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your course in your advice to young people but to recommend to them the diligent and dispassionate reading of all parties, and to direct them to the necessary works and collections ? If you were competent to have done this, you ought to have particularised the works ; and, if not competent to it, you had no pretension to the publication of such a directory as The Christian Father's Present to his Children.
In p. 8 is the following " In the department of English composition, Addison and Johnson, though moral writers, in the usual acceptation of the term, are not always correct in their principles, if indeed the New Testament is the standard of moral sentiments.” As it is not likely that your works will supersede the Evidences of Christianity or the Rambler, or that the public will recognise you as a licenser of the press over Addison and Johnson, I shall pass on to the conclusion of your sentence as follows :-" It is desirable to cultivate a good taste, and an elegant style of composition, and for this purpose, the productions of these two celebrated writers may be read, together with Burke on the Sublime, Alison on Taste, Blair's Lectures, and Campbell on Rhetoric." I only set out this passage to expose your ignorance. You subsequently rate the perusal of Fiction in any shape as impious and idle. Now can you have read Burke, Alison, Blair, or Campbell, and recommend them to young people as proper authors, at the same time that you condemn dramatic and poetic fiction ? thus denouncing works of the imagination, and yet recommending volumes that expressly eulogise the drama and poetry of our country! If you have read these authors, how defective must be your memory to retain, or your judgment to appreciate ; and if you have not, how marvellous your ignorance !- In the following page, 9, you proceed“Although the present age can boast the noble productions of such men as Scott, Southey, Campbell, and Wordsworth, whose poems every person of real taste will read, yet I recommend the more habitual perusal of Spenser and Milton among the ancients ! and Cowper and Montgomery among the moderns: the two first, for their genius, and the others for their piety.” So your judicious literary discrimination does not estimate Milton so much for his piety as for his genius! The author of Paradise Lost, Regained, and those delicious strains of piety in his minor poems and translations, is admired for his « genius," and the morbid physical and religious melancholy of Cowper is recommended for its << piéty !" Thank God, Sir, that " every person of real taste will read” the poems of the four living poets you have so partially eulogised, and that « Milton among the ancients” posterity will ever read for his genius and his piety, and Cowper for his poetic beauties, but with a charitable pity and allowance for the unfortunate malady
ised his constituand tasteless sequent pages ends of
which characterised his constitution and mind. You conclude this chapter with some heartless and tasteless diatribes against fiction : I shall not accompany you, as the subsequent pages of this pamphlet will more particularly exhibit the important ends of works of the imagination, and fiction, on the taste and morals of the world.
I proceed to chapter xy. « On amusements and recreation.” You denouncé « killing Aies,” (query, fleas?)' “ horse racing ;" “ all field sports of every kind;” (your own italics, p. 20)— shooting, coursing, hunting, angling!” “ What agony is inflicted in hooking a worm or a fish !" Spirit of old Izaac Walton, whose innocent amusements are thus denounced, and who hast told us how in thy contemplative moments the sweet feelings of piety pervaded thy soul-when « the nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such sweet loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think that miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very laborer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou affordest bad men such music on earth!" - Vermin, such as “ wolves, bears, serpents, are to be extirpated;" but not for the pleasure of killing them; if thinning them is not absolutely necessary, they are to be alive and at large on their “ parole d'honneur. .« Billiards and cards” are vicious games : « Passion, petulance, and sullenness, are always waiting under the table, ready to appear in the persons and conduct of the loser :" « Scenes have been described to me a disgrace to the genteel party in the drawing-room:" “ Serious misunderstandings have arisen from this source between man and wife;" " How many have taken up the pistol or the poison, and have rushed with all their crimes about them, from the gambling-table to the fiery lake in hell”!!! Has this been de. scribed to you, Sir, by any spectator ?
You then run down « balls, routs, and concerts." p. 23. The “ mode of dress," “ the nature of the employment, the dissipating tendency of the music, the conversation, and the elegant uproar”-all these fill you with dismay; that is to say, the mere representation of what goes on (for you never pretend to have been present yourself at any) outrages your feelings. Exquisite sentimentality, and audacious ignorance, which can print, « Let there be a love once acquired for these elegant ! recreations by any female, and from my heart, I pity the man who is destined to be her husbarid.” p. 24. I should indeed, Sir, pity the elegant
woman thrown away on you who cannot appreciate the innocent accomplishments of the female character.
You then say, that however moral these amusements may be in the upper ranks, “ yet what mischief is produced to their humble imitators, who attend the assemblies which are held in the barn, or the ale-house !" p. 24. “ I look upon dancing among these to be a practice fraught with immorality;" this you illustrate not by an allusion to king David, but to the case of Mary Ashford ! :
After this elegant finish to all the popular amusements and manly sports of your countrymen, you proceed to tell us what, in your liberality, you will allow. Well is it for England that you are not the modern 6 master of the revels,” and that your book of sports” is not the only latitude of British law. :
« My opinion of the stage I shall reserve for a separate chapter. In the mean time I shall reply to a question which, no doubt, ere this you are ready to ask, what amusements I would recommend.' . You “recommend” to young persons, by way of « strengthening the body and improving the mind," "a country ramble amidst the beauties of nature." I guess, Sir, your females would be very likely to fall into men-traps, and your juvenile males to expiate their ambulatory trespasses against the game laws and the vagrant act on some county tread-mill for the space of one çalendar month! What we are to do in the iron wilds of Staffordshire you do not inform us, unless tumbling down an obsolete coal-pit is a religious recreation, and a warning against the pit-falls of Satan. The mental prescription you have written in this curious receipt-book is, “ Seek for that thirst after knowledge, which, when the soul is jaded with the dull and daily round of secular affairs, shall conduct her to the fountains of thought contained in the well-stocked library." “My father's greeting smile; my mother's fond embrace ; the welcome of my brothers and my sisters ; the kind looks, the fond inquiries, the interesting though unimportant conversation of all at home, would recruit my strength and recreate my mind :" excellent substitutes for marbles, whipping-tops, cricket and foot ball, and Mr. Mathews's “ At Honie !" If you have amusements and no religion, you have “the joy of fools, which, as Solomon says, is but as
the crackling of thorns beneath the pot.'" Here endeth your 15th chapter, on amusements and recreations.
