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Shall I criticise the Medical Adviser, Mr. Editor, as critics use? Butubatas, Butubatas—No, sir, my candour will not allow me to act the " part of a base assassin," as your reviewers do,
" to scatter about my anonymous poison like a wretched hireling, to stab in the dark.” No, sir, the spirit of magnanimity is high in my breast, I have detailed the facts in candour : let them speak for themselves. Let the public judge between us, sir, between the Medical Adviser and the tobacconist.
His language, sir, is ferocious, impeaching, deleterious, excoriating, flatulent, narcotic, irritating, lethargic, and acetifying. Sir, he writes poison, bug-agaric, henbane, wolf's-bane, and water-hemlock; he speaks scalpels and pestles, corrosive sublimate and subsulphas hydrargyri flavus: the bitterness of aloes is in his anterior orifices, his posterior ones breathe aquafortis, his gastric juice is vitriol, his pen is a trocar, and his ink cantharides and prussic acid. Sir, he has lavished all the venom of his dispensatory, all the virulence of his nosology, and all the acrimony of his phraseology, on tobacco, my darling tobacco, the sweet, the odoriferous, the fragrant, the virtuous weed. Yet will I not answer him in his own language, lest I should be like unto him.
Sir, I have studied that most learned and profound treatise of Solomon the Second, I have perused the Counterblast; but the royal critic wrote like a man, like a Scotchman: the Medical Adviser writes like a druggist, like an apothecary, like a compounder of six draughts every three hours, like a folder of powdered articles, like a Cockney. His circumvoluting circumlocutionness is bred of the gallipot, his linguaggio is hatched of the big mortar, his pia mater is in a state of excited excitability, he requires depletion, he wants the tonsure upon his sagittary suture : his pericranium, sir, his dura mater, must be vesicated with an emplastrum of that verdant and lustrous insect which physicians designate and name lytta ; the vulgar, cantharides it call. In plain English, sir, the man is mad, fou, insane, matto, crazy.
But I will answer him as if he was sane and in his senses: the Times at least has betrayed no demonstrations of insanity hitherto. Let him attend. I advocate the cause of tobacco, yes, sir, of pulverized, of comminuted tobacco; I advocate the cause of Messrs. Fribourg and Co., and of Pontet and Fribourg; of Lord Petersham and of the Revenue, sir; the Exchequer, the Excise, the Customs; of Virginia, of our ships, our British seamen, the defence of the empire, of our ships, colonies, and commerce; sir, I advocate the cause of my own nose, I am engaged in the general cause of suffering humanity; I advocate, sir, the great nasal cause. A more important cause, mi lud, I will venture to say, never came before this court. Mr. Editor, I am agitated, I had almost forgotten that I was pleading in my own chambers with a pen and ink: I shall take a pencil and proceed more quietly. Nay, I will proceed philosophically, medicinally, morally, and politico-economically. But I find, sir, that I must put it off till to-morrow: the Medical Adviser has acetified my gastric juice; I feel that my nervous function is in a state of agitated dobility. I am not cool: I shall be cool to-morrow,
Ever yours, T. L. DOBTONGTON.
DIARY OF “A CONSTANT READER,”
FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY. Feb. 1st.-Now that the Representative is universally admitted to be a complete failure, it is amusing to remember the extravagant stories which were industriously propagated about it. The story was, that the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had undertaken the office of Editor-in-chief, and that all the articles were to be submitted to him, and approved by him, previous to publication. This ridiculous report was gravely spread about town, by persons who pretended to the best information, and who, I believe, implicitly credited the idle tale they circulated. The first few numbers must, however, I think, have staggered the faith of these good believers. Setting aside the nothingness of the paper in point of matter, the slip-slop, and vulgarity of the style,* must have convinced them that Mr. Canning had not given his imprimatur to the composition; that is to say, if persons who could for a moment suppose that the Minister for Foreign Affairs had turned Editor to Murray were open to any sort of conviction, which I am inclined to doubt.
I noticed in my Diary of last month, that Murray talked of giving Sir James Mackintosh (by an unlucky misprint, which extremely distressed me, the name appeared Quackingtosh) an inconceivable number of guineas for a leading article. This was a delightful piece of humbug, perfectly in Murray's way. He put a legal question to a number of persons thus: “Suppose I give Sir James Mackintosh one thousand guineas for a leading article, will the Courier in that case have a right to copy it, or will it not be liable to an action ?” One man replied, that he conceived there were no grounds for such an apprehension, for he thought that the Courier would not copy such a treasure for a thousand guineas.
