« PreviousContinue »
nexion with the government, spoke the same language of contempt and menace on the subject of the United States.
“The Americans were a nation of fraudulent shop-keepers ; British in prejudices and predilections, and equally objects of aversion to the Emperor, who had taken a fixed determination to bring them to reason in due time.' "The British,' he continues,' he hates, and dreads, and respects. The Americans he detests and despises. He detests them as the progeny of the British; as the citizens of a free government. He despises them as a body of traders; according to his views, without national fame or national character; without military strength, or military virtues.
To what then are we to ascribe the partiality of America towards France? There is no natural attachment between them, no community of sentiment, no mutual relation of benefit. If partiality towards France be denied, whence then, we would ask, proceeds the angry and blustering tone against England? The 'view' taken by the writer of the State of Parties,' ascribes the conduct of America, not to our blockades, our orders in council, the searching of their ships, or impressing their seamen, but to internal causes entirely arising out of the peculiar structure of the American government.
It is well known that America has long been divided into two parties; the federal, and the anti-fedral. The former comprizes a majority of the men of fortune, talent, and education : of this party were Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and many others, by whom the federal government was established, and conducted for twelve years, in the course of which America made a most rapid progress in prosperity and reputation. The anti-federal or French party, a turbulent democratical faction from the beginning, is said to be composed of adventurers from all countries, men of desperate fortunes and ruined characters, leaders of the rabble with whom they familiarly mix, whose manners and dress they affect to imitate, and whose services they command whenever they find it necessary to raise a clamour or collect a mob. The superior vigour and activity of this faction, in 1800, raised Mr. Jefferson to the presidency. This gentleman is described as being, in the strict sense of the phrase, a modern philosopher; a pupil of Rousseau; a reasoner on universal liberty, and universal philanthropy, whom all the horrors of the French revolution, and the total annihilation of liberty by the military despotism which it engendered, were insufficient to drive from his preconceived idea, that virtue could exist only in democracy. Fugitives from all parts of the world were received with open arms by this patron of cosmopolites. French regicides, Irish rebels, and malefactors of every kind, who had fled from the offended laws of their country ;-deodands of the gallows,' as they
are significantly called by an American author,)' who had left their ears on the whipping posts of Europe'--found an asyluın in America. Whole shoals of this description flocked to the President's standard; many of them were admitted to his confidence; some were employed in the inferior departments of government; some. were thrust into Congress ; and to others was entrusted the conduct of the press, that great instrument of factions in America. A democratical journal is published in every little town; in some of the larger, eight or ten, all teeming with abuse of England, and of the federal party, who are reproached for a supposed attachment to the land of their forefathers. Mr. Madison, it is said, imbibed the principles, and follows up the views of his master. His policy is represented as fluctuating with every batch of news that is wafted from Europe across the Atlantic; and as vibrating to the feelings and the sentiments of a set of adventurers in the seaport towns, men without character and without a country; as appealing to the opi-. nion of the mob, and the nbending to that opinion.-In one word, America is said to be, at this moment, as much swayed by the clamorous rabble and the democratic clubs of the seaport towns, as the Directory of Frauce was in the very worst periods of the Revolution.
If this be a true description of the present state of parties and of the government in America, we can easily account for the loudness of the war-cry which is now raised there. We trust, lowever, that there is equal truth in the assurance, which we have received from good authority, that the respectable part of the United States desire nothing more anxiously than the preservation of peace with England; and although the large majorities in Congress on the resolutions for war measures, may seem to disprove this statement, and although we confess ourselves by no means satisfied with the mamer in which these majorities are accounted for by some persous who profess to be in the secret of American politics, and who tell us of a settled plan of the federal party to urge on the democrats to the brink of a war, as the surest means of getting the government into their own hands, and rescuing the country from destruction; a conduct in our opinion of dangerous and doubtful policy; we trust nevertheless, that better counsels will yet ultimately actuate, America—she will open her eyes to her true interests, she will see her own prosperity in the prosperity of Great Britain; and in those maritime rights, against which she joins with France, at this moment, in clamouring so loudly, she will see, not merely the safeguards of British power, but the surest protection of American independence.
• They that will needs bear all the world before them by their mare liberum, may soon come to have nec terram, nec solum, nec VOL. VII. NO, XIII,
rempublicam liberam,'—was the postscript to a pamphlet written on the breaking out of the Dutch war in 1672. Let America ponder it; and consider how long her territory, her soil, and her form of government would be free, if the freedom of the seas were established, in the sense in which France calls for it, by the destruetion of the British wavy.
ART. IL-The Life of the Right Reverend Beilby Porteus, D.D.
late Bishop of London. By the Rev. Robert Hodgson, A.M. F.R.S. Rector of St. George's, Hanover Square, and one of the Chaplains in Ordinary to his Majesty. Second edition, London, Cadell and Davies, 1811. Prefixed to an Edition of
Porteus's Works. The Life of Dr. Beilby Porteus, lute Lord Bishop of London ;
with Anecdotes of those with whom he lived, and Memoirs of many living and deceased Characters. By a Lay-Member of Merton College, Oxford. London, J. Davies, Essex-street.
