« EelmineJätka »
rust of inactivity than by the edge of the sword: confined to a scanty or unwholesome diet, exposed in sickly climates, harassed with tiresome marches and perpetual alarms, their life is a continual scene of hardships and dangers. They grow familiar with hunger, cold, and watchfulness. Crowded into hospitals and prisons, contagion spreads among their ranks, till the ravages of disease exceed those of the enemy.
We have hitherto only adverted to the sufferings of those who are engaged in the profession of arms, without taking into our account the situation of the countries which are the scene of hostilities. How dreadful to hold everything at the mercy of an enemy, and to receive life itself as a boon dependent on the sword. How boundless the fears which such a situation must inspire, where the issues of life and death are determined by no known laws, principles, or customs, and no conjecture can be formed of our destiny, except as far as it is dimly deciphered in characters of blood, in the dictates of revenge, and in the caprices of power. Conceive but a moment the consternation which the approach of an invading army would impress on the peaceful villages in this neighbourhood. When you have placed yourselves for an instant in that situation, you will learn to sympathize with those unhappy countries which have sustained the ravages of arms. But how is it possible to give you an idea of these horrors? Here you behold rich harvests, the bounty of heaven and the reward of industry, consumed in a moment or trampled under foot, while famine and pestilence follow the steps of desolation. There the cottages given up to the flames, mothers expiring through fear, not for themselves but their infants; the inhabitants flying with their helpless babes in all directions, miserable fugitives on their native soil! In another part you witness opulent cities taken by storm; the streets, where no sounds were heard but those of peaceful industry, filled on a sudden with slaughter and blood, resounding with the cries of the pursuing and the pursued; the palaces of nobles demolished, the houses of the rich pillaged, the chastity of virgins and of matrons violated, and every age, sex, and rank mingled in promiscuous massacre and
Reflections on War: a Sermon, June 1, 1802.
TIME AND ETERNITY.
The impotence of the world never appears more conspicuous than when it has exhausted its powers in the gratification of its votaries by placing them in a situation which leaves them nothing further to hope. It frustrates
the sanguine expectations of its admirers as much by what it bestows as by what it withholds, and reserves its severest disappointment for the season of possession. The agitation, the uncertainty, the varied emotions of hope and fear which accompany the pursuit of worldly objects, create a powerful interest, and maintain a brisk and wholesome circulation; but when the pursuit is over, unless some other is substituted in its place, satiety succeeds to enjoyment, and pleasures cease to please. Tired of treading the same circle, of beholding the same spectacles, of frequenting the same amusements, and repeating the same follies, with nothing to awaken sensibility, or to stimulate to action, the minion of fortune is exposed to an insuperable languor; he sinks under an insupportable weight of ease, and falls a victim to incurable dejection and despondency. Religion, by presenting objects ever interesting and ever new, by bestowing much, by promising more, and dilating the heart with the expectation of a certain indefinite good, clearly ascertained though indistinctly seen, the pledge and earnest of which is far more delightful than all that irreligious men possess, is the only effectual antidote to this evil. He that drinketh of this water shall never thirst. The vanity which adheres to the world in every form, when its pleasures and occupations are regarded as ultimate objects, is at once corrected when they are viewed in connexion with a boundless futurity; and whatever may be their intrinsic value, they rise into dignity and importance when considered as the seed of a future harvest, as the path which, however obscure, leads to honour and immortality, as the province of labour allotted us, in order to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Nothing is little which is related to such a system; nothing vain or frivolous which has the remotest influence on such prospects. Considered as a state of probation, our present condition loses all its inherent meanness; it derives a moral grandeur even from the shortness of its duration, when viewed as a contest for an immortal crown, in which the candidates are exhibited on a theatre, a spectacle to beings of the highest order, who, conscious of the tremendous importance of the issue, of the magnitude of the interest at stake, survey the combatants from on high with benevolent and trembling solicitude.
