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boy, and not of an extraordinary schoolboy; but it is used with the skill and address of most able, artful, and experienced men; it is beaten out to the very thinnest leaf, and is disposed in such a way as to seem ten times larger than it is. The dexterity with which the confederates avoid grappling with those parts of the subject with which they know themselves to be incompetent to deal is quite wonderful. Now and then, indeed, they commit disgraceful blunders, for which old Busby, under whom they had studied, would have whipped them all round. But this circumstance only raises our opinion of the talents which made such a fight with such scanty means. Let readers who are not acquainted with the controversy imagine a Frenchman, who has acquired just English enough to read the Spectator with a dictionary, coming forward to defend the genuineness of Ireland's Vortigern against Malone ; and they will have some notion of the feat which Atterbury had the audacity to undertake, and which, for a time, it was really thought that he had performed.
The illusion was soon dispelled. Bentley's answer for ever settled the question, and established his claim to the first place amongst classical scholars. Nor do those do him justice who represent the controversy as a battle between wit and learning: For though there is a lamentable defi. ciency of learning on the side of Boyle, there is no want of wit on the side of Bentley. Other qualities, too, as valuable as either wit or learning, ap. pear conspicuously in Bentley's book, a rare sagacity, an unrivalled power of combination, a perfect mastery of all the weapons of logic. He was greatly indebted to the furious outcry which the misrepresentations, sarcasms, and intrigues of his opponents had raised against him, an outcry in which fashionable and political circles joined, and which was echoed by thousands who did not know whether Phalaris ruled in Sicily or in Siam. His spirit, daring even to rashness, self-confident even to negligence, and proud even to insolent ferocity, was awed for the first and for the last time, awed, not into meanness or cowardice, but into wariness and sobriety. For once he ran no risks ; he left no crevice unguarded ; he wantoned in no paro. doxes ; above all, he returned no railing for the railing of his enemies. In almost every thing that he has written we can discover proofs of genius and learning. But it is only here that his genius and learning appear to have been constantly under the guidance of good sense and good temper. Here, we find none of that besotted reliance on his own powers and on his own luck, which he showed when he undertook to edite Milton ; none of that perverted ingenuity which deforms so many of his notes on Horace; none of that disdainful carelessness by which he laid himself open to the keen and dexterous thrust of Middleton ; none of that extravagant vaunting and savage scurrility by which he afterwards dishonoured his studies and his profession, and degraded himself almost to the level of De Pauw.
Temple did not live to witness the utter and irreparable defeat of his champions. Ile died, indeed, at a fortunate moment, just after the appearance of Boyle's book, and while all England was laughing at the way in which the Christchurch men had handled the pedant. In Boyle's book, Temple was praised in the highest terms, and compared to Memmius : not a very happy comparison ; for almost the only particular information which we have about Memmius is that, in agitated times, he thonght it his duty to attend exclusively to politics, and that his friends could not venture, except when the Republic was quiet and prosperous, to intrude on him with their philosophical and poetical productions. It is on this account that Lucretius puts up the exquisitely beautiful prayer for peace with which his poem opens :
" Nam neque nos agere hoc patriaï tempore iniquo
Possumus æquo animo, nec Memmî clara propago
This description is surely by no means applicable to a statesman who had, through the whole course of his life, carefully avoided exposing himself in seasons of trouble ; who had repeatedly refused, in most critical conjunctures, to be Secretary of State ; and who now, in the midst of revolutions, plots, foreign and domestic wars, was quietly writing nonsense about the visits of Lycurgus to the Brahmins and the tunes which Arion played to the Dolphin.
We must not omit to mention that, while the controversy about Phalaris was raging, Swift, in order to show his zeal and attachment, wrote the Battle of the Books, the earliest piece in which his peculiar talents are discernible. We may observe that the bitter dislike of Bentley, bequeathed by Temple to Swift, seems to have been communicated by Swift to Pope, to Arbuthnot, and to others, who continued to tease the great critic, long after he had shaken hands very cordially both with Boyle and with Atterbury.
