Imágenes de páginas

De l'oe,


Review.-Wilson's Memoirs of De Foe. [Feb. tion of political power. He wrote im- ness of several minute occurrences demediately after his sentence a keen sa- tailed, though he was at the time a tirical poem, called a “ Hymn to the close prisoner in Newgate. Pillory," which passed rapidly through On the accession of Mr. Harley to several editions. He thus apostro office in 1704, a favourable turn prephizes the wooden apparatus of the sented itself in De Foe's affairs. At law :

his intercession the Queen sent some "Hail hieroglyphic State machine, relief to his wife and family, through Contrivell to punish fancy in!

ber treasurer Mr. Godolphin, and transMen that are men, in thee can feel no pain,

initted to himself a sufficient sum 10 And all thy insignificance disdain.

pay his fine and the fees on his en

largement from prison. Thou bugbear of the law, stand up and

De Foe was henceforth taken into speak, Thy long misconstrued silence break:

the confidence of Harley and GodolTell us who 'tis upon thy ridge stands there phin as a political agent; on one occaSo full of fault, and yet so void of fear? sion he was employed by the former in And from that paper in his hat

a secret mission on the Continent; and Let all mankind be told for what!

on his return home he received an apTell them it is because he was too bold, pointment for his services. And told those truths which should not ha' About this time a circumstance took been told;

place, which afforded De Foe an opExtol the justice of the land,

portunity for the exercise of the artilWho punish what they will not understand.” lery of his wit, which it must be con

De Foe cheered the hours of his fessed he always played off con amore confinement in Newgate by the unre against the Established Church. On mitted prosecution of his literary pur- the 18th June, 1706, a benefit was suits ; he produced many tracts on given at Drury-lane Theatre towards various topics of the day, edited a defraying the expense of fitting up as genuine collection of his former produc- an episcopal Chapel a Meeting-house tions, and commenced a weekly paper in Russel-court, lately occupied by a called the Review, in which politics, Dissenling minister. There appears public morals, and other maiters of to us no harm in this, no reason why existing interest and importance, form- players should not contribute towards ed the subjects. This publication has building a place for the worship of afforded incidentally many valuable God, or atiend in it when so built. facts for his biography. The Tatler On the other hand, we are not dis. and Spectator were afierwards produced posed to deny that a certain stigma of much on the plan of De Foe's Review, licentiousness has always attached to On the night of November 27, 1703, the stage, derived rather from the chawhile De Foe was expiating his party racter of the times in which the actors delinquency in Newgate, the great lived, than from any necessary defect storm occurred. This afforded an ex- of the profession. Onder proper regucellent and popular subject for his ver- lations, the Drama is a source of high satile and productive pen, and having intellectual enjoyment, and the public procured various authentic documents spirit, the taste, and the morals of the from the clergy and other inielligent community at large, may be influenced eye-witnesses as materials, in July by it in a most important manner. Will 1704, he produced “ The Storm, or a any one be so senseless as to say that Collection of the most remarkable ca- the consequences of ambition and sualties and disorders which happened crime are not brought home to every in the late dreadful Tempest boih by one's bosom in Macbeth, or that the sea and land. The Lord haib his way horrors of a bad conscience are not dein the wbirlwind and in the storm, picted with all their awful consequences and the clouds are the dust of his feet,' in the death of Beaufort ? It is arrant Neh. i. 3." This is a valuable histori- stupidity or miserable cant to see nocal narrative, consisting of 272 pages; thing in the playhouse but a hot-bed the main facis are supported by the of dissipation and vice. To return to evidence of the original papers, from the affair which we were noticing. which they were derived, but the ge. There certainly were circumstances nius of De Foe could not forego the readily susceptible of ridicule in this opportunity afforded of representing benefit for pious purposes, because the author of the book as an eye-wit. worldly and religious matters were so

1831.] Review.- Wilson's Memoirs of De Foe.

147 easily brought in point of contrast. to that degree, that the threats and inDe Foe's keen eye did not overlook sults I received were such as I am not this, and he therefore published in his able to express.” (vol.iii. p. 379.) His Review for 20 Juve, 1706, an exqui. editor pertinently remarks, sitely humourous satirical account of “De Foe's political life was now drawing the matter. This was soon pirated to a close. During a period of more than and hawked about the streets, 'under forty years, he had taken an active part in the title of “A Sermon preached by public affairs, either as a warm partizan of Mr. Daniel De Foe, at the filling up

liberal politics, or in opposing the factions of Mr. Daniel Burgess's late Meeting

of the times. In the course of the contest house.” He takes the play-bill as bis

be had been involved in personal quarrels, text, the performance was Hainlet,

and had met with some severe rebukes, but with other ainusements. In one pas.

