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of Europe called upon to tremble at those strictures has not been denied, the risk they incurred, as set forth in except by the furious or fatuous menithese veracious pages, ---(Poor Lord als in the service of that establishment; Castlereagh, how pale he will look !) and the sole objection ever made to Every preliminary advantage had been them by competent and impartial gained which could ensure victory; judges has been, that they were exall superiority on the side of the allies pressed with too great vehemence. had been counterbalanced by the ta. The majority, however, of the rightlents of the French general-—" All thinking and well-informed, have little the probabilities of victory were for or nothing to say against us, even on the French-all was combined-all that score; for they see no reason why foreseen. But what can the greatest a tame and feeble courtesy should be genius against destiny ? - Napoleon observed towards writers, who have, was CONQUERED,"That's something for so long a time, dismissed ordinary yet we were afraid, by the exordium, decorum from their own attacks, and that we might have reached a worse who have struck terror into the fainttermination. We would advise Gen-hearted by a system of warfare, markeral Gourgaud to think over this ad- ed by the most unsparing ferocity. mission again, when we hope to see Yet it is piteous to hear the impotent him cancel it in a future edition, and outcries of the hewers of wood and adopt a conclusion more worthy of the drawers of water-for never does the premises. Why not say he was slavery seem so abject as when the conqueror? The assertion would sound slaves themselves are heard howling in a great deal better, and surprise no hypocritical sorrow or sympathy with one who had read his account of the the masters whom they yet hate withprevious circumstances. At present, in their hearts. the story comes ill off, and terminates The religious principles of the Edinlike that of the brave duellist, who burgh Review have not been severely took off his hat with the grace of a condemned by us alone, they have been prince, made his salute handsomely, loudly reprobated by many of the threw himself into an attitude equally highest Intellects in church and state, firm and imposing, and—was disarmed and long murmured at by the supat the first pass.
pressed voice of almost all the reading The preface concludes (comme de population of Britain. We pretend raison ) with a tribute to the misfor not to have made any discovery—but tunes of Napoleon. Twelve lines and merely to have given utterance, with a half of exclamations exhaust all that boldness and freedom, to an universal long Roman, pica, and the whole com- feeling; and had we entertained any positor's box, can do to express his doubts of the truth of our convictions, sorrows, and they are followed by a they must have been confirmed by whole host of asterisks,--sable stars, the impotent anger of the low-the whose fatal influence infers things silent approval of the wise-and the too horrible for types to explain. The constrained acquiescence of the acwhole is rounded by the pathetic in- cused themselves. terrogation,
It will not be thought by any upAh! Napoleon, que n'as tu trouvé right and intelligent mind, that we can la mort à Waterloo ?”
have any other motive for calling the We can only reply, it might have attention of the public to the sceptical, been had for little seeking.
and too often infidel, character of the (To be continued.)
Edinburgh Review, than a sincere desire to benefit the cause of truth. We wish, more particularly, to put young
speculative minds on their guarda18 THE EDINBURGH REVIEW A RELI- gainst the delusive subtleties of that GIOUS AND PATRIOTIC WORK? insidious infidelity-for nothing has
such charms for them as philosophical We are aware that our strictures on discussion, especially when it seeks to the political and religious principles of overthrow ancient prejudices, and inthe Edinburgh Review have lately vests the stripling student with the caused much discussion among the proud character of a discoverer. It readers of that domineering Journal. would be a gross and fatal mistake As far as we can learn, the justice of indeed, to think that, because the
Edinburgh Review may contain but Philosophers. If the Edinburgh Refew papers written expressly against viewers disbelieved Christianity, they the Christian religion, it is therefore should have scorned to shew that disnot an antichristian work. The age belief, except by the utterance of high would not have suffered a more open argument addressed to the intellect of infidelity. But the Edinburgh Review speculative men. They might think has done its mischievous work by long- Christianity false but they could not continued scepticism, on every subject but think it still glorious—and they connected either with religion, or with should have scorned to imitate or apreligious establishments-by crafty plaud the baseness of those who feared insinuations against the intellectual that Chistianity might be true, and character of almost all those who have who assailed it only because its faith devoted their lives to the service of was too lofty to suit their grovelling Christ—by an eternal sneering, at natures, and its precepts too pure to be priests and priestcraft-by unsparing reconciled with their grovelling lives. sarcasms against hypocrisy, bigotry and The great talent displayed in the enthusiasm, qualities most unjustifia- Edinburgh Review-and the personal bly assumed to have been the charac- respectability of its chief conductors teristics of many sincere, learned, and sunk many minds into unconscious strenuous Christians (while, at the same prostration, whom nature might have time, not only was quarter, but praise, destined for freedom and independence. given to that which was called liberali- It became fashionable among young ty, forsooth, and the spirit of true philo- men of imputed talents to be sceptical sophy, but which was too often the mere on all matters of religion--and while blundering presumption of ignorance, they denied the infallibility of the Pope, or the darker treachery of disbelief)- they willingly acknowledged the infalliby ridiculing almost all efforts to ex. bility of Mr Jeffery. None but a dull, tend the empire of Christianity, and common-place, plodding man would, by talking of it, on such occasions, as they thought, accept the gift of bea merely as an excellent and rational lief at the hands of others
