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LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
AND NEW YORK
The author of these Essays is so sensible of their defects that he has repeatedly refused to let them appear in a form which might seem to indicate that he thought them worthy of a permanent place in English literature. Nor would he now give his consent to the republication of pieces so imperfect, if, by withholding his consent, he could make republication impossible. But, as they have been reprinted more than once in the United States, as many American copies have been imported into this country, and as a still larger importation is expected, he conceives that he cannot, in justice to the publishers of the Edinburgh Review, longer object to a measure which they consider as necessary to the protection of their rights, and that he cannot be accused of presumption for wishing that his writings, if they are read, may be read in an edition freed at least from errors of the press and from slips of the pen.
This volume contains the Reviews which have been reprinted in the United States, with a very few exceptions, which the most partial reader will not regret
The author has been strongly urged to insert three papers on the Utilitarian Philosophy, which, when they first appeared, attracted some notice but which are not in the American editions. He has how. ever determined to omit these papers, not because he is disposed to retract a single doctrine which they contain ; but because he is unwilling to offer what might be regarded as an affront to the memory of one from whose opinions he still widely dissents, but to whose talents and virtues he admits that he formerly did not do justice. Serious as are the faults of the Essay on Government, a critic, while noticing those faults, should have abstained from using contemptuous language respecting the historian of British India. It ought to be known that Mr. Mill had the generosity, not only to forgive, but to forget the unbecoming acrimony with which he had been assailed, and was, when his valuable life closed, on terms of :ordial friendship with his assailant.
No attempt has been made to remodel any of the pieces which are contained in this volume. Even the criticism on Milton, which was written when the author was fresh from college, and which contains scarcely a paragraph such as his matured judgment approves, still remains overloaded with gaudy and ungraceful ornament. The blemishes which have been removed were, for the most part, blemishes caused by unavoidable haste. The author has sometimes, like other contributors to periodical works, been under the necessity of writing at a distance from all books and from all advisers ; of trusting to his memory for facts, dates, and quotations ; and of sending manuscripts to the post without reading them over. What he has composed thus rapidly has often been as rapidly printed. His object has been that every Essay should now appear as it probably would have appeared when it was first published, if he had then been allowed an additional day or two to revise the proof-sheets, with the assistance of a good library.
WAR OF THE SUCCESSION IN SPAIN
WILLIAM PITT, EARL OF CHATHAM
SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE
GLADSTONE ON CHURCH AND STATE
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF ADDISON
THE EARL OF CHATHAM
FREDERIC THE GREAT
LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME
CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL ESSAYS
THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.
MILTON. (AUGUST, 1825.) Joannis Miltoni, Angli, de Doctrina Christianâ libri duo posthumi. A Treatise on
Christian Doctrine, compiled from the Holy Scriptures alone. By John MILTON,
translated from the Original by Charles R. Sumner, M.A., &c. &c. 1825. Towards the close of the year 1823, Mr Lemon, deputy-keeper of the state papers, in the course of his researches among the presses of his office, met with a large Latin manuscript. With it were found corrected copies of the foreign despatches written by Milton, while he filled the office of Secretary, and several papers relating co the Popish trials and the Rye-house Plot. The whole was wrapped up in an envelope, superscribed To Mr Skinner, Merchant. On examination, the large manuscript proved to be the long lost Essay on the Doctrines of Christianity, which, according to Wood and Toland, Milton finished after the Restoration, and deposited with Cyriac Skinner. Skinner, it is well known, held the same political opinions with his illustrious friend. It is therefore probable, as Mr Lemon conjectures, that he may have fallen under the suspicions of the government during that persecution of the Whigs which followed the dissolution of the Oxford parliament, and that, in consequence of a general seizure of his papers, this work may have been brought to the office in which it has been found. But whatever the adventures of the manuscript may have been, no doubt can exist that it is a genuine relic of the great poet.
Mr Sumner, who was commanded by his Majesty to edite and translate the treatise, has acquitted himself of his task in a manner honourable to his talents and to his character. His version is not indeed very easy or elegant ; but it is entitled to the praise of clearness and fidelity. His notes abound with interesting quotations, and have the rare merit of really elucidating the text. The preface is evidently the work of a sensible and candid man, firm in his own religious opinions, and tolerant towards those of others.
The book itself will not add much to the fame of Milton. It is, like all his Latin works, well written, though not exactly in the style of the prize essays of Oxford and Cambridge. There is no elaborate imitation of classical antiquity, no scrupulous purity, none of the ceremonial cleanness which characterizes the diction of our academical Pharisees. The author does not attempt to polish and brighten his composition into the Ciceronian gloss and brilliancy." He does not, in short, sacrifice sense and spirit to pedantic re. finements. The nature of his subject compelled him to use many words
“That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.” But he writes with as much ease and freedom as if Latin were his mother tongue ; and, where he is least happy, his failure seems to arise from the carelessness of a native, not from the ignorance of a foreigner. We may