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we know how hard it is to persuade mankind to look to consequences—to postpone a seeming present advantage to a more solid but remote benefit; but we still hope that the unanswerable arguments which have been adduced against any hasty and inconsiderate alteration of the present system of corn-laws, and the utter discomfiture of Mr. Poulett Thomson in the late debate, may create in all sober minds, even of the lower classes, a salutary suspicion that what is called cheap bread may only be the first step to no bread at all. We have already expressed our fear that the fable of Menenius would have now little effect with a popular assembly : perhaps it might be more struck with the shorter and livelier instance given by Montesquieu of the savages, who, to get more easily at the bread-fruit, cut down the tree on which it grows !
NOTE On the Article in No.C. on the Journal of a West India Proprietor.' We are extremely sorry for having inserted in this Article, without due inquiry, an extract from a manuscript diary, conveying an unpleasant, and, as must now be evident, a wholly unjust reflection on the character of Mr. Lewis (father to the author of The Monk'). We have since received a letter from that gentleman's son-in-law, Sir Henry Lushington, in which he says—'I do not believe there ever existed a more honourable or generous man than the one who has been accused of reducing his son's income one moiety, because that son had not forgotten his duty to his mother. I am fully convinced that Mr. Lewis did not reduce his son's income from any such motive; nor is it likely, that the man of whom M. G. Lewis speaks (in a passage quoted by the “Quarterly Review" itself), "as one of the most generous persons that ever existed,” could have been influenced by such sentiments. The fact is, Mr. Lewis reduced his son's allowance because his own means were so diminished as to compel him to alter every part of his establishment, even to letting his house, and laying down his carriage : and I can, moreover, state from my personal knowledge, that the allowance Mr. Lewis continued to his son, was actually more than one-half of his own English income. We feel sincerely obliged to Sir H. Lushington for giving us the means of thus correcting the effect of our rash citation.
Art. I.-Letters and Essays, in Prose and Verse. London,
1834. 12mo. pp. 268. THE HE author of these pages tells us that they were written
during a few short intervals of leisure, which he has employed rather in deriving instruction and amusement from the works of others, than in attempting to afford either by his own.' He adds, that some of his letters had already been published without his knowledge; and that others of them might probably appear hereafter, when he could no longer correct them. There needed no apology for publishing any part of this volume. With the greater number of the pieces in verse which it includes we have for years been familiar; but the form in which these were originally printed must have prevented their circulation from equalling their merits. The new poems are not unworthy of the author's taste; and his prose, to us entirely new, is certainly honourable to him in every respect.
We have seldom seen so much wisdom, wit, knowledge of the world, and sound criticism, comprised in so small a space, or expressed in a more nervous and graceful style. The moral tone is throughout delightful : we have constantly before us a pure and generous nature—the warm sympathies, and the calm happiness, of a heart and mind that have come unwithered and unshrunk through the passions of youth and the cares of manhood. As the writer has dated several of his pieces from Fredley Farm, he cannot mean to conceal his name ; and in mentioning that of Mr. Richard Sharp, we do enough to excite the çuriosity of all who have known anything of the most distinguished society of this metropolis during the last half century. Old enough to have been the friend of Burke and Johnson, may he long continue to be the instructor and ornament of this our third generation,—for we cannot but think of the great bard's introduction of NestorΤου και από γλώσσης μέλιτος γλυκίων δείν αυδη.
'Εν Πύλη ήγαθέη-ΜΕΤΑ ΔΕ ΤΡΙΤΑ ΤOΙΣΙΝ ΑΝΑΣΣΕΝ. It is impossible to close this volume without regretting--though not perhaps on account of its author himself-that, with so strong
VOL. LI. NO, CII.
a passion for letters, habits of reflection and composition so early formed, and so many opportunities of observation, he should have published so little as he has done. No one can doubt that but for the possession of external advantages and allurements, Mr. Sharp might have long ere now earned a name and place in English literature hardly inferior to what have been achieved by any of his friends. As it is, however, he has done enough to secure himself with posterity against the fate of so many distinguished tabletalkers. When dozens and dozens of persons who have put forth books upon books, and been puffed by themselves or their gossips into contemporary notoriety, shall be as entirely forgotten as the lowest heroes of the Dunciad would have been by this time, had they not attracted the killing but preserving touch of Pope's caustic —these Letters and Essays' will survive in the station to which their modest author has limited his ambition.
