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in parts of the theatre, such reasons apply, in a much stronger degree, to not driving along the Strand, or an of the great public streets of London, after dark; and, if the virtue of well educated young persons is made of such very frail materials, their best resource is a nunnery at once. It is a very bad rule, however, never to quit the house for fear of catching cold. Mrs. More practically extends the same doctrine to cards and assemblies. No cards — because cards are employed in gaming; no assemblies — because many dissipated persons pass their lives in assemblies. Carry this but a little further, and we must say, no wine— because of drunkenness; no meat — because of gluttony; no use, that there may be no abuse ! The fact is, that Mr. Stanley wants, not only to be religious, but to be at the head of the religious. These little abstinences are the cockades by which the party are known — the rallying points for the evangelical faction. So natural is the love of power, that it sometimes becomes the influencing motive with the sincere advocates of that blessed religion, whose very characteristic excellence is the humility which it inculcates. We observe that Mrs. More, in one part of her work, falls into the common error about dress. She first blames ladies for exposing their persons in the present style of dress, and then says, if they knew their own interest — if they were aware how much more alluring they were to men when their charms are less displayed, they would make the desired alteration from motives merely selfish.
‘Oh! if women in general knew what was their real interest, if they could guess with what a charm even the appearance of modesty invests its possessor, they would dress decorously from mere self-love, if not from principle. The designing would assume modesty as an artifice; the coquet would adopt it as an allurement; the pure as her appropriate attraction; and the voluptuous as the most infallible art of seduction.'— (I. 189.)
If there is any truth in this passage, nudity becomes a virtue; and no decent woman, for the future, can be seen in garments.
We have a few more of Mrs. More's opinions to notice. — It is not fair to attack the religion of the times, because, in large and indiscriminate parties, religion does not become the subject of conversation. Conversation must and ought to grow out of materials on which men can agree, not upon subjects which try the passions. But this good lady wants to see men chatting together upon the Pelagian heresy — to hear, in the afternoon, the theological rumours of the day—and to glean polemical tittle-tattle at a tea-table rout. All the disciples of this school uniformly fall into the same mistake. They are perpetually calling upon their votaries for religious thoughts and religious conversation in every thing; inviting them to ride, walk, row, wrestle, and dine out religiously; forgetting that the being to whom this impossible purity is recommended, is a being compelled to scramble for his existence and support for ten hours out of the sixteen he is awake; — forgetting that he must dig, beg, read, think, move, pay, receive, praise, scold, command, and obey; — forgetting, also, that if men conversed as often upon religious subjects as they do upon the ordinary occurrences of the world, they would converse upon them with the same familiarity and want of respect; — that religion would then produce feelings not more solemn or exalted than any other topics which constitute at present the common furniture of human understandings.
We are glad to find in this work some strong compliments to the efficacy of works — some distinct admissions that it is necessary to be honest and just, before we can be considered as religious. Such sort of concessions are very gratifying to us; but how will they be received by the children of the tabernacle 2 It is quite clear, indeed, throughout the whole of the work, that an apologetical explanation of certain religious opinions is intended; and there is a considerable abatement of that tone of insolence with which the improved Christians are apt to treat the bungling specimens of piety to be met with in the more ancient churches.
So much for the extravagances of this lady. – With equal sincerity, and with greater pleasure, we bear testimony to her talents, her good sense, and her real piety. There occur, every now and then, in her productions, very original, and very profound observations. Her advice is very often characterised by the most amiable good sense, and conveyed in the most brilliant and inviting style. If, instead of belonging to a trumpery faction, she had only watched over those great points of religion in which the hearts of every sect of Christians are interested, she would have been one of the most useful and valuable writers of her day. As it is, every man would wish his wife and his children to read Caelebs; — watching himself its effects; — separating the piety from the puerility; — and showing that it is very possible to be a good Christian, without degrading the human understanding to the trash and folly of Methodism.
CHARACTERS OF FOX. (E. Review, 1809.)
Characters of the late Charles James For. By Philopatris Varvicensis. 2 vols. 8vo.
TIIIs singular work consists of a collection of all the panegyrics passed upon Mr. Fox, after his decease, in periodical publications, speeches, sermons, or elsewhere, —in a panegyric upon Mr. Fox by Philopatris himself, —and in a volume of notes by the said Philopatris upon the said panegyric. Of the panegyrics, that by Sir James Mackintosh appears to us to be by far the best. . It is remarkable for good sense, acting upon a perfect knowledge of his subject, for simplicity, and for feeling. Amid the languid or turgid efforts of mediocrity, it is delightful to notice the skill, attention, and resources of a superior man,— of a man, too, who seems to feel what he writes,—who does not aim at conveying his meaning in rhetorical and ornamented phrases, but who uses plain words to express strong sensations. We cannot help wishing, indeed, that Sir James Mackintosh had been more diffuse upon the political character of Mr. Fox, the great feature of whose life was the long and unwearied opposition which he made to the low cunning, the profligate extravagance, the sycophant mediocrity, and the stupid obstinacy of the English Court. To estimate the merit, and the difficulty, of this opposition, we must remember the enormous influence j. the Crown, through the medium of its patronage, exercises in the remotest corners of the o. — the number of subjects whom it pays, – the much greater number whom it keeps in a state of expectation, — and the ferocious turpitude of those mercenaries whose present profits and future hopes are threatened by honest, and exposed by eloquent men. It is the easiest of all things, too, in this country, to make Englishmen believe that those who oppose the Government wish to ruin the country. The English are a very busy people; and, with o the faults of their governors, they are still a very happy people. They have, as they ought to have, a perfect confidence in the administration of justice. The rights which the different classes of mankind exercise the one over the other are arranged upon equitable principles. Life, liberty, and property are protected from the violence and caprice of power. The visible and immediate stake, therefore, for which English politicians play, is not large enough to attract the notice of the people, and to call them off from their daily occupations, to investigate thoroughly the characters and motives of men engaged in the business of legislation. The people can only understand, and attend to, the last results of a long series of measures. They are impatient of the details which lead to these results; and it is the easiest of all things to make them believe that those who insist upon such details are actuated only by factious motives. We are all now groaning under the weight of taxes: but how often was Mr. Fox followed by the curses of his country for protesting against the two wars which have loaded us with these taxes 2–the one of which wars has made America independent, and the other rendered France omnipotent. The case is the same with all the branches of public liberty. If the broad and palpable question were, whether every book which issues from the press should be subjected to the licence of a general censor, it would be impossible to blacken the character of any man who, so called upon, defended the liberty of publishing opinions. But, when the Attorney-General for the time being ingratiates himself with the Court, by nibbling at this valuable privilege of the people, it is very easy to treat hostility to his measures as a minute and frivolous opposition to the Government, and to persuade the mass of mankind that it is so. In fact, when a nation has become free, it is extremely difficult to persuade them that their freedom