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the privileges of the Norman barons, and of the Saxon yeomanry. How great a part the Catholic Ecclesiastics subsequently had in the abolition of Villenage, we learn from the unexceptionable testimony of Sir Thomas Smith, one of the ablest Protestant counsellors of Elizabeth. When the dying slaveholder asked for the last sacraments, his spiritual attendents regularly adjured him, as he loved his own soul, to emancipate his brother for whom Christ had died. So successfully had the Church used her formidable machinery, that before the Reformation came, she had emancipated almost all the bondsmen in the kingdom except her own, who, to do her justice, seem to have been very tenderly treated.”—(Vol. I., p. 23.)

We must make a short and beautiful extract regarding the character of the present British Constitution. The positions laid down by Mr. Macaulay, are worthy of the consideration of those who may be deluded by the nonsense or falsehood of politicians like Mr. Cobden, who, in order to embue the people of this country with a passion for anarchy, boldly assure them that the riots raised by the profligate rabble of the cities on the Continent are just similar movements to the revolutions effected in this country under Cromwell and William.

"The change, great as it is, which her polity has undergone, during the last six centuries, has been the effect of gradual development, not of demolition and reconstruction. The present constitution of our country is, to the condition under which she flourished six hundred years ago, what the tree is to the sapling-what the man is to the boy. The alteration has been great. Yet there never was a moment at which the chief part of what existed was not old. A polity thus formed must abound in anomalies. But for the evils arising from mere anomalies, we have ample compensation. Other societies possess written constitutions more symmetrical. But no other society has yet succeeded in uniting revolution with prescription, progress with stability, the energy of youth with the majesty of immemorial antiquity." (I., p. 25.)

Our extracts in a subsequent number will contain some of Mr. Macaulay's sketches of individual character-which are exquisite. Occasionally the minuteness of his portraits leads him to occupy some pages with them; but he is in truth never diffuse in these descriptions, and never deals in superfluities-as every slight delicate touch serves to producing the admirable truth and effect of the whole. Sometimes he throws off a complete sketch in two or three sentences. Of this kind is the character of Archbishop Cranmer. The same feeling which leads the Calvinist to defend the crimes of the leader whose name he bears; and the Methodist to deny that John Wesley was a man, crafty, proud, and domineering, and everything but meek and lowly-has induced many respectable Episcopalians to make a saint out of one of the most time-serving and profligate statesmen that ever lived-and a martyrof one who bestowed martyrdom liberally enough on others, but who certainly did not die himself, till he could not, by any apostacy, help himself. This spirit has done incredible mischief both to morality and religion. It countenances and encourages the leaders of parties in their worst proceedings.

"The man who took the chief part in settling the conditions of the Alli

ance which produced the Anglican Church, was Thomas Cranmer. He was the representative of both the parties which at that time needed each other's assistance. He was at once a divine and a statesman. In his character of divine he was perfectly ready to go as far in the way of change as any Swiss or Scottish reformer. In his character of statesman, he was desirous to preserve that organization which had, during many ages, admirably served the purposes of the bishop of Rome, and might be expected now to serve equally well the purposes of the English kings and of their ministers. His temper and his understanding eminently qualified him to act as mediator. Saintly in his professions, unscrupulous in his dealings, zealous for nothing, bold in speculation, a coward and a time-server in action, a placable enemy and a lukewarm friend, he was in every way qualified to arrange the terms of coalition between the religious and the worldly enemies of Popery." (Vol. 1., p. 51.)

We must conclude our present notice of this work with one more extract. We half take blame to ourselves for our choice of a subjectwhich is an eulogium on Scotland. While, however, the praise of Scotland is fully undertaken, and zealously accomplished by Scotsmen themselves, it may be an agreeable variety to have it from an intelligent Englishman-the more so as Mr. Macaulay has in his time had to deal with some curious specimens of the breed.

