Page images

to a salse amount, on taking out letters condescend to be the author of such a of administration. I find, on searching at letter, or who, if he had done so, could the proper office, that this infant was read this statement without a blush ; ‘ for never arrested, and I cannot learn that he that blushes not at his crime, but adds he was ever known to be in pecuniary shamelessness to his shame, hath no indifficulties. A simple fact may easily con- strument left to restore him to the hopes found an orator, who unworthily condescends of virtue.' to listen to calumnies, and to make statements prejudicial to others, without minutely exa. Here I stop--the Whig who reads mining into their truth.

these things and yet blushes not for “ And now I will ask my reader, what his Brougham, but adds shamelessness is bis opinion of the credit due to parlia- to his shaine. I certainly know of no mentary motions, and the members' attention

instrument by which such a man can to the facts on which they are founded, even be restored to the hopes of virtue. when those members are men who wear

Your obedient servant, the robes of English advocates? I dare

P. R. not tell him mine-but I dare ask if it

Edinburgh, Aug. 20, 1823. be necessary, after an exposure like this, to be at the trouble of examining the truth

P. S.-Mr Denman is represented and tendency of the other statements, as

by the Times as having said in the to this cause, in these notable debates, some of which I know to be false, and all proud of his own silk gown, than he

House, that “ he was much more of which, it seems, proceeded from the same The above statement trium

would have been of any silk gown the phantly answers this sweeping and gene

Chancellor could have bestowed on ral interrogatory.

him.” If a lawyer has any reason to “ Christian charity teaches me to be

be proud of a silk gown at all, it must lieve that this scandalous letter might be

be on the score of its being the mark written in ignorance; and to write so

of his real eminence in the law-and heart-rending a letter to the first Judge

if Mr D. seriously thinks the Common in the realm, without due inquiry into the Councilmen of London better judges, truth of that melancholy event which its in regard to such a matter, than Lord contents insinuate and allude to, was cul- Eldon, he assuredly has good reason pable in no ordinary degree ; but I hope to be a happy man. I wish him much there is not any man suffered to exercise joy of this new illustration of “ Laus the profession of a gentleman, who, if esi a laudatis laudari.conusant of the truth of the case, could

P. R.

office ?*

* In what is stated to be Mr J. William's specch, in the Times of the 5th of June, I find these words: " Jl the cases he should bring forward, and all the documents he had, were furnished by one single office;" and the learned member seems to have been peculiarly happy in the selection of his office.

excuse me.


No. VIII. TO THE EDITOR OF BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE. On the last Number of the Edinburgh Review, and Things in General. My Dear North, I wish you would of England, in any given time. There

In good faith, though I is a kind of assumption of universal earnestly «lesire to do all I cau for your knowledge, which is laughable enough Magazine, yet you are hunting me over in any dilletanti paragraphists. But hard, when you ask me to be the re- you wish me to take up a more ardugular perio.lical reviewer of the re- ous task-I must whip the cream off views—the mallet of the malleters. the whipt cream. I myself, I, not even There is something rather saucyish sheltered by the defensive armour of even in the reviews themselves pre- “We,” must, at your request, set mytending to get through, with the as- self up as a sort of Encyclopædia, a sistance of half-a-dozen hands, all the walking, stalking dictionary, de omni subjects discussed by all the intellects scibili. Six feet íour as I am, this is rather too much for my inches. How- trary to the wishes, and in opposition ever, I shall oblige you this time, to the croaking prophecies, of Whigthough, among other causes why I gery. Still more, it has weathered should wish to decline giving my opi- through the difficulties unavoidably innions on the last Number of Mr Jef- cidental to the gigantic contest in which frey's Review, this is a fine day, and I we were engaged, and prosperity, in the had my Joe Manton in prime order. shape of diminished taxation, surplus Credit me, though I like the sport cri- revenues, cheap provisions, increasing tical well enough, I prefer bagging sa- commerce, diffused comforts and luxe voury muir-fowl to bringing down such uries, and, to crown all, a contented vulture-beaked carrion as Brougham, populace, gladdens our eyes on every or parrots, as our fat friend, or tom-tits, hand. This, too, rankles in the hearts like Jeffrey the Great. But vogue la of the Whigs. They prophesied misery galere !-here I have taken pen in so far did they resemble Cassandra — hand, and shall fall foul of Blue and but, unlike the prophetess, the misery Yellow.