Sir William Temple died at Moor Park in January, 1699. He appears to have suffered no intellectual decay. His heart was buried under a sundial which still stands in his favourite garden. His body was laid in Westminster Abbey by the side of his wife ; and a place hard by was set apart for Lady Giffard, who long survived him. Swift was his literary executor, superintended the publication of his Letters and Memoirs, and, in the performance of this office, had some acrimonious contests with the family.
Of Temple's character little more remains to be said. Burnet accuses him of holding irreligious opinions, and corrupting every body who came near him. But the vague assertion of so rash and partial a writer as Burnet, about a man with whom, as far as we know, he never exchanged a word, is of little weight. It is, indeed, by no means improbable that Temple may have been a freethinker. The Osbornes thought him so when he was a very young man.
And it is certain that a large proportion of the gentlemen of rank and fashion who made their entrance into society while the Puritan party was at the height of power, and while the memory of the reign of that party was still recent, conceived a strong disgust for all religion. The imputation was common between Temple and all the most distinguished courtiers of the age. Rochester and Buckingham were open scoffers, and Mulgrave very little better. Shaftesbury, though more guarded, was supposed to agree with them in opinion. All the three noblemen who were Temple's colleagues during the short time of his sitting in the Cabinet were of very indifferent repute as to orthodoxy. Halifax, indeed, was generally considered as an atheist; but he solemnly denied the charge ; and, indeed, the truth seems to be that he was more religiously disposed than most of the statesmen of that age, though two impulses which were unusually strong in him, a passion for ludicrous images, and a passion for subtle speculations, sometimes prompted him to talk on serious subjects in a manner which gave great and just offence. It is not unlikely that Temple, who seldom went below the surface of any question, may have been infected with the prevailing scepticism. All that we can say on the subject is that there is no trace of impiety in his works, and that the ease with which he carried his election for an university, where the majority of the voters were clergymen, though it proves nothing as to his opinions, must, we think, be considered as proving that he was not, as Burnet seems to insinuate, in the habit of talking atheism to all who came near him.
Temple, however, will scarcely carry with him any great accession of authority to the side either of religion or of infidelity. He was no profound thinker. He was merely a man of lively parts and quick observation, a man of the world among men of letters, a man of letters among men of the world. Mere scholars were dazzled by the Ambassador and Cabinet councillor ; mere politicians by the Essayist and Historian. But neither as a
writer nor as a statesman can we allot to him any very high place. As a man, he seems to us to have been excessively selfish, but very sober, wary, and far-sighted in his selfishness; to have known better than most people what he really wanted in life; and to have pursued what he wanted with much more than ordinary steadiness and sagacity, never suffering himself to be drawn aside either by bad or by good feelings. It was his constitution to dread failure more than he desired success, to prefer security, comfort, repose, leisure, to the turmoil and anxiety which are inseparable from greatness;
and this natural languor of mind, when contrasted with the malignant energy of the keen and restless spirits among whom his lot was cast, sometimes appears to resemble the moderation of virtue. But we must own that he seems to us to sink into littleness and meanness when we compare him, we do not say with any high ideal standard of morality, but with many of those frail men who, aiming at noble ends, but often drawn from the right path by strong passions and strong temptations, have left to posterity a doubtful and checkered fame.
GLADSTONE ON CHURCH AND STATE. (APRIL, 1839.) The State in its Relations with the Church. By W. E. Gladstone, Esq., Student of
Christ Church, and M.P. for Newark. 8vo. Second Edition. London : 1839. The author of this volume is a young man of unblemished character, and of distinguished parliamentary talents, the rising hope of those stern and unbending Tories, who follow, reluctantly and mutinously, a leader, whose experience and eloquence are indispensable to them, but whose cautious temper and moderate opinions they abhor. It would not be at all strange if Mr Gladstone were one of the most unpopular men in England. But we believe that we do him no more than justice when we say that his abilities and his demeanour have obtained for him the respect and good will of all parties. His first appearance in the character of an author is therefore an interesting event ; and it is natural that the gentle wishes of the public should go with him to his trial.
