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of the age remind us of the humors of a gang of footpads, revelling with their favorite beauties at a flash-house. In the fashionable libertinism, there is a hard, cold ferocity, an impudence, a lowness, a dirtiness, which can be paralleled only among the heroes and heroines of that filthy and heartless literature which encouraged it.” Macaulay, likewise, is honest beyond most English writers in his view of the revolution which dethroned Charles I. ; and points out the inconsistencies of that class of religionists and politicians who, “on the fifth of November, thank God for wonderfully conducting his servant King William, and for making all opposition fall before him until he became our king and governor — and on the thirtieth of January contrive to be afraid that the blood of the royal martyr may be visited on themselves and children.” Indeed, he always brings to the task of commenting on the history of his own country, a comprehensiveness of view, a freedom from prejudice, a love for free principles, and a picturesqueness and energy of diction, which make his historical essays among the most fascinating of compositions. Yet, with all his fondness for speculative truth, with all his deep sense and detestation of injustice and corruption, with all his fine perception of the harmonious and true in literature and laws, there is hardly any statesman more thoroughly practical than Macaulay. He can sympathize with the great works of imagination, and his rhetoric revels in their praise and illustration; but he sympathizes with them merely as works of imagination, and he carries but few of his idealities into his view of actual life and established government. He tolerates no writer whose sensibility and imagination are predominant in discussing questions of national policy, of finance, manufactures, commerce or laws; he allows the introduction of no Utopias into the living, breathing, sinning world of Fact. No mercy is shown to those who treat government as a fine art, and “judge of it as they would of a statue or picture;” and the mental constitution of political philosophers, who erect theories out of materials furnished from other sources than reason and observation, is analyzed with unrivalled dexterity and discrimination. All rant about the rights of man, all whining and whimpering about the clashing interests of body and soul, are treated with haughty scorn, or made the butt of contemptuous ridicule. Society is viewed as it is, and principles accommodated to the existing state of things. No man is denounced for acting or thinking in the sixteenth century what the sixteenth century acted and thought, or attacked because he did not accommodate his conduct to the principles of the nineteenth. To the discussion of all practical questions, he brings a practical logic, and an experience grounded on observation of the actual world. He would belong to that party which is just enough in advance of the age to be useful to it. But if he has little respect for impracticable theories of freedom, neither will he hold any terms with theoretical advocates or apologists of oppression. After scattering all arguments for a political institution, he often opposes its demolition, from expediency. He never allows the majesty of reason to be insulted with the thin sophisms used in palliation or defence of political and social abuses; but he is too little of an idealist in politics to suppose that, because those abuses are unfounded in reason, they are necessarily and altogether pernicious, and should be immediately overthrown. His enthusiasm and imagination march in the train of his understanding, and never lead when they should follow. After so wide a survey of Macaulay's merits, it is no more than proper to add some few remarks on his faults and deficiencies. These are few or many, as different tastes may decide. His marked mannerism of style would offend some ; while 9thers would bring against him the charge of being too much of the earth, earthy. Many might object to him, that his incessant brilliancy sometimes fatigues in the limits of an essay, and would be as intolerable as dulness itself in a volume; that, in attempting to give vividness to his diction, he is often overstrained and extravagant, and that his epigrammatic style seems better fitted for the glitter of paradox than the sober guise of truth; that he manifests too much dogmatism and superciliousness in discussion, and that propositions which lie across the path of his argument are too frequently disposed of by assertion instead of reasoning; that, with all his skill in dialectics, there are occasions in which he betrays a lack of logical honesty, and takes “truisms for his premises and paradox for his conclusion;” that too much of the inspiration of his wit comes from scorn and contempt, and is little restrained by kindliness of temper; that high philosophy and religion, in his writings, are rather considered as subjects for curious investigation, than as guides to life; that, with all his vehemence and intellectual hardihood in the cause of liberty, and the deep-toned passion with which he denounces tyranny and its corruptions, there is still little which shows a disposition to shed blood as well as ink in defence of free principles; that, with considerable power in painting martyrdom in alluring colors, and with a high respect for those who bravely meet without fanatically seeking it, he is still not the man whom we might ever expect to see at the stake, or to behold starving on freedom; that, as an essayist and critic, he has not the benignity of disposition, the quiet tenderness, the calm beauty, of Talfourd, nor the intense brooding spirit, the inwardness, the “solemn agony,” of Carlyle; all these, and many more objections, might be brought against Macaulay, -some of them true, some overstated, some unimportant, and none which should overbalance his claims to high rank among contemporary authors. The truth of the matter is, that the prominent characteristic of Macaulay's writings, and the source both of his merits and defects, may be comprised in one word — vigor. To this he often sacrifices simplicity, and occasionally even strict truth. Truisms he states with all the strength of passion; common historical events he narrates with all the brilliancy of epigram. He rarely “possesses himself in any quietness.” Hence, with all his power of strong thought, he has no thoughtfulness. Byron displays hardly more intensity. Tediousness he seems to consider as a combination of the seven deadly sins of rhetoric; he carefully avoids it himself; he lashes it remorselessly in others. He has a nervous hatred, a fierce, haughty contempt, for commonplace, cant, feebleness of thought, meanness of expression, pomposity of manner, — in short, for all shapes and shades of dulness. The common faults and affectations of men of letters, he carefully avoids, and he labors to give all his productions a cosmopolitan air. Nothing that he writes is “sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.” The level shadow of the Actual, in his mind, stretches far and wide into the sunny tract of the Ideal; and he is as much an utilitarian as a strong imagination, and a fine taste for works of art, will permit. He listens to no voices from the land of dreams, and never labors to express the inexpressible. Almost every sentence in his essays is clear, sharp, pointed, direct, pictorial. He never whines, although he is not more deficient in sensibility than many authors who do little else. His quick sense of the ridiculous preserves him from cant and all its manifold sins. To give raciness and energy to his style, he has no hesitation in using phrases which young ladies might consider inelegant, and which Miss Betty would pronounce decidedly “low.” His works overflow with antithetical forms of expression, and thoughts condensed into sparkling epigrams. The latter he seems to love with all the affection which Shakspeare had for puns. Sometimes they betray careful elaboration—at others, they have the suddenness of poetical inspiration. His page is brightened with them. Gleaming over the discussion of a question of taste, like incessant flashes of heat-lightning, —thrown off like glittering sparks, in the rush of his declamatory logic, -at one time used as the agreeable vehicle to convey an important truth, at another, the shining armor in which a paradox or a sophism is impenetrably encased—they seem almost native to his mind, and he to the “manor born.” There are whole pages in his writings which must be interpreted according to the laws of epigram, instead of the proprieties of statement. That this love for pointed dic. tion leads him into many errors, cannot be denied; but the blemish is so delightful that the reader no more thinks of making it a matter for grave critical accusation, than of quarrelling with Congreve for his excess of wit, or with Carlyle for his excess of spirituality. It may now be asked by some sapient critics, Why

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