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Review.—The Latler Days. By Mrs. argument. Our fair authoress has sent
Sherwood. Seeley and Burnside. Lon. them forth in masquerade, and we could don, 1833.
willingly have suffered them to go through
the mummeries consequent to such disThe reputation which the talents and the guise without the slightest notice, had she piety of Mrs. Sherwood have obtained for not set them off with some shreds and her among a large branch of the christian patches of a religious character. The world, should have made her pause ere she great mysteries of our faith, which, it ventured to indulge herself in a species of is admitted, must remain inexplicable to composition in which judgment and imagi- human wisdom, and are consequently nation, two powers of the mind that do not beyond the power of human elucidation, readily act together, must be completely ought to be left immutably fixed and preblended, in order to secure success. She served in the awful phraseology in which could not have attempted a work of greater they have been rather sublimely intimated, danger than an allegory embracing an than revealed to us; and all who have, entire view of the christian scheme, relative even with the best intentions, ventured to to the fall and redemption of man; and, attempt to raise the mystical veil through under a display of greater powers than can which they are seen darkly, in our mortal be discovered in this performance, she state of existence, have almost ever startled would have deservedly incurred condem- and offended the truly pious, and have dation, not so much for her failure, as for shaken the faith which they were perhaps the want of a proper estimate of the diffi- desirous to strengthen. What then shall culties inherent to the subject. Of the reli- we say to an attempt to reduce such mysgicus allegories already before the public, teries, so as to make them parody with that of Bunyan may be said to stand alone. human circumstances at the worst of human There is a bold simplicity in it, which sus- times? An allegory should always elevate tains the rich and rapid fancy with which its subject; in painting and in poetry, it it is animated, and closely attaches the seizes upon terrestrial things ; it throws the imagery which delights the reader, to the clay aside, and sets before us the mind, the elevated truths which it is intended rather intellect, the spirit, by which, in the comto elucidate than to adorn. It has been
mon course of life, we see the masses of said of the Pilgrim's Progress, that there are senseless matter actuated : but by what passages in it which may vie in sublimity allegory shall we venture to bring down to with passages in the Paradise Lost. This earth, and clothe with ill-modelled clay, the is scarcely true, as regards language and incomprehensible things of heaven ? To say poetic vigour ; but let it be considered the least of such rashness, we cannot acquit that a great portion of the sublimity the author of a want of delicacy and judgment, ascribable to both works belongs to the while we would fain refrain from expresssubject rather than the composition: and ing our apprehension, that in the minds of that Bunyan, with his simple humility of many strict and conscientious Christians, style, and the unpolished plainness of his she will appear to have been deficient, not scriptural diction, has not, in a single merely in good taste and discretion, but in instance, injured the sublimity of his mat. that reverential awe, which would, had it ter; while the learning and brilliancy of the been felt and acknowledged, have interverse
, the imagery and accessory illustra- dicted such an undertaking. Our readers tions, of the great poet, may be found will be aware of our meaning on the perusal sometimes struggling with that sublimity, of the following extract, which is not the and, arrogating for themselves the admi- most offensive passage of a similar characration which should belong to his theme ter in the work :alone,
“ But they rebelled against him, and admitted one Mrs. Sherwood looks with a sort of into their hearts and affections, who had been his sacred horror at any attempts to improve enemy from the beginning; and he beguiled them mankind : she regards all notions of general
with lies and deceit, for he is a liar, and the father benevolence as testimonies of an irreligious themselves to the enemy, and were as persons lost
of lies ; and they rebelled against the Lord, and sold love of the world; religious toleration, as and undone for ever; and thus time went on, and conducive to the neglect of all religion; and their case appeared to be without hope, and there is the cultivation of human intelligence and
no doubt but that the enemy triumphed, and counted
on this land and the people residing thereon as his human learning, as very dangerous to the own for ever. Nevertheless, the Lord had not for. cause of salvation. Opinions of this nature gotten them, neither had the King who is the Father cannot be avowed in the present days with
of the Lord; for our Lord is a Kiog's cop, nay, a
King himself, and the King of kings, being one in openness and candour. There is no such
power, authority, and majesty with his father, thing as putting them into the form of although, according to the old feudal laws, it 20. SERIES, No. 39.- VOL. IV.