Finally, we are made for the enjoyment of eternal blessedness; it is our high calling and destination; and not to pursue it with diligence is to be guilty of the blackest ingratitude to the Author of our being, as well as the greatest cruelty to ourselves. To fail of such an object, to defeat the end
of our existence, and in consequence of neglecting the great salvation, to sink at last under the frown of the Almighty, is a calamity which words were not invented to express, nor finite minds formed to grasp. Eternity, it is surely not necessary to remind you, invests every state, whether of bliss or of suffering, with a mysterious and awful importance, entirely its own, and is the only property in the creation which gives that weight and moment to whatever It attaches, compared to which all sublunary joys and sorrows, all interests which know a period, fade into the most contemptible insignificance. In appreciating every other object it is easy to exceed the proper estimate; and even of the distressing event which has so recently occurred, the feeling which many of us possess is probably adequate to the occasion.
The nation has certainly not been wanting in the proper expression of its poignant regret at the sudden removal of this most lamented princess, nor of their sympathy with the royal family, deprived by this visitation of its brightest ornament. Sorrow is painted in every countenance. The pursuits of business and of pleasure have been suspended, and the kingdom is covered with the signals of distress. But what, my brethren, if it be lawful to indulge such a thought, what would be the funeral obsequies of a lost soul? Where shall we find the tears fit to be wept at such a spectacle? or, could we realize the calamity in all its extent, what tokens of commiseration and concern would be deemed equal to the occasion? Would it suffice for the sun to veil his light and the moon her brightness; to cover the ocean with mourning and the heavens with sackcloth? or, were the whole fabric of nature to become animated and vocal, would it be possible for her to utter a groan too deep, or a cry too piercing, to express the magnitude and extent of such a catastrophe?
Sermon Occasioned by the Death of Her late
THE VALUE OF CONTROVersy.
However some may affect to dislike controversy, it can never be of ultimate disadvantage to the interests of truth or the happiness of mankind. Where it is indulged in its full extent, a multitude of ridiculous opinions will no doubt be obtruded upon the public; but any ill influence they may produce cannot continue long, as they are sure to be opposed with at least equal ability and that superior advantage which is ever attendant on truth. The colours with which wit or eloquence may have adorned a false
system will gradually die away, sophistry be detected, and everything estimated at length according to its true value. Publications, besides, like everything that is human, are of a mixed nature, where truth is often blended with falsehood, and important hints suggested in the midst of much impertinent or pernicious matter; nor is there any way of separating the precious from the vile but by tolerating the whole. Where the right of unlimited inquiry is exerted, the human faculties will be upon the advance; where it is relinquished, they will be of a necessity at a stand, and will probably decline.
If we have recourse to experience. that kind of enlarged experience in particular which history furnishes, we shall not be apt to entertain any violent alarm at the greatest liberty of discussion: we shall there see that to this we are indebted for those improvements in arts and sciences which have meliorated in so great a degree the condition of mankind. The middle ages, as they are called, the darkest period of which we have any particular accounts, were remarkable for two things, the extreme ignorance that prevailed, and an excessive veneration for received opinions: circum stances which having been always united, operate on each other, it is plain, as cause and effect. The whole compass of science was in those times subject to restraint; every new opinion was looked upon as dangerous. To affirm the globe we inhabit to be round was deemed heresy, and for asserting its motion the immortal Galileo was confined in the prisons of the Inquisition. Yet it is remarkable, so little are the human faculties fitted for restraint, that its utmost rigour was never able to effect a thorough unanimity, or to preclude the most alarming discussions and controversies. For no sooner was one point settled than another was started; and as the articles on which men professed to differ were always extremely few and subtle, they came the more easily into contact, and their animosities were the more violent and concentrated. The shape of the tonsure, or manner in which a monk should shave his head, would then throw a whole kingdom into convulsions. In proportion as the world has become more enlightened this unnatural policy of restraint has retired, the sciences it has entirely abandoned, and has taken its last stand on religion and politics. The first of these was long considered of a nature so peculiarly sacred, that every attempt to alter it, or to impair the reverence for its received institutions was regarded, under the name of heresy, as a crime of the first magnitude. Yet dangerous as free inquiry may have
been looked upon when extended to the principles of religion, there is no department where it was more necessary, or its interference more decidedly beneficial. By nobly daring to exert it when all the powers on earth were combined in its suppression, did Luther accomplish that reformation which drew forth primitive Christianity, long hidden and concealed under a load of abuses, to the view of an awakened and astonished world. So great is the force of truth when it has once gained the attention, that all the arts and policy of the court of Rome, aided throughout every part of Europe by a veneration for antiquity, the prejudices of the vulgar, and the cruelty of despots, were fairly baffled and confounded by the opposition of a solitary monk. And had this principle of free inquiry been permitted in succeeding times to have full scope, Christianity would at this period have been much better understood, and the animosity of sects considerably abated. Religious toleration has never been complete even in England; but having prevailed more here than perhaps in any other country, there is no place where the doctrines of religion have been set in so clear a light or its truth so ably defended. The writings of Deists have contributed much to this end. Whoever will compare the late defences of Christianity by Locke, Butler, or Clarke, with those of the ancient apologists, will discern in the former far more precision and an abler method of reasoning than in the latter; which must be attributed chiefly to the superior spirit of inquiry by which modern times are distinguished. Whatever alarm there may have been taken at the liberty of discussion, religion it is plain hath been a gainer by it; its abuses corrected, and its divine authority settled on a firmer basis than ever.
