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been. He was astonished and vexed when rian said he was quite serious: but if Robinsome one explained the mystery-open- son Crusoe would not help him, or he was ed as it were the dark passage where Mr. above studying Defoe, then he recommended Cullen had been acting. He said he saw Gulliver's Travels.'-(pp. 303, 304.) how it was, and hoped that a gentleman who could well speak in his own person would at length begin to act the character which properly belonged to him.*

That great additional weight accrued to him as ruler of the Church, from the lustre of his literary fame, cannot be doubted; and that the circumstance of his connexion with the University always securing him a seat in the Assembly, while others went out in rotation, tended greatly to consolidate his influence, is equally clear. But these accidents, as they are with respect to the General Assembly, would have availed him little, had not his intrinsic qualities as a great practical statesman secured his power. He may be said to have directed the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland for more than a quarter of a century with unexampled success, and without any compromise of his own opinions, or modification of his views of church policy; and he quitted the scene of his brilliant career while in the full vigor of his faculties, and the untarnished lustre of his fame.'-(pp. 264-267.)

On the historian's style we have these remarks:

Lord Brougham, in placing Robertson at least on the same level with Hume for skill in narration, and claiming for him (as we think, with more justice) far superior care in the consultation of books and in previous meditation, does not acquit him of one great besetting sin in historians. The following honest passage is, moreover, one of the finest specimens of Lord Brougham's method of writing that we could select from this volume:-—

'There seems considerable reason to lament that an intimate acquaintance with the great in all ages, should have made the historian scenes and celebrated characters of history, too familiar with the crimes on a great scale of importance, and therefore of wickedness, perpetrated by persons in exalted stations, so them the feelings of severe reprobation to that he suppresses in recounting or in citing which a more pure morality, a more strict justice, would certainly have given vent. It is painful to see him fall into the vulgar and pernicious delusion which secures for the worst enemies of their species the praise and the increase 'No one ever doubted of its great excellence, of worldly greatness. It is equally painful to but it has sometimes been objected to as less see the worst crimes even of a more ordinary idiomatic and more labored than is consistent description, passed over in silence when they with the perfection of composition. The want sully the illustrious culprit. Let us only, of purely idiomatic expressions is the almost by way of example, and for explanation, surunavoidable consequence of provincial educavey the highly-wrought and indeed admirably tion and habits. Many forms of speech which composed character of Queen Elizabeth. It are English, are almost entirely unknown in opens with enrolling Henry V. and Edward the remote parts of the kingdom; many which III. among "the monarchs who merit the are perfectly pure and classical, a person living people's gratitude;" nay, it singles them in Scotland would fear to use as doubting their out from among the list on which William correctness. That Robertson, however, had III., Edward I., and Alfred himself stand encarefully studied the best writers, with a view rolled, and holds them up as the most grateto acquire genuine Anglicism, cannot be fully admired of all for the "blessings and doubted. He was intimately acquainted with splendor of their reigns." Yet the wars of Swift's writings; indeed he regarded him as Henry V. are the only, and of Edward III. eminently skilled in the narrative art. He had almost the only deeds by which we can know the same familiarity with Defoe, and had them; or if any benefit accrued to our constiformed the same high estimate of his histori- tution by these princes, it was in consequence cal powers. I know, that when a Professor of the pecuniary difficulties into which those in another University consulted him on the wars plunged them, but plunged their kingdoms best discipline for acquiring a good narrative too, so that our liberties made some gain from style, previous to drawing up John Bell of An- the dreadful expense of treasure and of blood termony's "Travels across Russia to Tartary by which those conquerors exhausted their doand the Chinese Wall," the remarkable ad- minions. Then Elizabeth is described as "still vice he gave him was to read Robinson Cru- adored in England ;" and though her "dissimsoe carefully; and when the Professor was as-ulation without necessity, and her severity betonished, and supposed it was a jest, the histo-yond example," are recorded as making her A somewhat similar scene occurred in the treatment of Mary an exception to the rest of House of Commons on the publication of Mr her reign, it is not stated that her whole life Tickell's celebrated jeu d'esprit, "Anticipation." was one tissue of the same gross falsehood It only appeared on the morning of the day when whenever she deemed it for her interest, or the session opened, and some of the speakers felt it suited her caprices, to practise artifices who had not read it verified it, to the no small as pitiful as they were clumsy. But a graver amusement of those who had.' charge than dissimulation and severity as re