With a book of this kind—for the prose part, that is, much the greater part of it, belongs in fact to the class of ana—reviewers have little choice as to their manner of dealing. We affect no more than to justify our general recommendation by a few extracts, selecting, of course, passages in which the traces of the author's peculiar caste of thought or expression seem to us to be especially marked.
Among the earliest Letters, we find the following, addressed to Henderson, the actor, on a remarkable occasion—the début of John Kemble on the London boards. Who can read it without being astonished at the precision with which this gifted observer prophesied, at first sight, the outline of our great tragedian's whole career ?
London, 1785.—I went, as I promised, to see the new “ Hami.ET," whose provincial fame had excited your curiosity as well as mine. There has not been such a first
yours : yet Nature, though she has been bountiful to him in figure and feature, has denied him a voice-of course he could not exemplify his own direction for the players to “ speak the speech trippingly on the tongue," and now and then he was as deliberate in his delivery as if he had been reading prayers, and had waited for the response. He is a very handsome man, almost tall and almost large, with features of a sensible, but fixed and tragic caste; his action is graceful, though somewhat formalwhich
you will find it hard to believe, yet it is true. Very careful study appears in all he says and all he does; but there is more singularity and ingenuity than simplicity and fire. Upon the whole, he strikes me rather as a finished French performer, than as a varied and vigorous English actor; and it is plain he will succeed better in heroic than in natural and passionate tragedy. Excepting in serious parts, I suppose he will never put on the sock. You have been so long without a “ brother near the throne," that it
will perhaps be serviceable to you to be obliged to bestir yourself in Hamlet, Macbeth, Lord Townley, and Maskwell; but in Lear, Richard, Falstaff, and Benedict, you have nothing to fear, notwithstanding the known fickleness of the public, and its love of novelty. I think I have heard you remark (what I myself have observed in the History of the Stage) that periodical changes have taken place in the taste of the audience, or at least in the manner of the great performers. Sometimes the natural and spirited mode has prevailed, and then the dig. nified and declamatory. Betterton, eminent both in comedy and tragedy, appears to have been an instance of the first. Then came Booth and Quin, who were admired for the last. Garrick followed, resturing or re-inventing the best manner, which you have also adopted so fortunately and successfully. Mr. Kemble will be compelled, by the hoarse monotony of his voice, to rely upon the conventional stateliness that distinguished Garrick's predecessors, which is now carried to inimitable perfection by his accomplished sister.'— pp. 16-18.
We have only to observe, that Mrs. Siddons outgrew, though John Kemble never did, this conventional stateliness,' and was, as we recollect her, the most natural and passionate, as well as the most majestic of performers. Kean's ambition, of course, was, in adherence to the law of change mentioned by our author, to play Garrick to Kemble's Quin ; and, probably, our next great tragedian will affect the Roman grandeur again. The interregnum has now lasted so long, that many people have given up all hope--but we cannot even yet part with the pleasing dream of seeing Macbeth and Hamlet again before we die. But enough of the stage let us come to the real business of life.
From a very interesting and affectionate series of letters' to a young friend,' dated in 1806-1809, we must take several speci
The first is part of a letter to the young man when at Cambridge: we doubt if many young men will listen to the doctrine it sets out with ; but we are quite sure no old man will refuse his hear!
Luckily you have not to overcome the disadvantage of expecting to inherit from your father an income equal to your reasonable desires; for though it may have the air of a paradox, yet it is truly a serious disadvantage when a young man, going to the bar, is sufficiently provided for.
in Vitam facit beatiorem
Res non parta, sed relicta," says
Martial, but not wisely; and no young man should believe him. The Lord Chief Justice Kenyon once said to a rich friend asking his opinion as to the probable success of a son, Sir, let your son forthwith spend his fortune ; marry, and spend his wife's; and then he may be expected to apply with energy to his profession." In your case I have no doubts but such as arise from my having observed