they called for bas not come. Hence the And a foul book it is--somewhere national exultation is their sorrow;about the basest effusion in some of its they are in mourning when we are in articles which has for a long time come joy. Long may they so continue! It from the fiction. Good heavens ! with is no wonder, therefore, if everything what a different set of minds I am now they write is tinged and tainted with grappling froin those which engaged this unhappy feeling; it is no wonder my attention last month! I pin not that they loathe the soldier who won my faith on the Quarterly Reviewers; his country's victories, the sailor who I acknowledge their affectations, and brushed her enemies from the deep, I scruple not to expose their bookselle and the statesmen who directed her ing humbug, or their occasional pueri- energies during danger and difficulty ; lities. But making every deduction it is no wonder that, in the writhings for these qualities that the most fas- of their woe, they curse the very sun tidious can think reasonable, what a for ripening our harvests, and the winds solid fund of honourable, true, hearty of heaven for wafting riches to our British feeling, remains behind! I pass shores. Whig feeling at present aptheir learning, their taste, their great pears to be something similar to that information-I speak only of their af- which dictated the wish of a wretched fection for the honour and glory of Radical fleeing to America, some poor England, for her happiness at home, creature, embittered by the demoniac and her character abroad. My heart writings of those whom Mr Hume swells with delight when I hear their calls in Parliament the most moral men praises and their defences of the glo, in the empire—“May every curse, rious institutions which have enabled said the unhappy man, as he stood us to lay claim to Goldsmith's compli- upon the deck, to take a last view of ment, which have given colour to his the white cliffs of the country of his boast, of our being lords of the human birth—“ may every curse which all race. But in the Northern Review the sects of England can devise, with what do I see? Talent occasionally, I their utmost ingenuity, fall in tenfold admit, though, of late, very rarely dis- bitterness on the accursed land which played, and never of a high or manly I am leaving !". There is not a Whig order ; but a spirit mean, malignant, in the Island who is not ready to reand fiendish-sneers at all that is sa- spond, Amen! cred, scoffs at all that is upright, ruf- Were I disposed to jest, I should fian howlings against all that is estab- attribute this uncomfortable sensation lished. A hungry discontent lours over to the empty state of the stomach, the every page—the chime of pinch-gutted grumbling of the lower guts, for the poverty rings in your ears in every sen- unfortunate devils have been long tence. Nothing is right, because the hankering in vain after the flesh-pots scribes and patrons of the declining of Egypt. But it is in truth no jestpamphlet have not the management of ing matter. What Doctor Johnson, in concerns. The plain truth is, that the his beautiful tribute to the memory of country has fought the good fight, Gilbert Walmesly, so truly and extrampled the demon of Jacobinism to pressively called “ the virulence and the ground, and extinguished the hopes malevolence of the Whig party,” apof anarchy and murder—and this con- pears to me to have become more rabid

and acrimonious of late-happily, I until my doubt is removed by compemay add, however, more powerless— tent authority, I shall not interfere in but yet there is many a Catiline among the matter.” I would be glad to know them, who deserves the close and ear- if this be not common sense. But it nest attention of those who are ringed is urged, that he is doing that which and banded in defence of the constitu- he ought to prevent—that he is spreadtion of the country.—But I am keep- ing the sale of injurious works-that ing too long away from the considera- he is allowing a rogue to plead on his tion of this individual Number of the own wrong, &c. &c. Now this is Edinburgh, while I am dilating on sheer, rascally cant, and nothing else the general tendency of all its Num- - partly the low cant of low law, bers.

shirking and shifting on technical We have then, to set out with, quibbles, and partly the cant of weak a paper four-and-thirty pages thick, morality-both equally contemptible. lamenting over the decisions of the The Chancellor is no criminal judge. Lord Chancellor in cases of infamous With the punishment of such books books when pirated. On this my opi- he has nothing to do; other officers nion has been long made up, and it was have to look to that; and his plain fully expressed in your Magazine, in and clear line of duty points out to reply to a something similar article in him, that he must not protect works the Quarterly of last year. This of unwortby of protection. But here the the Edinburgh is not so canting as ingenious special pleading hack of the that in its rival Review, but just as original publisher of the filth comes shallow and sophistical, when looked in with an argument, which I should at with the eye of common sense. The suppose is deemed quite unanswerable, two Reviewers had in fact different for it is urged at least fifty times in cards to play. He of the South want- this article.-"Why are not the books ed to sell Murray's bad books—the proved to be bad by the competent auNorthern had only for his object to thorities ? or, until so proved, presuabuse the Lord Chancellor. This ar med to be innocent ?” On the conduct ticle is written with all the hard ham- of the competent authorities, I shall mering technicality of a hired pleader, speak by and by-but here, I must and encumbered with all the pedantic say, that this, on the part of the pubsweeping of the lower courts. It is lisher, is the inost impudent of argualso most scientific in its distribution, ments. Here is a question of properhelping you to firstly, secondly, third- tyn-Mr A has invaded what belongs ly, lastly, and to conclude, in every to Mr B, and the law has pointed out second page.