the fortitude of his miod at all times rose

superior to his difficulties, and enabled him sage De Foe asks how can the Church

to triumph in the rectitude of his princibe in danger ?

ples. He had now arrived at a period of “ The Parliament addresses, the Queen life when the mind seeks repose from the consults, the Ministry execute, the army turbulence of faction, and the course of pofights, and all for the Church! But at litical events having thrown him in the back home we have other heroes that act for the ground, he was destined to beat out a new Church. Peggy Hughes sings, Monsieur path to fame, which will render his name Ramadon plays, Miss Santlow dances, respected when temporary politics are forMonsieur Cherrier teaches, and all for the gotten." Church. Here's heavenly doings,-here's

In the 17th chapter of his third roharmony,—your singing psalms is hurdygurdy to this music, and all your preaching

lume, De Foe's merits as a writer of actors are fools to these. Besides, there's fiction are analysed by Mr. Wilson, another sort of music here, the case is al- and among the rest his ever-popular tered, the Clergy preach and read there, &c. publication Robinson Crusoe is of and get money for it of the Church. But course particularly noticed. It is a these sing and act, and talk bawdy, and the singular fact, that ihe MS. of this celeChurch gets money by the bargain; there's brated work went nearly through the the music of it!"

whole of the trade, before a purchaser He concludes by recommending the could be found in William Taylor of sollowing inscription to be placed over the Ship in Paternoster-row, who pubthe door of the Chapel :

lished the first part in April 1719. It " This Church was re-edified apno 1706, need not be added that his purchase at the expence and by the charitable con proved a very valuable speculation to tributions of the enemies of the Reforma- him, although, as in many other simition of Morals, and to the eternal scandal lar instances, the author was but slenand most just reproach of the Church of derly remunerated. How many liteEngland and the Protestant Religion.- rary men of worth know the force of Witness our hands, Lucifer Prince of Dark that sentenceness, and Hamlet Prince of Denmark, Churchwardens."-vol. iii. p. 457.

“Sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes !” Previously to the Union with Scot. The second part soon followed by land, De Foc was charged with two the same publisher in August of the secret missions by the ministry to that same year. country, of which he acquitied him. The vulgar imputation which has self with such approbation, that he passed current to every schoolboy, that was rewarded, through the interven- he purloined the contents of Alexantion of Harley, with a pension : on the der Selkirk's MSS. who had passed retirement of that minister, it fell into four years on the solitary island of arrears, and was ultimately disconti. Juan Fernandez, is shown to be ennued. On the death of the Queen irely destitute of truth. All that De and the accession of George the First, Foe owed to Selkirk's adventure was Harley's party lost their power, and the fact of a human being having been De Foe had to experience all the so situated, which, with a description wretchedness of “that poor man," of his mode of life, had appeared in a who has lived on the favour of a fac- periodical paper called the Englishtion in the State. “No sooner was man, by Sir Richard Steele, No. 28. the Queen dead (says he), and the Sir Richard says, that he had seen and King, as right required, proclaimed, frequently conversed with Selkirk on but ihe rage of men increased upon me his arrival in England in 1711.


Review.-Wilson's Memoirs of De Foe. [Feb. The perfect air of vraisemblance as he approached the threshold of the which De Foe contrived to give to all grave, the instability of worldly comhis works of fiction, in none is more fort, and what was more bitier still, completely developed than in the story the ingratitude of a child.-He was prefixed to the translation of Drelin. thrown into prison, on the suit of court's Consolations against the Fear a merciless creditor, it would appear of Death. The sale of the book prove on some bond which ought to have ing heavy on its first production, De been cancelled, or on some ficti. Foe offered the publishers to make it rious claimn. Such is the probable ingo off, by the recommendation of a ference from De Foe's own words, ghost, and immediately penned the who calls him “a wicked and perApparition of Mrs. Veal the next day jured enemy." He was not long conafter her death, to one Mrs. Bargrave fioed, being released August 1730. of Canterbury, in the course of which During his imprisonment he suffered supernatural rencontre and colloquy, much from bodily affliction, having the spectre strongly recommends the had an attack of fever. Mr. Wilson perusal of Drelincourt's treatise to thus pathetically approaches the final her friend. The book went through catastrophe of his hero: forty editions!