"In natural courage and intelligence, both the nations (Scotland and Ireland) which now became connected with England, ranked high. In perseverance, in self-command, in forethought, in all the qualities which conduce to success in life, the Scots have never been surpassed. The Irish, on the other hand, were distinguished by qualities which tend to make men interesting rather than prosperous. They were an ardent and impetuous race, easily moved either to tears or to laughter, to fury or to love. Alone among the nations of Northern Europe, they had the susceptibility, the vivacity, the natural turn for acting and rhetoric, which are indigenous on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. In mental cultivation, Scotland had an indisputable superiority. Though that kingdom was then the poorest in Christendom, it already vied in every branch of learning with the most favoured countries. Scotsmen whose dwellings were as wretched as those of the Icelanders of our time-wrote Latin verse with more than the delicacy of Vida, and made discoveries in science which would have added to the renown of Galileo. Ireland could boast of no Buchanan or Napier; the genius with which her aboriginal inhabitants were largely endowed, showed itself as yet only in ballads, which, wild and rugged as they were, seemed to the judging eye of Spenser, to contain a portion of the pure gold of poetry.

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Scotland, in becoming part of the British monarchy, preserved all her dignity, having, during many generations, courageously withstood the English arms; she was now joined to her stronger neighbour on the most honourable terms. She gave a king instead of receiving one. She retained her own constitution and laws. Her tribunals and parliament remained entirely independent of the tribunals and parliaments which rule at Westminster. The administration of Scotland was in Scottish hands; for no Englishman had any motive to emigrate northward, and to contend with the shrewdest and most pertinacious of all races for what was to be scraped together in the poorest of all treasuries. Meanwhile Scottish adventurers poured southward, and obtained in all the walks of life a prosperity which

excited much envy, but which was in general only the just reward of prudence and industry."

Here is an eulogium such as a Scotsman might write. And even a Scotsman might, in some points, detect a want of that of which we have all heard so much-"justice to Ireland"-in the passage here quoted. It might be remarked that Ireland was sending her learned men over the Continent at an era at which Scotland had not one name known in the world of letters-that to Irishmen the western parts of Scotland were indebted for their Christianity-that, in point of erudition, the countrymen of Usher have undoubtedly more than rivalled the Scots-and that the country which, in modern times, produced Swift, and Goldsmith, and Burke, need not shrink from a comparison in genius with the land of Smollett, and Burns, and Scott.



Literature will continue to be underrated, as long as it is regarded as merely supplying ornament to thought. Truth, in itself, is far more precious than its outward decorations; and the zealous searcher will be satisfied if he can find it naked or coarsely clad. But the just view of literature is, that it presents the ideals, and not the dresses, of things; and that, throughout its domain, it develops the essence and form of beauty from the inner law of universal life. It makes truth issue from the soul of man in communion with nature,-and not from the surface of nature alone; and such an origin fills truth with life, and gives it loveliness. Science is the anatomy of truth-philosophy its pervading spirit; and literature, uniting the two, converts the former into a beautiful incarnation for the latter. It is a medium between the abstractions of philosophy and the literalities of science; such a medium as various humanity and ever-changing nature require. Men could not be described by the stereotype of science, and no better by philosophy; and literature is indispensable to the exhibition. Wherever, then, science and philosophy, natural, mental, moral, or religious, may range, literature must keep alongside, to combine the facts observed with the principles discovered, and to present a genuine embodiment. Such an ample province, and such a glorious calling, has literature. She is not the tire-woman, assisting at the toilet of thought, for she is more closely and seriously connected with thought, than either science or philosophy.

We confidently and emphatically assert the supremacy of literature, and claim, as due to its proper cultivators, the highest honours. And

