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those who were, actually, against him. The Lafayettes, the Lameths, the Mirabeaus, the Sieyes', would never have dreamed of the game they played against the King; and, in working on a different plan, would have appeared to be different men. Again -speaking of the dreadful 10th of August, 1792-Dumont adverts to it as one of those emergencies, in which, if Louis could suddenly have been inspired with firmness and vigour, he might have reconquered his throne, and destroyed anarchy. The whole mass of the French people were then weary of the excesses of the Jacobins; and the attempt of the 10th of June had excited general indignation. If the King had acted with vigour-if he had repulsed force by force-if he had seized the first moment of certain victory, to treat the Jacobins and Girondins as enemies, who, having a hundred times violated the constitution, could never have appealed to the constitution in their defence-if he had shut up the clubs of the Jacobins and the Cordeliers, dissolved the Assembly, and seized the factious, that very day would have restored his authority. But this weak prince-continues Dumont-never reflected that the safety of his kingdom depended on his own safety; and he preferred exposing himself to certain death, to giving orders for his own defence!
We state this opinion to the reader simply as we find it. It will, of course, be received with the same qualification which must be applied to all human judgments on probabilities and contingencies. Its value, however, must be considerable, delivered as it is by a man who had such facilities for watching the progress of events, and of ascertaining the state of public feeling and opinion. At any rate, it is one additional and useful testimony to the soundness of the general maxim, that, on great and critical occasions, every thing may be gained by energy and courage-while every thing may be, and probably will be, lost by feebleness and vacillation. But the worst of it is, that this, like many other inestimable truths, is too often laid up among the treasures of wisdom, to be approved-admired-and neglected!
In presenting to our readers the above selections from the work of Mr. Dumont, we must protest against the supposition that it has been our design to offer them a substitute for the volume itself. We have been able to present to them, in this paper, but a small portion indeed of the instruction and entertainment afforded us by Mr. Dumont: and our object has been, not to extinguish, but to stimulate their curiosity, which nothing ought to satisfy but the possession of his work. It is of no small importance, in days like these, to be made acquainted with the sentiments of one who has long been known as the devoted and intelligent friend of the human race, the worshipper of rational freedom,
and the strenuous champion of truly liberal institutions, but, at the same time, as the decided adversary to all destructive empiricism. Let it be remembered that this virtuous and able man was a close spectator of what he here describes: nay-it may truly be said that he was more than a spectator; he was sometimes an actor; he wrought, with his own hand, in the midst of the fire. After an interval of many years, he sits down to record the mature result of his experience and his reflections; and, surely, the most liberal may receive, without suspicion, the testimony of one who was a decided admirer of the grand principles of the French Revolution, though he scorned its follies and detested its excesses. Without presuming to pledge ourselves for the exact value of every opinion or sentiment he has uttered, we may, at least, venture to pronounce thus much-that none among us can rise from the perusal of this little work, without a more ardent attachment to the institutions which our forefathers have left us; none-that is-except those who are in the very gall of revolutionary bitterness, and the very bond of radical iniquity; none, except those are madly bent upon destroying the noble work, or, we might rather say, the sacred growth of centuries. The sound of the tempest causes the child to cling more closely to the bosom of its parent; and it is to be hoped that even a picture of its terrors may produce a similar effect on all Englishmen who yet preserve any remnant of truly filial heart.
We have felt very strongly impelled to extend this article by a selection of passages, from the work before us, which might almost be produced as predictions, or as commentaries, applicable to events which have recently passed, or are actually passing, before our eyes--passages which, if they had been written by Dumont within these two years, might, in some quarters, be bitterly resented, as disguised censures of the hardihood of our experiments on the British Constitution. But we have been withheld by the recollection of our limited space, and by our unwillingness to tax unreasonably the patience of our readers. And, after all, it is perhaps quite as well that we should forbear. They who will consult the book for themselves will easily perceive that our aid would be quite superfluous. It would be a downright insult upon their sagacity and common sense, to suppose that the assistance of a monitor or an expounder could be needful. The application of many parts of this work to the occurrences of the present day is quite obvious enough to force itself on the attention of all, who read with any higher view than merely to fill up the tedious vacancy of unoccupied hours. We, therefore, are disposed to content ourselves with, once more, urgently soliciting of our readers to enrich their libraries with
this volume. Abundant as it is in wisdom and information, its dimensions are extremely moderate. It does not number 350 pages. It consequently has nothing in it to overpower the patience, or to alarm the frugality, of those who may desire to possess it. And, if any further recommendation could be wanting, it will be found in the sketches which the work exhibits of various other distinguished actors in the terrible drama of the Revolution, in addition to its finished portrait of Mirabeau.
ART. II.-The Poetical Works of John Milton, with a Life of the Author. By the Rev. John Mitford. 3 vols. London.
We have two objects in noting Mr. Mitford's edition of Milton; first, because we are desirous of saying a few words upon the political and religious character of the poct, which are naturally suggested to us by the present season of popular excitement and moral anarchy; and secondly, because we consider the life, which is prefixed to the poems, to be written in a spirit of gentle and candid searching after truth which cannot be too highly estimated, or too carefully cherished. The friends of Miltonand who would absent himself from that company?-have no reason to complain of the paucity or general intelligence of his biographers. The notices of his life by Philips and Toland have formed the text-book of subsequent writers; for Philips was the pupil and friend of the poet, and Toland was fortunate enough to obtain some communications of great interest from the poet's family. Both the memoirs breathe an air of veracity, and are distinguished by a spirit of homely interest. Next in order to these, we believe, appeared the life by the elder Richardson, the painter.
