« FöregåendeFortsätt »
and sensibly, no one is stolid enough to assert that the flame of the lamp is self-existent and independent, because it appears to be the same, though not one particle of the same matter that first supplied it contributes to its existence when it is burning at the end of the twelve hours. All through this work, speaking of our immortal parts, Brougham uses the words soul and mind indiscriminately. This is wrong. It is our soul that is imperishable; it is that which will hereafter succeed and represent the body. The mind, we conceive, will go out like the flame of the lamp when the oil is exhausted; for what is this mind but a combination of qualities, made up of anger, hope, rage, love, curiosity, and every other sentiment dependent upon our physical formation ? dissolve or disintegrate the loadstone by the means of chemistry and the properties inherent in it of attraction, and polarity are no more; take the breath from the body, and the mind is not; the soul will exist, will be judged, and we trust, even in Lord Brougham's case, be saved.
Now, we feel assured, that dogs have minds. They dream, they are acute in their instincts, and rational in many of their actions. But we cannot for a moment suppose them to have souls. The impulses that direct them are blind and irresistible, though the manner in which they obey some of them, show the discrimination of something approaching to the reasoning faculty. Thus, they cannot be said to have a free will; where there is no free will, there can be no responsibility, where no responsibility no reward, and therefore no necessity for a future state in which such reward may be meted. But man, being the reverse of all this, acting so that every moment in the day he exercises his free will, must have an immortal soul, for he surely has a most fearful responsibility.
We had, when we set down to this, our very unwilling task, determined to expose all the inconsistencies of this work. We never made a more rash determination in our lives. Who can count the droppings of a water-wheel in motion, or attempt to marshal the, ravings of a heated brain? In one place we are told that the mind cannot be dissipated or resolved into its element, because it has no parts: and then again, that it cannot be annihilated, because if it were, it would be the only example of annihilation which we know. Certainly it is a folly to talk of annihilation when there is nothing to annihilate : but, we fear, that we shall almost annihilate our readers with excess of weariness if we proceed any farther to place before them contradiction upon contradiction.
Have we been harsh with Lord Brougham ? We answer emphatically– No: we have dealt with his book only—a book that we deem whether so intended or not, certainly calculated to subvert the Protestant church, by marring the cause of natural, in order to destroy revealed, religion. We have found in this work the inconsistency without the general redeeming point in his lordship’s compositions,—vivacity. We seem to read in it a spirit of revenge against the high dignitaries of the church who have, in their places in the council of the kingdom, given him lessons so manifold and so severe. We have arrived, however, at a greater certainty respecting the extent of the ex-Chancellor's capabilities through the means of this publication. It has proved that
he has but little penetration, and no depth. He is a man of surfaces
-in every thing a special pleader. He will see only one side of a question at one time. More skilful at marking the trippings of an adversary than in preserving his own equilibrium, he has founded a reputation for talent upon the mistakes of others, because hitherto no one has been daring enough to point out his own.
Still will we give the Baron justice. He is industrious, and we applaud him; energetic, and he has for it our admiration. But he is weak in principle, therefore we despise him ; and mischievous, we therefore denounce him. But after all, we do not know whether our feeling of pity for him does not predominate over every other. We look upon him as we would upon an angry scold, just about to be bound on the ducking-stool,-growing the more loud and frantic the nearer she is to that immersion that will prove so fatal to the volubility * of her tongue. Brougham's hour is almost come. Let him prepare to retire from a wearied public with, at least, some share of dignity. He can escape future contumely only by shrouding himself in the obscurity of private life: as a public character, the world has had too much of him.
The “ lex talionis,"—who ought to dread those words more than Lord Brougham ? Who ever flourished the moral scalping-knife with more ferocious zest? Who was ever stronger before the weak—more insolent before humility? His finest oratory has always been a volley of sarcasms; he was never eloquent until he found a feeble adversary, or great until triumphing over opposed littleness. He has never shown mercy, and can expect none : but we hope to have subdued some little of his irascibility, and won him to be a gentler and improved man by the unexampled mildness with which we have adverted to his dangerous work, by the moderation with which we have spoken of its pernicious tendency, and, lastly, by the very friendly advice to his lordship with which we now conclude our article,“ Go, and sin no more."
* This is the famous Hobbes' opinion of volubility : “ As men abound in copiousness of language, so they become more wise, or more mad than ordinary." Is Lord B. becoming more wise ?
THE DYING PARSEE.
He gaz'd toward the orb of day,
Upon the horizon's verge;
And just about to merge
Its downward course awhile ;
And bless him with a smile.
DIARY OF A BLASE.
