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rain, and large enough to shelter ten
men. It is a natural umbrella, and is
of as eminent service in that country as
a great-coat tree would be in this. " A
leaf of the talipot tree is a tent to the
soldier, a parasol to the traveller, and a
book to the scholar.* The cocoa tree
affords bread, milk, oil, wine, spirits,
vinegar, yeast, sugar, cloth, paper, huts,
and ships.

We could with great pleasure pro-
ceed to give a further abstract of this
very agreeable and interesting publica-
tion, which we very strongly recommend
to the public. It is written with great
modesty, entirely without pretensions,
and abounds with curious and impor-
tant information. Mr. Percival will
accept our best thanks for the amuse-
ment he has afforded us. When we can
praise with such justice, we are always
happy to do it ; and regret that the rigid
and- independent honesty which we have
made the very basis of our literary un-
dertaking should so frequently compel
us to speak of the authors who come
before us, in a style so different from
that in which we have vindicated the
merits of Mr. Percival.



DELPHINE. (E. REVIEW, 1803.)

Delphi. By Madame de Staiil Holstein.
London. Mawman. 6 vols. 12tno.

THIS dismal trash, which has nearly
dislocated the jaws of every critic
among us with gaping, has so alarmed
Bonaparte, that he has seized the whole
impression, sent Madame de Stae'l out
of Paris, and, for aught we know,

* All books are written upon it in
Ceylon.



DELPHIXE.



45



sleeps in a nightcap of steel, and
dagger-proof blankets. To us it
appears rather an attack upon the Ten
Commandments, than the government
of Bonaparte, and calculated not so
much to enforce the rights of the
Bourbons, as the benefits of adultery,
murder, and a great number of other
vices, which have been somehow or
other strangely neglected in this country,
and too much so (according to the ap-
parent opinion of Madame de Stael)
even in France.

It happens, however, fortunately
enough, that her book is as dull as it
could have been if her intentions had
been good ; for wit, dexterity, and the
pleasant energies of the mind, seldom
rank themselves on the side of virtue
and social order ; while vice is spi-
ritual, eloquent, and alert, ever choice
in expression, happy in allusion, and
judicious in arrangement.

The story is simply this. Delphine,
a rich young widow, presents her cousin
Matilda de Vernon with a considerable
estate, in order to enable her to marry
Leonce Mondeville. To this action
she is excited by the arts and the in-
trigues of Madame de Vernon, an
hackneyed Parisian lady, who hopes,
by this marriage, to be able to discharge
her numerous and pressing debts.
Leonce, who, like all other heroes of
novels, has fine limbs, and fine qualities,
comes to Paris dislikes Matilda
falls in love with Delphine, Delphine
with him ; and they are upon the eve
of jilting poor Matilda, when, from
some false reports spread abroad re-
specting the character of Delphine
(which are aggravated by her own im-
prudences, and by the artifices of
Madame de Vernon), Leonce, not in a
fit of honesty, but of revenge, marries
the lady whom he came to marry.
Soon after. Madame de Vernon dies
discovers the artifices by which she had
prevented the union of Leonce and
Delphine and then, after this catas-
trophe, which ought to have terminated
the novel, come two long volumes of
complaint and despair. Delphine be-
comes a nun runs away from the
nunnery with Leonce, who is taken by
some French soldiers, upon the sup-



position that he has been serving in
the French emigrant army against his
country is shot, and upon his dead
body falls Delphine, as dead as he.

Making every allowance for reading
this book in a translation, and in a
very bad translation, we cannot but
deem it a heavy performance. The
incidents are vulgar ; the characters
vulgar too, except those of Delphine
and Madame de Vernon. Madame
de Stae'l has not the artifice to hide
what is coming. In travelling through
a flat country, or a flat book, we see
our road before us for half the distance
we are going. There are no agreeable
sinuosities, and no speculations whether
we are to ascend next, or descend ;
what new sight we are to enjoy, or to
which side we are to bend. Leonce is
robbed and half murdered ; the apo-
thecary of the place is certain he will
not live ; we were absolutely certain
that he would live, and could predict
to an hour the time of his recovery.
In the same manner we could have
prophesied every event of the book a
whole volume before its occurrence.

