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presented no opportunity of hissing; but as the play drew towards a close, when, after a scene of frigid chiding not vivified by any fire of Kemblc's own, Antonio drew his sword and plunged it into the heroine's bosom, the 'sad civility' of the audience vanished: they started as at a real murder, and hooted the actor from the stage. 'Philosophy,' which could not make a Juliet, sustained the author through the trial. He sat on one of the front benches of the pit, unmoved amidst the storm. When the first act passed off without a hand, he expressed his satisfaction at the good sense of the house; 'the proper season of applause had not arrived;' all was exactly as it should be. The second act proceeded to its close in the same uninterrupted calm. His friends became uneasy, but still his optimism prevailed; he could afford to wait. And though he did at last admit the great moment was somewhat tardy, and that the audience seemed rather patient than interested, he did not lose his confidence till the tumult arose, and then he submitted with quiet dignity to the fate of genius, too lofty to be understood by a world as yet in its childhood. Notwithstanding this repulse, Mr. Godwin retained his taste for the theatre to the last. On every first night of a new piece, whether tragedy, comedy, or farce, whether of friend or foe, he sat with gentle interest in a side box, and bore its fate, -whatever it might be, with resignation, is he had done his own."
Charles Lamb, in a letter to his friend Manning, gives a most facetious descripion of Godwin's ill luck. Campbell, in lis Life of Siddons, thinks that "a potent irama" might well have been expected rom the author of Caleb Williams. It vent, however, only through three nights. iodwin, in two respects, may compare totes with his brother novelist, Fielding. They both tried the drama without sucess, and they could both afford to pay ,ir the disappointment out of their ample irae for original genius. By the kindness f Edwin Forrest, Esq., we read Antonio, nd certainly a duller play was never exibited. We searched in vain for the ne that Lamb was in the habit of uoting and calling it good. It has neither lot nor language. We have not been able > obtain a copy of Faulkner, (180V,)
Godwin's other play. The Biographia Dramatica says it was deservedly condemed after a few nights' performance. It was founded on the novel of Roxana, or the Fortunate Mistress. The story wanted variety to make it interesting, and as to the morality of the piece, the less we say the better. Hazlitt remarks on these dramatic productions, "Peace be with their manes."
Godwin's next work was "Thoughts occasioned by the Perusal of Doctor Parr's Spital Sermon, preached at Christ's Church, April 15, 1800: Being a Reply to the attacks of Dr. Parr, Mr. Mackintosh, the author of an Essay on Population, and others. London: 1801."
This is a well written and able pamphlet. There is nothing in Godwin's chnracter that pleases us more than his forbearance and dignity when his principles were unjustly assailed, and his calm, gentlemanly, and eloquent replies to his assailants; all of whom seemed to have adopted the practice of Croaker, in Goldsmith's comedy, who philosophically declares, " When I am determined I always listen to reason, because it can then do no harm." We cannot resist giving one quotation from this publication:—
"I know that Dr. Parr and Mr. Mackintosh look with horror upon this doctrine of the progressive nature of man. They cling with all the fervors of affection to the opinion, that the vices, the weaknesses, and the follies which have hitherto existed in our species, will continue undiminished as long as the earth shall endure. I do not envy them their feelings. I love to contemplate the yet unexpandecf powers and capabilities of our nature, and to believe that they will one day be unfolded to the infinite advantage and happiness of the inhabitants of the globe. Long habit has so trained me to bow to the manifestations of truth wherever 1 recognize thorn, that, if arguments were presented to me sufficient to establish the uncomfortable doctrine of my antagonists, I would weigh, I would resolve them, and I hope I should not fail to submit to their authority. But, if my own doctrine is an error, and if I am fated to die in it, I cannot afflict myself greatly with the apprehension of a mistake, whicli cheers my solitude, which I carry with me into crowds, and which adds somewhat to the pleasure and peace of every day of my existence."
In the Life of Geoffrey Chaucer, Godwin displayed great research, though he has added but little to our previous knowledge of the poet; but he has given a complete history of that period, the history of the English stage, the diversions of that time, the state of architecture, sculpture, and painting; and excellent criticisms on Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio.
