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vantage to such men; it confines them to a simple path, prevents their being drawn aside by various speculations, restricts them to what is clear and intelligible, and at hand. "I cannot," said Sir S. Romilly, "be convinced without arguments, and I do not see that either Burke or Paine advance any." He was unable to see that the most convincing arguments, and some of those in the work of Burke, which he alludes to, are certainly sound enough,-may be expressed imaginatively, and may work a far firmer persuasion than any neat and abstract statement. Nor are the intellectual powers of the characteristic element in this party exactly of the loftiest order; they have no call to make great discoveries, or pursue unbounded designs, or amaze the world by some wild dream of empire and renown. That terrible essence of daring genius, such as we see it in Napoleon, and can imagine it in some of the conquerors of old time, is utterly removed from their cool and placid judgment. In taste they are correct, as it is called, better appreciating the complete compliance with explicit and ascertained rules, than the unconscious exuberance of inexplicable and unforeseen beauties. In their own writings, accordingly, they display the defined neatness of the second order, rather than the aspiring hardihood of the first excellence. In action they are quiet and reasonable rather than inventive and overwhelming. Their power indeed is scarcely intellectual; on the contrary, it resides in what Aristotle would have called their noos, and we should call their nature. They are emphatically pure-natured and firm-natured. Instinctively casting aside the coarse temptations and crude excitements of a vulgar earth, they pass like a September breeze across the other air, cool and refreshing, unable, one might fancy, even to comprehend the many offences with which all else is fainting and oppressed. So far even as it is intellectual, their excellence consists less in the supereminent possession of any single talent or endowment, than in the simultaneous enjoyment and felicitous adjustment of many or several;-in a certain balance of the faculties which we call judgment or sense, which placidly and easily indicates to them what should be done, and which is not preserved without an equable calm, and a patient, persistent watchfulness. To a singular degree in such men the moral and intellectual nature seem to become one. Whether, according to the Greek question, manly virtue can be taught or not, assuredly it has never been taught to them; it seems a native endowment; it seems a soul-a soul of honour-as we speak, within the exterior soul; a fine impalpable essence, more exquisite than the rest of the being; as the thin gauze-like pillar of the cloud, more

beautiful than the pure blue of heaven, governing and guiding a simple way through the dark wilderness of our world.

To descend from such elevations, among people Sir Samuel Romilly is the best-known type of this character. His admirable "Life," we mean the biography, has enshrined, as it were, and yet made public his admirable virtues. Yet it is probable that among the aristocratic Whigs, persons as typical of the character can be found. This species of noble nature is exactly of the kind which hereditary associations tend to purify and confirm; exactly that casual, delicate, placid virtue which it is so hard to find, perhaps so sanguine to expect, in a rough tribune of the people. Defects enough there are in this character, on which we shall say something; yet it is wonderful to see what an influence in this sublunary sphere it gains and preserves. The world makes an oracle of its judgment. There is a curious living instance of this. You may observe that when an ancient liberal, Lord John, or any of the essential sect, has done anything very queer, the last thing you would imagine anybody would dream of doing, and is attacked for it, he always answers boldly, "Lord Lansdowne said I might;" or if it is a ponderous day, the eloquence runs, "A noble friend with whom I have ever had the inestimable advantage of being associated from the commencement (the infantile period, I might say) of my political life, and to whose advice, &c. &c. &c."-and a very cheerful existence it must be for my noble friend to be expected to justify-(for they never say it except they have done something very odd) -and dignify every aberration. Still it must be a beautiful feeling to have a man like Lord John, to have a stiff, small man bowing down before you. And a good judge certainly suggested the conferring of this authority; "Why do not they talk over the virtues and excellences of Lansdowne? There is no man who performs the duties of life better, or fills a high station in a more becoming manner. He is full of knowledge, and eager for its acquisition. His remarkable politeness is the result of good-nature, regulated by good sense. He looks for talents and qualities among all ranks of men, and adds them to his stock of society, as a botanist does his plants; and while other aristocrats are yawning among stars and garters, Lansdowne is refreshing his soul with the fancy and genius which he has found in odd places, and gathered to the marbles and pictures of his palace. Then he is an honest politician, a wise statesman, and has a philosophic mind, &c. &c."* Here is devotion for a carping critic; and who ever heard before of bonhomie in an idol?

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It may strike some that this equable kind of character is not the most interesting. Many will prefer the bold felicities of daring genius, the deep plans of latent and searching sagacity, the hardy triumphs of an overawing and imperious will. Yet it is not unremarkable that an experienced and erudite Frenchman, not unalive to artistic effect, has just now selected this very species of character for the main figure in a large portion of an elaborate work. The hero of M. Villemain is one to whom he delights to ascribe such things as bon sens, esprit juste, cœur excellent. The result, it may be owned, is a little dull, yet it is not the less characteristic. The instructed observer has detected the deficiency of his country. If France had more men of firm will, quiet composure, with a suspicion of enormous principle and a taste for moderate improvement; if a Whig party, in a word, were possible in France, France would be free. And though there are doubtless crises in affairs, dark and terrible moments, when a more creative intellect is needful to propose, a more dictatorial will is necessary to carry out a sudden and daring resolution; though in times of inextricable confusion-perhaps the present is one of them-a more abstruse and disentangling intellect is required to untwist the ravelled perplexities of a complicated world; yet England will cease to be the England of our fathers, when a large share in great affairs is no longer given to the equable sense, the composed resolution, the homely purity of the characteristic Whigs.

