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trompoit pas, et depuis bien des années Elizabeth en portoit une en effet dans son caur."
On the appointed morning, love was alert--but filial piety was still more alert than love. Elizabeth arrived first at the rendezvous ;-but we purposely tantalize the reader by here bringing our account to a period ;-if he has found it interesting, let him peruse that of Madame Cottin. The work retains its excellence to the end. The plot is extremely simple, as, in so short a composition it ought to be; no strong stimulatives; no diableries; no miraculous encounters and escapes. The back ground, too, is very judiciously managed. An inferiour writer might have been seduced to render too prominent the effects produced on the mind of Elizabeth by the new scenes of the south. We are inclined to think that our author has made enough of them.
The only extract we shall add, is one that can hardly suffer by being detached from the narrative. It is a passage of pure description, and affords a good specimen of the descriptive powers frequently displayed in this work. We believe it also to have the merit of accuracy ; but we have nothing with which we can compare it, excepting very general recollections.
For two months Elizabeth went every Sunday to Saimka, with the hope of seeing Smoloff, but in vain. He appeared not; and at last she was informed that he had left Tobolskow. All her hopes then vanished. She no longer doubted but that Smoloff had entirely forgotten her, and frequently shed tears of the bitterest sorrow at the thought; but for which the most punctilious dignity could not have reproached her. They were not a tribute to unregarded love.
It was now towards the end of April. The snow began to melt, and a verdant shade to diffuse itself over the sandy banks of the lake. The white blossoms of the thorn thickly covered its boughs, resembling flakes of new-fallen snow, while the blue. budded campanella, the downy moth-wort, and the iris, whose pointed leaves rise perpendicularly, enameled the ground around its roots. The black birds descended in flocks on the naked trees, and were the first to interrupt the mournful silence of winter. Already, upon the banks of the river, and sometimes on its surface, sported the beautiful mallard of Persia, of a bright flame colour, with a tufted head and ebony beak, who utters the most piercing cries when aimed at by the gunner, al. though his aim misses; and woodcocks of various species, some black with yellow beaks, others speckled with feathery rings round their necks, ran swiftly on the marshy grounds, or hid themselves among the rushes. Every symptom, in fine, announced an early spring; and Elizabeth, foreseeing all she should lose, if she suffered a year so favourable for her expedition to pass by, formed the desperate resolution of undertaking it unaided, trusting for its success to Heaven and her own firmness. p. 104-107.
Mais qui en est le but ? This is the cold question with which criticism usually brings up the rear of its array. To require a moral in an epic poem, seems now considered as high critical immorality; and the same doctrine should, in fairness, be extended to all fictitious narrative. Not that the morality of a publication is of trifling moment, but it is too much to confine a long one to the illustration of some single ethical position, redu. cible into a terse and emphatick sentence. The innocent objects of written composition are various, and a work of fancy is entitled to the same latitude of choice as the rest. Its author may have conceived some great and heroick character, and may be fired with the wish to personify his conception ; he may have been interested by the recorded state of manners in some distant age or country, and may embody his impressions in writing ; he may wish merely to spend on something tangible the redundance of his genius or his feelings, to reduce to consistence a thousand volant images
“ Of love and beauty, and poetick joy
And inspirationVOL. I.
which have hovered around him at favoured moments; to fix the fleeting colours of imagination and prolong the life of transient emotions; perhaps he may be content with the soberer purpose of diffusing useful information through an agreeable channel. The action, indeed, of his piece must be one ; and it is possible that the whole of this one action may terminate in the exclusive illustration of one moral sentiment; but it is equally possible, and more likely, that it will illustrate two or twenty. These two or twenty we may indeed generalize into one ; for there are no two propositions on earth, which this same art of generalization cannot in some way compound; but where is the advantage of a compound, which must be repulverized be: fore it can be turned to any account?
The moral effect of a work ought, perhaps, to be the same with its moral; but it is not always so; and, under correction, it forms a far more important object of inquiry. The professed moral of Pamela is “ Virtue rewarded.” Every reader, however, must admil, that the intended effect of the novel is not so much to make women virtuous for the sake of reward (though this may be one object) as to make them in love with the virtue of the heroine, and to excite in them that desire of imitating it, which would live and act, not only in the prospect of reward, but in the very face of pu. nishment. So distinguishable is the tendency of a work from the pithy little adage which may conclude it, that nothing is more conceivable than a most immoral work with a most excellent moral. Novels of this description we have all heard of; and too many of us have read.
