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highest degree inexpedient to abolish the Church, either of England or of Scotland.
But if there were, in any part of the world, a national church regarded as heretical by four fifths of the nation committed to its care, a church established and maintained by the sword, a church producing twice as many riots as conversions, a church which, though possessing great wealth and power, and though long backed by persecuting laws, had, in the course of many generations, been found unable to propagate its doctrines, and barely able to maintain its ground, a church so odious, that fraud and violence, when used against its clear rights of property, were generally regarded as fair play, a church, whose ministers were preaching to desolate walls, and with difficulty obtaining their lawful subsistence by the help of bayonets, such a church, on our principles, could not, we must own, be defended. We should say that the state which allied itself with such a church postponed the primary end of government to the secondary; and that the consequences had been such as any sagacious observer would have predicted. Neither the primary nor the secondary end is attained. The temporal and spiritual interests of the people suffer alike. The minds of men, instead of being drawn to the church are alienated from the state. The magistrate, after sacrificing order, peace, union, all the interests which it is his first duty to protect, for the purpose of promoting pure religion, is forced, after the experience of centuries, to admit that he has really been promoting error. The sounder the doctrines of such a church, the more absurd and noxious the superstition by which those doctrines are opposed, the stronger are the arguments against the policy which has deprived a good cause of its natural advantages. Those who preach to rulers the duty of employing power to propagate truth would do
for himurther than the
well to remember that falsehood, though no match for truth alone, has often been found more than a match for truth and power together.
A statesman, judging on our principles, would pronounce without hesitation that a church, such as we have last described, never ought to have been set up. Further than this we will not venture to speak for him. He would doubtless remember that the world is full of institutions which, though they never ought to have been set up, yet, having been set up, ought not to be rudely pulled down; and that it is often wise in practice to be content with the mitigation of an abuse which, looking at it in the abstract, we might feel impatient to destroy.
We have done; and nothing remains but that we part from Mr. Gladstone with the courtesy of an. tagonists who bear no malice. We dissent from his opinions, but we admire his talents; we respect his integrity and benevolence; and we hope that he will not suffer political avocations so entirely to engross him, as to leave him no leisure for literature and philosophy.
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE. (OCTOBER, 1838.)
Memoirs of the Life, Works, and Correspondence of Sir
William Temple. By the Right Hon. THOMAS PEREGRINE COURTENAY. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1836.
MR. COURTENAY has long been well known to politicians as an industrious and useful official man, and as an upright and consistent member of Parliament. He has been one of the most moderate, and, at the same time, one of the least pliant members of the Conservative party. His conduct has, indeed, on some questions, been so Whiggish, that both those who applauded and those who condemned it have questioned his claim to be considered as a Tory. But his Toryism, such as it is, he has held fast through all changes of fortune and fashion; and he has at last retired from public life, leaving behind him, to the best of our belief, no personal enemy, and carrying with him the respect and good will of many who strongly dissent from his opinions.
This book, the fruit of Mr. Courtenay's leisure, is introduced by a preface in which he informs us that the assistance furnished to him from various quarters “has taught him the superiority of literature to politics for developing the kindlier feelings, and conducing to an agreeable life.” We are truly glad that Mr. Courtenay is so well satisfied with his new employment, and we heartily congratulate him on having been driven by events to make an exchange which, advantageous as it is, few people make while they can avoid it. He has little reason, in our opinion, to envy any of those who are still engaged in a pursuit from which, at most, they can only expect that, by relinquishing liberal studies and social pleasures, by passing nights without sleep and summers without one glimpse of the beauty of nature, they may attain that laborious, that invidious, that closely watched slavery which is mocked with the name of power.
The volumes before us are fairly entitled to the praise of diligence, care, good sense, and impartiality; and these qualities are sufficient to make a book valuable, but not quite sufficient to make it readable. Mr. Courtenay has not sufficiently studied the arts of selection and compression. The information with which he furnishes us, must still, we apprehend, be considered as so much raw material. To manufacturers it will be highly useful; but it is not yet in such a form that it can be enjoyed by the idle consumer. To drop metaphor, we are afraid that this work will be less acceptable to those who read for the sake of reading, than to those who read in order to write.
"We cannot help adding, though we are extremely unwilling to quarrel with Mr. Courtenay about politics, that the book would not be at all the worse if it contained fewer snarls against the Whigs of the present day. Not only are these passages out of place in a historical work, but some of them are intrinsically such that they would become the editor of a thirdrate party newspaper better than a gentleman of Mr. Courtenay's talents and knowledge. For example, we are told that “it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to those who are acquainted with history, but suppressed by the new Whigs, that the liberal politicians of the seventeenth century and the greater part of the eighteenth, never extended their liberality to the native Irish, or the professors of the ancient religion.” What schoolboy of fourteen is ignorant of this remarkable circumstance? What Whig, new or old, was ever such an idiot as to think that it could be suppressed? Really we might as well say that it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to people well read in history, but carefully suppressed by the Clergy of the Established Church, that in the fifteenth century England was in communion with Rome. We are tempted to make some remarks on another passage, which seems to be the peroration of a speech intended to have been spoken against the Reform Bill: but we forbear.
We doubt whether it will be found that the memory of Sir William Temple owes much to Mr. Courtenay's researches. Temple is one of those men whom the world has agreed to praise highly without knowing much about them, and who are therefore more likely to lose than to gain by a close examination. Yet he is not without fair pretensions to the most honourable place among the statesmen of his time. A few of them equalled or surpassed him in talents; but they were men of no good repute for honesty. A few may be named whose patriotism was purer, nobler, and more disinterested than his; but they were men of no eminent ability. Morally, he was above Shaftesbury; intellectually, he was above Russell.
To say of a man that he occupied a high position in times of misgovernment, of corruption, of civil and religious faction, that nevertheless he contracted no great stain and bore no part in any great crime, that he won the esteem of a profligate Court and of a turbulent people, without being guilty of any dis