It is evident that between such men and Lord Eldon there could be no peace; and between them and the Edinburgh Review there was an equally natural alliance. Not only the kind of reforms there proposed, the species of views therein maintained, but the very manner in which those views and alterations are put forward and maintained, is exactly what they would like. The kind of writing suitable to such minds is not the elaborate, ambitious, exhaustive discussion of former ages, but the clear, simple, occasional writing (as we just now described it) of the present times. The opinions to be expressed are short and simple; the innovations suggested are natural and evident; neither one nor the other require more than an intelligible statement, a distinct exposition to the world; and their reception would be only impeded and complicated by operose and cumbrous argumentation. The exact mind which of all others dislikes the stupid adherence to the status quo, is the keen, quiet, improving Whig mind; the exact kind of writing most adapted to express that dislike is the cool, pungent, didactic essay.

Equally common to the Whigs and the Edinburgh Review is

the enmity to the sceptical, over-refining Toryism of Hume and Montaigne. The Whigs, it is true, have a conservatism of their own, but it instinctively clings to certain practical rules tried by steady adherence, to appropriate formulæ verified by the regular application and steady success of many ages. Political philosophers speak of it as a great step when the idea of an attachment to one organized code and system of rules and laws takes the place of the exclusive oriental attachment to the person of the single monarch. This step is natural, is instinctive to the Whig mind; that cool impassive intelligence is little likely to yield to ardent emotions of personal loyalty; but its chosen ideal is a body or collection of wise rules fitly applicable to great affairs, pleasing a placid sense by an evident propriety, gratifying the clear capacity for business by a constant and steady applicability. The Whigs are constitutional by instinct, as the Cavaliers were


archical by devotion. It has been a jest at their present header that he is over-familiar with public forms and parliamentary rites. Their first wish is to retain the constitution; their second-and it is of almost equal strength-is to improve it. Their creed is, that the body of laws now existing is, in the main and in its essence, excellent; but yet that there are exceptional defects which should be remedied, superficial inconsistencies that should be corrected. The most opposite creed in the world is that of the sceptic, who teaches that you are to keep what is because it exists; not from a conviction of its excellence, but from an uncertainty that anything better can be obtained. The one is an attachment to precise rules for specific reasons; the other an acquiescence in the present on grounds that would be equally applicable to its very opposite, from a disbelief in the possibility of improvement, and a conviction of the uncertainty of all things. And equally adverse to an unlimited scepticism is the nature of popular writing. It is true that the greatest teachers of that creed have sometimes, and as it were of set purpose, adopted that species of writing; yet essentially it is inimical to them. Its appeal is to the people; as has been shown, it addresses the élite of common men, sensible in their affairs, intelligent in their tastes, influential among their neighbours. What is absolute scepticism to such men? a dream, a chimera, an inexplicable absurdity. Tell it to them to-day, and they will have forgotten it tomorrow. A man of business hates elaborate trifling. "If you do not believe your own senses," he will say, "there is no use in my talking to you." As to the multiplicity of arguments and the complexity of questions, he feels them little. He has a plain, simple, as he would say, practical way

of looking at the matter; and you will never make him comprehend any other. He knows the world can be improved. And thus what we may call the middle species of writing,-which is intermediate between the light, frivolous style of merely amusing literature, and the heavy, conscientious elaborateness of methodical philosophy- the style of the original Edinburgh-is, in truth, as opposed to the vague, desponding conservatism of the sceptic, as it is to the stupid conservatism of the crude and uninstructed; and substantially for the same reason—that it is addressed to men of cool, clear, and practical understandings. The periodical which began the new system naturally showed its efficiency and exemplified its relations. It is, indeed, no wonder that the Edinburgh Review should be agreeable to the Whigs, for the people who founded it were Whigs. Among these, three stand pre-eminent,-Horner, Jeffrey, and Sydney Smith. Other men of equal ability may have contributed-and a few did contribute to its pages; but these men were, more than any one else, the first Edinburgh Review.

Francis Horner's was a short and singular life. He was the son of an Edinburgh shopkeeper. He died at thirty-nine; and when he died, from all sides of the usually cold House of Commons great statesmen and thorough gentlemen got up to deplore his loss. Tears are rarely parliamentary all men are arid towards young Scotchmen; yet it was one of that inclement nation whom statesmen of the species Castlereagh, and statesmen of the species Whitbread-with all the many kinds and species that lie between the two-rose in succession to lament. The fortunes and superficial features of the man make it more singular. He had no wealth, was a briefless barrister, never held an office, was a conspicuous member of the most unpopular of all oppositions-the opposition to a glorious and successful war. He never had the means of obliging any one. He was destitute of showy abilities: he had not the intense eloquence or overwhelming ardour which enthral and captivate popular assemblies: his powers of administration were little tried, and may possibly be slightly questioned. In his youthful reading he was remarkable for laying down, for a few months of study, enormous plans, such as many years would scarcely complete; and not especially remarkable for doing anything wonderful towards accomplishing those plans. Sir Walter Scott, who, though by no means illiberal in his essential intellect, was a keen partizan on superficial matters, and no lenient critic on actual Edinburgh Whigs, used to observe, "I cannot admire your Horner; he always reminds me of Obadiah's bull, who, though he never certainly did produce a calf, nevertheless went about his business with so much gravity,

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