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sensible that to mark them out is a work of extreme nicety, and requires a considerable knowledge of details. This is matter for the labour, judgment, and patriotic feeling of the legislature. If we have produced any conviction by our remarks, it will be admitted that the application of freedom of trade to the existing establishments of this country will, in some cases, be attended with good, in others with a neutral effect, and in many be followed by injurious consequences. The investigation of the question may tend to diffuse correct views, and be a safeguard against extravagant hopes, misconceptions, and the forwarding of hasty and ill understood representations to parliament,
We may reasonably doubt the practicability of the abstract propositions and theories of zealots in political economy, who, unmindful of the cupidity and rivalry of nations, would rush into the most open and exposed freedom of trade. Never country possessed, with its manufactures and colonies, the resources of this. Let these be cultivated. Let us not endanger our manufactures and render useless our colonies to enrich rivals and doubtfully benefit ourselves. Let the freest intercourse and removals of restrictions be adopted as far as regards the internal communications of this country and its possessions ;-they form a world within themselves : the sun, throughout the year, never sets upon the British flag :-it waves over the productions of every climate and is the acknowledged banner of near a hundred millions of people. Let the privileges of public companies, where they impede national competition, be relaxed and opened: limitations and monopolies amongst ourselves cannot be good.
The country is yet susceptible of incalculable advances in wealth and prosperity. We shall rejoice to see new wings given to the commerce of the world, without impairing its actual strength; and in the establishment of a happy activity of intercourse between the remotest corners of the globe, the adoption of the most effectual means of extending civilization, knowledge, plenty, religion ; bestowing on peace, its characteristic abundance: yet in the attainment of this good, we should approach with tenderness the unrivalled fabrics of manufacturing establishments, which a system of restriction has reared amongst us: we should hesitate to expose to the chance of degradation, the substantial and matchless improvements of our agriculture, and above all, innovate with apprehension on those navigation laws to which are to be traced so much of the commerce, the glory, and, perhaps, the independence of the empire.
ÁRT. II.-Melmoth, the Wanderer. 4 Vols. 1200. By the
Author of Bertrain. Archibald Constable and Co. Edinburgh.
1820. THIS extraordinary work is introduced in an extraordinary
“The hint of this Romance (or Tale) was taken from a passage in one of my Sermons, which (as it is to be presumed very few have read) I shall bere take the liberty to quote. The passage is this.
"" At this moment is there one of us present, however we may have departed from the Lord, disobeyed his will, and disregarded his wordis there one of us who would, at this moment, accept all that man could beslow, or earth afford, to resign the hope of his salvation ?-No, there is not one—not such a fool on earth, were the enemy of mankind to traverse it with the offer !!''
• This passage suggested the idea of “ Melmoth, the Wanderer.” The reader will find that idea developed in the following pages, with what power or success he is to decide.'-vol. i. pp. ix., X.
The amiable modesty of confessing such a plagiarism—the clerical propriety of dilating a text into a novel-the felicity of explaining what we are about to read by a reference to what we never read, ignotum per ignotius—and the condescension with wbich the reader is graciously perniitted to form an opinion of the author's skill, are all preliminary proofs of good taste and common sense, which the subsequent pages admirably confirm; and Mr. Maturin's preface has the very rare merit of giving us a lively and accurate idea of the work which it precedes.
But we must be serious :—On the occasion of Mr. Maturin's former novel, we veiled our disgust, and, out of respect for the clerical character, conveyed our censure under the appearance of irony; we endeavoured castigare ridendo, anxiously hoping by that lenient method of treatment to be spared the necessily of having recourse to the more violent remedies :- but we have been disappointed, and the new ravings of the unhappy patient exceed the old in folly and indelicacy. Indeed, Mr. Maturin has contrived, by a curiosa infelicitas,' to unite in this work all the worst particularities of the worst modern novels. Compared with it, Lady Morgan is almost intelligible—The Monk, decent- The Vampire, amiable—and Frankenstein, natural. We do not pronounce this judgment hastily, and we pronounce it with regretwe honour Mr. Maturin's profession even when he debases it, and if • Melmoth' had been only silly and tiresome, we should gladly have treated it with silent contempt; but it unfortunately variegates its stupidity with some characteristics of a more disgusting kind, which our respect for good manners and decency obliges us to de
nounce. Mr. Maturin means, we hope and are ready to believe, no harm-he seems, indeed, like the Pythia of old, to be but a very imperfect judge of the meaning of any thing which he utters in the fury of his inspirations; and he will, perhaps, be himself surprised to learn, that, during his convulsions, he makes the most violent assaults, not merely on common sense and the English tongue, —these are trifles—but on decency, and even religion :-whether Mr. Maturin be or be not conscious of what he is doing, it is equally our duty to endeavour to counteract the mischief of what he has done.
We shall not waste our time in endeavouring to unravel the tissue of stories which occupy these four volumes: they are contained one within another like a nest of Chinese boxes; but instead of being the effect of nice workmanship, Mr. Maturin's tales are involved and entangled in a clumsy confusion which disgraces the artist, and puzzles the observer. It will suffice for our purpose to acquaint our readers that the hero of all the stories is the DEVIL—the Devil himself, who, in the words of the sermon, "traverses the earth,' with the kind offer of damnation to any one who may choose to accept of his obliging services. To the introduction of a fictitious devil, as in the Diable Boiteux,' for the purposes of pleasantry, no one would object; but when he is brought forward in seriousness and sadness, surrounded with his scriptural attributes, and employed in ensnaring consciences and in propagating damnation, then we must be allowed to say the matter becomes too solenin, too tremendous for the handling of such
weak masters' as Mr. Maturin : and this miserable inixture of the most awful truths with the most paltry fables, appears to us the work either of impiety or insanity, of a mind either very loose in its principles, or very wild in its operations.
