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felt this obligation, and his scrupulous discharge of it, should influence ingenuous minds, who may in future seek distinction in this walk of literature, to cherish a similar feeling, it will be not the least of the services which this singularlyinteresting volume shall have rendered to the world. The sins of this sort, which are daily committed by men of characters in other respects fair and honourable, induce us to hold out thus prominently this prime and rare trait in the literary character of Charles James Fox.
If our readers should begin to wish us to take leave of the editor and introduce them without farther delay to the author himself, we must guard against mistakes in this respect, by observing that it- is with the author almost exclusively that they arc communing in this well judged preface ; and that in many parts of it, he appears with fully as much advantage as in his own work. The pages which, in a manner so easy and familiar, convey to us his notions on some important points of criticism, we would not exchange for any which at this moment we are able to call to our recollection in Cicero or Quintilian. We do not desire our readers to depend on our judgment, in this matter % let them decide for themselves. Lord Holland informs us that the author
'Had formed his plan so exclusively on the model of ancient writers, that he not only felt some repugnance to the modern practice of notes, but he thought that all which an historian wished to say, should be introduced as part of a continued narrating, and never assume the appearance of a digression, much less of a dissertation annexed to it. From the period, therefore, that he closed his In*roductory Chapter, he defined his duty as an author, to consist in recounting the facts as they arose, or in his simple and forcible language, in telling the story of those timet. A conversation which passed on the subject of the literature of the age of James the Second, proved hit rigid adherence to these ideas, and perhaps the substance of it may serve to illustrate and explain them. In speaking of the writers of that period, he lamented that he had not devised a method of interweaving any account of them or theii works much less any criticism on their style into his History. On my suggesting the example of Hume and Voltaire, who have discussed such topicks at some length, either at the end of each rrig^n, or in a separate Chapter, he observed, wuh much commendation of their execution of it. that such a cont'ivance m^lit be a good mode of writing critical essays, but that it wis in his opinion, incompatible with the nature of his umlct taking, which, it it ceased to be a narrative, ceased to be a history.'
We imagine that few scholars and men of taste will be found, who will not applaud an opinion which 13 not less happily expressed than finely conceived; and to which the a author author adheres with a firmness which genius confiding va its own decisions is ever apt to inspire. He felt this course to be the true one, he anticipated all the effects which in following it he should give to his narrative, and he was not to be lunvl from it by trivial advantages and false glitter. JAdj ot'.er historians rise who will feci and act in like manner I
It is also stated that
* On the rii/es of writing he had reflected much, and deeply. His own habits n.i urally ltd him to compare them with those of publick, speaking, a'd the diff< rmi, and even opposite principles upon which excellence I'h to be attained in these two great arts, were no unusual topicks of his conversation. The difference did not, in his judgment, consist so much in language or diction, as in the arrangement of thoughts, the length and construction of sentences, and, if 1 may burrow a phrase familiar to public speakers, in the mode of putting an argument. A writer, to preserve his perspicuity, must keep distinct and separate those parts of a discourse, which the orator is enabled, by modulation of voice, and with the aid of action, to bring at once into view, without confounding or perplexing his audience. Frequency of allusion which, in speaking produces the happiest effect, in writing renders the sense obscure, and interrupts the simplicity of the discourse. Even those sudden turns, those unforeseen flashes of wit which, struck out at the moment, dazzle and delight a publick assembly, appear cold and inanimate, when deliberately introduced into a written composition.'
Expressions which by Cicero are playfully used, but which are applied in these pages (as we conceive) with more distinctness and precision, will, if taken in a serious sense, be found to express the leading sentiments of the British Orator on these subjects: we allude to a passage in which one pf the speakers is introduced as s lying that, for historical composition, "Nihil opus est Oratore; satis est non esse mendaceia." How much Mr. Fox feared that the orator would encroach on the historian, the subsequent passage, containing a criticism with which we completely agree, will inform us:
* Notwithstanding these circumstances, no political tract of any Bote in our language, is in form or style less oratorical, or with the exception of one passage, more free from those peculiarities, which the practice of public speaking seems calculated to produce. Such a strict observance of these principles must have cost him great trouble and attention. He was so apprehensive that his writings Alight retain some traces of that art, in the exercise of which he had employed the greater part of his life, that he frequently rejected passages, which in any other author would not have appeared liable to such an objection. He seems even to have distrusted his own judgment upon this subject; and after having taken the greatest pains, he was never sufficiently satisfied of his own success. If we except the account of the Earl of Argyle, the Introductory Chapter
it unquestionably the most correct and finished part of the present publication. 'He did not, however, concern it to>be entirely exempt from a defect to which he ap'orehended that his works must be peculiarly exposed. He says to his correspondent,'have at last finished my Introduction, which alter all is more h'ke a speech than it should be."
7 he oratori.ii p usage here meant at first struck us to be the fine aposttQphe to Cervantes, which referred to a bold project of a NibleiLord', who has since been signally rewarded, and of wlios political wisdom this country has had long experience. On recollection, however, we apprehend that the passage in qurstipn preceded the statement of the fairy vision of the march to Pjris, and must have referred to some other simiUr observation of the same noble. Lord, or one of his associates of equal discernment and foresight. The idea, which seems to have pre dominated in Mr. Fox's mind on this subject, is happily expressed by the Orator of Rome; who, speaking of history, says, "sine lententiarum forensium aculeit persequendum est."
