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of eloquence and pathos in this novel, and very many of those observations upon manners and character which are totally out of the reach of all who have not lived long in the world, and observed it well. The immorality of any book (in our estimation) is to be determined by the general impressions it leaves on those minds, whose principles, not yet ossified, are capable of affording a less powerful defence to its influence. The most dangerous effect that any fictitious character can produce, is when two or three of its popular vices are varnished over with every thing that is captivating and gracious in the exterior, and ennobled by association with splendid virtues: this apology will be more sure of its effect, if the faults are not against nature, but against society. The aversion to murder and cruelty could not perhaps be so overcome; but a regard to the sanctity of marriage vows, to the sacred and sensitive delicacy of the female character, and to numberless restrictions important to the well-being of our species, may easily be relaxed by this subtle and voluptuous confusion of good and evil. It is in vain to say the fable evinces, in the last act, that vice is productive of misery. We may decorate a villain with graces and felicities for nine volumes, and hang him in the last page. This is not teaching virtue, but gilding the gallows, and raising up splendid associations in favour of being hanged. In such an union of the amiable and the vicious, (especially if the vices are such, to the commission of which there is no want of matural disposition,) the vice will not degrade the man, but the man will ennoble the vice. We shall wish to be him we admire, in spite of his vices, and, if the novel be well written, even in consequence of his vice. There exists, through the whole of this novel, a show of exquisite sensibility to the evils which individuals suffer by the inflexible rules of virtue prescribed by society, and an eager disposition to apologise for particular transgressions. Such doctrine is not confined to Madame de Staël ; an Arcadian cant is gaining fast upon Spartan gravity; and the happiness diffused, and the beautiful order established in society, by this unVOI,. I. H
bending discipline, is wholly swallowed up in compassion for the unfortunate and interesting individual. Either the exceptions or the rule must be given up: . highwayman who thrusts his pistol into a chaise window has met with unforeseen misfortunes; and every loose matron who flies into the arms of her Greville was compelled to marry an old man whom she detested, by an avaricious and unfeeling father. The passions want not accelerating, but retarding machinery. This fatal and foolish sophistry has power enough over every heart, not to need the aid of fine composition, and well-contrived incident – auxiliaries which Madame de Staël intended to bring forward in the cause, though she has fortunately not succeeded. M. de Serbellone is received as a guest into the house of M. d’Ervins, whose wife he debauches as a recompence for his hospitality. Is it possible to be disgusted with ingratitude and injustice, when united to such an assemblage of talents and virtues as this man of paper possesses Was there ever a more delightful fascinating adulteress than Madame d'Ervins is intended to be 2 or a povero cornuto less capable of exciting compassion than her husband * The morality of all this is the old morality of Farquhar, Vanburgh, and Congreve – that every witty man may transgress the seventh commandment, which was never meant for the protection of husbands who labour under the incapacity of making repartees. In Matilda, religion is always as unamiable as dissimulation is graceful in Madame de Vernon, and imprudence generous in Delphine. This said Delphine, with her fine auburn air, and her beautiful blue or green eyes (we forget which), cheats her cousin Matilda out of her lover, alienates the affections of her husband, and keeps a sort of assignation house for Serbellone and his chère amie, justifying herself by the most touching complaints against the rigour of the world, and using the customary phrases, union of souls, married in the eye of heaven, &c. &c. &c., and such like diction, the types of which Mr. Lane of the Minerva Press very prudently keeps ready composed, in order to facilitate the printing of the Adventures of Captain C and Miss F 5 and other interesting stories, of which he, the said inimitable Mr. Lane of the Minerva Press, well knows these sentiments must make a part. Another perilous absurdity which this useful production tends to cherish is the common notion, that contempt of rule and order is a proof of greatness of mind. Delphine is every where a great spirit, struggling with the shackles imposed upon her in common with the little world around her; and it is managed so, that her contempt of restrictions shall always appear to flow from the extent, variety, and splendour of her talents. The vulgarity of this heroism ought in some degree to diminish its value. Mr. Colquhoun, in his Police of the Metropolis, reckons up above 40,000 heroines of this species, most of whom, we dare to say, have at one time or another reasoned like the sentimental Delphine about the judgments of the world.
To conclude — Our general opinion of this book is, that it is calculated to shed a mild lustre over adultery; by gentle and convenient gradation, to destroy the modesty and the caution of women; to facilitate the acquisition of easy vices, and encumber the difficulty of virtue. What a wretched qualification of this censure to add, that the badness of the principles is alone corrected by the badness of the style, and that this celebrated lady would have been very guilty, if she had not been very dull!
THOUGHTS ON THE RESIDENCE OF THE CLERGY. (E. Review, 1803.)
Thoughts on the Residence of the Clergy. By John
This pamphlet is the production of agentleman who has acquired a right to teach the duties of the clerical character by fulfilling them; and who has exercised that right, in the present instance, with honour to himself, and benefit to the public. From the particular character of understanding evinced in this work we should conceive Dr. Sturges to possess a very powerful claim to be heard on all questions referable to the decision of practicable good sense. He has availed himself of his experience to observe; and of his observation, to judge well: he neither loves his profession too little, nor too much ; is alive to its interests, without being insensible to those of the community at large; and treats of those points where his previous habits might render a little intemperance venial, as well as probable, with the most perfect good humour and moderation. As exceptions to the general and indisputable principle of residence, Dr. Sturges urges the smallness of some livings; the probability that their incumbents be engaged in the task of education, or in ecclesiastical duty, in situations where their talents may be more appropriately and importantly employed. Dr. Sturges is also of opinion, that the power of enforcing residence, under certain limits, should be invested in the bishops; and that the acts prohibiting the clergy to hold or cultivate land should be in a great measure repealed. We sincerely hope that the two cases suggested by Dr. Sturges, of the clergyman who may keep a school, or be engaged in the duty of some parish not his own, will be attended to in the construction of the approaching bill, and admitted as pleas for non-residence. It certainly is better that a clergyman should do the duty of his own benefice, rather than of any other. But the injury done to the community is not commensurate with the vexation imposed upon the individual. Such a measure is either too harsh, not to become obsolete ; or, by harassing the clergy with a very severe restriction, to gain a very disproportionate good to the community, would bring the profession into disrepute, and have a tendency to isolo a class of men into the Church, of less liberal manners, education, and connection; points of the utmost importance, in our present state of religion and wealth. Nothing has enabled men to do wrong with impunity, so much, as the extreme severity of the penalties with which the law has threatened them. The only method to insure success to the bill for enforcing ecclesiastical residence, is to consult the convenience of the clergy in its construction, as far as is possibly consistent with the object desired, and even to sacrifice something that ought to be done, in order that much may be done. Upon this principle, the clergyman should not be confined to his parsonage-house, but to the precincts of his parish. Some advantage would certainly attend the residence of the clergy in their official mansions; but, as we have before observed, the good one party would obtain bears no sort of proportion to the evil the other would suffer. Upon the propriety of investing the Bench of Bishops with a power of enforcing residence, we confess ourselves to entertain very serious doubts. A bishop has frequently a. ". temporary interest in his diocese : he has favours to ask; and he must grant them. Leave of absence will be granted to powerful intercession; and refused, upon stronger pleas, to men without friends. Bishops are frequently men advanced in years, or immersed in study. A single person who compels many others to do their duty, has much odium to bear, and much activity to exert. A bishop is subject to caprice, and enmity, and