous or witty sallies that does not seem to flow naturally, and without effort, as if struck out or remembered at the moment it is used. Mr Smith gives the following account of his connexion with the Edinburgh Review:
of a foundation: instead of the angels and arch-
The effects of the threatened French invasion are painted in similar colours. Mr Smith is arguing that, notwithstanding the fears entertained in England on this subject, the British rulers neglected the obvious means of self-defence :
'As for the spirit of the peasantry in making a gallant defence behind hedgerows, and through plate-racks and hencoops, highly as I think of their 'When first I went into the church I had a bravery, I do not know any nation in Europe so curacy in the middle of Salisbury Plain. The squire ikely to be struck with panic as the English; and of the parish took a fancy to me, and requested me this from their total unacquaintance with sciences to go with his son to reside at the university of of war. Old wheat and beans blazing for twenty Weimar; before we could get there, Germany bemiles round; cart mares shot; sows of Lord Somer-came the seat of war, and in stress of politics we ville's breed running wild over the country; the put in to Edinburgh, where I remained five years. minister of the parish wounded sorely in his hinder The principles of the French Revolution were then parts; Mrs Plymley in fits; all these scenes of war fully afloat, and it is impossible to conceive a more an Austrian or a Russian has seen three or four violent and agitated state of society. Among the times over; but it is now three centuries since an first persons with whom I became acquainted were English pig has fallen in a fair battle upon English Lord Jeffrey, Lord Murray (late Lord Advocate for ground, or a farm-house been rifled, or a clergyman's Scotland), and Lord Brougham; all of them mainwife been subjected to any other proposals of love taining opinions upon political subjects a little too than the connubial endearments of her sleek and liberal for the dynasty of Dundas, then exercising orthodox mate. The old edition of Plutarch's Lives, supreme power over the northern division of the which lies in the corner of your parlour window, has island. One day we happened to meet in the eighth contributed to work you up to the most romantic or ninth storey or flat in Buccleuch Place, the ele expectations of our Roman behaviour. You are per- vated residence of the then Mr Jeffrey. I proposed suaded that Lord Amherst will defend Kew Bridge that we should set up a Review; this was acceded like Cocles; that some maid of honour will break to with acclamation. I was appointed editor, and away from her captivity and swim over the Thames; remained long enough in Edinburgh to edit the first that the Duke of York will burn his capitulating number of the Edinburgh Review. The motto I hand; and little Mr Sturges Bourne give forty years' proposed for the Review waspurchase for Moulsham Hall while the French are encamped upon it. I hope we shall witness all this, if the French do come; but in the meantime I am so enchanted with the ordinary English behaviour of these invaluable persons, that I earnestly pray no opportunity may be given them for Roman valour, and for those very un-Roman pensions which they would all, of course, take especial care to claim in consequence.'
One of the happiest and most forcible of Mr Smith's humorous comparisons is that in which he says, of a late English minister, on whom he had bestowed frequent and elaborate censure-'I do not attack him from the love of glory, but from the love of utility, as a burgomaster hunts a rat in a Dutch dyke, for fear it should flood a province.' Another occurs in a speech delivered at Taunton in 1831:-'I do not mean,' he says, 'to be disrespectful, but the attempt of the lords to stop the progress of reform reminds me very forcibly of the great storm of Sidmouth, and of the conduct of the excellent Mrs Partington on that occasion. In the winter of 1824 there set in a great flood upon that town-the tide rose to an incredible height-the waves rushed in upon the houses -and everything was threatened with destruction. In the midst of this sublime storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, and squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused. Mrs Partington's spirit was up; but I need not tell you that the contest was unequal. The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs Partington. She was excellent at a slop or a puddle, but she should not have meddled with a tempest.' Illustrations of this kind are highly characteristic of their author. They display the fertility of his fancy and the richness of
'Tenui musam meditamur avena'— We cultivate literature upon a little oatmeal. But this was too near the truth to be admitted, and so we took our present grave motto from Publius Syrus, of whom none of us had, I am sure, ever read a single line; and so began what has sine turned out to be a very important and able journal. When I left Edinburgh it fell into the stronger hands of Lord Jeffrey and Lord Brougham, and reached the highest point of popularity and success.'
Mr Smith is now, we believe, above seventy years of age, but his vigorous understanding, his wit and humour, are still undiminished.
