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to exert all his endeavours to gain permission for you to return to Russia. Vol. ii. p. 50.
Until the determination of the Japanese Government respecting the Russians could be known, it was necessary, according to the established laws, to treat them as criminals. Still, the severity of their imprisonment was softened as much as possible by a thousand acts of kindness. We cannot undertake to follow our Author through all the vexatious delays which arose partly from the conduct of Mr. Moor, who, under the influence as it should seem of mental derangement, did every thing in his power to injure bis fellow prisoners, and to discredit the statement they made in their defence, and partly owing to a most singular combination of circumstances, which tended, though very undeservedly, to place their actions in a suspicious point of view. Through the persevering anxiety of Captain Rikord, who had succeeded Golownin in the command of the Diana, and the laudable exertions of the Russian Government, they terminated in their happy deliverance. The Japanese, who had, we are told, exhorted the Russians in their affliction to rely on the goodness of a Supreme Being, now shewed their sympathy by causing prayers to be put up for their safe voyage, in all their temples for five days! Where shall we find a counterpart to this pious and amiable conduct? That of the Lewchewers themselves did not come up to it.
We must now take our leave of good Captain Golownin, whose volumes bave afforded us at least some entertainment, and could we feel a perfect confirlence in the correctness of his representations, would tend very materially to alter our estimate of the much injured and singular people whom he describes.
Art. IX. 1. Altham and his wife, a Domestic Tale, 12mo. pp. 198.
London. 1818. 2. Lucy Smith ; or the Young Maid and her Mother's Bible, a Tale.
By the Author of Village Histories, 12mo. pp. 28. Price 4d. or 38. 6d. per dozen
dozen London. 1818. IT T is not always easy to decide when the utter worthlessness
of a publication should exempt it from being dragged fortha to notice. A specious title may procure for such works a circulation to some extent, before their real character is ascertained, and on this account it seems doubtful how far they should be considered as beneath our critical notice.
These two works, although of very different literary pretensions, have one common and obvious design; a design in which it has been by no means unfrequent for the church-bigot and the infidel to be found concurring. They are distinguished from each other chiefly in this respect, that the one belongs to that class of Tales designed for the lower classes, which are usually styled Tracts; the other to that class of Tracts de. signed for the higher and middle classes, which assume the denomination of T'ales. Both come under the general head of Fictions, for how humble soever be the effort of imagination requisite for their production, they are both purely imaginative. As to their moral character, the 'Tract is the most plausible in its design, but appears to be the most wilfully false and injurious in its representations, and, as being addressed to the lower classes, the most dangerous in its tendency. The Tale seems to be in / nocent of any moral design; its malignity has no definite object, no purpose but the gratification arising from its own exercise, as being intimately connected, in certain ininds, with the emotions of taste.
In compliment to the lady-author, we shall first despatch the smaller Tract. Our readers will anticipate the general nature of its contents from the following advertisement.
• The Author disclaims, in the most solemn manner, any intention of casting the least general reflection on the respectable body of Dis. senters, by relating the incident which will be found in these pages.
• If any apology were necessary for publishing a circumstance which really happened, it might be found in referring to the false and fabricated circumstances published by many, with the sole purpose of injuring those who never injured or interfered with them. If such men have disseminated deliberate falsehoods for the sake of drawing poor people from the Church, by bringing “railing accusations” against the clergy, it would not be inconsistent with charity to publish truths, in order to keep them faithful to it. But such feelings the writer disclaims; and she hopes that all sober Christians, of whaterer community, will join with her in deprecating those abuses of religion which are gaining ground, and those abusers of it, who disgrace their profession, wherever found.
• Two most material facts it is requested the reader will keep in mind. Religion, or what is called so, never made a more rapid progress than of late ; yet the circumstance is remarkable and alarming, that, according to the Report of the House of Commons, it appeared that, in the course of ten years, crimes over the kingdom had increased three times to their former amount. Among other causes, may not one be, the system of omitting, or obliquely vilifying morals?
... The rising generation has been marked with particular depravity: without venturing for an instant to impute this circumstance to any mode of education different from that pursued by the Church, it is at least a consoling and triumphant fact, that none of these crimes have been traced to the children educated in the National Schools.'
We shall not stay to notice these vague and foolish assertions. It must be remarked, however, that the Author evidently wishes it to be understood, that while other writers, (wbat writers sbe
is careful not even by the remotest hint to specify) have been guilty of circulating deliberate falsehoods against the Church, the incident she is about to record, is simple fact. The first paragraph in the Tale confirms this impression.
• To record the passing events that occur in humble life, is not, I trust, without utility, particularly in these times, when books and tracts of a dangerous tendency are circulated with a perseverance almost incredible, among the labouring poor. The sad effects which the distempered views of religion had upon the mind of a young and artless girl, it will be my business to record in the following pages.'
The incident' is briefly as follows. Lucy Smith was the only daughter of a small freeholder who, as well as his wife, had been religiously brought up in the good old Church of England • principles; and under the guidance of such worthy people, we
cannot wonder that she grew up religious, kind-hearted, and
affectionate, in the bighest degree, to her parents.' In her eighteenth year, she lost her mother, but was comforted by the friends who came to look at the corpse, with the assurance that the placidity of the countenance denoted without a doubt that she was then bappy. This is apparently introduced as an amiable specimen of Christian charity. Soon after this, she formed an intimacy with a neighbouring family of Dissenters, in disregard of her good mother's cautions, and one fine Sunday afternoon, she was seduced by them into an act of further disobedience to her injunctions, by attending the service of the meeting : "curiosity, and the urgent entreaties of her friends, • (most unhappily for her,) overcame her scruples.' This visit naturally led to an acquaintance with the minister whom she frequently met at the house of her new associates.
• Religion was always the topic of conversation, and he soon convinced this poor timid girl that she had no chance of salvation if she still persisted in going to church, and hearing formal prayers, and more particularly the Lord's Prayer. Lucy started at this assertion : “ How can that be wrong," said she “ which our Saviour himself taught his disciples to use?"-" It is, however, wrong," said the preacher; “ and therefore we never suffer it to be read in our chapel.” ' p. 13.
Lucy returns home disheartened and bewildered, and on the next Sunday, stays away from church to read the various tracts • given her by her indefatigable friends.' She carefully conceals from her father the change in her sentiments, which the perusal of these tracts of course produced; but it soon displayed itself in her conduct. She becomes indolent, sollen, and a slattern, poring all day over books adapted to excite' fa• natical feelings, and to all the entreaties and threats of her father on the subject of her going with him to church, obstinately indifferent. The poor man too late Jamented his weakness in allowing of any intimacy with the chapel people.' The dissenting minister, however, we are told, rejoiced in all this, and told her she was suffering for righteousness sake. He gains at length such an ascendancy over her mind, that she is persuaded to part with all her little store of money to satisfy his repeated importunites, and finally, at bis suggestion, to rob her own father of four guineas, for the purpose of contributing to his necessities. The farmer discovers the theft : his suspicion immediately falls upon his daughter, who, overcome with horror and remorse, falls senseless at his feet, and finally loses her intellects, which she never recovers. The minister is ultimately obliged to leave the neighbourhood, but persists in asserting his perfect right to the money given bim by Lucy, on the ground, that the labourer is worthy of his liire.'
• In the leading circumstances of the history of Lucy Smith, we see fully exemplified the sad effects of turning aside from plain scriptural doctrine, to listen to the wild dogmas of fanatics, who always interpret Scripture as it suits their system of thinking; and that want of charity, which they so loudly complain of not being shown them by members of the Established Church, forms too often a striking part in their own character; otherwise, why all that bitterness against it, and that eager zeal to convince the ignorant and unwary, that no safety is within its pale, and by their bewildering and gloomy doctrines producing despair and madness?' p. 27.
Far be it from us to fasten upon the class to whom this lady would wish to be understood as belonging, the odium of sanctioning, in any way, this tissue of clumsy falsehoods. As to the lady herself, she is evidently gone far out of the reach of our expostulations. The supposition that a fact in any of its circumstances approaching to the incident described, ever occurred, would avail nothing in extenuation of the baseness of her misrepresentations, since the fact is brought forward as a specimen illustrating the general tendency of dissent. But the circumstances are put together in too bungling a manner to deceive a person for a woment with the semblance of truth. The writer talks of Lucy neglecting her Bible after she had been converted, for the self-interpretiny Bible' officiously provided for her by her spiritual guide. She is, it is evident, totally ignorant of the nature of the only work bearing that title, which is commonly known by the name of Brown's Bible; but then, Brown's Bible is not Mant's Bible. Again : Lucy is represented as having been told, that prayer for Divine grace' avails nothing • against God's eternal decrees :' an idea stolen, perhaps, from archbishop Sancroft's Fur Prædestinatus. The worst of it, indeed, is, that after all, this silly production can lay so little claim to originality, its calumnies being as stale and trite as they are wicked and injurious,
The Domestic Tale' proceeds from a different school, from what has been termned the Cockney School,' a coterie of poets and philosophers, who have been for some time struggling for celebrity by means of the most outrageous eccentricities both of style and of opinion. These gentlemen aspire to be the Epi. cureans of the day. They glory in being regarded as a set of ' out of the way fellows, who on the subject of taste, as well
as of morals and religion,' make free to follow the guidance of their own sensations.'' This downward guidance has naturally led them far enough away from the standard of Christian purity; but then, they are most thoroughly classic, at least in their religious sentiments, and have more than half persuaded theinselves that the religion of the loves and of the luxuries, as they terin the old idolatry of Pagar Greece, was a much better thing than the superstition of the Bible. In their retired con'ferences' they profess to differ from the believers in Revelation, by obstinately thinking well of their Maker, whom they imagine to be a being full of kindness, wisdom, and strength,
not at all weak in his designs, or subject to vindictiveness, and * other bad passions, which the Scriptures attribute to him. The 'exuberant kindness of the Deity is proved by his sending such fine • spirits as Shakspeare, Raffaelle, and Mozart,' to dwell with us, not to mention a hundred others inferior,
perhaps, but still divine,' such as Leigh Hunt, Bysshe Shelley, Haydon, and Hazlitt: to speak of the earth on which such spirits have sojourned, this 'green earth painted with • flowers, revelling among joyous sounds, and so forth, as “ a vale of tears," as the Scripture terms it, is in their view only vulgar-minded impiety. It is true, that somehow or other men are subject to misfortunes and evils, but these need not disturb the exquisite sensations of a philosopher, so long as he can keep out of debt, and live at Hampstead. Listen to Altham's biographer.
• Is there among the misfortunes of this world any of power to unfit a man for this enjoyment ?-Yes. Is it the sickening dismay and perished hopes of one issuing from the death-chamber of a child, or more beloved wife, with the last look of the expiring sufferer trembling through the mistiness of his eyes!-No: for the
covering heavens," if he throws himself under their cope, are in.. finitely kind, and so is the earth with its refreshing greenness. They will not, it is true, do away with his sorrow; but, as he looks from some shady place through the leaves poised on the topmost branch of a tall tree into the deep still blue, à sympathy and a calm come down, bringing with them hopes and beautiful imaginings, so that even in his sadness he enjoys a blessed influence. Is it want of health ?-No: for what can charm away the uneasiness of the in. valid like the free and fragrant air, containing in it's space a thousand birds—the music of one singing close by him, and ceasing only that VOL. X. N.S.