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rious personages whose principles and tempers produced the events which rendered so memorable the latter part of the fifteenth century. It is a rule that may pretty generally be relied upon—that, even in a monarchy limited as our own became at the revolution of 1688, the personal and political character of the sovereign will, in no small degree, influence the sentiments and direct the conduct of the people at large; but more especially affect the feelings and manners of those who are about his court, and exposed to the operation of his visible and daily example. There was in the moral character of our eighth Henry, a mixture of strong passion, a sensual disposition, and the love of jocular familiarity, with, perhaps, as haughty and tyrannical a demeanor,
and as base and cruel a principle of action, as ever disgraced human nature. These several and distinct properties of heart and mind, brought strikingly forward by the vigour of his intellect, naturally infused themselves into those immediately around his person; and if, as exhibited in Wolsey, they were not mere reflections of royal example, at least, they borrowed from that lurid luminary many of their most annoying rays. That nature had by no means been niggardly in endowing the Cardinal with some of the worst characteristics of Henry, is, from the general tenor of his conduct towards all those who approached him, evident enough; and that power alone, without the exalted and instigating specimen before his eyes, would have forced out the essences of his composition, cannot reasonably be doubted; but, nevertheless, had this priest been wholly unblest with the solar beams that sublimated his innate qualities, still would he have proved himself to be something very different from an opake orb. While a large portion of Henry's features, both moral and political, are conspicuous in every portrait of this sportful and proud, familiar and distant, condescending and tyrannical, affectionate and barbarous, ecclesiastic, we see enough of himself, to be convinced, that the part, so unhappily well performed by the monarch, would not have been inefficiently enacted by the churchman.
Mr. Howard, viewing Cardinal Wolsey in this just light, has depicted the man exactly as we think he was. His early love of letters and science, his precosity of talent, his laudable assiduity, his premature acquisitions, his merited advancements, his liberal disbursements, and magnificent hospitality, are as promptly and forcibly exhibited, as are his unconscionable pride, his egregious ambition, his pompous austerity, and his occasional destitution of generous feeling, and of the milk of human kindness. With a concupiscence equal to that of his royal master, he had for his “ruling passion” the love of domination; and, though he preferred the service of his king to that of his God, (a distinction, by the way, which carries with it as strong a reproach of his royal patron as can be cast upon a sovereign,) there is no reason for our doubting, that would the sacrifice of that sovereign have procured him the tiara, to which his lust of authoritative greatness aspired, his conscience would not have interposed any insuperable difficulties between his wishes and their object. Tracing the subject of his work from his youth to his early manhood, from his early manhood to his riper years, and from them to his latter days, and final exit from the stage of his progress in wealth and worldly power, his present biographer omits not the notice of any act or incident calculated to throw the least light on the cardinal's history. He presents him to us at school and at college, receiving university honours, and cultivating an acquaintance and friendly connexion with the Reformers-rising in the church, first as rector of Lymington, then as chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury, and next as a royal chaplain. We then see him in the character of ambassador to the emperor, and rapidly gaining upon the affection of his royal patron. Preferred to the deanery of York, he is seen diverting his attention from ecclesiastical to naval affairs ;-he next figures as bishop of London; then as archbishop of York; and then as cardinal. In the description of these several stages of his progress, and onward to his decline, fall, and death, the heart and mind of this singular man are figured to us in, perhaps, the best of all possible ways-in his demeanour and his actions. However chequered and inconsistent his character may appear to superficial or careless readers, those who have acquired the slightest knowledge of human nature, and who peruse this work with attention, will find in it that unity which distinguishes one dramatis persona from another; that harmonious combination with which Nature marks her most seemingly discordant works, and reconciles her most apparently opposite qualities. Our readers will now be glad of a sample of Mr. Howard's style and manner of treating the subject, and we cannot offer them a better than the following, extracted from his seventh section :
“ There is no account of the specific charges against Wolsey, until the 1st of December, when express articles were exhibited against him, the purport of which was, to accuse him of bribery, extortion, and other misdemeanors. Other charges were, the taking goods from religious houses by virtue of the legantine power; the forming a treaty between France and the pope, without acquainting the king; and various acts of diplomacy with Florence and other states, under the great seal, yet without the royal leave; the joining himself with the king in his despatches—the king and I will that ye do this ;'--thus using himself more like a fellow than a subject; that other people's servants were first sworn to be true to the king, and then to their master, but that his servants were first sworn to himself alone ; the coming, whilst nauseously diseased, into the royal presence ; the illegal granting of benefices as legate ; that his practice was first to see all ambassadors, and all despatches, to the abuse of the king and council ; the licensing, under the great seal, of the exportation of grain, &c. after restraints, but for his own lucre; the levying charges on religious houses, preventing them from their accustomed hospitality and alms ; his insolence in council ; his delays of justice ; extortion against the ordinaries of dioceses ; false reports to the pope, by which many good religious houses were put down ; the reversing of legal decisions of the courts, by private hearings in his chamber ; illegal proceedings, by which almost the whole lands of England were brought into chancery ; suspending the pope's pardons until large sums were paid to himself; the visiting and robbing by clerical law the religious houses, tampering with judges, and ordering the deferring of judgments; procuring places for his illegitimate son, Winter, to the amount of 2,7001. per annum, of which he took to himself 2,5001., leaving to his son only 2001.; to these must be added, his illegal acts under the legantine power, and, contrary to solemn promise, his exciting of discontent against the nobility, and his assumption of royal state and power, in regard to purveyors, shops, &c. &c.