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gards the history of Mary is entirely suppress- other orator of our age and country-with ed, and yet the foul crime is described in the the one exception of the Bishop of Exeter. same work. It is undeniable that Elizabeth But Lord Brougham is equally successful, did not cause her to be executed until she had when it so pleases him, in a much more repeatedly endeavored to make Sir Amyas

We do

Paulett and Sir Drue Drury, who had the cus- temperate and subdued manner. tody of her person, take her off by assassina- not know where--even in Clarendon or tion. When those two gallant cavaliers re- Scott--we could find any thing either jected the infamous proposition with indigna- fuller of nice discrimination, or more quiettion and with scorn, she attacked them as ly elegant in language, than the sketch "dainty" and "precise fellows," "men prom- which must close our extracts. ising much and performing nothing" nay, she was with difficulty dissuaded from displacing them, and employing one Wingfield in their stead," who had both courage and inclination to strike the blow." Then finding she could not commit murder, she signed the warrant for Mary's execution; and immediately perpetrated a crime only less foul than murder, treacherously denying her handwriting, and destroying by heavy fine and long imprisonment the Secretary of State whom she had herself employed to issue the fatal warrant. History, fertile in its records of royal crimes, offers to our execration few such characters as that of this great, successful, and popular princess. An assassin in her heart, nay, in her councils and her orders; an oppressor of the most unrelenting cruelty in her whole conduct a hypocritical dissembler, to whom falsehood was habitual, honest frankness strange—such is the light in which she ought to be ever held up, as long as humanity and truth shall bear any value in the eyes of men. That she rendered great service to her subjects; that she possessed extraordinary firmness of character as a sovereign, with despicable weakness as an individual; that she governed her dominions with admirable prudence, and guided her course through as great difficulties in the affairs of the state, and still more in those of the church, as beset the path of any who ever ruled, is equally incontrovertible; but there is no such thing as "right of set-off" in the judgments which impartial history has to pronounce-no doctrine of compensation in the code of public morals; and

he who undertakes to record the actions of princes, and to paint their characters, is not at liberty to cast a veil over undeniable imperfections, or suffer himself like the giddy vulgar to be so dazzled by vulgar glory that his eyes are blind to crime.'-pp. 282-285.

This is a masterly specimen. Every one perceives that here is the style of a man largely practised in public speaking, and that in transferring it to the biographer's desk he would have done well to throw aside some license in the redundant use of certain oratorical artifices. But spoken or written it is a masculine, glowing style; and one formed and fashioned, we cannot but think, after more patient study of the great masters, ancient and modern, than is to be traced in any


Without any thing of harshness or fanaticism, Dr. Robertson was rationally pious and purely moral. His conduct both as a Christian minister, as a member of society, as a relation, and as a friend, was wholly without a stain. His affections were therefore equal and steady. His feelings warm; they were ever under control, and than they were, partly because he had an inmight pass for being less strong and lively superable aversion to extremes in all things, partly because, for fear of any semblance of pretension, to which he was yet more averse, really was, in order to avoid the possibility of he preferred appearing less moved than he feeling less than he externally showed. But he was of opinions respecting conduct which led to keeping the feelings under curb, and towards the philosophy and discipline of the never giving way to them; he leant in this Stoics; and he also held, which was not apt to beget the same mistake as to the warmth of his heart, that exhibitions of sorrow, any more than of boisterous mirth, were unfit to be made; that such emotions should as far as possible be reduced to moderation even in private; but that in society they were altogether misplaced and mistimed. He considered, and rightly considered, that if a person laboring under any afflictive feelings be well enough at ease to go into company, he gives a sort of pledge that he is so far recovered of his wound, or at least can so far conceal his pains, as to behave like the rest of the circle.