Had I not set forth your own words, Mr. James, few (out of the pale of your own church) would have believed such extraordinary, ignorance of human nature could have been exhibited by you, much less published to the world. And strange it is that you did not yourself perceive the glaring inconsistency of first re
int act on What we form use on, and a no
Peties may may be of such
presenting mankind in so base and hopeless a plight, and then prescribing such a perfectibility as even no German illuminati eyer dreamed was possible! Human nature is not to be controlled so easily as may be imagined ; you cannot root out the passions if you would, and you ought not if you could ; their office in a probationary state of existence is too important and too salutary to be dispensed with :they are the refreshing gales that purify the moral atmosphere of a being never designed by nature for a cloister or a cowl. The manifestations of passion, it is true, may be cloaked, but human nature will remain unchanged- she may be masked but not transformed a thick veil of hypocrisy may be assumed the garb of exterior sanctity may be worn-the phylacteries may be made broad, or, as Lord Monboddo has said, « dunghills may be spread with white linen, but will not become clean in consequence of such a covering.”
Do you not perceive that to realize (supposing for the sake of argument it was possible) your projected scheme of morality, you would invert the whole order of society, turn the world upside down, and require the total suppression of half the passions, feelings, and sympathies, of mankindsprings of human action more or less at the foundation of the whole conduct' of life? Half London must be levelled to the ground; Brighton, Bath, Leamington, Cheltenham, and all the gay resorts of the fashionable and the sick, might be blown up or totally destroyed. As a mere question of political economy, what would be the certain effect? -a diminution in the demand for labor to such an extent, as would not only deprive you of four fifths of your congregation, but would depopulate your country to an extraordinary degree, in as much as four fifths of the arts and manufactures, now supporting hundreds of thousands of the lower classes, would be given up and forsaken the necessary consequence of which would be the diminution of population, and the consequent scare city of souls to save! Now, Sir, do not scream out at the “ blasphemy" and infidelity of this last sentence ; such an imputation would fall, if any where, on your own el dorado and dreaming projects ; if you peruse Adam Smith, James Milly and Malthus, you cannot but discover this.
Into what would your system manufacture the raw material of man, but a gloomy misanthrope, a maniacal religious fanatic, at the mercy of every impostor who administered to his voracious credulity. The lower classes, Sir, would be the slaves of despotism and misery : all the rational recreations which now cheer the heart and smooth the brow of industrious labor, which administer sweet content to every grade of society, would be abolished ; and every national amusement, where all classes meet
together, to the advantage of every order, from the Corinthian column to the sturdy base on which the aristocratical superstructure of society is firinly built, would be suppressed: ignorance and pride would stalk in insolence and malice through the uncharitable world : the whole cement and every rivet of the real social system would be dissolved and broken asunder. Oh pastimes and games of my childhood, when inthralled in chains of daisies and buttercups, and absorded in the early loves of infancy, I sported on the greensward at noon-day, or drank delight from those cheerful nursery pastimes which passed before the blazing winter fire, are your delightful associations never to be recalled in the infantine amusements of my children? Oh recollections of my youth, and of the village schoolmistress who inoculated me with the alphabet, and from whose nod' profound I rushed with troops of schoolmates to the rural games of the village green, are you also to cease, and those innocent sports to be declared unnoly! :
...ii. ?, “Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene,.. dengan Liv'd in each look, and brighten'd all the green; These far departing, seek'a kinder shore,
:':: ; * And rural mirth and manners are no more." In your ruthless proscription PUNCH himself (the recreation of the studious Bayle and numerous literati, divines included) would be sacrificed. All those popular English pastimes, the innocent and rural delight of the rustic villager, those diversions of Roman origin, on which the British youth from the earliest times have built their national character, are to be abandoned : farewell, ye vernal games, ye relics of the feast of Flora, descended to us from that mighty people who grasped the sceptre of the world and founded the eternal city :' farewell, ye morris-dan cers, ye remembrancers of a brave and high-minded nation, the successful cultivators of the arts and sciences and architects of the far-famed Alhambra : the mountebank, the tumbler, the dancing Bears and dogs, the tabor and pipe, the wandering and tattered minstrel touching with charity the young heart to the strains of a tín fiddle, May-day with its garlands and sports, the sooty Capers of the poor sweep, the chants of the Christmas carol, and the cheerful celebration of and pious thanksgiving for the opening year --these we are to lay down at the shrine of Mr. James ! Then indeed may we exclaim in melancholy with the Poet of the DESERTED VILLAGE
«The hawthorn-bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whisp’ring lovers made! .VOL. XXV. Pami. NO. XLIX. Ř
Alhavators of the a brave and farewell, ye ceptre of the