I pass by the historical to Mr A what is his remedy. An acrubbish, which serves as balaam for tion is open to him, by which he can the introduction, and which any soli- deprive the pirate of the books he has citor's boy might have furnished at printed. The reviewer has quoted the sixpence a page of brief paper, and very act, authorizing the proceeding, shall say a few words on the real in p. 282. From motives of convenimerits of the question, which may be ence, however, he prefers claiming the discussed pro and con in almost as assistance of Chancery; he must, theremany sentences as this relentless fore, submit to have the nature of his scribbler has wasted pages. Let us property decided by the single breast look at the affair as it practically of the Chancery judge. That breast stands. A bookseller publishes an im- may be in error-it is the common lot proper work, which is immediately pi- of humanity, (though in the cases comrated by some unprincipled fellow, for plained of there has been no error,) but I certainly shall not say anything in there exists a method by which the favour of the morality of the Benbow complainant may appear with a direct and Dugdale school. On this he applies certainty of removing any doubt which to the Chancellor, to interfere to pro- may arise in the Chancellor's mind tect his property by injunction, and the I allude to the very simple plan of Chancellor refuses, on the ground that coming into his court fortified by the no man can have property in a nuisance. much panegyrized verdict of a jury in “ Shew me,” says my Lord Eldon, his favour. He omits to do this, and the " that your book is entitled to my very omission brings him forward in a protection, and it shall have it. I suspicious character. Let Mr Murray think that it is not so entitled, and, prosecute Mr Benbow, get his penny


a-sheet damages, confiscate the pirated principles of the law of England, becopies, and then, when he has obtained cause he will not protect the property common-law revenge against his bro- of lewd, irreligious, blasphemous li. ther bookseller, when the ordinary ju- bels-because, in their own words, he risdiction has pronounced him possess- does that the effect of which is to sufed of defensible property, come into fer“ a Hone, or a Benbow, to be arthe court of final appeal to demand its rayed in the spoils of a Moore and a extraordinary protection against all pi. Byron !" rates whatever. But Mr Murray well Not being an English lawyer, I do knows, that no twelve men, on their not mean to enter the lists with Mr oaths, would declare Don Juan any- Brougham as to the technicalities of thing but a nuisance, and therefore his trade. But I shall just mention very wisely keeps away from their de- in a single sentence, why I conceive cision. It'is found much easier to get the whole of the argument in this writhack-fellows about Albemarle Street ten pleading of his to be founded on to sully the Quarterly with stuff abu- a palpable fallacy. The argument, sing the Chancellor, which, out of ha- the only thing that can aspire to the tred to Lord Eldon, is echoed by name of an argument, is—that injuncBrougham from the Mount of Procla- tions are granted, in cases of patents, mation.

before the property of the patent is In truth, the whole article is evident- ascertained in a court of law; and ly enough the product of the same feel that, therefore, injunctions should at ings which have of late inspired that once be granted in the case of books, gentleman, and some other barristers leaving the question of property, or of inferior ability, to so many exer- not property, to be subsequently distions of a similar tendency. The Chan- cussed in a court of law, and settled cellor is, without doubt, the greatest by the voice of a jury. Now, I just lawyer now in the world-he is, even ask, is this the course that has been the Whigs admit, as upright a judge adopted, or that would be adopted, in as ever adorned the Bench of England regard to a patent poison? If so, then -he is a Tory--he is a member of a Lord Eldon is wrong; if not so, he is Tory Administration-he stands, both right; and Lawyer Brougham's thirty in his judicial and in his ministerial pages have been dearly paid for, if he capacity, as high as any man can do: got ten guineas a-sheet for them. What wonder, then, that his name As for the other attempt at an arshould be gall, and his glory worm- gument, viz.—“ Chancellors, in for. wood, to the Whigs? They look at mer days, protected by their injuncLord Erskine, and they-yes, even tions the property of Pope's Dunciad, they-blush. They cannot away with Swift's Miscellanies, * &c. &c.; there this unapproached and unquestioned fore the present Chancellor should also eminence. They cannot endure the protect the property of Cain, and Don spectacle of this Tory greatness, and Juan, and Tommy Little:”-As for they abuse the man! It is all as it this, I confess, I make very little of it. should be.

