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Whether public sentiment is so contemptibly weak in the civilized world, that the sovereigns of the Holy Alliance could openly take the field, to restore an atrocious Mahometan despotism over a Christian people, we will not now discuss.
We cannot suppress a remark, suggested to us by the effect which the English loans are calculated to have, in advancing the revolutionary cause in Greece. It appears to us, that English capital is acquiring a power in the political system of the world, novel in its character, astonishing in its weight, and likely to produce very momentous results. It is, at this moment, infusing life into the revolutionary cause, not only of Greece, but of four or five of the free states of this continent. It is not only creating a very strong pecuniary interest on the part of the English nation, in the emancipation of the pastures of Arcadia and the olive gardens of Attica; but it is opening the drowned mines of the Mexican mountains, sounding the pearl fisheries of the coast, and for many of the most important purposes, it is conferring on these young and scarcely organized states, all the benefits of the most powerful and best regulated governments. It is difficult to conjecture what Spain will now do toward the re-subjugation of her late Colonies, under the loss of those supplies from them, which formed the greater portion of her disposable wealth, backed by a recognition of their independence by the most powerful maritime states, and with the steam engines of Bolton and Watt pounding
the core of the Andes into dollars to pay the troops of the revolution.
But to return to Colonel Stanhope, and bring these remarks to a close,-he was an associate of Lord Byron in Greece, in the honourable efforts and sacrifices, by which that great and eccentric mind was making large atonement for his offences against the age. Some very characteristic anecdotes of Lord Byron form the most entertaining portion of the book. It sufficiently appears that his lordship was rendering great and generous services to the Greek cause; that he was profusely liberal in bestowing his funds, and as liberal with his personal exertions and labours. He appears even to have borne, with more equanimity than could have been expected, the various crosses and vexations incident to the undertaking in which he had embarked. The worth of his influence was incalculable; his presence was, we had almost said, the best hope of Greece; his death one of the greatest losses that could have befallen her.
Colonel Stanhope was finally recalled from Greece by the commander-in-chief. However much we may regret that the cause should thus be deprived of two persons like Lord Byron and Colonel Stanhope, at nearly the same time, no reasonable complaint can be made against the Colonel's recall. While the British government proposes to maintain a neutral position, it could not, of course, with consistency, allow a colonel in its army to embark in the cause. It is understood that the Turkish government remonstrated with Lord Strangford on this subject; and that this was the immediate occasion of the Colonel's being recalled. The state papers which have appeared from the Divan, in the course of this struggle, abound with remonstrances on the subject of the aid rendered to the Greeks by the various societies existing in states at peace with the Porte, particularly in England. There is no doubt that this species
. of aid has been of the last importance to the Greeks; and it would be a glorious triumph for humanity, if, in the result, the benevolent exertions of individuals and unofficial societies should succeed in wresting a country of Christians from a power once so formidable as Turkey.
Colonel Stanhope's book contains a good deal of information, diffused however over a larger space than was necessary. The French and Italian originals of his letters to different persons of Greece, need not have been given in addition to the English translations of them; and, for ourselves, we should have liked the book better, if it had been a little less radical. Sure we are, the cause of Greece is any thing rather than served, by mixing up with it the party politics of its English champions.
One word we beg leave to say about the American edition. It omits several interesting fac-similes contained in the English. Of this it is useless to complain, if it is impossible for the American bookseller to sell enough of an edition to pay him reasonably, unless its price be reduced by the omission of these cheap engravings. But in this case, we think the public ought to be dealt fairly with, and informed by an advertisement or a note, that such and such articles have been omitted. If we cannot have the comfort of furnishing ourselves, in the American editions, with faithful copies of English works, we ought, at least, to be honestly told how much is left out. This omission, however, is very general. Sometimes it is so gross, that allusions and direct references are preserved in the text, to engravings that are omitted ; and this in cases where the retaining of some of the engravings authorizes a natural inference that all are given. We could quote examples of this, but deem it friendly to forbear.
Memoir of the Life and Character of the Right Honourable
Edmund Burke ; with specimens of his Poetry and Letters, and an Estimate of his Genius and Talents, compared with those of his great Contemporaries. With Autographs. By Jaines Prior, Esq. Philadelphia. 1825. 8vo. pp. 507.
. The life of Edmund Burke is a history of his times. His was an age of great men, and of great events. Himself, one of the greatest, he was the companion of the best. It was the companionship of opposition, as well as of sympathy. It brought him near to, and in contact with, all that was acting upon his age, and the influence of which he could not wholly escape. The events, amidst which he lived and moved, were the obvious effects of the various and strong powers, which were in action about him. He could not have escaped greatness, had he been ambitious of obscurity; for there was every thing present and acting, for all degrees of capability; and he who possessed the greatest, was hurried into the front, by the force of circumstances alone.