183,- VOL. XVI.
councils and assemblies.'
behoved him to do his father homage, nay, and him- against them. Neither indeed can it be expecta self homage too, for this his inferior priocipality, that they ever should during the absence of the which he purchased from the enemy under this Lord, inasmuch as we acknowledge no beat bra charter, to wit, that he was to become a servant, him, por look for any perfect adiou of our wenden, and, as it were, a vassal to his own princely autho- but with the head; and hence it has always been rity. But, as I was saying,' continued my uncle, found that every attempt to muster and organis, &
the Father of our Lord, viz. the King of kings, as it were, the party of the faithful in tbis house in we find in the letters of which I spoke before, had always failed. lo general this failure bar beet ou ever borne in mind the afflictions of the miserable sioned by two circumstances, the first and most bez people of this land, and had prepared a ransom for of which has ever been the arrogance of same them, which was to be paid by his Son; and in order or other of the members themselves; and the star, for the payment of which, it behoved this last to some trick of the enemy, by which he has fout leave his glorious state, and become as one of u8, means to slide in some of his own party into the and in that lowly estate, being as a servant rather than a prince amongst us, he paid our ransom, and “This,' said I, “is a lamentable state of aan set us free, and thus we are his possession, first by and is there po hope of a present amendment? right, and next by conquest, and anon we shall be "• Things must remain as they are,' replied ? his in his visible presence, by a union 'as close as uncle, as I have told you many times before, ez! that of the members of one body to the head."- the Master comes,-then all will be right.' p. 28, 29.
"And what is required of us under these circum Mrs. Sherwood intimates in her preface
stances?" I asked, speaking somewhat fretfully.
“We must stand in our places, and do our st. that her motive in the composition of this work, the loterpreter being our guide and director, volume, was to bring forward “under an and not be quitting our own especial deties, to ka allegory sanctioned by Scripture,” some
the world upon wheels which will never go round.
-p. 125 to 127. attention to the great prophetic indications of the approach of the latter days. To this The actual story or fable of the allegory : design there could not have arisen the slight. A young man, named Nicodemus
, slightest objection in pious minds, though while at the age of four-and-twenty, feeling many might have been startled at its bold- himself without friend, or means of supness; for the application of prophecy port, receives a letter from an uncle whom requires not less of the inspiration of the he has never seen, inviting him to the serHoly Spirit, than that through which it was vice of the best of masters. Nicodemus first uttered. The certainty of the great accepts the invitation, and arrives at a event of the last day, with the conformity, castle which has long been left by its in some respects or other, of the signs of owner, and in which the servants have had all ages, with those that will precede that their own way, entirely thoughtless
, and event, ought to make christian believers
even mistrustful of his return. These sei ever watchful; but we do not thence
vants are, Mr. Fitzadam, the intendant or conclude, with our authoress, that, in steward; Madame Le Monde, the house consequence of such watchfulness, every keeper ; the Doctor, or Chaplain ; Father attempt at the improvement of the Peter; the Librarian, &c.