and it moral system to be introduced among shewed spirit to be in the minority, the nations, only after they had been even in Religion. The consequence enlightened by civil polity-by end- has been, that a shameful ignorance of less eulogies on the genius and eru. the evidences of Christianity distindition of infidel writers, in which the guishes secular men of education in faint censure of their principles shew. Scotland--and that they who manied how completely those principles festly have made up their minds to were approved-by raising up ob- think revelation a happy imposture, jections to the truth of revelation, could, in five minutes conversation, be without any attempt to remove them made laughing-stocks by the merest out of the way, but, on the contrary, Tyro in theology. Other causes have with an apparent hope, that they undoubtedly contributed to produce might lie as stumbling-blocks to the this effect so disgraceful to our nafeet of the rash and unwary by eager tional character-but it cannot be deexultation over all the bad reasonings nied, that much of the evil lies with of injudicious or ignorant champions the conductors of the Edinburgh Reof the true faith-and finally, by the view. frequent approval of the lowest blas- It might not have been easy to calphemies, and most disgusting obsceni- culate the extent of this evil, had the ties of men, who could see nothing in Scotch been really a literary people, the most awful mysteries of Christi- Had there been any number of original anity, but a subject of licentious mere minds who adopted these cold heresies, riment and derision.*
and that cheerless unbelief, the fatal Now we deny altogether that such poison might have been diffused ina line of conduct as this was worthy of curably through the very life-blood of
the nation. It has been fortunate, that • See, especially, the Review of Wilkes though the Edinburgh Reviewers are Correspondence, where one of the
most atro. men of great talents, they are, with cious pieces of blasphemy and obscenity that the exception of the Editor and Proever was written and that by a father to fessor Leslie, men of no genius his daughter is talked of as “ a harmless and it is still more fortunate, that piece of pleasantry,"
the few men of genius which Scote land has lately produced have not tianity, then we grant that they and been corrupted by their pernicious their friends may be angry with principles. Had any popular writers us for exposing their errors, to arisen—like Scott or Campbell, for ex- call them by no harsher name, ample—who, having command over but we must likewise think, that the sympathies, the affections, the their irritation is far from being any passions, the imaginations, and conse- proof of our injustice, and that it can quently the opinions, and judgments, scarcely be so culpable in us to charge and belief of their countrymen, had unbelievers with their unbelief, as it at the same time been disciples of that is in them to seek to destroy the bespurious philosophy, there is no say- lief of others. Much misery have the ing how widely the infection might Edinburgh Reviewers inflicted, as they have spread, and how low the deterio- well know, on many meritorious and ration of moral character might, by pious Christians—and a most antithe wide-spread influence of their christian and persecuting spirit have writings, have descended among the they often exhibited towards those people. Genius seems rarely to hold, whose religious faith was different in our days at least, any alliance with from their own. It must be painful, infidelity
indeed, to a true Christian, to hear his The evil done by the irreligion of religion assailed—but we cannot see the Edinburgh Review has therefore why it should necessarily be painful been limited by the powers of its sup- 'to an Infidel, to have that infidelity porters. They seem to have done all acknowledged by others, which he the harm they could—all the harm himself has been constantly exhibitthey durst. That the poison has not ing, either in open display or half consunk into the vitals of the nation, has cealed insinuation. It is at least cerbeen owing to the doses having been tain, that to attack Christians, either hurriedly and irregularly, and even fear- openly or covertly, is far more culpable, fully administered to the constitution than it can be to attack, in any way of the nation having been sound and whatever, a body-corporate of Unbe strong, and all its habits healthful- lievers. and to the steady and conscientious at- Were the Edinburgh Reviewers to tendance of humane and skilful phy- be asked to give a decision on this subsicians, whose antidotes have been ject themselves, they would be forced knowledge and religion,