This sentiment, that virtue must and will be rewarded, is frequently repeated in Elizabeth ; and occasionally, though in enthusiastick moments, in language unwarrantably bold. Now, we are fond of poetical justice; among other reasons, because, like every thing else in poetry, it is an improved resemblance of nature. But indeed, though this may be the moral of Madame Cottin's story, it forms a very slight addition to its moral effect, Such excellence as that of our heroine must equally touch and affect every impressible mind, whether it is prosperous or unfortunate, whether it illuminates a sphere of rank and fortune, or withers and dies on the banks of the Irtish. We may add, that the finely pensive remarks in the last page of the book are not exactly in unison with the sentiment before noticed. Here the author professes to speak from painful experience. The moral merit of Elizabeth consists in its general tendency; and this is to excite the fair reader to imitate the example set forth befor her, of piety, resig. nation, filial duty, and virtuous resolution. These excellences are surely not so common, but that they may admit of a somewhat further diffusion. Neither is it necessary that, to improve by the model of a particular character, we should be placed in circumstances exactly or nearly the same, or that we should have the opportunity of exerting exactly the same qualities. There is a near alliance between goodness and goodness; and it is much to have our minds intent on the general idea of what is elevated. While multitudes around us live for little else but themselves, it is much to be told of those who can live for others. It is much that those immersed in dissipation and folly, should be made to hear of characters supposed to be formed on a higher standard ; and not only to hear, but to love them; to think of them, to dream of them. Example itself is contagious, and
“ A good man seen, though silent, counsel gives." In these views, the merits of such a novel as this are considerable. Happy, if a tenth part of the lumber which is honoured with the name, could be honoured with a tenth part of the encomium.
TROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW. Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, Governour of Nottingham Castle and
Town, Representative of the County of Nottingham, in the long Parliament, and of the Town of Nottingham in the first Parliament of Charles II. &c. with Original Anecdotes of many of the most distinguished of his Contemporaries; and a Summary Review of publick Affairs, written by his Widow, Lucy, Daughter of Sir Allen Apsley, Lieutenant of the Tower, &c. now first published from the original Manuscript, by the Rev. Julius Hutchinson, &c. &c. To which is prefixed, the Life of Mrs. Hutchinson, written by herself, a Fragment. pp. 446. quarto. London. 1806.
WE have not often met with any thing more interesting and curious than this volume. Independent of its being a contemporary narrative of by far the most animating and important part of our history, it challenges our attention as containing an accurate and luminous account of military and political affairs, from the hand of a woman; as exhibiting the most liberal and enlightened sentiments in the person of a puritan; and sustaining a high tone of aristocratical dignity and pretension, though the work of a decided republican. The views which it opens into the character of the writer, and the manners of the age, will be to many a still more powerful attraction.
Of the times to which this narrative belongs--times to which England owes all her freedom and all her glory--we can never hear too much, or too often. And though their story has been transmitted to us both with more fulness of detail and more vivacity of colouring than any other portion of our annals, every reflecting reader must be aware that our information is still extremely defective, and exposes us to the hazard of great misconception. The work before us, we think, is calculated in a good degree to supply these deficiencies, and to rectify these errours.
By far the most important part of history, is that which makes us acquainted with the character, dispositions, and opinions of the great and efficient po. pulation by whose motion or consent all things are ultimately governed. After a nation has attained to any degree of intelligence, every other principle of ac. action becomes subordinate ; and, with relation to our own country in particular, it may be said with safety, that we can know nothing of its past history, or of the applications of that history to more recent transactions, if we have not a tolerably correct notion of the character of the people of England in the reign of Charles I. and the momentous periods which ensued. This character depended very much on that of the landed proprietors, and resi. dent gentry; and Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs are chiefly valuable, as containing a picture of that class of the community.
Agriculture was at this period still the chief occupation of the people ; and the form of the society was consequently that of a rustick aristocracy. The country gentlemen, who have since been worn down by luxury and taxation, superseded by the activity of office, and eclipsed by the opulence of trade, were then all in all in England; and the nation at large derived from them its habits, prejudices, and opinions. Educated almost entirely at home, their manners were not yet accommodated to a general, European standard, but retained all those national peculiarities which united and endeared them to the rest of their countrymen. Constitutionally serious, and living much with their families, they had in general more solid learning and more steady morality than the gentry of other countries. Exercised in local magistracies, and frequently assembled for purposes of national cooperation, they became conscious of their power, and jealous of their privile. ges: and having been trained up in a dread and detestation of that popery
which had been the recent cause of so many wars and persecutions, their religious sentiments had contracted somewhat of an austere and polemical character, and had not yet settled from the ferment of reformation into tranquil and regulated piety. It was upon this side, accordingly, that they were most liable to errour. And the extravagances into which a great part of them was actually betrayed, have been the chief cause of the misrepresentations to which they were then exposed, and of the misconception which still prevails as to their character and principles of action.