It will be human race should be interdicted, and easily perceived that under the images of that we must absolutely wait for the the steward and the housekeeper, the love Lord's coming,” before the condition of of power, and the worldly-mindedness of mankind can be in the slightest measure mankind, are intended to be portrayed. The ameliorated, The purport of scripture impossibility of reducing any general chaappears to us to be sadly mistaken in the racteristics of our race into distinct personfollowing passage :
ages, without falling into a labyrinth of "My uncle sighed, as if oppressed by my unbelief contradictions and absurdities, was sufiand blowness of comprehension, and then spoke- ciently manifested by the writers of our old
I know not wherefore I should be impatient with you, Nicodemus, for pot comprehending what do
moralities and mysteries, to which the work human wisdom could help you to understand, for of our authoress stands in nearly the same these things can only be explained by the Interpreter degree of relation as a modern novel does himself; although, we, the servants of the only true Lord, are commanded to teach, to exhort, to reprove,
to an old comedy; and the personages of humbly awaiting the kindling of that fire for which
“All the World” and “His Wife," with we can only prepare and collect the dead coal. whom those old popish farces were so para Nevertheless, I am inclined to say, Why are you so ticularly
conversant, were identical with slow of comprehension ? why must I repeat this truth
the Mrs. S's steward and housekeeper
. so often to you, that the role and dominion is not at this time in the band of the Lord, but that he, for
The Doctor and the Librarian are undoubt purposes which as yet ve (even those who have edly her own, for they are intended to alle been brought to place our whole confidence in the gorize the Church of England, and the this dominion into other hands, viz. the hands of pride or vanity of human learning, with its him who, having
been his enemy from the beginning supposed tendency to infidelity. Against obtained his first footing in this place by subtlety and each of these, the allegoric pages of Mrs. S. hellish craft, and hath ever since kept that place amongst us; insomuch so, that the faithful servants
may be considered as an ambush for a runof the Lord have never yet been able to make head ning fire of satire and condemnation. The
church, or rather, the doctor, is perpetually continued the housekeeper,' to point out to you, my
dear sir, what those unsocial and very peculiar represented as the weak, conceited dupe of
potions are to which I allude ; neither cap I doubt the intendant and the housekeeper,--and but that you are thoroughly acquainted with them we must admit that the wealth and conduct already.' of the establishment have given occasion for
" "Assuredly so, undoubtedly so, madam,' replied
the doctor, I perfectly know that very peculiar the sarcasm contained in the following quo
potion to which you chiefly allude, viz. that extratation, which is one of the happiests hits in ordinary and inconceivable idea, pretended to be the whole work :
gathered from our master's letters, respecting his
intention to return to this place, and to take “ Now by the time that the chaplain arrived,
the management of all affairs into his own hands, Madame le Monde had gathered her daughters about
with the further singular notion, built upon the her, and they were all sitting round the fire, the tea
former, viz. that none of those disorders of which we table being in the midst of them, and they being
all complain, can be, or ever will be, regulated until the tutored by their mother, were ready to receive the
master comes; thus diverting the attention of the doctor with their best smiles, and with many honied
servants from their respective duties, and paralyzing speeches, such as few men can listen anto, and keep
the efforts of all parties, by endeavouring to convince that sobriety of mind which is needful in the guid
each individual, that none of his efforts will ever ance of life. Nevertheless, they knew perfectly well
prove effectual in producing that reform of manners how far to go, and where to forbear; for their object
and morals which we all desire 80 ardently, and to was not to make the doctor believe that they were al.
which we are undoubtedly approaching,' 'Dear sir,' together what they were not, that is, faithful servants
added Madame le Monde, let the enemy say what of the true Lord, but to bring him to bear with them,
he will, it surely cappot be possible that your he knowing them not to be as yet among the faithful,
labours, and exhortations, and instructions, &c. &c." by the shew of such qualities as were pleasing in
-p. 50 to 55. those that were so. Hence, when he had taken his
The reader cannot fail to notice the freseat among them, they began to insinuate certain flatteries relating to those parts of bis character and quent use of the inelegant phrase 'viz.' in conduct, whereon they kuew from experience that
these extracts, with similar obsolete expreshe prided himself, viz, his attention to the children of the servants, his care in catechizing them, and
sions, more suited to the parchments of a providing for their wadis, and the earnestness with lawyer's desk, than to the pages of an imawhich he endeavoured to bring all parties together, ginative composition. to the promotion, as they chose to say, of kindness
But it is against “ human learning" that and brotherly love, and of universal good : and thus, whilst these young people were gratifying his feel
all her fears and all her hatred are directed, ings in one way, the mother was carefully adminis- and accordingly the Librarian is described lering to them in another. She well knew that he
by her as little better than a monster : loved the velvet chair, with its downy cushion, which was always placed for him in the corner of
“A little man, long-bodied, and uncomthe tire-place ; and it was in that therefore that she monly short from the waist downwards ;" caused him to sit, whilst she sweetened his beverage “ and the forepart of the head, to wit, that precisely to his" taste, and took care that he should
portion in which the brains are found, being have the very choicest morsels, and when she found that he was in the highest state of enjoyment, stretch
unusually low”—may be ludicrous enough, ing bis legs before the fire, and regaling himself with and may be characteristic of some prethat which she gave him, uplil the sweet liquor ran tenders to learning, of the author's acout of the corners of his mouth, she began to turn to the subject for which she had sought his company ;
quaintance : but the library of scientific and having in formed him of my arrival, and spoken
and moral truth is, she may be assured, of me with some commendation, as of one who under the keeping and direction of a being might, in good hands, be an acquisition in the of far more inviting mien and aspect; and family, she proceeded to the following effect-for the
she has seen no other than a miserable conyoung man who was handing about the tea, afterwards related every word to me.