This novel is a perfect Alexandrian.
The last two volumes are redundant,
and drag their wounded length: it
should certainly have terminated where
the interest ceases, at the death of
Madame de Vernon; but, instead of
this, the scene-shifters come and pick
up the dead bodies, wash the stage,
sweep it, and do everything which the
timely fall of the curtain should have
excluded from the sight, and left to
the imagination of the audience. We
humbly apprehend, that young gentle-
men do not in general make their
tutors the confidants of their passion;
at least we can find no rule of that
kind laid down either by Miss
Hamilton or Miss Edgeworth, in their
treatises on education. The tutor of
Leonce is Mr. Barton, a grave old
gentleman, in a peruke and snuff-
coloured clothes. Instead of writing
to this solemn personage about second
causes, the ten categories, and the
eternal fitness of things, the young
lover raves to him, for whole pages,
about the white neck and auburn hair
of his Delphine; and, shame to .tell!



46



DELFIIINE.



the liquorish old pedagogue seems to
think these amorous ebullitions the
pleasantest sort of writing in tisum
Delphini that he has yet met with.

By altering one word, and making
only one false quantity*, we shall
change the rule of Horace to

" Nee febris intersit nisi dignus viudice

nodus
Incident."

Delphine and Leonce have eight very
bad typhus fevers between them, be-
sides hcemoptoe, hemorrhage, deliquium
animi, singultus, hysteria, and faminei
ululalus, or screams innumerable. Now,
that there should be a reasonable al-
lowance of sickness in every novel, we
are willing to admit, and will cheer-
fully permit the heroine to be once
given over, and at the point of death ;
but we cannot consent that the interest
which ought to be excited by the
feelings of the mind should be trans-
ferred to the sufferings of the body, and
a crisis of perspiration be substituted
for a crisis of passion. Let us see diffi-
culties overcome, if our approbation is
required ; we cannot grant it to such
cheap and sterile artifices as these.

The characters in this novel are all
said to be drawn from real life ; and
the persons for whom they are intended
are loudly whispered at Paris. Most
of them we have forgotten ; but Del-
phine is said to be intended for the
authoress, and Madame de Vernon (by
a slight sexual metamorphosis) for
Talleyrand, minister of the French
republic for foreign affairs. As this
lady (once the friend of the authoress)
may probably exercise a considerable
influence over the destinies of this
country, we shall endeavour to make
our readers a little better acquainted
with her ; but we must first remind
them that she was once a bishop, a
higher dignity in the church than was
ever attained by any of her sex since
the days of Pope Joan ; and that
though she swindles Delphine out of
her estate with a considerable degree

Perhaps a fault of all others which the
English are least disposed to pardon. A
young man, who, on a public occasion,
makes a false quantity at the outset of life,
cau seldom or never get over it.



of address, her dexterity sometimes
fails her, as in the memorable instance
of the American commissioners. Ma-
d:ime de Srael gives the following de-
scription of this pastoral metropolitan
female :

" Though she is at least forty, she still
appears charming even among the young
and beautiful of her own sex. The pale-
ness of her complexion, the slight relax-
ation of her features, indicate the languor
of indisposition, and not the decay of years ;
the easy negligence of her dress accords
with this improasion. Every one concludes,
that when her health is recovered, and she
dresses with more care, she must be com-
pletely beautiful: this change, however,
never happens, but it is always expected;
and that is sufficient to make the imagina-
tion still add something more to the
natural effect of her charms." (Vol. i.
p. 21.)

Nothing can be more execrable than
the manner in which this book is trans-
lated. The bookseller has employed
one of our countrymen for that purpose,
who appears to have been very lately
caught. The contrast between the
passionate exclamations of Madame de
Stae'l, and the barbarous vulgarities of
poor Sawney, produces a mighty ludi-
crous effect. One of the heroes, a man
of high fastidious temper, exclaims in a
letter to Delphine, " I cannot endure
this Paris ; I have met with ever so many
people whom my soul abhors." And
the accomplished and enraptured Le-
once terminates one of his letters thus:
"Adieu! Adieu! my dearest Delphine.
I will give you a call to-morrow." We
doubt if Grub Street ever imported
from Caledonia a more abominable
translator.

We admit the character of Madame
de Vernon to be drawn with consider-
able skill. There are occasional traits
of eloquence and pathos in this novel,
and very many of those observations
upon manners and character which are
totally out of the reach of all who have
not lived long in the world, and ob-
served it well.

The immorality of any book (in our
estimation) is to be determined by the
general impressions it leaves on those
minds, whose principles, not yet ossified,
are capable of affording a less powerful



DELPHINE.



47



defence to its influence. The most
dangerous effect that any fictitious
character can produce, is when two or
three of its popular vices are varnished
over with everything that is captivating
and gracious in the exterior, and en-
nobled by association with splendid
virtues : this apology will be more sure
of its effect, if the faults are not against
nature, but against society. The aver-
sion to murder and cruelty could not
perhaps be so overcome ; but a regard
to the sanctity of marriage vows, to the
sacred and sensitive delicacy of the
female character, and to numberless
restrictions important to the well-being
of our species, may easily be relaxed by
this subtle and voluptuous confusion of
good and evil. It is in vain to say the
fable evinces, in the last act, that vice
is productive of misery. We may de-
corate a villain with graces and felicities
for nine volumes, and hang him in the
last page. This is not teaching virtue,
but gilding the gallows, and raising np
splendid associations in favour of being
hanged. In such an union of the
amiable and the vicious (especially if
the vices are such to the commission
of which there is no want of natural
disposition), the vice will not degrade
the man, but the man will ennoble the
vice. We shall wish to be him we ad-
mire, in spite of his vices, and, if the
novel be well written, even in conse-
quence of his vice. There exists,
through the whole of this novel, a show
of exquisite sensibility to the evils which
individuals suffer by the inflexible rules
of virtue prescribed by society, and an
eager disposition to apologise for par-
ticular transgressions. Such doctrine
is not confined to Madame de Stae'l ;
an Arcadian cant is gaining fast upon
Spartan gravity; and the happiness
diffused, and the beautiful order estab-
lished in society, by this unbending
discipline, is wholly swallowed up in
compassion for the unfortunate and in-
teresting individual Either the ex-
ceptions or the rule must be given up :
every highwayman who thrusts his
pistol into a chaise window has met
with unforeseen misfortunes; and every
loose matron who flies into the arms of
her Greville was compelled to marry an



old man whom she detested, by an
avaricious and unfeeling father. The
passions want not accelerating, but re-
tarding machinery. This fatal and
foolish sophistry has power enough
over every heart, not to need the aid
of fine composition, and well-contrived
incident auxiliaries which Madame
de Stae'l intended to bring forward in
the cause, though she has fortunately
not succeeded.

M. de Serbellone is received as a
guest into the house of M. d'Ervins,
whose wife he debauches as a recom-
pense for his hospitality. Is it possible
to be disgusted with ingratitude and
injustice, when united to such an as-
semblage of talents and virtues as this
man of paper possesses ? Was there
ever a more delightful fascinating adul-
teressthan Madame d'Ervins is intended
to be ? or a povero cornuto less capable
of exciting compassion than her hus-
band? The morality of all this is the old
morality of Farquhar, Vanbrugh, and
Congreve that every witty man may
transgress the seventh commandment,
which was never meant for the protec-
tion of husbands who labour under the
incapacity of making repartees. In
Matilda, religion is always as unamiable
as dissimulation is graceful in Madame
de Vernon, and imprudence generous in
Delphine. This said Delphine, with
her fine auburn hair, and her beautiful
blue or green eyes (we forget which),
cheats her cousin Matilda out of her
lover, alienates the affections of her
husband, and keeps a sort of assignation
house for Serbellone and his chereamie,
justifying herself by the most touching
complaints against the rigour of the
world, anjd using the customary phrases,
union of souls, married in the eye of
heaven, &c. &c. &c., and such like dic-
tion, the types of which Mr. Lane of
the Minerva Press very prudently keeps
ready composed, in order to facilitate
the printing of the Adventures of Cap-
tain C and Miss F , and other

interesting stories, of which he, the
said inimitable Mr. Lane of the Minerva
Press, well knows these sentiments
must make a part. Another perilous
absurdity which this useful production
tends to cherish is the common notion,



43



RESIDENCE OF THE CLERGY.



that contempt of rule and order is a
proof of greatness of mind. Delphine
is everywhere a great spirit, struggling
with the shackles imposed upon her ir
common with the little world around
her ; and it is managed so, that her
contempt of restrictions shall always
appear to flow from the extent, variety,
and splendour of her talents. The
vulgarity of this heroism ought in some
degree to diminish its value. Mr. Col-
quhoun, in his Police of the Metropolis,
reckons up about 40,000 heroines ol
this species, most of whom, we dare to
say, have at one time or another rea
soned like the sentimental Delphine
about the judgments of the world.

To conclude Our general opinion
of this book is, that it is calculated to
shed a mild lustre over adultery ; by
gentle and convenient gradation, to
destroy the modesty and the caution
of women ; to facilitate the acquisition
of easy vices, and encumber the diffi-
culty of virtue. What a wretched quali-
fication of this censure to add, that the
badness of the principles is alone cor-
rected by the badness of the style, and
that this celebrated lady would have
been very guilty, if she had not been
very dull !



THOUGHTS ON THE RESI-
DENCE OF THE CLERGY.
(E. REVIEW, 1803.)

Thoughts on the Residence of the Clergy.
By John Sturges, LL.D.

THIS pamphlet is the production of a
gentleman who has acquired a right to
teach the duties of the clerical cha-
racter by fulfilling them ; and who has
exercised that right, in the present in-
stance, with honour to himself, and



benefit to the public,
ticular character of



From the par-
understanding



evinced in this work we should con-
ceive Dr. Sturges to possess a very
powerful claim to be heard on all ques-
tions referrible to the decision of prac-
tical good sense. He has availed
himself of his experience to observe ;
and of his observation to judge well :
he neither loves his profession too



little, nor too much ; is alive to its
interests, without being insensible to
those of the community at large ; and
treats of those points where his previ-
ous habits might render a little intem-
perance venial, as well as probable,
with the most perfect good humour
and moderation.

As exceptions to the general and in-
disputable principle of residence, Dr.
Sturges urges the smallness of some
livings ; the probability that their in-
cumbents be engaged in the task of
education, or in ecclesiastical duty, in
situations where their talents may be
more appropriately and importantly
employed. Dr. Sturges is also of
opinion, that the power of enforcing
residence, under certain limits, should
be invested in the bishops ; and that
the acts prohibiting the clergy to hold
or cultivate land should be in a great
measure repealed.

We sincerely hope that the two
cases suggested by Dr. Sturges, of the
clergyman who may keep a school, or
be engaged in the duty of some parish
not his own, will be attended to in the
construction of the approaching bill,
and admitted as pleas for non-resi-
dence. It certainly is better that a
clergyman should do the duty of his
own benefice, rather than of any other.
But the injury done to the community
is not commensurate with the vexation
imposed upon the individual. Such a
measure is either too harsh, not to be-
come obsolete ; or, by harassing the
clergy with a very severe restriction,
to gain a very disproportionate good
to the community, would bring the pro-
fession into disrepute, and have a ten-
dency to introduce a class of men into
the Church, of less liberal manners,
education, and connection ; points of
the utmost importance, in our present
state of religion and wealth. Nothing
las enabled men to do wrong with im-
punity, so much, as the extreme se-
verity of the penalties with which the
law has threatened them. The only
method to insure success to the bill for
enforcing ecclesiastical residence, is to
consult the convenience of the clergy
n its construction, as far as is possibly
consistent with the object desired, and



RESIDENCE OF THE CLERGY.



49



even to sacrifice something that ought
to be done, in order that much may b^
done. Upon this principle, the clergy-
man should not be confined to his par-
sonage-house, but to the precincts of
his parish. Some advantage would
certainly attend the residence of the
clergy in their official mansions ; but,
as we have before observed, the good
one party would obtain bears no sort
of proportion to the evil the other
would suffer.

Upon the propriety of investing the
Bench of Bishops with a power of en-
forcing residence, we confess ourselves
to entertain very serious doubts. A
bishop has frequently a very tempo-
rary interest in his diocese : he has fa-
vours to ask ; and he must grant them.
Leave of absence will be granted
to powerful intercession ; and refused,
upon stronger pleas, to men with-
out friends. Bishops are frequently
men advanced in years, or immersed
in study. A single person who com-
pels many others to do their duty, has
much odium to bear, and much activity
to exert. A bishop is subject to
caprice, and enmity, and passion, in
common with other individuals ; there
is some danger also that his power
over the clergy may be converted to a
political purpose. From innumerable
causes, which might be reasoned upon
to great length, we are apprehensive
the object of the Legislature will be
entirely frustrated in a few years, if it
be committed to episcopal superintend-
ence and care ; though, upon the first
view of the subject, no other scheme
can appear so natural and so wise.