The chief merit and labour attaching to the rontinuance and the success of the Edinburgh Review fell on its accomplished editor, FRANCIS JEffrey, now one of the judges of the Court of Session in Scotland. From 1803 to 1829 Mr Jeffrey had the sole management of the Review; and when we consider the distinguished ability which it has uniformly displayed, and the high moral character it has upheld, together with the independence and fearlessness with which from the first it has promulgated its canons of criticism on literature, science, and government, we must admit that few men have exercised such influence as Francis Jeffrey on the whole current of contemporary literature and public opinion. Besides his general superintendence, Mr Jeffrey was a large contributor to the Review. The departments of poetry and elegant literature seem to have been his chosen field; and he constantly endeavoured, as he says, 'to com bine ethical precepts with literary criticism, and earnestly sought to impress his readers with a sense both of the close connexion between sound intellectual attainments and the higher elements of
duty and enjoyment, and of the just and ultimate sweet or majestic in the simple aspect of nature-that subordination of the former to the latter.' This was indestructible love of flowers and odours, and dews a vocation of high mark and responsibility, and on and clear waters-and soft airs and sounds, and bright the whole the critic discharged his duty with honour skies, and woodland solitudes, and moonlight bowers, and success. As a moral writer he was unimpeach- which are the material elements of poetry-and that able. The principles of his criticism are generally fine sense of their undefinable relation to mental emosound and elevated. In some instances he was harsh tion, which is its essence and vivifying soul-and and unjust. His reviews of Southey, Wordsworth, which, in the midst of Shakspeare's most busy and Lamb, and Montgomery, are indefensible, inasmuch atrocious scenes, falls like gleams of sunshine on rocks as the writer seems intent on finding fault rather and ruins-contrasting with all that is rugged and rethan in discovering beauties, and to be more piqued pulsive, and reminding us of the existence of purer with occasional deviation from established and con- and brighter elements-which he alone has poured out ventional rules, than gratified with originality of from the richness of his own mind without effort or thought and indications of true genius. No excuse restraint, and contrived to intermingle with the play can be offered for the pertness and flippancy of ex- of all the passions, and the vulgar course of this pression in which many of these critiques abound, world's affairs, without deserting for an instant the and their author has himself expressed his regret proper business of the scene, or appearing to pause or for the undue severity into which he was betrayed. digress from love of ornament or need of repose; he There is some ground, therefore, for charging upon alone, who, when the subject requires it, is always the Edinburgh Review, in its earlier career, an ab- keen, and worldly, and practical, and who yet, withsence of proper respect and enthusiasm for the works out changing his hand, or stopping his course, scatters of living genius. Where no prejudice or prepos- around him as he goes all sounds and shapes of session of the kind intervened, Jeffrey was an ad- sweetness, and conjures up landscapes of immortal mirable critic. His dissertations on the works of fragrance and freshness, and peoples them with spirits Cowper, Crabbe, Byron, Scott, and Campbell, and of glorious aspect and attractive grace, and is a thouon the earlier and greater lights of our poetry, as sand times more full of imagery and splendour than well as those on moral science, national manners, those who, for the sake of such qualities, have shrunk and views of actual life, are expressed with great back from the delineation of character or passion, and eloquence and originality, and in a fine spirit of declined the discussion of human duties and cares. humanity. His powers of perception and analysis More full of wisdom, and ridicule, and sagacity, than all the moralists and satirists in existence, he is more are quick, subtle, and penetrating, and withal comprehensive; while his brilliant imagination invested wild, airy, and inventive, and more pathetic and fansubjects that in ordinary hands would have been tastic, than all the poets of all regions and ages of the dry and uninviting, with strong interest and attrac- world; and has all those elements so happily mixed tion. He seldom gave full scope to his feelings and up in him, and bears his high faculties so temperately, sympathies, but they occasionally broke forth with that the most severe reader cannot complain of him inimitable effect, and kindled up the pages of his for want of strength or of reason, nor the most sensicriticism. At times, indeed, his language is poeti-in him is in unmeasured abundance and unequalled tive for defect of ornament or ingenuity. Everything cal in a high degree. The following glowing tribute to the universal genius of Shakspeare is worthy of
perfection; but everything so balanced and kept in subordination as not to jostle or disturb or take the place of another. The most exquisite poetical conceptions, images, and descriptions, are given with such brevity, and introduced with such skill, as merely to adorn without loading the sense they accompany. Although his sails are purple, and perfumed, and his prow of beaten gold, they waft him on his voyage, not less, but more rapidly and directly, than if they had been composed of baser materials. All his excellences, like those of Nature herself, are thrown out together; and instead of interfering with, support and recommend each other. His flowers are not tied up in garlands, nor his fruits crushed into baskets, but spring living from the soil, in all the dew and freshness of youth; while the graceful foliage in which they lurk, and the ample branches, the rough and vigorous stem, and the wide-spreading roots on which they depend, are present along with them, and share, in their places, the equal care of their Creator.