One cannot but be struck with the variety of power in that age. The English language had never before been put to more various uses. The language itself was then settled, and
. received its true and permanent defences from the whole legitimate literature of the preceding times. A very hasty enumeration of the great men of that age would give us, in almost every department of human learning, one or more individuals, who remain, and will remain, at the head of their calling; who have been exerting a vast influence upon all who have come after them, and who will continue to do it. It was then necessary to know much, to be known at all. much aristocracy in the literature; we might call it a despotism. There was one individual, at least, in Burke's time, who virtually declared himself perpetual dictator, and lesser minds trembled before his. But even with this assumption, aided by much acquiescence, there was, perhaps, never a period, in which real power was more surely or more truly felt.
It made but little odds what direction the mind took, so
that there were mind. Garrick's course would hardly have made him the tolerated, much less the chosen companion of the first literary men of the age. But intellectual power did for him, what it did for all who possessed it. It gave a new and high character to his calling, and made intellectual, what with ordinary men is mere mechanical parade. He was a poet in his conception of character and passion, as given by other
men; and used their language, because it was as natural as his own would have been. This accounts to us for his success in the variety of character which he brought to the stage. He was at home as well in farce as in tragedy;
because, though ever so much the compositions of different writers, they belong to the experience of every body.
Mr Reynolds, afterwards Sir Joshua, was the companion of Burke, and of the other great men of the time. He gave a fine and powerful mind to an art, which, like Garrick's, claims to communicate action and sentiment hy a sensible representation; and his success was great. A still higher effort of Reynolds was to settle the principles of taste in regard to his Own art. How successful he has been in this, we do not pretend to say.
It is sufficient for our purpose to remark, that his “ Lectures” have lost none of their original value by the efforts of later men.
It has been said that Burke aided his friend in this work. It is not our purpose to inquire into the truth of this, though there is abundant proof in his “ Life,” that he was deeply learned in the best established principles of the art. Reynolds must have possessed the power in himself; for it was a time in which a great deal more was required than the bolstering of even the greatest men, and strongest friends, to keep one steadily at the point he might have reached, however elevated, and however it might have been attained.
We might mention Goldsmith in this connexion, the countryman and college acquaintance of Burke, who, with nothing but mind, did so much, and that so well, in his short and melancholy literary career. And Johnson, too, were not a paragraph too short, and not a word necessary to make known one who is in the mouths of all who love his language, and who has his fame in the whole language itself.
Sheridan was one of the remarkable men of the time. He had relations with Burke which deserve notice. He was his countryman, his equal in birth, and educated in the same profession, the law. Like Burke, he sacrificed the law to general literature, and finally, like him, became a politician. He was with him for a long time in politics. Here the parallel closes.
Mr Prior, after alluding to Sheridan's useful and splendid talents, and to his neglect of them, observes :
Even as it was, indolent and dissipated, neglecting study and averse to business, his uncommon natural powers always placed him in the first rank. A good poet, he would not cultivate poetry; the first comic dramatist of the age, and almost in our language, he deserted the drama; a shrewd politician, he wanted that solidity of sentiment and conduct, which, after all, form the surest passports of public men to public favour; a powerful orator, he would not always cultivate that degree of knowledge which could alone render it effective and convincing; he was ready, shrewd, and remarkably cool in temper in debate, but like some advocates at the bar, whose example few prudent men would desire to imitate, he seemed often to pick up his case from the statements of the opposite side. Power, fortune, and distinction, all the inducements which usually work on the minds of men, threw out their lures in vain to detach him from pleasure, to which alone he was a constant votary.
“ With all these deductions, bis exertions in parliament were frequent and vigorous; his wit and ingenuity never failed to amuse and interest, if they did not persuade; with greater preparation for parliamentary discussion, few could be more effective. His speech on the Begum charge, of more than five hours' continuance, and considered one of the finest orations ever delivered in parliament, drew from Mr Burke, Mr Fox, and Mr Pitt, compliments of a high and unusual order; and from the house generally, and the galleries,-members, peers, strangers of all sorts by common consent, vehement shouts of applause and clapping of hands. With such powers, who but must regret their inadequate exercise, and unhonoured close ? For it is melancholy to remember that this admired man, the friend of the great, the pride of wits, the admiration of senates, the delight of theatres, the persevering apologist of his party for so many years, should at length be permitted to ter. minate his career in distress; adding another to the many instances too familiar to us, of great talents destitute of the safeguard of ordinary prudence.
Burke belonged to this age. It is not our purpose to give an analysis of the volume, which contains his life, nor to attempt any thing like a full character of this great man. We have no room to do either. Such is the variety presented in his history and character--he was versed in so many things, and was profound in so many, that we should exceed our limits by fully dwelling on any one of them.
Burke holds his preeminence among his fellows, not so much for the extraordinary degree of intellectual power he possessed, as for its direction. He attained to distinction, not among lesser minds,—but among as great, and none greater,