“He who had borne so long the buffetThe “ Journal of the Plague Year, ings of the world, possessed a spirit that rebeing Observations or Memorials of fused to sink under them, until he was the most remarkable Occurrences, as touched by the hand that should have nouwell public as private, which hap rished and protected him. He could say, in pened in London during the last great

the language of the prophet, “I have nouVisitation in 1665. Written by a Ci

rished and brought up children, and they tizen, who continued all the while in

have rebelled against me.' It seems that, London ; never made public before,

to prevent the shipwreck of his property,

he had conveyed it to his son, with a legal London, E. Nutt, 1722;” and “The

obligation as well as private understanding, Memoirs of a Cavalier, or a Military

that it was for the joint benefit of his wife Journal of the Wars in Germany and and two unmarried daughters. But he the Wars in England, from 1632 to proved an unfaithful steward, converting 1643. Written ihreescore years ago, the property to his own use, and leaving by an English Gentleman;" &c. &c. his mother and sisters to want." are prominent instances of his admira- A most touching original letter from ble skill in giving identical reality to De Foe to his son-in-law Mr. Baker, the hero of his piece. These two last on the subject of his calamity, is given volumes have been frequently consi in vol. III. p. 605; it seems to have dered and referred to as descriptions by been written after his enlargement, eye-witnesses of the scenes to which and is dated Greenwich in Kent, 12 they relate. It will afford some idea Aug. 1730, where he probably had of the industry of De Foe, and the sheltered himself in retirement, from fertility of his genius, to inform the the pressure of an insolvency which reader that a catalogue of no less than had been so cruelly brought upon him. two hundred and ten separate publica. De Foe did not long survive this last tions is given by Mr. Wilson as from shock of worldly fortune, redoubled the pen of De Foe. His Romances as its force had been by filial ingratia must have placed him during their tude. The particulars of his last morun in easy circumstances; for about ments are not on record ; nothing 1721 he built himself a handsome more is known than that he died of a house at Stoke Newington, and is lethargy on the 24th of April, 1731, said to have kept his coach. Here, as in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, human life is seldom exempt from where he had drawn his first breath, some counterbalance to happiness, and that he was buried two days after which places the affluent and the in Tivdall's burying-ground, Bunhillneedy on a par, he was troubled with fields. frequent attacks of those excruciating Thus have we briefly noticed, as diseases the gout and stone. --At Stoke they occur in the course of Mr. WilNewington Mr. H. Baker became the son's elaborate narrative, the incidents guest of his family, and forming an at- and occupations which marked the tachment for Sophia, De Foe's young. life of a genius who has left us at this est daughter, married her in 1729. time only to regret that so many of the

De Foe was doomed to experience, productions of his truly English pen 1831.] Review.- Rev. W. Pashley's Voice of Reason. 149 should have been devoted to temporary bell, usually called Tom, very loud and subjects of evanescent interest.-We very hollow. Noise enough he cerhave had no space to enter with Mr. tainly made ; but sound and sepse are Wilson into the analysis of the princi- distinct things. pal writings of De Foe, into the de- We assume that infinilorum nulla scription of the parties of his day, or sit ars; that no one can physically into details of historical characters act. predicate what is in figure and essence ing on the same stage with himself. Deity, and get must do so, if he opOn all these points Mr. Wilson has poses Revelation; that is to say, he considerably, nay, sometimes we have must predicate what God cannot posthought almost superfluously enlarged. sibly be, before he has any foundation His book is written in a plain, per- for objection. If he finds a posteriori, spicuous, and flowing style. It will from reason, that he cannot be what be found to afford much amusement savages and pagans, and possibly what to the mere lounging reader who may he himself, have made of him, he is dip into it for anecdote here and there, viodicated, but he has no faculties or while it forms a valuable volume of means of going further. Every phi. reference for such as would acquaint losopher knows that hydrogen and themselves with the state of politics oxygen are both connected with comand literature at the time immediately bustion; he possibly predicates, therepreceding the revolution of 1688, and fore, that if he can compound them forty years subsequent. We cannot, both, he will produce a combustible as we have observed before, follow De power, which will consume all before Foe and his biographer in their leaning it. No, instead of this, he produces towards the Puritan faction in the water, which quenches fire. ' Again, State; at the same time we can make it is known that wherever there is due allowance for erroneous opinions moisture, organic being is sure to arise, and prejudices, which may tincture the of which no man can predicate the lives of the best of men. We are quite possible forms, whether vegetable or aware how much the true catholicism animal. Moreover, he sees only the of Christianity may be forwarded by phenomena of generation and vitaliiy, forbearance and a mild construction of but he knows nothing of the princithe influential motives of our neigh- ples. Under these circumsiances, bour, and we are willing to believe therefore, how can he predicate any that, guided by sincerity of purpose, thing which exceeds hypothesis; and and unperverted by the fiery spirit of such being the foundation, viz. air, fanaticism, men of different religious what must be the superstructure but a sects are often much closer to union castle in that air ? than they themselves believe.