Many persons are very sensible of the effect of fine poetry upon their feelings, who do not well know how to refer these feelings to their causes; and it is always a delightful thing to be made to see clearly the sources from which our delight has proceeded, and to trace the mingled stream that has flowed upon our hearts to the remoter fountains from which it has been gathered; and when this is done with warmth as well as precision, and embodied in an eloquent description of the beauty which is explained, it forms one of the most attractive, and not the least instructive, of literary exercises. In all works of merit, however, and especially in all works of original genius, there are a thousand retiring and less obtrusive graces, which escape hasty and superficial observers, and only give out their beauties to fond and patient contemplation; a thousand slight and harmonising touches, the merit and the effect of which are equally imperceptible to vulgar eyes; and a thousand indications of the continual presence of that poetical spirit which can only be recognised by those who are in some measure under its influence, and have prepared themselves to receive it, by worshipping meekly at the shrines which it in
In the exposition of these there is room enough for originality, and more room than Mr Hazlitt has yet filled. In many points, however, he has acquitted himself excellently; particularly in the development of the principal characters with which Shakspeare has peopled the fancies of all English readers-but principally, we think, in the delicate sensibility with which he has traced, and the natural eloquence with which he has pointed out, that familiarity with beautiful forms and images-that eternal recurrence to what is
Of the invention of the steam-engine he remarks with a rich felicity of illustration-It has become a thing stupendous alike for its force and its flexibility for the prodigious power which it can exert, and the ease, and precision, and ductility with which it can be varied, distributed, and applied. The trunk of an elephant, that can pick up a pin or rend an oak, is as nothing to it. It can engrave a seal, and crush masses of obdurate metal before itdraw out, without breaking, a thread as fine as gossamer, and lift up a ship of war like a bauble in the air. It can embroider muslin and forge anchors, cut steel into ribbons, and impel loaded vessels against the fury of the winds and waves.'
How just, also, and how finely expressed, is the following refutation of a vulgar error that even
Byron condescended to sanction, namely, that genius is a source of peculiar unhappiness to its possessors: -Men of truly great powers of mind have generally been cheerful, social, and indulgent; while a tendency to sentimental whining or fierce intolerance may be ranked among the surest symptoms of little souls and inferior intellects. In the whole list of our English poets we can only remember Shenstone and Savage-two certainly of the lowest-who were querulous and discontented. Cowley, indeed, used to call himself melancholy; but he was not in earnest, and at any rate was full of conceits and affectations, and has nothing to make us proud of him. Shakspeare, the greatest of them all, was evidently of a free and joyous temperament; and so was Chaucer, their common master. The same disposition appears to have predominated in Fletcher, Jonson, and their great contemporaries. The genius of Milton partook something of the austerity of the party to which he belonged, and of the controversies in which he was involved; but even when fallen on evil days and evil tongues, his spirit seems to have retained its serenity as well as its dignity; and in his private life, as well as in his poetry, the majesty of a high character is tempered with great sweetness, genial indulgences, and practical wisdom. In the succeeding age our poets were but too gay; and though we forbear to speak of living authors, we know enough of them to say with confidence, that to be miserable or to be hated is not now, any more than heretofore, the common lot of those who excel.' Innumerable observations of this kind, remarkable for ease and grace, and for original reflection, may be found scattered through Lord Jeffrey's critiques. His political remarks and views of public events are equally discriminating, but of course will be judged of according to the opinions of the reader. None will be found at variance with national honour or morality, which are paramount to all mere party questions. As a literary critic, we may advert to the singular taste and judgment which Lord Jeffrey exercised in making selections from the works he reviewed, and interweaving them, as it were, with the text of his criticism. Whatever was picturesque, solemn, pathetic, or sublime, caught his eye, and was thus introduced to a new and vastly-extended circle of readers, besides furnishing matter for various collections of extracts and innumerable school exercises.