to acknowledge that they had not been Were it in our power to separate true friends to Christianity: They the character of the writers in the would confess that, though their ofa Edinburgh Review, from the Edin- fences were overcharged in our indictburgh Review itself, most gladly would ment, they were yet of the kind there we do so, and more especially that of in laid, -they would own that they the distinguished person on whom the had rarely, if ever, spoken of Christia responsibility of the Editorship is sup- anity as the self-appointed guardians of posed to lie. He, we believe, is safe Truth ought to have spoken of it (adin his genius and his virtue--in his mitting Christianity to be truth, feelings and his imagination—from and they would be forced to allow that that scepticism which may sternly as- the Spirit of Belief of this age, if looksail dark, or creep by stealth into cold- ed for in their volumes, would appear er, spirits. We have never heard it decidedly hostile to Revelation. hinted, that any of his own masterly Indeed, it would seem that the modisquisitions have been liable to such ment a man writes in a sceptical joura charge. But all we can do is to nal, he unconsciously becomes sceptispeak of the work itself, and its gen- cal. The spirit of the work changes eral spirit, when treating of, or al- and overmasters his own-he is subduluding to Religion. If the other ed " to the very quality of his lord.” writers in that work-if its other con- He feels that a certain strain of senti ductors do indeed believe Christianity, ment and opinion is dictated to him they have, for nearly twenty years, by the ruling character of the volume been acting with an inconsistency for in which his disquisitions are to be which no human ingenuity can ac- enrolled,—he seeks to avoid, not all count, and have brought suspicion over offence to truth, but all offence to the all who have countenanced their in- dogmas that have reigned there,-he ridelity--if they do not believe Chris- unwittingly compromises the pecu
liarities of his own opinions, that they the responses delivered from the may square with those established be- shrine, were capable of a twofold exforehand by writers in all respects dif- planation; nor were there wanting ferent from himself, -and if he were adherents bold enough to deny, when to reflect a little, he would be sur- events seemed to shame the Oracle, that prised to find that he had, in order to any such responses had ever been des preserve an apparent consistency with livered, -—or, if that were impossible, his ill-associated co-adjutors, made by to affirm that events which had con far too great a sacrifice of the very life tradicted them in word and in spirit, and spirit of his own faith. It is thus had given them ample and decided that a sceptical or infidel journal goes confirmation. The fugitive and eon progressively in error. All the con- phemeral nature of their work was tributors are expected to write up to the cause of preserving their reputaa certain mark, and no farther,--there tion. Who recollected—who cared is a silent compact entered into be- whether the Edinburgh Reviewers tween the conductors and the occa- were in the right or the wrong-had sional contributors,-certain subjects been false or true prophets,-when must either be avoided altogether, or kingdoms were overrun and thrones treated in a philosophical manner, - subverted, and rumour travelled on and thus have we seen clergymen, the all the winds of Heaven, “ with fear pride and boast of the church, and the of change, perplexing monarchs ?” fearless and triumphant defenders of Whatever their prophecies were, more Revelation, absolutely banded toge- dread and more magnificent realities ther, without any apparent sense of passed in procession before our eyes,– guilt or degradation, with men whose and it was no time to heed the changes, opinions they, nevertheless, on all the follies, the falsities of a periodical other occasions, condemn with a se- journal, when Mutability seemed the vere and a righteous indignation. ruling power on earth, and all ancient
But while the staunchest friends of institutions were being fast trampled inthis Journal either give up its religion to the dust. It would seem that those altogether, or confess that it is liable political wizards were well aware of to many unanswerable and fatal ob- the nature and essence of the peculiar jections, perhaps they are willing to power which they possessed. They let it stand or fall by the character of saw that the craving desires of exits Politics. And if sheer talent and cited spirits demanded direful preacuteness be all that political discus- dictions—that fear was as eager to be sions require, those in the Edinburgh fed as hope—and that nothing was so Review may often be pronounced ex- dear to the imaginations of many as cellent. During war-times, when the visions of shame and of ruin. whole soul of Britain was passionately It is grievous to think of great taturned to the fluctuating drama acted lents thus employed in the service of on the Continent of Europe, the loud despotism, and against the glory of our and vehement voices of the Edinburgh country. The energies of those deReviewers were often listened to with luded men might have found high and a feverish and dreamy perturbation. noble employment in sustaining the Great events succeeded each other so spirit of the nation during times of rapidly, and often so unexpectedly, darkness and jeopardy. The voice of that unfulfilled prophecies were soon their counsel had not in that case, as forgotten, and the credit of the seer now, been suffered to sleep neglected, was but little impaired by the failure or recalled to mind only with contempt of his predictions. Those who had and indignation; and they might now been deceived once and again, could have been honoured by their country, not withdraw their faith, even men as patriots, and as sages, instead strong suspicions of imposture ; while of being at the best, with difficulty fresh crowds continued to be driven forgiven as men betrayed by partyon by the impulse of a thousand pas- spirit into an abandonment of the sions, to consult the Oracle, into the fal- most sacred interests of Britain. sity of whose responses they had no lei- These troubled and changeful days sure to inquire, and which they believed are gone by, and men are beginning to be divine, because of the number of to have leisure to reflect upon them its worshippers. Then too, as of old, and all their pageants. They endeavVol. IV.