An Apology: On the Right of Public Discussion, Lect. i.
born 1764, died 1823, was the author of the following works, of which The Mysteries of Udolpho (an excellent novel, displaying great powers of description) is the best known: The Castles of Athlin and Dumbayne, a Highland Story, Lond., 1789, 12mo; A Sicilian Romance, Lond., 1790, 12mo; The Romance of the Forest, interspersed with some Pieces of Poetry, Lond., 1791, 12mo; The Mysteries of Udolpho, interspersed with some Pieces of Poetry, Lond., 1794, 4 vols. 12mo; A Journey made in the Summer of 1794, through Holland, etc., Lond., 1794, 4to: The Italian, or, The Confessional of the Black
Penitent, a Romance, Lond., 1797, 3 vols. 12mo; Gaston de Blondeville, or, The Court of Henry III. resting in Ardennes, a Romance; St. Alban's Abbey, a Metrical Tale, with some Poetical Pieces, to which is prefixed a Memoir of the Author [by Sir T. N. Talfourd], with Extracts from her Journals, Lond., 1826, 4 vols. post 8vo: reissued in 1833, with the title Posthumous Works, etc.: subsequently divided: Gaston de Blondeville, 2 vols. 8vo, Poetical Works, 1834, 2 vols. 8vo; St. Alban's Abbey, a Metrical Tale, was published separately, Phila., 1826, 12mo.
"We would not pass over without a tribute of gratitude Mrs. Radcliffe's wild and wondrous tales. When we read them, the world seems shut out, and we breathe only an enchanted region, where lovers' lutes tremble over placid waters, mouldering castles rise conscious of deeds of blood, and the sad voices of the past echo through deep vaults and lonely galleries. Of all romance-writers Mrs. Radcliffe is the most romantic."-SIR T.
NOON TALFOURD: Miscell. Writings.
"The Shakspeare of Romance-writers, who to the wild landscape of Salvator Rosa has added the softer graces of a Claude."-DR. DRAKE.
THE CASTLE OF UDOLPHO.
Towards the close of the day the road wound into a deep valley. Mountains, whose shaggy sides appeared to be inaccessible, almost surrounded it. To the east a vista opened, and exhibited the Apennines in their darkest horrors; and the long perspective of retiring summits, rising over each other, their ridges clothed with pines, exhibited a stronger image of grandeur than any that Emily had yet seen. The sun had just sunk below the top of the mountains she was descending, whose long shadow stretched athwart the valley; but his sloping rays, shooting through an opening of the cliffs, touched with a yellow gleam the summits of the forest that hung upon the opposite steeps, and streamed in full splendour upon the towers and battlements of a castle that spread its extensive ramparts along the brow of a precipice above. The splendour of these illumined objects was heightened by the contrasted shade which involved the valley below.
"There," said Montoni, speaking for the first time in several hours, "is Udolpho."
Emily gazed with melancholy awe upon the castle, which she understood to be Montoni's; for, though it was now lighted up by the setting sun, the Gothic greatness of its features, and its mouldering walls of dark gray stone, rendered it a gloomy and sublime object. As she gazed the light died away on its walls, leaving a melancholy purple tint, which spread deeper and deeper as the thin vapour crept up the mountain,
while the battlements above were still tipped with splendour. From these, too, the rays soon faded, and the whole edifice was invested with the solemn darkness of evening. Silent, lonely, and sublime, it seemed to stand the sovereign of the scene, and to frown defiance on all who dared to invade its solitary reign. As the twilight deepened, its features became more awful in obscurity, and Emily continued to gaze till its clustering towers were alone seen rising over the tops of the woods, beneath whose thick shade the carriage soon after began to ascend.