Francis Jeffrey is a native of Edinburgh, the son of a respectable writer or attorney. After completing his education at Oxford, and passing through the necessary legal studies, he was admitted a member of the Scottish bar in the year 1794. His eloquence and intrepidity as an advocate were not less conspicuous than his literary talents, and in 1829 he was, by the unanimous suffrages of his legal brethren, elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. On the formation of Earl Grey's ministry in 1830, Mr Jeffrey was nominated to the first office under the crown in Scotland (Lord Advocate), and sat for some time in parliament. In 1834 he was elevated to the dignity of the bench, the duties of which he has discharged with such undeviating attention, uprightness, and ability, that no Scottish judge was ever perhaps more popular, more trusted, or more beloved. It has been his enviable lot, if not to attain all the prizes of ambition for which men strive, at least to unite in himself those qualities which, in many, would have secured them all. A place in the front rank of literature in the most literary age-the highest honour of his profession spontaneously conferred by the members of a bar strong in talent and learning eloquence among the first of our orators, and wisdom among the wisest, and universal reve
rence on that judicial seat which has derived increased celebrity from his demeanour-a youth of enterprise-a manhood of brilliant success-and "honour, love, obedience, troops of friends," encircling his later years-mark him out for veneration to every son of that country whose name he has exalted throughout Europe. We need not speak here of those graces of mind and of character that have thrown fascination over his society, and made his friendship a privilege.' *
The Critical and Historical Essays contributed to ¦ the Edinburgh Review, by T. B. MACAULAY, three volumes, 1843, have enjoyed great popularity, and materially aided the Review, both as to immediate success and permanent value. The reading and erudition of the author are immense. In questius of classical learning and criticism-in English poetry, philosophy, and history-in all the minutiae of biography and literary anecdote-in the principles and details of government-in the revolutions of parties and opinions-in the progress of science and philo sophy-in all these he seems equally versant and equally felicitous as a critic. Perhaps he is most striking and original in his historical articles, which present complete pictures of the times of which he treats, adorned with portraits of the principal actors, and copious illustrations of contemporary events and characters in other countries. His reviews of Hallam's Constitutional History, and the memoirs of Lord Clive, Warren Hastings, Sir Robert Walpole, Sir William Temple, Sir Walter Raleigh, &c. contain a series of brilliant and copious historical retrospects unequalled in our literature. His eloquent papers on Lord Bacon, Sir Thomas Browne, Horace Walpole's Letters, Boswell's Johnson, Addison's Memoirs, and other philosophical and literary subjects, are also of first-rate excellence. Whatever topic he takes up he fairly exhausts-nothing is left to the imagination, and the most ample curiosity is gratified. Mr Macaulay is a party politician-a strong admirer of the old Whigs, and well-disposed towards the Roundheads and Covenanters. At times he appears to identify himself too closely with those politicians of a former age, and to write as with a strong personal antipathy against their opponents. His judgments are occasionally harsh and uncharitable, even when founded on undoubted facts. In arrang ing his materials for effect, he is a consummate master. Some of his scenes and parallels are managed with the highest artistical art, and his language, like his conceptions, is picturesque. In style Mr Macaulay is stately and rhetorical-perhaps too florid and gorgeous, at least in his earlier essays-but it is sustained with wonderful power and energy. In this particular, as well as in other mental characteristics, the reviewer bears some resemblance to Gibbon. His knowledge is as universal, his imagination as rich and creative, and his power of condensation as remarkable. Both have made sacrifices in taste, candour, and generosity, for purposes of immediate effect; but the living author is unquestionably far superior to his great prototype in the soundness of his philosophy and the purity of his aspirations and principles.
WILLIAM HOWITT, &c.
WILLIAM HOWITT, a popular miscellaneous writer, has written some delightful works illustrative of the calendar of nature.' His Book of the Seasons, 1832, presents us with the picturesque and poetic features of the months, and all the objects and appearances which each presents in the garden, the field, and the
*North British Review for 1844.