Our countrywomen delight in upbraiding us with want of gallantry, and are never weary of referring us to the French, as the true models of politeness. If we are to believe Madame de Genlis, (and if she can be trusted in any thing, which is rather questionable, it is in her view of manners,) our he-neighbours have not much the advantage of us in point of what the ladies call, par excellence, good breeding. It is impossible, I think, to read this dismal lamentation without a smile. It consolatorily shows that beasts, brutes, and sarages, are not confined to this country: we have, I fear, corrupted the French by our examples, and made them as rude as ourselves.
* The superfine scribes of the Representative, who promised to delight us with the thoughts which sparkled with their champagne, and who boast their Opera-boxes, have enriched our written language with some new graces in, we must presume, the sery last style of elegance. Every thing is with them a bundle." Rousseau is called " a bundle of affectation ;" and I read the other day of "a bundle of sour malignants.” These beauties are from the pen of a worthy who signs himself A. D., for A Dunce, I suppose. The writer of the leading articles says, that the police officers of Mexico, “ ride occasionally on the top of their commission.” The grammar is about on a level with the phraseology. These are blemishes which one would never think of noticing in a paper that possessed any one substantial merit, but when we see great pretension and infinite emptiness, we are provoked to descend to minute criticism, which is indeed the only criticism under which a publication of this kind comes, for there is nothing in it with which reason can grapple. One would as soon think of arguing with a newbom babe of Murray's; and all that we look to is, that it is decently dressed, and clean and wholesome, so as not to give offence. This is not the case ; it is a slovenly brat, perfectly innocent it is true, but by no means pleasant to the eye, and smelling disayreeably of pap.
“ Towards the end of June, (1821,) I dined with thirteen persons, amongst whom were four peers, two marshals of France, and three generals; amongst the peers there were two dukes. Before dinner I remained three-quarters of an hour in the drawing-room with the whole of this party, who were in their own way very polite to me, while Í received their attentions with great good-will
. I was seated betwixt two peers at dinner; I had no trouble in taking my share in the conversation, for they spoke of nothing but politics, and addressed their conversation to their friends at the other end of the table. We returned to the drawing-room after dinner, and at the moment I was sitting down, I saw with surprise, that all the dukes and peers had escaped from me ; each of them took hold of an arm-chair, dragged it after him, approached his neighbour, and thus formed a circle in the middle of the room. I was thus left quite alone, with a semicircle of backs turned towards me; to be sure, I saw the faces of the other half of the party. I thought at first they had seated themselves so to play at those little games that require such an arrangement, and found it very natural and proper, but it was no such thing; it was solely for the purpose of discussing the most difficult questions of state policy: Every one became a noisy orator, bawled out his opinions, interrupted his neighbour, quarrelled and talked till he got hoarse; they must ell have been in a precious state of perspiration. It was a correct picture of the Chamber of Deputies; in fact, it was a great deal worse, for there was no president. I had a great mind to play the part of one, and to call them to order, but I had no bell, and my feeble coice could not have been heard. [Difidence, diffidence, mere diffidence.] This clamour and confusion lasted more than an hour and a hall, when I left the drawing-room, delighted with having received the first lesson of the new customs of society, and the new code of French gallantry-of that politeness which has rendered us celebrated throughout Europe. I confess, that down to this moment, I had very inadequate notions of all these things.”_Vol. vii. p. 2.
We must receive this picture with some allowance, because there is too much reason to imagine that Madame de Genlis, though very amusing on paper, is rather a bore in society; for, by her own confession, she importunes honest men to fast on Fridays and Saturdays, and to do a thousand and one other disagreeable things not to be named, except in homilies; and doubtless, hy some attempts of these kinds, she caused all those dukes and peers to escape from her; each dragging his arm-chair after him. There is no question, however, of the fact, that her complaint of the altered style of society is generally well founded. The French now give parties in the English fashion, for any purpose but conversation, which is impossible; they fill their rooms instead of seeing their friends. This arrangement, which puts talent hors de combat, is of course grievously deplored by Madame de
These are the titles by which fine ladies do not scruple to describe he-animals, that fail in the little attentions.
Genlis, and the perhaps consequent decline in the powers of pleasing of the men, inspires her with the greatest alarms; indeed, to such an extent are her fears aroused hy this portrait, for as such she regards it, that she says: “When they (Frenchmen) are without gracefulness and gaiety, it is so much against nature, that it seems to me that the country should be declared in danger.” Here, in England, on the other hand, were we grave sinners to discover any symptoms of gracefulness and gaiety, the prodigy would infallibly provoke a similar apprehension and outcry; nay, we question whether the prophets, in such a case, would stop short of threatening us with the end of the world.
2nd.—This advertisement appears in the Representative of to-day: * THE LADY who sat in a hox near the stage of Covent Garden Theatre, on Monday evening, is assured of the service, admiration, and eternal devotion, of the gentleman in black, whom she did the honour to distinguish for a moment. As he has been unsuccessful in all his anxious enquiries to ascertain her residence, he entreats, with the greatest respect, that she will go to the masquerade at the Argyll Rooms, next Monday, and if the lady be kind enough to wear a pink domino and Spanish hat, with white feathers, he cannot fail to recognise her.”