Fleetwood, or the New Man of Feeling, was published in 1805, and re-printed by Bentley, London, 1832. The title is an unfortunate one, for it brings to mind Mackenzie's tender story with its pathethic interest, and its hero, the mild, gentle and charitable Harley, and the sweet character of Miss Walton, with "a gush of household memories." We take but little interest in Godwin's hero, who is a selfwilled egotist with a strong infusion of insanity, who has no claims on our sympathy, and whom we are disposed to regard with considerable aversion. Fleetwood's early life, passed in Merionethshire, at the foot of Cader Idris—his rambles—the mountain scenery, with its wild torrents—the clear, sweet, bracing atmosphere, producing health and vigor—his college life—his amours in Paris with the charming Marchioness and the Countess de B , are
glowingly described. M. Rufngny's narrative, his Swiss home, Fleetwood's first meal with him, when the table was spread before the cottage door on the smooth turf, and they feast on melons, grapes, wall fruit and bread, with a rlagon of wine, and their tour afterwards on the lake, are delicious])' written, with a pure, genial and refreshing tone. "JEssny on Sepulchres," (1809.) This was a favorite work of Lamb's. Its style is sweet and subdued, full of refinement and beauty, with musings on life, death, fame and immortality. Godwin dwells with fond delight on his reading, one fine evening in the beginning of autumn, Spenser's beautiful Hymn to Love under the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey—" And it is incredible how much sweetness the sentiment gained, by contrast with the sacred and austere chastity once professed there, with the monks who formerly dwelt within those walls, and still who slept beneath my feet." "Lives of Edward and John Philips, Nephews and Pupils of Milton," were published in 1815. This work contains a portrait of John Bradshaw, William Lilly, (the astrologer,) and Titus Oates. These Philipses were in
dustrious and patient writers, as U shown by their translations of the never-endrag novels of d'Urfe, Scuderieand Calpreoede. In the age in which they lived they were as well known, and as much objects of attention to literary men, as falls to the lot of authors of a subordinate class. Edward Philips's life of Milton is the foundation of all the memoirs of the poet. His personal knowledge of the bard authenticates «11 that he relates of him, and yet "how much more interesting it would have been had it been written in the amiable and sentimental, though half-gossipping, style of old Isaac Walton," as Sir E. Brydges truly observes. This work also contains excellent and judicious remarks on Cromwell, Charles II., and Judge Jeffreys, and some loving commentaries on the sterling menu and eloquence displayed in the old English translations, especially in "Shelton's Version of Don Quixote," " Mornay's Worke concerning the Trewnesse of Christian Religion," by Sir Philip Sidney and Arthur Golding, "Phaer's Virgil;" and he observes, " It is to our version of the Bibk that we above all things are indebted for the sober, majestic and copious flow of our English tongue." "The old English translation of Plutarch's Lives, by csr Thomas North, published in 1579, has the disadvantage of being avowedly takea from the French of Amyot, and yet, I must confess, till this book fell into my hands I had no genuine feeling of Plutarch's merit, or knowledge of what sort.f a writer he was. The philosopher << Cheronea subjects himself in his bioenphical sketches to none of the rules of fa* writing—he has not digested the laws or J ordonnance of composition and the defied and measured step of an historian; bsi rambles just as his fancy suggests, and always tells you without scruple or rewnt what comes next in his mind. How be*tiful does all this show in the simplicity <* the old English. How aptly does thetVon correspond to the tone and manner« thinking in the author. While 1 re* Plutarch in Sir Thomas North methinb I see the gray-headed philosopher full of «c formation and anecdote; a veteran ■ reflection and experience, and smitten nu the love of all that is most exalted in or nature, pouring out without restraint I collections of his wisdom; and he i
is easy chair before a cheerful winter's se. How different does all this appear the translation of the Langhorne's. that was beautiful and graceful bei, becomes deformity in the finical and ct spruceness with which they have red it."