In the sentiment which the subsequent passage collaterally expresses, we hsve long participated:
• Simplicity, both in expression and construction, was the quality in style which he most admired, and the beauty he chiefly endeavoured to attain. He was the more scrupulously anxious to preserve this character in hit writings, because he thought that the example of some great writert had, in his own time, perverted the taste of the publick, and that their imitators had corrupted the purity of the English language. Though he frequently commended both Hume't and Black&tone's style, and always spoke of Middleton's with admiration, he once assured me, that he would admit no word into bit book, for which he had not the authority of Dryden.'
While Lord Holland admits that the work before Us is incomplete and unfinished, he states it as his opinion that, if its illustrious author had lived to give it the last polish, he would not have expunged some phrases in it which may be regarded by many as too familiar and colloquial: for he tells us that
* Such was htB abhorrence of any thing that savoured of pedantry or affectation, that if he was ever reduced to the alternative of an inflated, or homely expression, I have no doubt but he preferred the latter. Thit persuasion, in addition to many other considerations, has induced me religiously to preserve,, in the publication of this Work, every phrase and word of the Oiiginal Manuscript. Those who are disposed to respect his authority J may have the satisfaction of knowing, that there is not one syllable iu the following Chapters, which is not the genuine production of Mr. Fox. That these are several passages, (especially in the latter end ot the text,!
which which he might, that there are some which he obviously would, have corrected, is unquestionable; but, with the knowledge of such scrupulous attention to language in an author, to have substituted any word or expression, for that which he had written, would not have been presumption only, but injustice.'
We are confident that every man who venerates genius, and who feels what is due to it, will applaud this conduct of the noble Editor, and be thankful for the grateful information which he here imparts.
The handsome acknowledgement which Lord Holland makes to a valuable writer, to whom Scotch history is so much indebted, we have great pleasure in introducing:
1 It is necessary to observe, that I am indebted to Mr. Laing, both for advice and assistance in the division of the paragraphs, the annexing of marginal notes and references, the selection of the Appendix, and the superintendance of the press. From his judgment and experience, 1 have derived great benefit; and his friendship in undertaking the task has afforded me the further satisfaction of reflecting, that I have been guided throughout by that advice to which the Author himself would have wished me on such an occasion to have recourse.'
This preface also relates, in a succinct and satisfactory manner, the fate of the English papers in the Scotch College at Paris. The Manuscripts of King James II. have beyond all doubt been destroyed: but a cotemporary narrative ef less Talue, founded as it is supposed upon them, has been preserved.
The body of this volume consists of an introductory chapter, and two chapters which contain the history of the reign of James II. from his accession to the execution of the Duke of Monmouth, including a retrospect of James's administration of Scotland in the preceding reign. The period, it is true, is short: but it is not, as it hu been represented, barren of interest. The accession of a Catholic Prince to a Protestant throne, at a time in which the principles of religious liberty were little understood, and scarcely any where acknowleged ; the base and abject behaviour of the country on the occasion; the slavish doctrines promulgated by the university of Oxford, and by churchmen in general; the ignominious relations which the new monarch, with the sanction of his ministers, contracted with France; and two rebellions, in which the spirit of the administration and the temper of the king were fully displayed ; were subjects worthy of the pen of Mr. Fox, and of which he has penned aocounts that will not cease to be Tead with lively interest as long as men ■hall continue to be held together by civil government and social ties.'
In the introductory chapter, we have a view of our history frt m the reign of Henry VII. to the epoch at which the narrative before us commences. This is divided into three per'ods; the first ending late in the reign of Eliz ibeth, the Kc nd extending to the meeting of the long Parliament, and the third terminating with the accession of the monarch whose history this volume commences. The subjrets of which the author treats under the head of the latter period are * Meeting of Partiament—Redress of Grievances—Strafford's Attainder—The commencement of the Civil War—Treaty from the Isle of Wight—The King's Execution—Cromwell's Power;—his Character—Indifference of the Nation respecting Forms of Government—The Restoration—Ministry of Clarendon and Southampton — Cabal —Dutch War — De Witt—The Prince of Orange —The Popish Plot—The Habeas Corpus Act — The Exclusion Bill—Dissolution of Charles the Second's last Parliament—His Power ; —his Tyranny in Scotland; in England—Exorbitant Fines—Executions— Forfeitures of Charters—Despotism establishedDespondency of good Men—Charles's Death — His Character— Reflections upon the probable Consequences of hit Reign and Death.'
The full account, which we have given of the Preface, will render it less necessary that we should introduce out quotations from the author with such preliminary observations as we should wish to interpose, if our limits would admit of them.—We think that thf •ensuing passage is not only in the true spirit" and manner of Mr. Fox, but also affords a considerable insight into his political views and sentiments:
'The third period, as it is '.hat which immediately precedes the commencement of this History, requires a rather detailed examination; nor is there any more fertile of matter, whether for reflection or speculation. Between the year sixteen hundred and forty, and the death of Charles the Second, we have the opportunity of contemplating the state in almost every variety of circumstance. Religious disputes, political contest in all its forms and degrees, from the honest exertions of party, and the corrupt intrigues of faction, to violence and civil war; despotism, first in the person of an usurper, and atterwaids in that of an hereditary king; the most memorable and salutary improvements in the laws, the most abandoned administration of them; in fine, whatever can happen to a nation, whether of glorious or calamitous, makes a part of this astonishing and instructive picture.
« The commencement of this period is marked by exertions of the people, through their representatives in the House of Commons, not only justifiable in their principle, but directed to the properest objects, and in a manner the most judicious Many of their leaders were greatly versed in ancient as well as modern Itatning, and were
Rsv Juhs, 1808, O cveu