held, and rightly held, that men frequent socitheir unwieldy joys, but to instruct, or improve, ety not to pour forth their sorrows, or indulge or amuse each other by rational and cheerful conversation. For himself, when he left his study, leaving behind him with the dust of his books, the anxious look, the wrinkled brow, the disturbed or absent thoughts, he also expected dom from cares of all sorts; and especially he others to greet his arrival with the like freedisliked to have his hours of relaxation saddened with tales of misery, interesting to no one, unless, which is never the object of such narratives, there be a purpose of obtaining relief.

'His conversation was cheerful, and it was varied. Vast information, copious anecdote, perfect appositeness of illustration-narration or description wholly free from pedantry or stiffness, but as felicitous and as striking as might be expected from such a master


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among many other attractions, includes some excellent specimens of versification by Lord Brougham himself-translations from Voltaire. These were proper recreations for the marine villa in Provence (whence he dates his preface): some other matters might as well have been reserved for the well-stored library of Brougham Hall-Bosomed high in tufted trees.'

great liveliness, and often wit and often hu- biographies with which the world is already mor, with a full disposition to enjoy the merri- familiar. Lord Brougham knew Sir Humment of the hour, but the most scrupulous ab-phrey from the dawn of his celebrity, and sence of every thing like coarseness of any description: these formed the staples of his talk. saw far more of him, as a member of the One thing he never tolerated any more than most brilliant society in London, than Dr. he did the least breach of decorum-it was Paris, or even his brother, Dr. Davy, apamong the few matters which seemed to try pears to have done. In our opinion his his temper-he could not bear evil speaking Lordship speaks too slightingly of Sir or want of charity. No one was likely ever Humphrey's verses-we think the stanzas to wrangle with another before him; but he on the doctrine of Spinoza are alone suffialways put down at once any attempt to assail the absent. cient to prove that he possessed a true po'His manner was not graceful in little mat-etical genius: so thought Scott, Southey, ters, though his demeanor was dignified on the Coleridge ;-and we regret the more to find whole. In public it was unimpassioned till Lord Brougham of a different judgment on some great burst came from him; then it par- this head, because the present volume, took of the fire of the moment, and soon lapsed into dignified composure. In private it had some little awkwardness, not very perceptible except to a near and minute observer. His language was correct and purely Eng. lish, avoiding both learned words and foreign phraseology and Scottish expressions, but his speech was strongly tinged with the Scottish accent. His voice I well remember, nor was it easy to forget it; nothing could be more pleasing. It was full and it was calm, but it had a tone of heartiness and sincerity which I hardly ever knew in any other. He was in person above the middle size-his features were strongly marked-his forehead was high and open-the expression of his mouth was that of repose, and of sweetness at the same time. The only particulars of his manners and person which I recollect, are his cocked hat, which he always wore even in the country; his stately gait, particularly in a walk which he loved to frequent to the woods at Brougham, where I was never but once while he visited there, and in which he slowly recited sometimes Latin verses, sometimes Greek; a very slight guttural accent in his speech, which gave it a particular fulness; and his retaining some old-fashioned modes of address, as using the word "madam" at full length; and when he drank wine with any woman, adding "My humble service to you. When in the country he liked to be left entirely to himself in the morning, either to read or to walk, or to drive about.'-p. 316.

We cannot now encounter any of Lord Brougham's Men of Science.' His 'Cavendish' is more likely to please the French Institute than the Royal Society of London we believe we must examine it seriously in a separate article. The Simpson is, we think, the best of this class. The life of Black has, like those of Hume and Robertson, plentiful marks of access to original sources of intelligence: and that of Davy, though short, will be found a very valuable supplement, as respects personal character and manners, to the two elaborate



From the Edinburgh Review.

Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. 8vo. London: 1845.