'It is time that tries the characters of i. It is not indeed what some persons e given it out to be, the universal chstone, the infallible head of the irch of truth! There are inveterate Drs handed down from asre to age, ich it seems as if no lapse of years had :e enough to destroy. But though e cannot do everything it does much. ; character of Milton is one of those ich appears to gain by time. To future :s it is probable lie will stand forth as most advantageous specimen that can produced of the English nation. He is ■ poet. There is nothing else of so ca;ious dimensions in the compass of our rature (if indeed there is in the literary xluctions of our species,) that can comne with the Paradise Lost. He is our iriot. No man of just discernment can d his political writings without being it-trated with the holy flame that anited him. And, if the world shall ever sin that stature of mind as for courts to 1 no place in, he will be the patriot of world. As an original genius, as a iter of lofty and expansive soul, and as lan, he rises above his countryman; and ; Saul, in the convention of the Jews, cim his shoulders and upward he is her than any of the people.' I know how it is with other men; but for my'I never felt within me the power to join a great author from his work, len I read with delight, the production my human invention, I pass irresistibly to learn as much as I am able of the ter's personal dispositions, his temper, actions, and the happy or unhappy fores he was destined to sustain." 'Mandeville, a Tale of the 17th Centuin England," in three volumes, was )lished by Constable, in Edinburgh, •17,) with the following dedication. 'o the Memory of the Sincerest Friend rer had, the Late John Philpot Curran, », a few days since, quitted this mortal |e, I affectionately inscribe these vol». October 25, 1817." This is the
'OL. II. NO. III. NEW 6ERIE8.
only dedication that appears in all of Godwin's writings. If there is a falling off in the interest of this tale from the former ones of our admired author, there is none in the sustained dignity of its style, "the long-resounding march and energy divine." The jealous feelings of Mandeville; his vindictiveness are carried to a painful extreme—but amid many bursts of passionate feeling, fine reflections, and a profusion of rich imagery. It has been well said, that unless an author surpasses himself, and surprises the public as much the fourth or fifth time as he did the first, he is said to fall off, because there is not the same stimulus of novelty. Henrietta, the sister of Mandeville, is a bright sparkling portrait, beautiful, and winning in herself, doubly so from the surrounding gloom. Whenever she is near to Mandeville, the heavenly dew of her gentle nature falls on his arid heart with a healing power. There is a "star-like nobleness in all her actions ; an attractive grace that insensibly steals our hearts away; she becomes "ensky'd and sainted" in our imagination, and we unconsciously bless the genius that produced this beautiful creation.
Oh what a jewel is a woman excellent
In 1820 Godwin published a work on Population, in reply to Malthus, which was followed by his History of the Commonwealth,—the production of his mature life. Notwithstanding the rich materials afforded him by the subject, he has failed in making it interesting. The chief recommendation of the history is its impartiality.
"Thoughts on Man, his Nature, Productions, and Discoveries," London, 1831. This volume contains twenty-three essays, on various and interesting subjects. The author attempts to give a defined and permanent form to a variety of thoughts which had occurred to his mind in the long course of thirty-four years,—to a mind deeply imbued with a sincere and ardent love for the human race. But I must hasten on, and conclude this article, which is growing to an unreasonable length. Godwin next tried his hand at the " Lives of the Necromancers," an interesting subject; and he gives a melancholy delineation of the credulity of the human mind. Queen Elizabeth sent to consult Dr. John Dee, the astrologer, respecting a lucky day for her coronation. King James the first employed much of his leisure upon questions of witchcraft and demonology, in which he fully believed. And, alas for poor human nature, in the year 1664, Sir Matthew Hale caused two old women to be haDged upon a charge of unlawful communion with infernal agents. Sir Thomas Browne, "the superlatively eloquent and able author of the Religio Medici" was present, and took part in the interesting proceedings. Sir Thomas was appealed to by Hale, somewhat extra-judicially, for his opinion, and decided that they were guilty, "and enforced his position by something that had lately occurred in Denmark."