* The thirty-eighth article of the impeachment accuses him of having two children by the daughter of one Lack; and in the twenty-eighth, we find specified the appointments to his natural son, being in rapid succession, a deanery, five prebends, an archdeaconry, a chancellorship, a provostship, and two rectories !
“ Then came a charge of forcing Sir John Stanley, by imprisonment, to give up his convent seal, of lands held from the abbot of Exeter, to one Leyche, of Adlington, who had married Lack's daughter, after she had borne two children to himself; after which Stanley, in a fit of despair, became a monk in Westminster Abbey. There were other charges of putting the cardinal's hat under
the royal arms, in groats coined at the York mint ; and of his always writing · Ego et Rex meus'-'I and the king'-_in despatches to Rome, or to other foreign courts; and finally, his accusers called upon the king to remove the cardinal, for ever, from all place and power.”
Memoirs of Captain Rock, the celebrated Irish Chieftain; with some
Account of his Ancestors. Written by Himself.—12mo. pp. 376.
9s. Longman and Co. Mr. Thomas Moore, of poetic and Anacreontic renown, has, in our opinion, not only added to his literary, but to his patriotic, reputation, by the subject-matter of the volume now under our observation. Nothing could better become the author, as a native of the sister kingdom, and an avowed lover of liberty, than the task he ingeniously imposed upon himself, of presenting to Englishmen, under the signature of the “ celebrated Irish chieftain,” a strong but faithful picture of the treatment Ireland has uniformly experienced from the government of a country, whose first and especial duty it was, as hér bounden friend and protector, to cherish her commercial interests, shield her political rights, soothe her internal misfortunes, and render her prosperous and happy. When has the land of our author been really patronized and benefited by English generosity, or even English justice? Did Ireland owe any thing to the liberality or equity of the counsellors of Elizabeth ? Has that hapless country ever been indebted to the munificence or kindly care of the advisers of any of her royal successors? While her cruel condition has not even been left to cure itself, but rather, perhaps, been aggravated than ameliorated, has her moral and political illumination been promoted by a single British measure ? Nay, has not her advancement in knowledge and public virtue been more dreaded than desired ? Has not the mere possibility of her future wealth, intellectual consequence, and political power, been regarded with a sullen and baleful jealously? Have the most laudable of her efforts to rise in character, and flourish in strength, been encouraged by a single smile of the British court? And has not the consequence of this worse than supineness, this withering coldness, this negative hostility, persevered in by our statesmen, obstructed her path to the most valuable species of intelligence, pressed her on every side, hung on her rear, and detained her in the same state of ignorance that disgraced her earlier vassalage? What in this she was centuries ago, is she not at this moment? If her discontent be as great as ever, has she not as much cause for it as ever ? What sensible and feeling man among us can reflect on the oppression of her tythes; the burthen of her middle men; the excessive weight of her protestant prelacy; and the Union, that transferred to England so much of her little wealth; these and other equally aggrieving circumstances have contributed to crush her comforts for the present, and stifle her every hope in regard of the future. These ruinous and intolerable evils Captain Rock depicts with a force, and laments with a zeal, which, while they do honour to himself and his
book, call upon us to present him to our readers in the garb of his own luminous and convincing language.
Speaking of the unequal assessment, of what are called tythes, the Captain observes, that
" In England, the burthen is equally distributed among the farming classes ; while in Ireland, where there is no agistment tythe ; it rests almost exclusively upon the lowest orders. In a tythe-book, now lying before me, which I seized, some time since, among the baggage of a defeated proctor, I find three gentlemen holding fifteen hundred acres of the best land in the parish, charged for their tythe only four pounds among them; while a poor catholic farmer in the neighbourhood, cultivating twenty acres of tillage, is made to pay for his corn and fax eight pounds, being twice as much towards the support of the protestant church as these protestant gentlemen contribute altogether. There is, indeed, nothing more common than to see the rich grazier paying almost nothing to his own clergyman, while the poor catholic in his neighbourhood, who raises (we will say) five acres of corn, three for the market, and two for his own support, is obliged, out of this pittance, to pay the clergymen of both modes of worship.