Were former Chancellors in the habit The Morning Chronicle openly and of granting injunctions to protect hooks, boldly attacks the Chancellor for not the libellous tendency of which was giving Mr Henry Brougham a silk- known to, or laid before them? This gown. This topic is not touched upon is the real and the only question. in the Edinburgh Review ; but the “ Is it not intolerable, however,” Edinburgh Review, immediately after say the Anti-Cancellarii, “ that you the appearance of the series of papers should suffer works, which you yourupon this topic, puffs the Morning selves declaim against as infamous, to Chronicle as the most “ liberal and be circulated with the most unredecorous” of journals; and inserts an strained freedom?” This, I own, is article, the object of which is to con- the practical question ; but the Chanvince the world, that the Chancellor cellor has nothing whatever to do with is profoundly ignorant of the first it. Here his Majesty's Attorney-Ge

* By the way, the reader will be amused with finding the assertion, that the Dunciad was “one series of libels,” in the same number with all these fine diatribes about the novel origin of libelling. But let that pass.

neral steps in, and we must ask him their pens in any cause at the comto justify his conduct, as he can most mand of the highest bidder. Now, easily do. How rejoiced would be the sir,when wealthy booksellers are frightWhigs, if they could clamour him into ened away, by the certainty that such commencing a crusade against the property is incapable of being protectpress! Wisely, most wisely, does he ed, this ungodly source of traffic is cut keep from it, being taught by the re- off. Murray gave L.1000 for the first sult of the cases against Hone, that two cantos of Don Juan-if Hunt gave an appearance of persecution suffices L.100 for the three last, it is as much to sell trash the most stupid, blasphe- as he could have afforded. This is of mous, and ill-intended, and to supply itself a consummation devoutly to be the ever-watchful enemies of minis- wished. Let us not be afraid, that ters with sounding common-places in the little possible extra damage done defence of the liberty of the press, to public morals by the increased difwhich, after all, these noisy declaim- fusion of the one, two, or three pirated ers tremble before and detest. I am works, will counterbalance the good rejoiced at this determination of our done by the establishment of the great rulers. Never, never was I afraid of principle. Besides, I doubt the fact our being able to defeat the foes of of the great increase of the diffu-, religion and order at their own wea- sion. Two and two in trade as often pons-of being fully powerful enough make one as they make four. In the to put them down by the pen ; and hands of a rich, powerful, and fashionaccordingly I never shall call for the able bookseller, five or six editions arm of power to aid us. As I have of- would be put off among the trade or ten said before, give us a clear stage- the gentry, by his exertions and those let us expose the fallacy of the argu- of his friends; while the pirate, who ments, the villainy of the writers, the prints but for the canaille, depends stupidity of the compositions, the pro- only on the first burst of feverish cufligacy of the lives of the liberales, and riosity, which is soon cooled, when the I warrant, that no man worth retain- rabble find that the books pirated are ing will fail to be shocked by the hi- not destined for their palates. Such deousness of the picture, or will hcsi- has been notoriously the case with the tate to depart from their banners. See Don; but, at all events, the cry in what we ourselves have done for the behalf of public morals comes admiraCockneys—see what, I am sorry to bly from the publishers of books to say, Lord Byron is doing for himself, which they are ashamed to put their and pluck up your heart, comforting names, and from writers in the Edinit with the assurance, that merry old burgh Review. Of one thing I can England is not yet destined to be venture to assure these persons, that yielded to the dominion of the devil. the way in which these works come

The real effect of the Chancellor's before the public neutralizes them very decrees, is, as this Reviewer well much. They are graced neither by knows, to keep out of the market books the persecution of the great, or the pufof clever wickedness. Most truly does fery of the cultivated. Nay, the very he say, (p. 305,) “ Fame is good as apathy and indifference of the head of garnish, but something more is re- the ministry deprives them of much quired.” Sorry should I be indeed to factitious piquancy. The cool conthink that money is the sole stimu- tempt with which Lord Eldon perlant of genius, or to imagine for a mo- mits the circulation of poems libelling ment that Paradise Lost, or Hamlet, his government, and decrying the sysay, or Childe Harold, was called into tem of which he is one of the most being by any such paltry considera- able supports, communicates itself intion. But I do think, that, when a sensibly to their readers, and they, man's mind becomes so debauched as who would have looked on them as to compose, in cold blood, corrupting most decisive knockdown blows to his and unmanly works, gain is a griater authority, if he had let loose the Atstimulant than any wretched fame torney-General against them, now conwhich they may confer; and that the sider them us mere bagatelles, which example of a highly paid and success- ministers are very right in not mindful profligate of genius must operate ing. as an encouragement on the mercenary Has any one ventured to say a word in crew, who are always ready to enlist favour of the individual book clamour

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »