« PreviousContinue »
omnipotent power arrayed on the side of virtue, and watching with untiring vigilance over the true interests of all, that this wicked world must bave been transformed into a sort of Utopia since his timewa place from which all prejudice, venality, corruption, and sycophancy were swept away, and where the governors and the governed would emulate each other in their exertions for the common weal. But if, after perusing the aforesaid rhapsodies, the said Socrates could have a quantity of newspapers taken indiscriminately from different parts of the country placed before him, there is strong reason to believe that an attentive perusal of their elegant contents would materially change his opinion. He would find the gentlemen presiding over one half of the press stating that the other portion of their editorial brethren were, without exception, the greatest set of rascals, scoundrels, rogues, thieves, and vagabonds that ever existed on the face of the earth, and that they were the most vile, the most degraded, the most contemptible miscreants that could, by any possibility, disgrace humanity. On the other hand, he would find the party accused in these gentle terms, asserting that their assajlants were well known to be such infamous liars, so totally destitute of every spark of honesty, so stained with infamy, so branded with convicted falsehoods, VOL. II.
DRURY-LANE and Covent-garden are two magnificent temples for the representation of the legitimate drama. Taste and elegance are conspicuous in whatever appertains to them; and though both houses are richly ornamented, the most fastidious critic would be puzzled to point out any thing gaudy, glaring, or obtrusive. The contrast between the chaste simplicity of their common scenery, and the glittering coarseness of that of the minor theatres is very striking. The greatest fault of both is their size; great physical powers being absolutely requisite to make the singing and acting effective in the more remote parts of the house. The interior of each being in the shape of a horse-shoe, the stage is consequently much smaller in proportion to the audience-part than that of the Park theatre, which is semicircular. The saloons and lobbies are uncommonly spacious and splendid. The principal saloon
at Drury-lane is one large mirror, the walls being entirely covered with glass. Next in reputation to these stands the Haymarket, nearly the size of the Bowery, and bearing about the same relation to Drury-lane and Covent-garden, that the Chatham in its best days did to the Park. The English Operahouse-lately burned and now rebuilding—its name sufficiently indicates the purposes to which it is appropriated. The Italian Opera-house is not yet open for the season, but is, I understand, by far the largest and most splendid theatrical establishment in London. Then there is Astley's in the quadruped line, where dramas written by asses are played by horses— where the business of the scene is transacted en croupe, and ladies are courted and tyrants are slaughtered at a three-quarter pace or a full gallop. Sadler's Wells, once famous for heroic actions and real water, swearing and tobacco. Here ships were nightly wrecked and long-boats overturned; and sailors continually employed in jumping overboard to save beauty and innocence, in wet white garments from a watery grave. The performers were a species of amphibious animals, and passed half their time in fluids; and the best swimmer was, next to a Newfoundland dog, the most important personage in the establishment. Here it was that the “ Courageous Coral Diver, or the Shark of the
“there must be some truth in what the fellow says," their number is fast diminishing. A paper is at present lying before us, from which better things might have been expected, as it is published in a decent neighborhood, and contains some good reading matter, in which, amid two-thirds of a column of abuse, one of the most moderate sentences is, that his opponent is a liar by nature and a thief by profession.” After going on for some time with unabated spirit in this strain of unmitigated abuse, he winds up with the following magnificent piece of composition. “If the river Amazon were made to run through his (his opponent's) soul, more time would be taken up in cleansing it of its depravity and filthiness, than was required by the ancient river to cleanse the celebrated stables, wherein a thousand oxen had been stalled for almost as many years !” This appears to be only one of a series of articles on the subject ! and the offence, as far as we can make it out, for which all these hard words are let loose, seems to have been the copying a paragraph without due credit, or something of the kind of equally vital importance to the community, We have not seen the replication to this choice morceau, but presume it will be in the same style of impassioned and elegant invective.
Now is not this and such as this abominable?
and hundreds of instances could be pointed out of still greater magnitude, in which the personal appearance and family connexions of a man are ridiculed-charges of not having paid his tailor's bill, or any thing else, no matter what, that depravity can invent or blackguardism utter, are put forth. Opprobrious epithets from such sources, when applied to those who have been long before the public, and whose characters are well and favorably known, can do but comparatively little harm; they may exclaim with Brutus,
“ I am armed so strong in honesty
but suppose an honorable and sensitive man, just commencing his career, attacked by one of those literary scavengers, what exquisite pain must it give him to find himself dragged forward and slandered in this manner. And he has no redress; he cannot reply, or at all events if he does, it will be a most unequal match, for he will be temperate in his language, and anxious not to assert any thing but what is strictly true. It would be like a gen. tleman neatly dressed in light-colored unmentionables and white kid gloves, engaged in a combat of throwing mud from a kennel with a ragged and