We are much pleased, without any reference to the soundness or unsound. ness of Mr Gladstone's theories, to see a grave and elaborate treatise on an important part of the Philosophy of Government proceed from the pen of a young man who is rising to eminence in the House of Commons. There is little danger that people engaged in the conflicts of active life will be too much addicted to general speculation. The opposite vice is that which most easily besets them. The times and tides of business and debate tarry for no man. A politician must often talk and act before he has thought and read. He may be very ill-informed respecting a question ; all his notions about it may be vague and inaccurate ; but speak he must; and if he is a man of talents, of tact, and of intrepidity, he soon finds that, even under such circumstances, it is possible to speak successfully. He finds that there is a great difference between the effect of written words, which are perused and reperused in the stillness of the closet, and the effect of spoken words which, set off by the graces of utterance and gesture, vibrate for a single moment on the ear. He finds that he may blunder without much chance of being detected, that he may reason sophistically, and escape unrefuted. He finds that, even on knotty questions of trade and legislation, he can, without reading ten pages, or thinking ten minutes, draw forth loud plaudits, and sit down with the credit of having made an excellent speech. . Lysias, says Plutarch, wrote a defence for a man who was to be tried before one of the Athenian tribunals. Long before the defendant had learned the speech by heart, he became so much dissatisfied with it that he went in great distress to the author. “I was delighted with your speech the first time I rcad it ; but I liked it less the second time, and still less the third time ; and now it seems to me to be no defence at all." “My good friend,” said Lysias,"
you quite forget that the judges are to hear it only once.” The case is the same in the English parliament. It would be as idle in an orator to waste deep meditation and long research on his speeches, as it would be in the manager of a theatre to adorn all the crowd of courtiers and ladies who cross over the stage in a procession with real pearls and diamonds. It is not by accuracy or profundity that men become the masters of great assemblies. And why be at the charge of providing logic of the best quality, when a very inferior article will be equally acceptable? Why go as deep into a question as Burke, only in order to be, like Burke, coughed down, or left speaking to green benches and red boxes? This has long appeared to us to be the most serious of the evils which are to be set off against the many blessings of popular government. It is a fine and true saying of Bacon, that reading makes a full man, talking a ready man, and writing an exact man. The tendency of institutions like those of England is to encourage readiness in public men, at the expense both of fulness and of exactness. The keenest and most vigorous minds of every generation, minds often admirably fitted for the investigation of truth, are habitually employed in producing arguments, such as no man of sense would ever put into a treatise intended for publication, arguments which are just good enough to be used once, when aided by fluent delivery and pointed language. The habit of discussing questions in this way necessarily reacts on the intellects of our ablest men ; particularly of those who are introduced into parliament at a very early age, before their minds have expanded to full maturity. The talent for debate is developed in such men to a degree which, to the multitude, seems as marvellous as the performances of an Italian improvisatore. But they are fortunate indeed if they retain unimpaired the faculties which are required for close reasoning or for enlarged speculation. Indeed we should sooner expect a great original work on political science, such a work, for example, as the Wealth of Nations, from an apothecary in a country town, or from a minister in the Hebrides, than from a statesman who, ever since he was one-and-twenty, had been a distinguished debater in the House of Commons.
We therefore hail with pleasure, though assuredly not with unmixed pleasure,
appearance of this work. That a young politician should, in the intervals afforded by his parliamentary avocations, have constructed and propounded, with much study and mental toil, an original theory on a great problem in politics, is a circumstance which, abstracted from all consideration of the soundness or unsoundness of his opinions, must be considered as highly creditable to him. We certainly cannot wish that Mr Gladstone's doctrines may become fashionable among public men. But we heartily wish that his laudable desire to penetrate beneath the surface of questions, and to arrive, by long and intent meditation, at the knowledge of great general laws, were much more fashionable than we at all expect it to become.