The extent and darkness of these tall woods awakened terrific images in her mind, and she almost expected to see banditti start up from under the trees. At length the carriages emerged upon a heathy rock, and soon after reached the castle gates, where the deep tone of the portal bell, which was struck upon to give notice of their arrival, increased the fearful emotions that had assailed Emily. While they waited till the servant within should come to open the gates, she anxiously surveyed the edifice; but the gloom that overspread it allowed her to distinguish little more than a part of its outline, with the massy walls of the ramparts, and to know that it was vast, ancient, and dreary. From the parts she saw, she judged of the heavy strength and extent of the whole. The gateway before her, leading into the courts, was of gigantic size, and was defended by two round towers, crowned by overhanging turrets, embattled, where instead of banners, now waved long grass and wild plants that had taken root among the mouldering stones, and which seemed to sigh, as the breeze rolled past, over the desolation around them. The towers were united by a curtain, pierced and embattled also, below which appeared the pointed arch of a huge portcullis surmounting the gates; from these the walls of the ramparts extended to other towers, overlooking the precipice, whose shattered outline, appearing on a gleam that lingered in the west, told of the ravage of war. Beyond these all was lost in the obscurity of evening.
A NEAPOLITAN CHURCH. Within the shade of the portico, a person with folded arms, and eyes directed towards the ground, was pacing behind the pillars the whole extent of the pavement, and was apparently so engaged in his own thoughts as not to observe that strangers were approaching. He turned, however, suddenly, as if startled by the sound of steps, and then, without farther pausing, glided to a door that opened into the church, and disappeared.
There was something too extraordinary in the figure of this man, and too singular in his conduct, to pass unnoticed by the visitors. He was of a tall thin figure, bending forward from the shoulders; of a sallow complexion and harsh features, and had an eye which, as it looked up from the cloak that muffled the lower part of his countenance, was expressive of uncommon ferocity.
The travellers, on entering the church, looked round for the stranger who had passed thither before them, but he was nowhere to be seen; and through all the shade of the long aisles only one other person appeared. This was a friar of the adjoining convent, who sometimes pointed out to strangers the objects in the church which were most worthy of attention, and who now, with this design, approached the party that had just entered.
When the party had viewed the different shrines, and whatever had been judged worthy of observation, and were returning through an obscure aisle towards the portico, they perceived the person who had appeared upon the steps passing towards a confessional on the left, and as he entered it, one of the party pointed him out to the friar, and inquired who he was. The friar, turning to look after him, did not immediately reply; but on the question being repeated, he inclined his head as in a kind of obeisance, and calmly replied, “He is an assassin."
'An assassin!" exclaimed one of the Englishmen; "an assassin, and at liberty!"
An Italian gentleman who was of the party smiled at the astonishment of his friend.
"He has sought sanctuary here," replied the friar: "within these walls he may not be hurt."
"Do your altars, then, protect a murderer?" said the Englishman.
"He could find shelter nowhere else," answered the friar meekly. . . .
"But observe another confessional," added the Italian: "that beyond the pillars on the left of the aisle, below a painted window. Have you discovered it? The colours of the glass throw, instead of a light, a shade over that part of the church, which perhaps prevents your distinguishing what I mean.'
The Englishman looked whither his friend pointed, and observed a confessional of oak, or some very dark wood, adjoining the wall, and remarked also that it was the same which the assassin had just entered. It consisted of three compartments, covered with a black canopy. In the central division was the chair of the confessor, elevated by several steps above the pavement of the
church; and on either hand was a small closet or box, with steps leading up to a grated partition, at which the penitent might kneel, and, concealed from observation, pour into the ear of the confessor the consciousness of crimes that lay heavy at his heart.
"You observe it?" said the Italian.
"I do," replied the Englishman: "it is the same which the assassin had passed into, and I think it one of the most gloomy spots I ever beheld the view of it is enough to strike a criminal with despair."
"We in Italy are not so apt to despair," replied the Italian smilingly.
'Well, but what of this confessional?" inquired the Englishman. The assassin entered it."