Dr. Sturges observes, that after all
the conceivable justifications of non-
residence are enumerated in the Act,
many others must from time to time
occur, and indicate the propriety of
vesting somewhere a discretionary
power. If this be true of the penalties
by which the clergy are governed, it is
equally true of all other penal laws ;
and the law should extend to every
offence the contingency of discretionary
omission. The objection to this sys-
tem is, that it trusts too much to the
sagacity and the probity of the judge,
and exposes a country to the partial,

VOL. L



' lax, and corrupt administration of its
laws. It is certainly inconvenient, in
many cases, to have no other guide to
resort to but the unaccommodating
mandates of an act of Parliament ;
yet, of the two inconveniences, it is
the least. It is some palliation of the
evils of discretionary power, that it
should be exercised (as by the Court
of Chancery) in the face of day, and
that the moderator of law should him-
self be moderated by the force of pre-
cedent and opinion. A bishop will ex-
ercise his discretionary power in the
dark ; he is at full liberty to depart to-
morrow from the precedent he has es-
tablished to-day ; and to apply the same
decisions to different, or different deci-
sions to the same circumstances, as his
humour or interest may dictate. Such
power may be exercised well under one
judge of extraordinary integrity ; but
it is not very probable he will find a
proper successor. To suppose a series
of men so much superior to tempta-
tion, and to construct a system of
church government upon such a sup-
position, is to build upon sand, with
materials not more durable than the
foundation.

Sir William Scott has made it very
clear, by his excellent speech, that it
is not possible, in the present state of
the revenues of the English Church,
to apply a radical cure to the evil of
nonresidence. It is there stated, that
out of 11,700 livings, there are 6000
under 80/. per annum; many of those
20/., 30/., and some as low as 2/. or 3/.
per annum. In such a state of endow-
ment, all idea of rigid residence is out
of the question. Emoluments which
a footman would spurn, can hardly re-
compense a scholar and a gentleman.
A mere palliation is all that can be
applied ; and these are the ingredients
of which we wish such a palliation
should be composed :

1. Let the clergyman have full li-
berty of farming, and be put in this
respect exactly upon a footing with
laymen.

2. Power to reside in any other
house in the parish, as well as the par-
sonage house, and to be absent five
months in the year.

E



50



TABLEAU DES ETATS DANOIS.



3. Schoolmasters, and ministers bond
fide discharging ministerial functions
in another parish, exempt from resi-
dence.

4. Penalties in proportion to the
value of livings, and number of times
the offence has been committed.

5. Common informers to sue as at
present ; though probably it might be
right to make the name of one parish-
ioner a necessary addition ; and a
proof of non-residence might be made
to operate as a nonsuit in an action for
tithes.

6. No action for non- residence to lie
where the benefice was less then 80/.
per annum ; and the powers of bishops
to remain precisely as they are.

These indulgences would leave the
clergy without excuse, would reduce
the informations to a salutary number,
and diminish the odium consequent
upon them, by directing their effects
ngainst men who regard church pre-
ferment merely as a source of revenue,
not as an obligation to the discharge
of important duties.

We venture to prognosticate, that a
bill of greater severity either will not
pass the House of Commons, or will
fail of its object. Considering the
times and circumstances, we are con-
vinced we have stated the greatest
quantum of attainable good ; which of
course will not be attained, by the cus-
tomary error, of attending to what is
desirable to be done, rather than to
what it is practicable to do.



CATTEAU, TABLEAU DES
ETATS DANOIS.
(E. KEVIEW, 1803.)

Tableaux des Etats Danois. Par Jean
Pierre Catteau. 3 tomes. 1802. a Paris.

THE object of this book is to exhibit a
picture of the kingdom of Denmark,
under all its social relations, of politics,
statistics, science, morals, manners, and
everything which can influence its
character and importance, as a free
and independent collection of human
beings.

This book is, upon the whole, ex-



ecuted with great diligence and good
sense. Some subjects of importance
are passed over, indeed, with too much
haste; but if the publication had ex-
ceeded its present magnitude, it would
soon have degenerated into a mere
book of reference, impossible to be
read, and fit only, like a dictionary,



Online LibrarySydney SmithThe works of Rev. Sydney Smith : including his contributions to the Edinburgh Review (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 66)