ceited dwarf, who enters at the back door, “Now, my worthy doctor,' said she, ‘you and I and gets acquainted with the names and know that there are some subjects in which we do
indexes of books, but knows little of their Dot entirely agree ; but again there are others in which we wholly coincide ; and certain I am, if all
contents. Of the real librarian, the advoof your party were as judicious, and candid, and cates of religion can have no apprehension, benevolent as you are, and as ready to hold out the
except in proportion to the instability of right hand of philanthropy to a fellow - servant, although he may not think with him in every point,
their own faith; and when the pious shudthere would not be the discords and differences in der at the investigation and disclosure of the family which now there are, to the great detri- moral, political, or scientific truths, we canment of the household, and the injury of the master's not but suspect that the faith they possess property ; but inasmuch as that worthy man, the secretary, continued she, (for it seems that this
in the truths of the gospel is not founded Madame le Monde has the custom, when it serves on a rock, but on the sand. her purpose, to give the most respectful epithets, to those she least likes,) this good secretary of ours, is perhaps one of the most wrong-headed guides, a Review.- A Narrative of the Peninsular young man can have on entering first into life. I am War. By Lieut. - Col. Leigh Hay, Very anxious that you, my excellent sir, should endeavour to form an acquaintance with the youth, and
F.R.S. E., M.P. Second Edition ; in obtain his confidence as soon as possible, in order
2 Vols. H. Washbourne. London. 1834. that you may guard him against the absurd notions with which his uncle will certainly inspire him, if he
The five years of the Peninsular war have is not prevented. There is no need, I suppose,' con
afforded grounds for different opinions, both in a military and political point of Napoleon either undervalued or misto view. That the conduct of the Emperor the strength and popularity of the priestNapoleon towards Spain in 1808, had hood; and when he found that they wer given both cause and occasion to a large not easily to be conciliated, he did no and influential party of Spaniards to vin- hesitate to defy their influence. He condicate their country from that paramount trived to fill the great towns and fortress authority which he had long exercised over of Spain with French troops, while, se its councils, and which he had, in a more various pretences, he removed from the direct manner, sought to establish by usur. country most of the regular and best disci pation, there can be no question ; but, un- plined soldiers of the Catholic crown, ar unfortunately, the views and principles of united them with his own armies in Ger individuals composing that party were far many. from being in unison. Many were actu- The Tory administration of Englar ated by a devotion to the old monarchy, concluded, that the atrocious outrages with with its supports, the nobility and the which Buonaparte had commenced and church ; while a very considerable number executed his usurpation, had placed him i of others, equally averse to French domi- a position of great difficulty and danger nation, were divided among themselves by They believed, -or, at least they endea ideas, more or less enlightened, relative to voured to persuade the people of abis popular rights. The portion of Spaniards country,—that all Spain was ready to rise in the interest of the French was not small. in arms, and to exp the fraudful invader, Among these were men, justly indignant at with shame and loss, from her borders the conduct of the queen and the royal and they anxiously gave ear to the profes family; together with many of liberal opi- sions of patriotism uttered by the Spanish nions, who thought they saw, in the govern- juntas, who were, in many instances, ment of Buonaparte, the prospect of means prompted by emissaries from Englar.d for breaking through those prejudices and itself, to implore assistance. Spain was habits by which enlarged ideas and im- not Poland : she had nothing of that proved knowledge were so generally ex. devout fervour in the cause of liberty and cluded from Spanish sociely. Connexions national independence, on which courts of more than a hundred years' duration, and courtiers look with wonder, but with under a weak, proud, and indolent branch no intention to aid. Spain was uneasy of the Bourbon family, had caused the and indignant, but her pride and bigotry policy of Spain to lean upon the cabi- ill supplied the place of that animaling net of France for advice and direction; principle, the genuine spirit of freedom, as and, although the ancient antipathy between far as regarded her own energies or exerthe two nations was far from being eradi- tions; yet did that very pride and bigotry cated, still it may be said, that, since the secure to her the commiseration of the accession of the grandson of Louis XIV. Tory government of this country, more certo the Spanish throne, the interests and tainly than the warmest and most generous connexions of Spain had been greatly assi- popular feeling would have done. milated with those of France ; and hence, When we contemplate the Peninsular among those Spaniards who possessed most war in this point of view, we are the less enterprize and general intelligence, the bias surprised that from the expedition of Sir of sentiment was greatly in favour of the John Moore, to the battle of Vittoria in French.