in the present day, none of these men possess nobler capacities, or a better appreciation of what their work should be, than Mr. Aird, though in labours they have been more abundant and popularly successful. Which of them rivals him in sublime pictures-finished with a few master-touches-pictures of the extreme agony of life in men and fiends? These embody conceptions-the most difficult even to highest genius. Or has Aird been surpassed for his strictly true yet exquisitely graceful delineations of common life? Whether he carry the Devil up to "Mount Aksbeck," to draw out the fiend's soul in a dream, or descend into a Scottish glen to study the scenes and persons of pastoral existence,-whether, in still midnight, he invoke the Ghost of Robert Burns to speak-as he sang-of Scotland, or, in the sharp and clear autumn day, accompany the ploughman through the fields, his sketches, for originality, power and beauty, are unique. The public may reckon it gross caprice, on our part, to say that Mr. Aird's slightest productions are richer in literature than all the works of such famous contemporaries as Dickens, Jerrold, and Warren; but we modestly explain our caprice to be the bad taste of the public. Aird's conceptions are purely poetic; those of the others are of baser and cheaper materials, though put more skilfully into shapes. His small volume, entitled "The Old Bachelor," contains reflections, sketches, and descriptions far above the art of our best novelists, even if they had been working at these for ages; and were a single paragraph of Aird's writings to occur in the pages of the authors we have mentioned, it would be an ornament of solid gold placed upon a large surface of tinsel stuff. Aird's pieces are studies, whereas the productions of the other men are but momentary entertainments. The former are elaborate pictures of nature and humanity; the latter are but the results of ingenuity in arranging men, and adjusting scenes and circumstances. Aird idealizes the others only daguerrotype the real. He shows man the being who is akin to us all; they merely collect the little surface individualities of several men. How easy is it to conceive of Pickwick and his adventures, compared with the elaboration of such an idea as the "Devil's Dream ?" It was but an assemblage of small outward peculiarities which Dickens had to form; he only arranged cleverly several patches on the human face; whereas, Mr. Aird had to prepare a vision fit to be imaged on the soul of Satan -the Dreamer. Yet, how worthless is popularity! What insanity marks the public judgment! Dickens is admired by millions, while Aird, with genius loftier and purer, is only appreciated by hundreds. Nations shout their applause into the ears of the small man; the great man is greeted by a few low whispers of praise. Dickens, for a Christmas trifle, which will not add a mite to the treasures of our land's literature, receives a remuneration more ample than has been awarded to the whole of Aird's splendid contributions.

We resume our notice of Mr. Aird. It is in such a case that we see the necessity of criticism. Reverently to point out neglected and unrewarded genius, and to introduce and discuss-with emphatic praise-books, the merits of which are unknown to the public, must

be the highest and the most gratifying task of a literary Review. And each age so uniformly overlooks its best teachers, and leaves their pages unread, whilst patronizing flashy men and superficial productions, that criticism might devote itself entirely to remedy this grievous evil. It might have one leading aim-to recommend the authors who, in the next age, will be admired. It ought to anticipate posthumous fame, and urgently present and press unappreciated merits, and unacknowledged claims. Why throw upon posterity all the responsibilities of justice? What is the use of criticism, if it merely follow in the rear of public taste, and keep silent about great men whom the world neglects? It will not be denied that our generation has had to atone for many acts of gross injustice committed by its predecessors, and to place high in the roll of renown men who lived and died in ignoble obscurity; and yet the same generation will leave work of the same kind to be performed by its successor. The age that rendered due homage to the genius of Robert Burns, overlooked or reviled the genius of William Wordsworth.

Authors who have, by a lucky leap, bounded from obscurity into the glare of public fame, do not require criticism; and, indeed, when it does come, it will be in vengeance, proving that the merits which were instantaneously popular, were slight. Why criticise Dickens? He is universally read. To notice him is superfluous: and to anticipate the fatal verdict of posterity would do no good for a few years to come. Rather let us have expounders and eulogists of neglected genius, even than censors of counterfeit genius. The next age will deal severely enough with notorieties and humbugs; but let the present age be taught to know its really great men.

If we were conscious of ability to do full justice to Mr. Aird's genius, we should feel that we were engaged in the noblest work of criticism. If only, however, we could persuade the public to a perusal of his writings, we are confident that the impression left by these would be deep and lasting. Let them but be read and studied, and the author would be elevated to one of the highest places in general estimation. Though Mr. Aird's productions, subsequent to the "Religious Characteristics," were not formally religious, they were pervaded by the peculiar essence of Christianity. Even in his professional writings, as conductor of a newspaper, there was a constant reference to evangelical truth. When registering national events, there was a reverent recognition of divine Providence, followed by earnest speculation as to how the results would affect Christianity; and when noticing literary works, the standard by which he tried these, included religion as well as art. His most elaborate contributions, however, appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, as Tales, Sketches, and Critiques, which have, within the last few years, been collected into a volume, entitled "The Old Bachelor." Though they were scattered and unconnected productions, Mr. Aird's art has arranged and adjusted them in unity with happy effect.

Mr. Aird represents himself as an old bachelor-genial and not crusty -returning, after a youth and manhood of successful enterprise, to

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