But while we complain of the production of the Devil in this shape, Mr. Maturin's countrymen will, with some reason, remonstrate against the local habitation and name' which, in his fine frenzy,' he has conferred upon his incognito Satan.-The Devil, it seems, is an Irish gentleman of respectable family, who was born (as we guess) about the year 1640, and after various adventures, died at Wexford, about the month of December, 1816, in the 177th year of his age. We shall not stop to laugh at the meanness and manifest absurdities of such a conception: we shall only say that Melmoth, (the incarnate fiend,) during his peregrination of two centuries, does less mischief than a clever mortal would have done; and indeed, Mr. Maturin's devil seems to have known as little how to interest or captivate mankind, as the reverend author himself. His chief exploits are turning nonkto disturb a Spanish com
vent,-killing a couple of lovers by lightning, seducing, in the character of an English sailor, an Hindostanee girl, who turns out to be the daughter of a worthy citizen of Madrid,-offering a dollar to the daughter of a starving painter whom he meets in the street, and finally (if indeed we can presume to talk of beginning or end in such an enbroglio) endeavouring, we know not how, to teinpt an old maid, in the north of England, to do we know not what! Pope said, with inore wit than reverence,
• But Satan now is wiser than of yore.
And templs by making rich, not making poor.' But Mr. Maturin's devil does neither: le neither trics by adversity, nor tempts by prosperity; but, as far as we can discover, takes events as lie finds them, and acts as a mere man would probably do, if one could imagine a man at once supremely wicked and supremely stupid, with a heart to conceive all kinds of atrocity, and with an intellect which could not guide bim in robbing a hencoop.
Such is the pauvre diuble, the 'lubber fiend,' which Mr. Maturin has produced from the unlimited materials at his disposal — eternal youth-irresistible beauty-inexhaustible wealth-ubiquity, omnipotence, and desperation! These are Mr. Maturin's implements : and the squabbles of a convent, picking up a girl in the streets, eloping with a merchant's daughter, and frightening an old maid in a country churchyard, are the glorious result of such a combination of magniticent machinery !
We shall now proceed to give some idea of the merit of this performance in its details. Some of these details may, perhaps, offend the delicacy of our readers; but we trust it will be recollected, that the work under notice is a romance written by a clergyman, and that, if its true character be not fairly shown, it may find its way into bands where such trash, however contemptible, may yet be capable of doing mischief: we shall not insult our readers, - however, by one quotation more than we think necessary to correct the misguided, or to expose the depraved intellect of the author.
To begin with his least, but most common offence, NONSENSE. Every page teems with it; but we shall only produce a few pas sages taken at random.
A Spanish youth has offended his father and mother, and the family-confessor : let us observe how tremendously Mr. Maturin describes their leaving the spot in which the altercation had taken place.
• As the Confessor rushed from the room, accompanied by my father and mother, whose hands he grasped, I felt as if struck by a thunderbolt. The rushing of their robes, as he dragged them out, seemed like
the whirlwind that attends the presence of the destroying angel.' -—vol. i: p. 225.
The same youth sees his candle going out, and grows afraid in the dark.
* I shall never forget the look my guide threw on me by its sinking light. I had watched it like the last beatings of an expiring heart, like the shivering of a spirit about to part for eternity. I saw it extinguished, and believed myself already among those for “whom the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever.”
• It was at this moment that a faint sound reached our frozen ears; it was the chaunt of matins, performed by candle-light at this season of the year, which was begun in the chapel now far above us. The voice of heaven thrilled us, we seemed the pioneers of darkness, on the very frontiers of hell. This superb insult of celestial triumph, that amid the strains of hope spoke despair to us, announced a God to those who were stopping their ears against the sound of his name, had an effect indescribably awful. I fell to the ground, whether from stumbling from the darkness, or shrinking from emotion, I know not.'!- vol. i. p. 179.
He becomes thirsty
And, above all, the unnatural atmosphere, combined with the intensity of my emotion, bad produced a thirst, the agony of which I can compare to nothing but that of a burning coal dropt into my throat, which I seemed to suck for moisture, but which left only drops of fire on my tongue.—vol. ii. p. 180.
He is afraid of speaking loud —
* This kind of fear which we know already felt by others, and which we dread to aggravate by uttering, even to those who know it, is perhaps the most horrible sensation ever experienced. The very thirst of my body seemed to vanish in this fiery thirst of the soul for communication, where all communication was unutterable, impossible, hopeless. Perhaps the condemned spirits will feel thus at their final sentence, when they know all that is to be suffered, and dare not disclose to each other that horrible truth which is no longer a secret, but which the profound silence of their despair would seem to make one. The secret of silence is the only secret. Words are a blasphemy against that taciturn and invisible God, whose presence enshrouds us in our last extremity.' -vol. ii. pp. 182, 183.
But the following description by the Spanish-Hindostanee girl of the objects around her, is intended to be of a gentler and happier style.
“She told him that she was the daughter of a palm-tree, under whose shade she had been first conscious of existence, but that her poor father had been long withered and dead—that she was very old, si. e. 15) having seen many roses decay on their stalks; and though they were succeeded by others, she did not love them so well as the first, which were