Richardson fully merits the character given him by Mr. Mitford, who calls him "an ingenious, inquisitive, and amiable man, but a singularly quaint and mannered writer." The reader may form some estimate of his style from the following description of Milton's personal appearance :--" He was," "He was," says Richardson, "rather a middle-sized than a little man, and well proportioned; latterly he was no-not short and thick, but he would have been so, had he been something shorter and thicker than he was." Anything more ridiculous than this cannot well be conceived. Dr. Birch presents a singular contrast to Richardson. If these two biographers had lived in our days, and contributed to the periodical press, (almost every man of talent now writes either quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily,) Birch would have
flung an article of gigantic proportions into the columns of the Antiquarian Magazine, and Richardson would have distilled his quaintness and humour into the pages of the "Tatler." Dr. Birch's Memoir very considerably increased our knowledge of Milton, and to his unwearied researches we are indebted for an account of the manuscripts of Milton preserved at Cambridge, and for specimens of the various alterations which the original text had undergone.
But the life which has excited the most discussion is that written by Dr. Johnson. The author of the Rambler had few feelings in common with the author of the Treatise upon Prelatical Episcopacy. Mr. Mitford has placed the peculiar characters of the poet and biographer in a very proper light.
"A violent tory and a high churchman," he says, "undertook to write the life of a republican and a puritan; a man remarkable for his practicable wisdom, his strong sense, and his rational philosophy, delivered his judgments on the writings of one distinguished for his high imagination, his poetical feeling, his speculative politics, and his visionary theology. Johnson came, it must be owned, with strong prejudice and much dislike to his subject; and nothing perhaps saved Milton from deeper censure but his biographer's conviction of his sincerity, his admiration of his learning, and his reverence for his piety. Had Johnson lived in the poet's day, he would have stood by the side of Salmasius in the field of controversy, and opposed Milton on every question connected with the interests of society, the existence of the monarchy, and the preservation of the Church."
The life of Milton was not the only instance in which the English moralist permitted the bitterness of political animosity to deaden the feeling of the noble and the beautiful, Thomson shared almost equally his unjust and unfounded malignity. Perhaps we have employed too expressive a word, but Johnson declared in one of his letters that he loved a good hater, and certainly his conduct towards his adversaries went some way towards upholding this confession of faith. In the memoir he not unfrequently contradicts himself, and the opinion which is delivered in one page, with all the energy and over-bearingness of positive truth, is either forgotten or abrogated in another. We will adduce one specimen only. Dr. Johnson is speaking of Milton's alleged facility of composition at particular seasons, and he laughs at the notion entertained by some, of the imagination being in any degree dependent upon the influences of nature. "The author," he continues, "that thinks himself weatherbound, will find with a little help from hellebore that he is only idle or exhausted." This occurs at page 192, and at page 195 we find the following strange converse of the sentiment. After
quoting Richardson's account of Milton's lying awake whole nights without being able to make a verse, and of the sudden rushing of the poetical faculty upon him at other times, he observes" Yet something of this inequality happens to every man in every mode of exertion, manual or mental; the mechanic cannot handle his hammer or his file at all times with equal dexterity, there are hours, he knows not why, when his hand is out." No man saw more clearly than Dr. Johnson into the complex machinery of the human mind. But sometimes the eyes of his understanding were so blinded by prejudice that he could not A mind so totally unideal as that of Johnson, and which was generally occupied in the severer and least imaginative studies, may easily be conceived to have been little affected by the changes of the weather. The balmy winds and purple light of May were not likely to bring any increase of power to the labouring compiler of a dictionary, or the splenetic writer of a political pamphlet. But upon more sensitive and more delicately modulated feelings, the influences of nature have been most extraordinary. Rousseau declared himself incapable of sitting down at his desk, and proceeding in the labour of composition like a professed litterateur. His inspiration seemed to come to him only while wandering in the quiet scenes of nature, and in the serene solemnity of her beauty. A similar anecdote is related of the illustrious Jean Paul Richter, a man certainly as unlike Rousseau in the tone of his spirit, and the peculiar powers of his mind, as the author of the Confessions was to the biographer of Milton.
A perusal of Hayley's Memoir, after the fiery and sarcastic invectives of Johnson, has not unfrequently produced on our mind an effect resembling that caused by one of Washington Irving's touchingly simple stories, after the wild and fevered sublimity of some of Maturin's novels. Our comparison may appear inapposite, but we think it will convey our meaning to the reader. Johnson is all poignant and bitter-Hayley all gentle and benevolent. Todd has gracefully and truly styled him the affectionate biographer. The great object of the memoir was to soften the severity of Johnson's criticism, and to set forth in a fairer light "the circumstances which had excited the indignation of the critic." Hayley was desirous of investigating the poetical rather than the political character of Milton. The principal aim of his account was to exhibit a full and just idea of him as a poet and a man. The splendid edition of his works, which Hayley superintended, was expressly devoted to the decoration of his poetry. He makes the great poet as much as possible his own biographer. His manners and habits of mind accordingly appear in a new