Mr Gladstone seems to us to be, in many respects, exceedingly well qualified for philosophical investigation. His mind is of large grasp ; nor is he deficient in dialectical skill. But he does not give his intellect fair play. There is no want of light, but a great want of what Bacon would have called dry light. Whatever Mr Gladstone sees is refracted and distorted by a false medium of passions and prejudices. His style bears a remarkable analogy to his mode of thinking, and indeed exercises great influence on his mode of thinking. His rhetoric, though often good of its kind, darkens and perplexes the logic which it should illustrate. Half his acuteness and diligence, with a barren imagination and a scanty vocabulary, would have saved him from almost all his mistakes. He has one gift most dangerous to a speculator, a vast command of a kind of language, grave and majestic, but of vague and uncertain import; of a kind of language which affects us much in the same way in which the lofty diction of the chorus of Clouds affected the simple-hearted Athenian.
ώ γη του φθέγματος ως ιερόν, και σεμνόν, και τερατώδες. When propositions have been established, and nothing remains but to amplify and decorate them, this dim magnificence may be in place. But if it is admitted into a demonstration, it is very much worse than absolute nonsense ; just as that transparent haze, through which the sailor sees capes and mountains of false sizes and in false bearings, is more dangerous than utter darkness. Now, Mr Gladstone is fond of employing the phraseology of which we speak in those parts of his work which require the utmost perspicuity and precision of which human language is capable ; and in this way he deludes first himself, and then his readers. The foundations of his theory, which ought to be buttresses of adamant, are made out of the flimsy materials which are fit only for perorations. This fault is one which no subsequent care or industry can correct. The more strictly Mr Gladstone reasons on his premises, the more absurd are the conclusions which he brings out; and, when at last his good sense and good nature recoil from the horrible practical inferences to which his theory leads, he is reduced sometimes to take refuge in arguments inconsistent with his fundamental doctrines, and sometimes to escape from the legitimate consequences of his false principles, under cover of equally false history.
It would be unjust not to say that this book, though not a good book, shows more talent than many good books. It abounds with eloquent and ingenious passages. It bears the signs of much patient thought. It is written throughout with excellent taste and excellent temper; nor does it, so far as we have observed, contain one expression unworthy of a gentleman, a scholar, or a Christian. But the doctrines which are put forth in it appear to us, after full and calm consideration, to be false, to be in the highest degree pernicious, and to be such as, if followed out in practice to their legitimate consequences, would inevitably produce the dissolution of society; and for this opinion we shall proceed to give our reasons with that freedom which the importance of the subject requires, and which Mr Gladstone, both by precept and by example, invites us to use, but, we hope, without rude: ness, and, we are sure, without malevolence.
Before we enter on an examination of this theory, we wish to guard our. selves against one misconception. It is possible that some persons who have read Mr Gladstone's book carelessly, and others who have merely heard in conversation, or seen in a newspaper, that the member for Newark has written in defence of the Church of England against the supporters of the voluntary system, may imagine that we are writing in defence of the voluntary system, and that we desire the abolition of the Established Church. This is not the case. It would be as unjust to accuse us of attacking the Church, because we attack Mr Gladstone's doctrines, as it would be to accuse Locke of wishing for anarchy, because he refuted Filmer's patriarchal theory of government, or to accuse Blackstone of recommending the confiscation of ecclesiastical property, because he denied that the right of the rector to tithe was derived from the Levitical law. It is to be observed, that Mr Gladstone rests his case on entirely new grounds, and does not differ more widely from us than from some of those who have hitherto been considered as the most illustrious champions of the Church. He is not content with the Ecclesiastical Polity, and rejoices that the latter part of that celebrated work “does not carry with it the weight of Hooker's plenary authority.” He is not content with Bishop Warburton's Alliance of Church and State. “The propositions of that work generally,” he says, "are to