May 26th. Passed Waterloo was informed that two days before the Marquis of Anglesea had arrived there, and stayed a short time to visit the cemetery of his leg; a regular family visit of course, as all the members were present.
May 27th. Slept at Namur. The French are certainly superior to us in the art of rendering things agreeable. Now, even in the furnishing of an apartment, there is always something to relieve the eye, if no: to interest you. I recollect when I was last in London, in furnished apartments, that as I lay awake in the morning, my eye caught the pattern of the paper. It was a shepherdess with her dog in repose, badly executed, and repeated without variation over the whole apartment. Of course, I had nothing to do but to calculate how many shepherdesses and dogs there were in the room, which, by counting the numbers in length and breadth, squaring the results, and deducting for door and windows, was soon accomplished. But how different was the effect produced by the paper of the room in which I slept last night! It was the history of Dunois, the celebrated bastard of France, who prays, in his youth, that he may prove the bravest of the brave, and be rewarded with the fairest of the fair. This was not the true history, perhaps, of Dunois ; but I am drawing the comparison between the associations and reminiscences conjured by this decoration in opposition to the dull and tasteless recapitulation of the English manufacture. From the latter I could not extract a bare idea except that shepherdesses are, as a race, extinct, and that Lord Althorp had taken the tax off shepherds' dogs, by way of a bonus, to relieve a distressed capital of some hundred millions, to which the agricultural interest had very properly replied, “ Thank you for nothing, my lord;" but from the sight of the French paper what a host of recol. lections started up at the moment! The mind flew back to history, and was revelling in all the romance of chivalry, from King Arthur and his Knights, to the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
“ Yet, after all,” thought I, after a long reverie, “ divest chivalry, so called, of its imposing effect, examine well into its nature and the manners of the times, and it must be acknowledged that modern warfare has a much greater claim than the ancient, to the title of chivalry. In former times men were cased in armour of proof, and before the discovery of gunpowder had little to fear in a mêlée, except from those who, like themselves, were equally well armed and equally protected, and even then only from flesh wounds, which were seldom
Continued from p. 36.
mortal. The lower classes, who served as common soldiers, were at the mercy of the mounted spearsmen, and could seldom make any impression upon their defences. In those days, as in the present, he who could command most gold carried the day, for the gold procured the steel harness, and a plump of spears brought into the field was more than equal to a thousand common men. He who had the best tempered armour was the most secure, and that was to be only procured by gold. He who could mount and case in iron the largest number of his followers, was the most powerful, and, generally speaking, the most lawless. Divest chivalry of its splendour, which threw a halo round it, and it was brutal, and almost cowardly. Single combats did certainly prove courage ; but even in them, skill, and more than skill, personal strength, or the best horse, decided the victory. In fact, although not the origin, it was the upholder of the feudal system, in which might was right; and we may add, that the invention of gunpowder, which placed every man upon a level, if not the cause of, certainly much assisted to the breaking up of the system. How much more of the true spirit of chivalry is required in the warfare of the present day, in which every man must stand for hours to be shot at like a target, witnessing the mowing down of his comrades, and silently filling up the intervals in the ranks made by their deaths, exposed to the same leaden messengers; a system of warfare, in which every individual is a part of a grand whole, acting upon one concerted and extended plan, and forced a hundred times to exhibit the passive and more perfect bravery of constancy, for once that he may forget his danger in the ardour of the charge! When shall we learn to call things by their right names?"
Liege, May 28th. Our landlord is a most loyal man, but there is a reason for it. Leopold took up his quarters at this hotel in his way to Spa. In every room we have upon every article of fayence" Leopold, with the Genius of Belgium crowning him with laurels, while Truth is looking on.” Every plate, every dish, is impressed with this proof print of loyalty. But this is not all, as the man said in the packet, “ O no." All the washhand basins, jugs, and every other article required in a bedchamber, have the same loyal pattern at the bottom. Now it appeared to me, when I went to bed, that loyalty might be carried too far; and what may have been intended as respect, may be the cause of his Majesty being treated with the greatest disrespect, and not only his sacred Majesty, but the glorious Belgian constitution also. As for poor Truth, she is indeed said to sojourn at the bottom of a well; but in this instance, it would perhaps be as well that she should not be insulted- I am wrong, she always is, and always will be, insulted, when she appears in the purlieus of a court, or in the presence of a king.
After all, mine is a strange sort of Diary. It is not a diary of events, but of thoughts and reminiscences, which are thrown up and caught as they float to the surface in the whirlpool of my brain. No wonder!-events are but as gleanings compared to the harvest of many years, although so negligently gathered into store. I have been