1813, the Spaniards seem to have regarded At the time when the Emperor of France the hostilities which were being carried ou, began to put into action his design of ter- year after year, in the very heart of their minating the Bourbon dynasty in that country, as a contest in which they were nation, the royal family of Spain were themselves not principals; and that there despicable in the deepest degree. The were times and instances, in which it was vices of pride, indolence, imbecility, and difficult to say whether they considered the s'iameless sensuality, were the distinguish- French or the British as the greatest ing characteristics of the court; but the intruders. The indifference of the Spa. yrandees and the ecclesiastics were im. niards is, indeed, one of the most decided pressed with the persuasion that their own features of the war. They were jealous of existence was identified with the retention the reputation which accrued to the betterof the sceptre of the kingdom in the grasp regulaied and more resolute movements of this vile and unhappy race; and it is and actions of their allies ; and perhaps from the majority of these two orders, that never, during the great successes of the the ignorant population of such a country British chieftain, did they sincerely acreceives its public and political impulses. knowledge his services, or confidently look
or deliverance at his hands. The author delivered, after all, by the British blood
and we find him employed, previous to the Involved, as this country was, at that actual commencement of the war, as one of period, in war with the French emperor, it those military agents, through whom the was obvious that the two kingdoms of the British government either endeavoured to Peninsula afforded a favourable arena on obtain some knowledge of the real feel. which to combat one of his ambitious pro- ings and means of the Spanish people, or jects. Our armies and even treasure were to conciliate their good will, and incite accordingly poured forth with a profuse them against the French. It may safely be liberality worthy of a cause higher in the granted that there were great zeal, intelliscale of freedom, and more serviceable to gence, and military talent, among the genthe permanent interests of humanity. Our tlemen on whom this task was imposed ;
were great, and our military and yet, with that admission, we sball leave reputation acquired many bright leaves to ourselves room to declare, that all the facts its laurel crown ; but, what was the result? of the war are but a series of proofs that Every symptom of an expansion of mind, they failed in making themselves or their which during the struggle bad occasionally government correctly acquainted with the endeavoured to admit a faint ray of liberty, sentiments of the Spanish nation, whose was closed, and the old government of good will was never very cordially won. Spain was restored, with all its darkness Our gallant narrator is extremely sore at and all its deformities. The Cortes was the terms in which Lieut.-Col. Napier, in degraded and dismissed, and the few who his “ History of the Peninsular War," has had dared to honour the name of Ferdi- spoken of the labours of the military gentlenand, by making it, as they hoped, the men engaged on these missions. watch-word of a better state of things, and “ To read his account, says Lieut.-Col. L. Hay, had invigorated their loyalty with genuine of the missions to the several provinces, it would patriotism, were delivered over as the vic- appear that a more useless, inefficient, weak, medtims of his tyranny. The usurped sceptre ling set of persons were never employed to mar a of the wretched 'Bourbons had, indeed, great cause,” fallen from the hand of the brother of This we conceive to be very strained Napoleon ; but, unequal as was the power construction of Colonel Napier's meaning, of that hand to sway it effectively at so who does not so much condemn the bustmomentous a period, was it actually the ling activity of the agents, as their relucvictories of Britain that caused it to fall tance to let the government fully underfrom his grasp ? Can we venture consci- stand how little sensible were the Spanish entiously io say that the Peninsula was people of the favour intended them. To