THIS is a remarkable book, and has had sudden run of public favor. A fourth edition has just appeared; but our last perusal having been bestowed upon the third, we shall refer to it in all our extracts, except where the first may demand some passing notice. The book treats of Cosmogonies in the largest sense in which that high-sounding word was ever used by man; and the author, after soaring with us among the clouds, and giving us a bold outline of the Nebular hypothesis,' comes down to the lower world, and tells us of the wonders of the earth, and of the marvellous organic forms, in successive generations, which geologists have brought up from the regions of darkness, and put before us in the light of day. He then unfolds his theory of Animal Development, in which we learn that the humblest organic structures began first, and were produced by Electricity, or some like power of common nature-That to begin living structures any other way, would be an inconceivably paltry exercise of creative power.'

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That nature having thus made a start, all difficulties are over; for by progressive breeding, the first monads will work their way, without any external help, through all the ascending scale of things, up to Monkeys; and that Monkeys will, in like manner, become at length the parents of Men. He then appeals, in confirmation of his views, to the successive organic forms found in the old strata of the earth, and to the fœtal forms of men and beasts; and so builds up a scale of nature which is to be an index of a universal creative law.

without having any just conception of the methods by which men, after the toil of many generations, have ascended, step by step, to the higher elevations of physical knowledge-without any even glimmering conception of what men mean when they tell us of Inductive Science and its sober truths.

But if this be so, how, it may be asked, are we to account for the popularity of the work, and the sudden sale of edition after edition? Men who are fed on nothing better than the trash of literature, and who have The work is systematic and well got up for never waded beyond the surface of the its purpose, so far as regards its outer form; things they pretend to know, must needs and in the latter part of this article we delight in the trashy skimmings of philosomean to track the vestiges in their own phy; and we venture to affirm that no man natural order. But in the concluding who has any name in science, properly so chapters of the work, many subjects (such called, whether derived from profound as the circular system of natural history, study, or original labor in the field, has phrenology, animal instincts in comparison spoken well of the book, or regarded it with human reason, the origin of language, with any feelings but those of deep averand the diffusion of the various families of sion. We say this advisedly, after exthe human race) pass under review. All of them we cannot notice, but some we are compelled to glance at; and we do so in the first instance, that our more general views may be less interrupted, and hoping in this introductory matter to make our readers comprehend the peculiar qualities of our author's mind, and his mode of dealing with great physical questions.

changing thoughts with some of the best informed men in Britain. The public, who are not able to judge from their own knowledge, must therefore be plainly told, that the philosophy of the author is borrowed from a false and shallow School; and that the consequences he dares to draw from it, so far as they are new in the scientific literature of our country, are nothing better than mischievous, and sometimes antisocial, nonsense.

It follows of necessity, that in the progress of such a work, subjects must be brought under review which bear upon alThe book tells us of things new to many most every question belonging to natural of us-and all of us delight in novelties. science; and we find that every thing is It lifts up the curtain of the dissecting-room, touched upon, while nothing is firmly and publishes its secrets in rounded sengrasped. We have not the strong master- tences of seeming reverence, and in the hand of an independent laborer, either in conventional language of good society. the field or closet, shown for a single in- Things useful, and good, and excellent in stant. All in the book is shallow and all one place, may be foul and mischievous in is at second-hand. The surface may be another. The world cannot bear to be beautiful; but it is the glitter of gold-leaf turned upside down; and we are ready to without the solidity of the precious metal. wage an internecine war with any vioThe style is agreeable-sometimes charm-lation of our modest principles and SOing; and noble sentiments are scattered cial manners. Hercules, when he took here and there; but these harmonies are the distaff in hand, made only a sorry never lasting. Sober truth and solemn thread; and we presume that Omphalè nonsense, strangely blended, and offered to found her hero's club but a clumsy spindle. us in a new material jargon, break discordantly on our ears, and hurt our better feelings.

