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than the centrifugal in the planetary system of motions. Were the Whig withdrawn, instantly the Tory would become a redundant and destructive power; and vice versa. Both Whig and Tory shared equally in our Revolution. Meantime, not one act in a thousand, done or proposed by the Whig or Tory party, concerns them as Whigs or as Tories. For instance, to each of these parties at different periods foreign. politics have presented a ruinous snare. During the four last years of Queen Anne, the Tories played the most treasonable part. That was early in the eighteenth century. Almost in the corresponding years of the nineteenth century, the very same false and treacherous part was played by the Whigs; but in this respect more criminally by far, inasmuch as the danger was incomparably greater from 1803 to 1812, than from 1703 to 1712. The enemy at whose feet the Whigs would have laid us prostrate from 1807 to 1815, was Napoleon, with a servile Europe at his back: whereas, in the corresponding case of the preceding century, the enemy was Louis XIV., menaced by a growing confederacy of our allies.
The reader understands, therefore, that I do not (and could not consistently) disparage or anywhere condemn Dr. Parr as a Whig. Those acts which reflect shame and reproach upon his character and the claims of his clerical profession, had no connection with Whig principles: very often they were acts discountenanced, or at the least not countenanced by his own political party. But, in those rarer cases where the acts really had such a partisan countenance, the party concerned in the first place was, not the Whigs as opposed to the Tories, but the Outs as opposed to the
Ins. It was with no reference to their party creed that Messrs. Fox, Grey, Tierney, Sheridan, &c., oftentimes lent their support to Dr. Parr: not at all; it was simply as the party in opposition (whether Whigs or Tories), pulling an oar against the party in office: pledging, therefore, no principles whatever in Dr. Parr's behalf, but simply weight of influence. Finally, in those very rare cases where the Whig party as Whigs avowed their patronage to an act or to a book of Dr. Parr's, there was still room left for this objection that it was the act of a schismatical Whig party; of one section dividing against the other, and leaving it doubtful which was the true depositary of Whiggism, which the spurious.
SCHLOSSER'S LITERARY HISTORY OF THE EIGHTEENTH
"Schlosser on Literature" was not written with the slight or careless purpose to which the reader will probably attach it. The indirect object was, to lodge, in such a broad exemplification of German ignorance, a protest against the habit (prevalent through the last fifty years) of yielding an extravagant precedency to German critics (on Shakespeare especially), as if better and more philosophic (because more cloudy) than our own. Here is a man, Schlosser by name, bookmaker by trade, who (though now perhaps forgotten) was accepted by all Germany, one brief decennium back, as a classical surveyor and reporter on the spacious fields of British literature through a retrospect of a hundred and fifty years. But the Schlegels were surely not so poorly furnished for criticism as Mr. Schlosser? Why, no: in special walks of literature,
if they had not arrogantly pretended to all, they were able to support the character of well-read scholars. What they were as philosophers, or at least what Frederick Schlegel was, the reader may learn from Schelling, who, in one summary foot-note, demolished his pretensions as by a pistol-shot. For real serviceable exposition of Shakespeare's meaning and hidden. philosophy, I contend that our own domestic critics have contributed very much more than Germany, whether North or South, whether Protestant or Catholic. And, in particular, I myself find, in Morgan's brief essay on the character of Falstaff, more true subtlety of thought, than in all the smoky comments of Rhenish or Danubian transcendentalists. Then, as to those innumerable passages which demand a familiarity with English manners, usages, and antiquities, provincial dialects, &c., naturally the very gates of entrance must be generally closed against all but native critics.
The article on Goldsmith was one which, on any spontaneous impulse, I should not have written, as I could not write on that theme with sincere cordiality or with perfect charity; consequently not with perfect freedom of thought.
Do I then question the true and unaffected merit of Goldsmith, in that natural field upon which his happy genius gave him a right to succeed? Not at all. Within a humble province the genius of Goldsmith seems to me exquisite. Especially his "Vicar of Wakefield in its earlier part i. e., in its delineation of the vicar's simple household, when contemplated through the eyes of the vicar himself, unconscious of
the effect from his own peculiar mode of delightful egotism - has always struck me as inimitable; not so, I confess, in the coarser scenes of the latter half. But, for my own part, I had always borne a grudge to Goldsmith on behalf of Shakespeare, whom so deeply and so deliberately he had presumed to insult; once in a travelling scene of the "Vicar," but once also in a mode less casual and indirect. None of us would make it a reproach to a slight and graceful champion that he had not the powers for facing a Jupiter: but, if he himself insisted on affronting this Olympian antagonist, he must not complain that the consequences were defeat to himself, and disgust spreading widely through the circles of those that otherwise would have been his friends.
[The first of the four articles on Pope, written professedly as a review of Roscoe's edition, was published originally in 1850; the biography was contributed to the seventh edition of the "Encyclopædia Britannica," in 1838–39. The paper entitled "Lord Carlisle on Pope," is substantially a pendant to the critical paper which is the first in the above series, and when it was reprinted in the last English edition of his works, De Quincey took occasion to preface it with the following additional comments on the subject.]
The paper on Lord Carlisle's Pope Lecture, which lecture, I believe, was read before an audience of working men, met with the singular fortune of an aggressive and angry notice: this notice came from an anonymous writer using the signature of Peregrine. As the points selected for assault were not matters of
opinion, but of massy, immovable facts, I found it difficult to understand how any critic, who should hold it among his duties to read previously all that he attacked and all that he defended, could have found his road open to this movement. At the moment of publication, I caught but a gleam of the writer's drift; and, according to my standing rule, I adjourn all notice of criticisms, sound or not sound, until some day or some month of leisure, with sufficient opportunities for research, may allow me to do the fullest justice to my opponent. Of such controversies lurking in arrear I have now one or two maturing for trial at a convenient time; and I have only to hope that the plaintiff or defendant in error may persist in living until my answer can reach him. Some of these, I think, have waited already for twenty-five or thirty years. Peregrine is therefore in luck this morning, since he will within three minutes have his answer, for which he cannot possibly have waited more than a trifle beyond nine years; for my own article, fons et origo of the whole feud, was first published (I understand) in 1850.
The two1 charges, which my brief paper alleged against Pope, as grievous impeachments of all pretension to honor and veracity, were founded:·
1. On his unprincipled attempt to weave out of the closing life and out of the death of an illustrious contemporary, a ridiculous romance, that goes astray
1 "Two charges:" No doubt, as occasions opened upon me, other charges would be incidentally noticed: but the two here singled out, viz., that connected with the Duke of Buckingham, and that connected with the literature of England, were those two without which the others would not have been held as calling for any special attention.
2 Contemporary: The last Villiers of that house might be