Cloudesley, a novel, appeared in 1830. This work might have been written " under the roof blue Italian weather." Its tone is sweet and interesting, and fervently eloquent. Irene is one of the fine female creations of Godwin, and the work bears the marks of unmistakeable talent and disciplined powers. There is also another novel of our author's, called "Deloraine," —and his long and laborious life terminated in London, in April, 1836. He held a small post under government, conferred upon him by Earl Gray's ministry. It is
impossible to do justice to Godwin b. short sketch. He was a noble specim-:) a man, just and sincere. He never trucL-. to the world. He took no advantage ■•: the caprice of the public, by appealin;: its weak side, or pampering its frite He told bold and startling truths in piished and vehement language. He spfc with the fire and grandeur of inspirit:* His powers were versatile, and he aqair** laurels in the fields of fiction, biograt^ and history.
"Taste after taste, upheld with kinfi* change."
His novels have charmed the world.
"Applause delighted etak And lifts, Briareus-like, her hundred hio^
The Essay on Sepulchres, and the I/w of Milton's Nephews, books that he wit* to gratify a private sentiment, and for J own enjoyment, were coldly received ~ the public, and were calculated to rti him, if he had been liable to the intra* tion of vanity. He had self-reliances' high degree, and nothing could dim! » enthusiastic nature. He loved his fell' man with a hearty zeal, and beheld i every human creature a spark of it*'" vinity. "Once more hail and farewfii"
INSANITY-HOW FAR A LEGAL DEFENCE.
The common law (which is ours except i far as we have modified it by the itutes) has adopted two widely different les on the subject of insanity; one hav» relation to civil affairs, and the other ferring entirely to criminal cases. By e first, a man whose mind is deranged, i intellects having become insufficient to nduct the common business of life; his operty will be taken from him, and trusts appointed to take care of and manage > estate. By the second, strange as it »y seem, the same man, who has been judged incapable of conducting his own ncerns on account of insanity, may be Id responsible for criminal acts, proled he possess a mind capable of disuniting right from wrong. In legal ect there are, therefore, two kinds of soundness of mind—an unsoundness lich is partial, and destroys one's capay for civil affairs; and an unsoundness lieu is total, and utterly destroys the >ral responsibility; so that the delged is no longer a reasonable and acuntable being. In contemplation of law, rtial insanity simply reduces a man to i condition of a child, a minor under e; who cannot be compelled to fulfill
contracts, but is still answerable for mes committed. His position is similar
that of the habitual drunkard—he is prived of the management of his proper
because manifestly disqualified by his bits to take care of it judiciously; and lilar, also, to that of the man whose id falls into decay by reason of adiced age, and the apparent failure of ! mental power.
(Vccording to the early writers, to excuse nan from the consequences of his act, must have been at the period when he omitted the offence, wholly incapable distinguishing between good and evil, or nprehending the nature of what he was ng. If he be but partially insane, the ■ does not excuse him, but holds him to igid accountability ; making it necessary
him to show that at the time the deed
was committed, he was absolutely incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong. As Lord Hale, one of the sages of the law, expresses it, if he possess as great understanding as ordinarily a child of fourteen years hath, he may be guilty of treason or felony. It is well known to most of our readers, that the principles of what is termed the common law, are ascertained from the decisions of the courts; our own first, and those of England secondly by way of illustration. The reason of this is found in the fact that we hold our laws, like our literature and language, in common with that country, having derived them thence with our very being. For as the statesmen of the revolution contended, the men who first emigrated to this country, brought with them the rights of freemen, and the laws and privileges of their own country. Instead of coming forth a loose, disjointed and confused congregation of reckless men, like the Spanish into Mexico and Peru, impatient of control and thirsting for gold, they came forth freely and soberly, a well-appointed community. In place of an arbitrary government of undefined civil and military powers, they brought with them charters of liberty, civil officers, an organized government, and a society firmly knit together, wearing, as a garment, the common law of England.
When, therefore, we quote the decisions of the English courts, they are not referred to as binding precedents, and authority to which we must yield obedience ; but rather as the historical evidence of what the law was, or still continues to be; they are, as Coke termed them, the witnesses of the law. To whose testimony, on the subject of insanity, we will now briefly refer.
In the case of Edward Arnold, indicted and tried at the Surrey Assizes, in England, for shooting at Lord Onslow in 1724, the court, in charging the jury, use these words: "It is not every kind of frantic humor, or something unaccountable in a man's actions that points him out to be such a madman as is to be exempted.