But the infidel says, and says truly

with Locke, faith is an involuntary The Voice of Reason in Defence of the Chris- act,

act,-I have no faith, and you cannot tian Faith, as may be supposed would be

compel faith. Admitted. Our author now raised by the departed Spirit of the

quotes Paine as saying that Author of The Age of Reason,&c. By

“No one will deny or dispute the power the Rev. William Pashley, B.A. 8vo. pp.

of the Almighty to make such a communi190.

cation if he pleases; but it is revelation to WE do not think that the manner the first person only, and hearsay to every in which divines combat infidelity, is other, and consequently they are not obthat which is most efficient. They liged to believe it.”- p. 56. assume premises which are pointless Now here is fallacy. A man canweapons in regard to sceptics, because not be obliged to believe any thing. they leave the grounds of objection He cannot be obliged to believe that unassailed. With humility, then, we he owes his being to an antecession would propose a new system of tactics, of fathers and mothers; but he cannot and treat Revelation according to phi- deny it, without being laughed at. Ad. losophical principles and the laws of mit' the fact, and the hearsay becomes Providence; neither of which seem to evidence, like history. Paine, to have have been studied by that popular de. been a perfect infidel, should have de. magogue named Paine, with ihe præ- nied the premises that the Almighty nomen of Tom;-apropos enough, both could have made any revelation at all; as he derived his name from the doubt. but then he well knew that he would ing apostle, and also resembled a great inextricably have been in a Maelstrom.

150 Review.-Voice of Reason.---Progress of Society. [Feb. Allegate, that there cannot be a tri- ghosts; but Dr. Hibbert has plainly une Deity; that there cannot have shown that such visionary beings are been a Son of God co-existent and actually created before the eyes of the co-eternal; that there cannot have been spectators, through certain states of a Revelation, and so forth. Now you disease in their own persons. It cannot prove what is not, by what is; therefore follows that our organs are nor what is, by what is not. You susceptible of being acted upon by untake upon you to decide physical ques. knowil causes, so as per se to produce tions, by private opinions only; and miracles and extraordinary things. no science can be formed out of such Now if the Bible cannot be philomiaterials.

sophically convicted of absurdity, and As to the Bible, its authenticity is we think that it cannot, why then in. determinable by its adaptation to or fidelity has no beller ground-work disagreement with the laws and acts than cavil? Paine has merely brought of Providence. The chief of these is, forward the quibbles of the French reas to the present subject, the progres- volutionists ; and Bishop Watson has sive improvement of man. Now it is most successfully exposed palpable noted by geologists that such has been sophism and gross falsifications of his. the progress in creation, at various pe- tory. Paine, to make his case good, riods, that a future race of men far su- ought to have shown that it was the perior to the present, may be in the intention of the Almighty to make contemplation of Providence; and fa- man an impeccable and perfect being, natics, 'in consequence of this idea, and that the Bible misrepresents that have not very rationally understood it object. But physiologists know that 10 mean a race of men consisting it is not possible to reconcile the conwholly of dissenters. The principle formation of man and the existence of of the Bible is improvement, by means privatives (as darkness the defect of of a proper conception of the nature light, death of life, &c. &c.) with such and action of Deity, in respect to man; an original intention. He never was nor is there a single unphilosophical or could be any other than such as the absurdity in any interveniion which it Bible represents him to be ; and this records. A miracle is only a suspen- might with great ease be physically sion of the laws of nature, and pro- proved. phecy only a supernatural impulse.'An Mr. Pashley, like a zealous and wellincarnation from the very birth of the meaning clergyman, is anxious that intellectual conformation of a being his parishioners should not be misled soited to some especial divine purpose, by the charlatan Paine. We are bound is not also an unphilosophical absur- to respect such intentions, and wish dity; and nothing which cannot be him every success; for in truth, to phidemonstrated such, is to be treated losophers, Paine is a mere man of with contempt. In proof, be it ob. straw. He only gulls the ignorant. served that philosophers admit the existence of a subtile Auid, which oc- The Progress of Society. By the late Rocupies completely the space of the bert Hamilton, LL.D. F.R.S. Professor universe, (see Arnott's Physics, ii. 4.) of Mathematics in the Marischal College and of which the properties are not and University of Aberdeen, Author of an discoverable by man. This is an af. “ Enguiry concerning the National Debt." fair of physics; and all the acts of 8vo. Pp. 409. Deity are conducted by physical meaus, Dr. HAMILTON has given in whereas infidelity is derived from me. this work an excellent digest of the taphysics, a science which professes to philosophical doctrines concerning the determine all things by consciousness; history of man, and the theories of but who can calculate eclipses by con- political economy. To these abstracts sciousness?

are added original and shrewd observaPaine was not a philosopher. If the tions. Like many distilled essences, Bible had not contained extraordinary his writings exhibit lucid clearness, things, it could not have been a reve- and have great strength of spirit. lation; and because it does contain We shall not premise further, beextraordinary things, he allegates that cause we have extracts to make, bearit is undeserving of credit. For many iny upon present circumstances of centuries it was disputed whether there great interest; and first, the state of could possibly exist such beings as the poor :

« AnteriorContinuar »