1810. BISHOP Porteus was sufficiently great in his generation,' and
sufficiently distinguished by his talents and virtues, to make it desirable that the attention of the public should be fixed him by some authentic and judicious detail of his life and character. We have two biographical sketches of him before us, One of them, ' by a lay-member of Merton College, Oxford,' (of what class above the porter, does not appear,) is an ill-written, inaccurate, and meagre performance. The author tells us, that his object was to do justice to the memory of a deserving character, and to hold up the example of his virtues for the benefit of society. We have only to express a wish, that he had well considered his competence to the task. Had this been the case, the public would not have been informed, that Bishop Porteus was born in America, though he was really born in England, that he made no advances in mathematical study at Cambridge, though he took the degree of tenth wrangler—that he obtained the Chancellor's prize for a classical essay, which prize never existed—that ' his person was tall and commanding,' (p. 252,) whereas he was a thin slender figure under the middle size, &c. Nor would they have had before them, under the title of a life of Bishop Porteus, a strange medley of various matters, dissertations on Yorkshire schools, on academical education, &c. mixed up with desultory ill-digested observations and opinions-together with endless memoirs of Bishop Horsley, Lord Thurlow, and others, inserted for no other apparent reason than that they were his contemporaries.
Mr. Hodgson, the other biographer, comes forward with far better pretensions and qualifications. As he was personally connected with the bishop, he had greater advantages in ascertaining facts and circumstances of a domestic nature; he has also been enabled to produce his opinions on several occasions, by having the use of his private papers; and, by intimate acquaintance with him in his familiar circle, to delineate with truth and accuracy the nicer traits of his character. The doubt in the public mind will always be, whether the person possessing these advantages will be disposed to make that fair and honest use of them which justice requires; and whether, in fact, he will not produce rather a panegyric on the deceased, than a faithful picture of his life and manners. In the present case, Mr. Hodgson, if he has written with the partial hand of an admirer and a friend, appears to have given the outline of what he relates with scrupulous endeavours at accuracy, and has enabled the public, even should they not adopt his opinions, to form a correct judgment for themselves. His style of composition is respectable; that is, he has put together his materials and related his facts in unaffected and perspicuous language. Now and then, indeed, we regret to find him stopping his narrative for the purpose of introducing observations of his own, which, being at least irrelevant, it would have been better to omit. He has proceeded, however, with a very praiseworthy caution and exercise of discretion in his use of the bishop's papers. The extracts, indeed, which he has given, are all so extremely interesting, and display for the most part the character of their author in so favourable a point of view, that the public will rather be of opinion that too little has been brought forward than too much. In such matters, however, it is impossible for any, one to judge, except the person under whose immediate inspection the papers come.
Beilby Porteus, one of the youngest of a family of nineteen children, was born at York, in 1731. His parents, of English extraction, were natives of North America. His father is mentioned as a person who possessed an independent fortune while he resided there; but, having removed with his family to England for the advantage of giving a better education to his children, and thus placed himself at a distance from his sources of income, he suffered a very considerable diminution in the means of supporting his family expenditure. Beilby Porteus had no other advantage of education in early life than that which was afforded by a common north-country grammar school. At the usual age he removed to Cambridge, where he recommended himself by his studiousness and regularity, and gave no unpromising proof of talents and industry. The year after he took his bachelor's degree ca
he was elected fellow of the college to which he belonged. He supplied the deficiency of his income at this time by undertaking the care of some private pupils; and, as he became more known, he acquired an increasing character for respectability of conduct, and literary talents. His only publications during the academical
part of his life, seem to have been his poem on Death, which had obtained the Seatonian prize, and a sermon preached before the university, on the character of King David. The poem is one amongst the very few written for the Seatonian prize, which have not sunk into oblivion soon after their appearance.
It did not procure for him the title of one of the first poets of the age,' as the lay-member of Merton College gravely tells us, (p. 16,) but it deserved to obtain for him some reputation for poetical talent. It is written in all parts with feeling, and in many with taste : the plan of it is well conceived; the descriptions are strong, lowing, and spirited; the language now and then borders on the harsh and uncouth, and the rhythm is at times not quite harmonious. Few poenis so good ever proceeded from any person who has remained without celebrity for poetical merit. The sermon on King David was occasioned by a licentious pamphlet called · The History of the Man after God's own Heart, which had made a dangerous impression on the public mind, by a most false representation of David's character, and of the reasons for which he was approved by God. This sermon, drawn up with great care, ability, and judgment, completely refuted the misrepresentations which had been sent abroad. It was very favourably received, and appears to have contributed much towards the foundation of his future fortunes, for it introduced him to the notice of Archbishop Secker, who appointed him one of his domestic chaplains.
Here then, in 1762, commenced a new era in his life. At Lambeth, he had the advantage of pursuing his studies with the assistance of a good library. Archbishop Secker proved a kind friend and a liberal benefactor: he gave him some preferment after he had resided with him two years, by which he was enabled to marry; and shortly after he added the rectory of Lambeth. At this time he took his doctor's degree at Cambridge, and preached a sermon before the University, which was afterwards sent to the
A singular circumstance resulted from the publication of this sermon. The preacher had lamented the want of sufficient attention to theology amongst the different academical studies. These observations happened to catch the attention of a gentleman in Norfolk, Mr. Norris, who was induced to form and endow a permanent professorship for the purpose of giving theological lectures to the students, and also to institute an annual premium for the best essay on some theological subject.