"He has no relation with what I am about to mention," said the Italian: "but I wish you to mark the place, because some very extraordinary circumstances belong to it." "What are they?" said the Englishman. "It is now several years since the confession which is connected with them was made at that very confessional," added the Italian : "the view of it, and the sight of the assassin, with your surprise at the liberty which is allowed him, led me to a recollection of the story. When you return to the hotel I will communicate it to you, if you have no pleasanter mode of engaging your time."
"After I have taken another view of this solemn edifice," replied the Englishman, "and particularly of the confessional you have pointed to my notice."
While the Englishman glanced his over the high roofs and along the solemn perspectives of the Santa del Pianto, he perceived the figure of the assassin stealing from the confessional across the choir, and, shocked on again beholding him, he turned his eyes and hastily quitted the church.
The friends then separated, and the Englishman soon after returning to his hotel, received the volume. He read as follows. The Italian.
SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH, M.D., LL.D.,
born near Inverness, 1765, and educated at King's College, Aberdeen, was recorder of Bombay, 1804-1811, was M.P. for Nairn, 1813, and for Knaresborough, Yorkshire, 1818, '20, '26, '30, '31; Lord-Rector of the University of Glasgow, 1822, 23, Professor of Law and General Politics in the East Indian College of Haileybury, 1818-1824, Commissioner for Indian Affairs, 1830, died 1832. He was the author of Vindiciae Gallica: Defence of the French Revolution, etc., Lond., 1791, 4to; A Discourse on the Study of the
Law of Nature and Nations, etc., Lond., 1799, 8vo; The Trial of Jean Peltier, for a Libel against Napoleon Buonaparte, etc., Lond., 1803, 8vo; Dissertation on Ethical Philosophy, chiefly during the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries, Edin., 1830, 4to (from Encyc. Brit.); History of England, B.C. 55 to A.D. 1572, Lond., 1830-32, 3 vols. 12mo (Lardner's Cab. Cyc.); History of the Revolution in England in 1688, etc., Lond., 1834, 4to; Life of Sir Thomas More, Lond., 1844, fp. 8vo (from Lives of British Statesmen in Lardner's Cab. Cyc.). See his Tracts and Speeches, 1787-1831, Lond., 1840, 8vo (25 copies privately printed), and his Miscellaneous Works, Lond., 1846, 3 vols. 8vo, and 1854, 3 vols. fp. 8vo, also in 1 vol. 8vo, 1850 and 1851. See also Memoirs of his Life, Edited by his Son, R. J. Mackintosh, Lond., 1835, 2 vols. 8vo, 2d edit., 1836, 2 vols. 8vo.
"His range of study and speculation was nearly as large as that of Bacon; and there were, in fact, but few branches of learning with which he was not familiar. But in any attempt at delineating his intellectual character, it is necessary to bear in mind that his mastery was in mental philosophy, not merely in its metaphysical departments, but in its still more important application to conduct and affairs, and in their higher branches of politics and legislation, which derive their proofs and principles from history, and give authority to its lessons in return. Upon all these subjects he was probably the most learned man of his age." -LORD JEFFREY: Mackintosh's Life, vol. ii. chap. viii.
"Till subdued by age and illness, his conversation was more brilliant and instructive than that of any human being I ever had the good fortune to be acquainted. His memory (vast and prodigious as it was) he so managed as to make it a that dreadful engine of colloquial oppression into source of pleasure and instruction, rather than which it is sometimes erected."-REV. SYDNEY SMITH: Mackintosh's Life, vol. ii. chap. viii., and Smith's Works, iii. 434.
"Whatever was valuable in the compositions of Sir James Mackintosh was the ripe fruit of study versation.... You never saw his opinions in the making, still rude, still inconsistent, and requiring to be fashioned by thought and discussion. They came forth like the pillars of that temple in which no sound of axes or hammers was heard, finished, rounded, and exactly suited to their places." -LORD MACAULAY: Edin. Rev., Ixi. 269, and his Essays.
and of meditation. It was the same with his con
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
Gentlemen, the French Revolution-1 must pause after I have uttered words which present such an overwhelming idea. But I have not now to engage in an enterprise so far beyond my force as that of examining and judging that tremendous revolution. I have only to consider the character of the factions which it must have left behind it. The French Revolu tion began with great and fatal errors.