our to review the causes of events, as mately proved the salvation of Europe. well as the events themselves; and it True, that they might have thought is not going too far to assert, that the the Whigs their best kind friends, unanimous conviction of the people of when everlastingly preaching to them Britain is, that had the counsels of about the needless miseries of taxation, that party, of which the Edinburgh and the folly and madness of a hope Review was the organ, prevailed, Eu- less war against the omnipotence of rope had at this hour been prostrate, Buonaparte. But such exhibitions of chained, and benighted.
friendship were not deserving of a It is not because its prophecies very lasting gratitude. Ordinary men have been so often falsified, that the are not greatly to be blamed, though political credit of the Edinburgh Re- they make success the measure of wisview is irretrievably ruined. It is the dom. It would require a greater power spirit in which these prophecies were of reflection than we can fairly expect delivered, that causes the deep dam- in them, to enable them to perceive nation" of the prophets. Grant that how those who have been always in many of the successes which crowned the wrong, may very probably be wiser the measures of the Ministry were than those who have been almost alsuch as no foresight could anticipate, ways in the right. When they once see -grant that their blunders were all that the party whom they esteemed, felicitous, and that fortune or fate have been less wise than they imagined, gave at last a glorious issue to a sys- it is a very short and a very easy step to tem often marked by ominous imbe- suspect, that they may likewise have cility,—make all these large deduc- been less honest. The “ Party," theretions, aye, and larger still, from the fore, are exceedingly unpopular, and merits of Ministers,-and after that, now that all the first men, Whitbread, set them, with all their admitted mis- Ponsonby, Horner (the most honourdeeds, and all their doubtful wisdom, able and the ablest man of them all), by the sides of the Whig Party and and Romilly are no more, there are no the Edinburgh Reviewers, and then illustrious names to throw a splendour ask the people of England, which men over a decaying cause, or to mitigate they cousider b st entitled to their re- the contempt felt towards a discomfitspect and gratitude? The Opposition ed party, by associations connected did not cry out with the lofty voice with the character of its most eminent of true prophetic warning. It was not chieftains. with them,
It has been said, and perhaps truly, “ Though dark and despairing my sight I that the English nation is too fond of may seal,
war. Certain it is, that nothing is so Yet man cannot cover what God would re- odious in their eyes as a dastardly adveal."
ministration. Now, the present MiThey were not melancholy seers cursed nistry shewed that they could depend with the second-sight of the ruin of upon the heroic spirit of England, and their country; but they were, it is that they saw at last no security for impossible to deny it, an angry, irri- other nations which was not to be purtated, unpatriotic, despot-loving band chased by the generous blood of the of disappointed partizans, alike desti- free. The last ten years will be imtute of wisdom and of magnanimity. portant indeed to the character of
The consequence has been, that the ages yet unborn. They have been Opposition Party never stood so low as crowded with victories, and " a world at present in the confidence of the of bright remembrances” will be addpeople. The people look back to longed to the imaginations of our unconyears of hardship and privation, du- querable youth. But the Opposition ring which they supported, not with- was evidently a dastardly Opposition. out some natural discontent, a prodi- All their counsels were conceived in gious weight of taxation ; but they the cold shivering fits of fear; and feel an honourable pride in having they forgot that they “ were sprung submitted, on the whole, with a manly of earth's first blood," when they so cheerfulness to those sacrifices which over-rated the power of despotism in could alone have enabled the govern- Buonaparte, and so undervalued the ment of their country to carry through power of freedom in the British peothat system of polity which has ulti- ple. Paying taxes and receiving wounds