“ But there is still more cruel exaction. The potato, the sole sustenance of the wretched peasantry of the south, is also pressed into the service of the church ; and there is not a parson in that part of the country, who does not live by the starvation of others. Imagination, indeed, can hardly bring together a more incongruous compound, than the lofty churchman, at one moment exalting his brow in spiritual authority, and, at the next, stooping to ransack the potato-pit of the cottager.”
Quantum vertice ad auras
Athenias, tantum radice in Tartara tendit. No one, we really think, can reflect on the condition, moral, fiscal, and political, in which the sister island is placed, and say, that this is a strained position. Whether the actual authors of her anisery have, or have not, intended, that she shall be the sufferer, unfortunately, their treatment of her has been so appositely calculated to produce the wretchedness she has so long endured, that the apprehension is perfectly justifiable. Her situation, in every point of view, is of a deplorable description; and, though Captain Rock, as a man of wit and lively imagination, is occasionally tempted to treat his subject with a certain degree of humour and sportive levity, we cannot willingly join in his mirth; the burthen of his tale is too serious. Convinced of the truth of his picture, we are too sensible to the misfortunes it represents, not to be engrossed with their melancholy magnitude ; and, while we gaze upon the canvass, feel unsusceptible of any but painful and indignant impressions.
A Biographical Portraiture of the late Rev. James Hinton, M.A. Pastor
of a Congregational Church in the City of Oxford. By his Son, John Howard Hinton, M.A. Pastor of Reading.--8vo. pp. 384.
10s. 6d. Holdsworth, This book may be considered as pertaining to the hoc genus omne. We must, however, in fairness, admit, that it possesses claims which do not belong to many others of the same class. Mr. Hinton, during a period of thirty-six years, was, it seems, minister to the congregation of dissenting protestants at Oxford; and his character, both as a man and a preacher, is represented as exemplary and irreproachable. But the public cannot be expected to take any particular concern in a narrative, the subject of which is a total stranger to the world at large. A biographer is, indeed, too frequently liable to this error. He sits down to record the actions of an individual differing little from others of his class, and imagines that the interest arising from personal acquaintance can be transferred to the minds of strangers. Scilicet id populus curat. Nor is the matter mended by the writer being, as in the present instance, a near relative of the deceased. So far as mere facts are concerned, the communications of such a person may be valuable, because of these he will possess a more accurate knowledge than most others. But the minuteness with which he will be likely to detail circumstances and events will probably be tedious, and, except to the
eye of affection, appear of little importance. With respect to the publication of memoirs of this kind, however well intended, we fear that they are seldom serviceable to the cause of religion and morality. If the details of what is called a person's “Christian experience" be given by another, it is a palpable absurdity; for who can penetrate the recesses of his neighbour's heart, especially on a subject so mysterious and awful ? If they are selected from the person's own diary or statements, they usually exhibit a mixture of spiritual pride and unfounded dejection, alike inconsistent with the feelings of genuine Christianity; and the ludicrous, though melancholy picture that they for the most part present of the importance of a man to himself, has generally a tendency to degrade, and not to exalt, religion.
The following passage, relative to Mr. Hinton's early feelings, affords an instance of the true spirit of profane levity with which some classes of professing Christians connect the most trivial circumstances with the most momentous subjects :
He appears,” says our author, “to have possessed a peculiar facility in meditating on divine things, while conducting any such business as did not require his whole attention: and he spent many hours in a manner very favourable to the indulgence of this disposition, either by night in the process of candle-making, or by day in attending the transport of goods to considerable distances.”
We do not think it necessary to make any second quotation; nor will our readers wish us to give them a synopsis of the trials, persecutions, experiences, calls, and conversions, always so abundant in this species of biography. To those who are blest with a taste for such details, we recommend a perusal of the book itself, for it will amply satisfy the longing of such readers.
Whatever we think of this work, in other respects, we will not take leave of it without acknowledging the goodness, of its style. It is correct and elegant; and, when not disfigured by the introduction of cant, the chief requisite, perhaps, of conventicle biography, the language is that of a scholar and a gentleman.
Relics for the Curious; consisting of singular Customs, Extracts from
Wills, and Church Curiosities. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 345. 10s. Burton. This little work, comprising nearly two hundred narrations, many of which will be new to the generality of readers, while others are too wellknown to excite either delight or surprise, has been compiled with diligence, and is neatly, if not elegantly, printed. Of a publication like this, to say thus much, and quote an article or two to enable the public to judge of the general style and manner of its contents, is all