Murray promised us an immaculate paper, and see how he keeps his word. Why, this advertisement is downright paw-paw; and the spotless journal is, after all, no better than a go-between for affairs of gallantry, a convenient medium for the contrivance of filthy assignations. I blush like a blue dog when I write these words. And this abomination is wrought, this scandal is brought on the land, by the most orthodox of God's booksellers! An advertisement for a LADY appears in the columns of the scrupulous Mr. Murray's paper! All Titchfield-street, Thornhaugh-street, and the purlieus of Fitzroysquare, will go thronging in pink domino and Spanish hat, with white feathers, to a naughty masquerade, at the particular request of The Represeniative—the journal that was to represent all the innocence of the land!
- I don't know any place from which a sneer at humanity comes with so ill a grace as from the Bench. Our laws are in themselves sufficiently barbarous, and it shocks one to discover the slightest indication of a corresponding spirit in the administrators of them. In giving effect to the law, a judge may often be compelled to disregard humanity, but I know of no duty that can oblige him to scoif at it. Every body is perfectly aware, that humanity has lately been made a cant, and it has consequently become the bad fashion and bad logic of the day to treat all humanity as cant, but we don't look for fashions in the ermine, nor do we expect to hear the slang sneer of the club proceeding from the judgment seat.
An application was made the other day to the Court of Exchequer for the enlargement of the time for the return of a writ, (capias ad satisfaciendum,) on the ground that the defendant was confined to his bed. The application was made by the bail, who contended that the defendant was not in a state to be surrendered. Mr. Baron Garrow said, that “the case was something similar to one which he had experienced when first he came to the bar. There it became necessary to surrender a very respectable merchant, who, from an extraordinary press of misfortunes, had become unable to meet his demands. He was extremely ill, and was obliged to be brought into Court on a litter. It was remarked at the time, that it was only to be equalled by the case of the Merchant of Venice, but under the circumstances it became indispensably necessary that he should be rendered.” This I quote only to show Mr. Baron Garrow's opinion of the circumstances of the case. Yestesday the matter (Doyle v. Rose) came on again, and the Court held, that the application for time must be refused. The conclusion was doubtless just, but my quarrel is with the sentiments which accompanied it. Mr. Baron Graham on this occasion resembled Solomon, at least in one particular; like the wisest of men he had a fling at those who go bail for their neighbours.* This really humane and kind-hearted gentleman wound up his judgment with this uncharacteristic remark:
“ If there were any circumstances of cruelty or hardship in requiring this surrender of the defendant's person, it must rest with the bail
. They thought proper to arrest the course of common law by the INOPPORTUNE interference, to the injury of the plaintiffs claims, &c."
Inopportune interference!" Solomon has condemned bail in various ways, but never in such felicitous words. It is inopportune interference, according to Mr. Baron Graham, to stay for one moment the desirable consummation of consigning a man to a prison, and in this particular case the interference was thė more inopportune as it was exerted in favour of a sick man.
Mr. Baron Garrow had his sneer at the tenderness and humanity of the bail. It is always good now to sneer at tenderness and humanity. He declared, justly, no doubt, that no inhumanity could be laid to the charge of the plaintiff. He merely pressed for the performance of one of the alternatives—the surrender of the body, or the payment of costs. If the former shocked the humanity of the bail, they might perform the latter, and thus avoid any outrage on their tenderness." These sneers at the humanity and tenderness of the bail, seem to me perfectly unnecessary to the exposition of the law, and also extremely impolitic. The frequent demand for bail is one of the greatest evils of the English law, and it is most mischievous to discourage men by scoffs and sarcasms from becoming bail, when on every insignificant occasion a man in this country is required to give bail. In this case two individuals bail a sick friend, arrested on mesne processa process on which there should be no arrest; and on which there is no arrest in countries that do not boast so much as ours of the liberty of the subject. One judge reprehends their inopportune interference, and another taunts them for not paying the debt. What is the consequence? That these persons, and many others who have seen how they have been treated, make a resolution never again to expose themselves to such observation, by becoming bail for a friend.
5th.—The John Bull of this day has a howl on its favourite subject of alarm and lamentation—the instruction of the lower classes. It
Solomon loses no opportunity of having a fling at men who go bail, which he nanifestly regards as an extreme and dangerous foolishness : “ Take his garment," says he, who is surety for a stranger."-Prov. c. 20, v. 16. Again : “ Be not thou one of them that are sureties for debts.”--Prov. c. 99, v. 95. Solomon's advice would make a good man, in the City sense of the phrase.