In the middle of the reign of Charles I. almost the whole nation was seri. ous and devout. The license and excess which is in some degree in. separable from a state of war, fell chiefly upon the royalists; who made it a point of duty, indeed, to deride the sanctity and rigid morality of their opponents. And they again exaggerated, out of party hatred, the peculiarities by which they were most obviously distinguished from their antagonists. Thus mutually receding from each other, from feelings of general hostility, they were gradually led to realize the imputations of which they were reciprocally the subjects. The cavaliers gave way to a certain degree of licentiousness; and the adherents of the parliament became, for the most part, really morose and enthusiastick. At the restora. tion, the cavaliers obtained a complete and final triumph over their sancti. monious opponents; and the exiled monarch and his nobles, imported from the continent a taste for dissipation, and a toleration for debauchery, far exceeding any thing that had previously been known in England. It is from the wits of that court, however, and the writers of that party, that the succeeding and the present age have derived their notions of the puritans. In reducing these notions to the standard of truth, it is not easy to determine how large an allowance ought to be made for the exaggerations of party hatred, the perversions of witty malice, and the illusions of habi. tual superiority. It is certain, however, that ridicule, toleration, and luxury, gradually annihilated the puritans in the higher ranks of society; and after-umes, seeing their practices and principles exemplified only among the lowest and most illiterate of mankind, readily caught the tone of contempt which had been assumed by their triumphant enemies; and found no absurdity in believing that the base and contemptible beings who were described under the name of puritans by the courtiers of Charles II. were true representatives of that valiant and conscientious party which once numbered half the gentry of England among its votaries and adherents.
That the popular conceptions of the austerities and absurdities of the old Roundheads and Presbyterians are greatly exaggerated, will probably be allowed by every one at all conversant with the subject. But we know of nothing so well calculated to dissipate the existing prejudices on the subject as this book of Mrs. Hutchinson. Instead of a set of gloomy bigots waging war with all the elegances and gayeties of life, we find, in this calumni. ated order, ladies of the first birth and fashion, at once converting their husbands ta anabaptism, and instructing their children in musick and dancing. Valiant presbyterian colonels refuting the errours of Arminius, collecting pictures, and practising, with great applause, on the violin. Stout esquires, at the sane time, praying and quaffing October with their Godly tenants ; and noble lords disputing with their chaplains on points of thcology in the evening, and taking them out a hunting in the morning. There is nothing, in short, more curious and instructive, than the glimpses which we here catch of the old, hospitable, and orderly life of the country gentlemen of
England, in those days when the national character was so high and so peculiar; when civilisation had produced all its effect but that of corruption; and, when serious studies and dignified pursuits had not yet been abandoned to a paltry and effeminate derision. Undoubtedly, in reviewing the annals of those times, we are struck with a loftier air of manhood than presents itself in any after era ; and recognise the same characters of deep thought and steady enthusiasm, and the same principles of fidelity and selfcommand which ennobled the better days of the Roman republick, and have made every thing else appear childish and frivolous in the comparison.
One of the most striking and valuable things in Mrs. Hutchinson's performance, is the information which it affords us as to the manners and condition of women in the period with which she is occupied. This is a point in which all histories of publick events are almost necessarily defective; though it is evident that, without attending to it, our notions of the state and character of any people must be extremely imperfect and erroneous. Mrs. Hutchinson, however, enters into no formal disquisition upon this subject. What we learn from her in relation to it, is learnt incidentally -partly on occasion of some anecdotes which it falls in her way to recite but chiefly from what she is led to narrate or disclose as to her own edu. cation, conduct, or opinions. If it were allowable to take the portrait which she has thus indirectly finished of herself as a just representation of her fair contemporaries, we should form a most exalted notion of the republican matrons of England. Making a slight deduction for a few traits of austerity, borrowed from the bigotry of the age, we do not know where to look for a more noble and engaging character than that under which this lady presents herself to her readers ; nor do we believe that any age of the world has produced so worthy a counterpart to the Valerias and Portias of antiquity. With a highminded feeling of patriotism and publick honour, she seems to have been possessed by the most dutiful and devoted atlach. ment to her husband; and to have combined a taste for learning and the arts with the most active kindness and munificent hospitality to all who came within the sphere of her bounty. To a quick perception of character, she appears to have united a masculine force of understanding, and a singular capacity for affairs ; and to have possessed and exercised all those talents, without affecting any superiority over the rest of her sex, or aban. doning for a single instant the delicacy and reserve which were then its most indispensable ornaments. Education, certainly, is far more generally diffused in our days, and accomplishments infinitely more common; but the perusal of this volume has taught us to doubt whether the better sort of women were not fashioned of old by a better and more exalted standard, and whether the most eminent female of the present day would not appear to disadvantage by the side of Mrs. Hutchinson. There is, for the most part, something intriguing and profligate, and theatrical in the clever women of this generation. And if we are dazzled by their brilliancy, and delighted with their talent, we can scarcely ever guard against some distrust of their judgment, or some suspicion of their purity. There is something in the domestick virtue and the calm and commanding mind of our English matron, that makes the Corinnes and Heloises appe very small and insignificant.
The admirers of modern talent will not accuse us of choosing an ignoble competitor, if we desire them to weigh the merits of Mrs. Hutchinson against those of Madame Roland. The English revolutionist did not, indeed, compose weekly pamphlets and addresses to the municipalities; because it was not the fashion, in her days, to print every thing that entered