The author is intensely hypothetical, and builds his castles in the air, misconceiving the principles of science, or misunderstanding the facts with which it has to deal; or, what is worse still, distorting them to serve his purpose. He does all this, apparently,

It is our maxim, that things must keep their proper places if they are to work together for any good. If our glorious maidens and matrons may not soil their fingers with the dirty knife of the anatomist, neither may they poison the springs of joyous thought and modest feeling, by listening to the seductions of this author; who comes before them with a bright, polished, and many-co

lored surface, and the serpent coils of a false philosophy, and asks them again to stretch out their hands and pluck forbidden fruit-to talk familiarly with him of things which cannot be so much as named without raising a blush upon a modest cheek; who tells them-that their Bible is a fable when it teaches them that they were made in the image of God-that they are the children of apes and the breeders of monsters -that he has annulled all distinction between physical and moral, (p. 315)-and that all the phenomena of the universe, dead and living, are to be put before the mind in a new jargon, and as the progression and development of a rank, unbending, and degrading materialism.

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continued labor by which every new position has been won; and, above all, he has learned the immeasurable depth of his own ignorance, when he applies his faculties to any higher order of material causation beyond the known truths he derives from others, or from his own observations and experiments. No man living, who has not partaken of this kind of labor, or, to say the very least, who has not thoroughly mastered the knowledge put before his senses by the labors of other men, has any right to toss out his fantastical crudities before the public, and give himself the airs of a legislator over the material world.

If we know not the author personally, we may well rejoice in our ignorance; for our But who is the author? We thought, criticisms have not the semblance of perwhen we began The Vestiges,' that we sonal hostility. It is an imperious sense of could trace therein the markings of a wo- duty, and an unflinching love of truth, man's foot. We now confess our error; which dictate the language of this article; and for having entertained it, we crave and in writing it we are moved by ill-will pardon of the sex. We were led to this to no one. We may, however, dissect the delusion by certain charms of writing-by author's mind from the character of his the popularity of the work-by its ready book; and we believe him to be an accombounding over the fences of the tree of plished, and, in a certain sense, a well-inknowledge, and its utter neglect of the narrow and thorny entrance by which we may lawfully approach it; above all, by the sincerity of faith and love with which the author devotes himself to any system he has taken to his bosom. We thought that no man could write so much about natural science without having dipped below the surface, at least in some department of it. In thinking this, we now believe we were mistaken.

But let us not be misunderstood. Within all the becoming bounds of homage, we would do honor to the softer sex little short of adoration. In taste, and sentiment, and instinctive knowledge of what is right and good-in discrimination of human character, and what is most befitting in all the moral duties of common life-in every thing which forms, not merely the grace and ornament, but is the cementing principle and bond of all that is most exalted and delightful in society, we would place our highest trust in woman. But we know, by long experience, that the ascent up the hill of science is rugged and thorny, and ill-fitted for the drapery of a petticoat; and ways must be passed over, which are toilsome to the body, and sometimes loathsome to the senses. And every one who has ventured on these ways, has learned a lesson of humility from his own repeated failures. He has learned to appreciate the enormous and

formed but superficial person. He exhib-
its a not uncommon union of skepticism
and credulity. The combination is not by
any means unnatural; for it often requires
good and long training to cure a man of
subtle doubts, and the first advances of
knowledge often lead men of ardent minds
into rash and incongruous conclusions.
Again, the author is a man of imagination,
and delights in resemblances-sometimes
real, and sometimes (strange to tell) only
to be found in the similarity of sounds, by
which, from the natural imperfection of
language, things entirely different are con-
founded under common terms.
He hardly
seems to know that in the veriest child
the perception of resemblances far out-
strips the realities of knowledge. It is the
part of science to anatomize external things,
and to follow out their differences; and
then, and not till then, to arrange them in
their proper places and speculate on their
mutual bearings.

He is so enamored of resemblances, that he will cheat his senses by mere similitudes of sound. Every one has heard of the quickness of thought-of 'glancing from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,'

and who has not heard of the velocity of the galvanic fluid? Therefore, the speed of thought may be reduced to numbers, and a man may think at the rate of 192,000 miles a second! We know well that the

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