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me," said the Traveller, " that we ought to produce some new critical canons for the benefit of the world, and perscribe literary laws of universal observance. Nothing, I hear, is to be done in England, as in some parts of the Continent, without criticism. Criticism is, above all others, the study of the age. Where there are so many critics, there must be some excellent.” “ You have returned lately from abroad, I presume,” said the Political Economist. “ Three weeks ago, not quite so much," answered the Traveller. “I should have thought about that time from your observation,” replied the other. “A plague upon criticism, say I,” exclaimed the Soldier. “It is an absolute nuisance in these days. Every body now is a critic, from Members of Parliament to clever boys at school. The passion, I suppose, will soon creep into seminaries for young ladies : and Heaven knows, they can hardly fail to make as good reviewers as the rest. It is my firm opinion, that if an act of the Legislature could silence the whole tribe to-morrow and for ever, the country and its literature would suffer nothing from the enactment !” “ But will it not be expected of us," asked the Traveller, “that we should declare, to what school of poetry we belong; whom we consider as the first genius of the age: and whether, in our opinion, Pope was a poet ?" “ If I may be allowed to speak for the rest, as well as myself," answered the President, “ I should say, that without belonging to any school of poetry, we are ready to admire all schools and all poets, who can raise within our minds noble or amiable emotions, and insinuate instruction through the medium of delight: with regard to contemporary genius, we may leave its possessors to settle the matter of precedence among 'themselves; and as for that foolish and long-agitated question, whether Pope was a poet, we would rather cut, than untie the Gordian knot of the controversy, by stating what is clearly incontestable--that if Pope was not a poet he was something better: he was a man, who put excellent sense into beautiful language-he was the philosopher and moralist of heroic verse. But we are entering a vast field, and treading, in the bargain, upon tender ground. The whole subject of criticism had better be reserved, until we have more time for its discussion: in the mean time, let it be distinctly understood, that, whenever we do approach it, as we shortly must, here too, as in politics, we shall proceed upon principles and a system both entirely our

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“ There remains one subject,” continued the President, on which a few words ought to be said in that serious and earnest spirit, which is alone adapted to its importance:I mean, Religion--the first, the last, the only subject of real intrinsic moment in the estimation of the good and wise. On this subject our own breasts and consciences must be the directors and depositaries of our principles: they are in each of us, at our time of life, irrevocably fixed; and as to the material and practical points they are in all probably the same. But here we must look to Clericus as our light and guide: he will tell us to what particular objects he would turn the attention of the Council, and what functions he will consider it neither derogatory from his character, nor incompatible with his office, himself to undertake.' “ It is my sincere conviction," said Clericus, " and I have no hesitation in avowing it, since you have called upon me for my sentiments, that our association may be made of essential service to the cause of rational religion: if such a belief had not been impressed upon my mind, I, for one, should not have been a member of it. I have affirmed, it may, need I add then, that it ought? But how can it be of service? Not assuredly, by meddling in controversy, or examining the disputed points of belief. For Religion, although it is not that solitary, melancholy thing, which can exist only in the monk's cell, or the hermit's cavern: although it has a cheering and improving influence in cities, as in deserts ; in our mutual intercourse as in our devotional seclusion, or where it has not, must lose more than half its value; religion is still the connecting link, the means of communion, the tie of relation between man and his Maker. And there, when we regard it in the highest point of view, religion must be left. In this light, as a man, and as a minister of the Gospel, my own thoughts are absorbed in Religion, as something which lifts me above myself, and above the world as some

concerns.

thing, in comparison with which the things of life and earth, are lighter than a feather in the balance-as something, before which all human hopes, and aims, and possessions, fade like unreal and unsubstantial phantoms; and melt into air, like the vapoury cloud, which hangs, in the early morning, upon the mountain's side ; but, as the sun arises in his glory and his strength, is dispersed and vanishes: as something, without which we are indeed, when this scene of existence is closed, only as the heathen poet said in his ignorance,“ Cinis, et manes, et fabula."

66 Death make us all A name, a nothing, but an old wife's tale." Such are my private feelings on this sacred subject: such, I doubt not, are the feelings of every one, who hears me. But, as a body we must view religion under a different aspect. We must content ourselves with superintending the progress of Christianity, and the conduct of its professors: we must, if the expression is allowable, watch over the temporal interests of Religion, and its temporal

We must consider it as men, who perceive the mutual dependance of the Church and the State: who know, that the Throne is the best protection of the Altar, and the Altar the surest safeguard of the Throne: who have seen them flourish together in this country, and in another fall together; and who are aware, that together they are always destined to flourish or fall, from the nature of man, and the constitution of things. In this view, Religion will form a necessary part of our undertaking, which, without it, would be insufficient, and incomplete, and nugatory. On this branch of the plan, then, I shall not deem my time and labour ill employed; but shall hope to devote myself to it, with the temper of a Christian, and the resolution of a man who is conscious to himself, that whatever may be the success of his endeavours, they will not be directed to unworthy objects."

“ And what part will you undertake?” said the President to the Squire. “ As for me," answered the Squire, “I am an agriculturist and nothing more. Hitherto I have lived almost all my life in the country, and there I hope to live the remainder. On all points, then, connected with the country and its inhabitants, I am, perhaps, a prejudiced man: but I cannot help it. It seems to me, that our attention ought to be very principally employed on all subjects, in which the agricultural classes and their interests are concerned : for who are they? the landlords, and the tenants, the yeomanry, and the tillers of the soil, the old families of England, and its native peasantry; on the one side, the great proprietary body of the kingdom; on the other, its stamina, and its strength. I cannot regard these things in a mere pecuniary light: I hate to see agriculture, with all the habits and feelings which it engenders, put into the scales of political economy: to find it measured out by rule, and calculated with precision, what parts of our land are to be ploughed, and what parts are to be thrown out of cultivation: to hear it explained and counted to me, by what new system a few particles and fractions may

be added to the national wealth. It seems to me, I must say, that there is a moral grandeur and prosperity in agriculture, which manufactures and commerce cannot give. When we cease to be an agricultural nation, we shall cease to be a great nation. To the country, then, to the peasantry, and to agriculture, my cares must at all times be devoted: if I wished to withdraw my thoughts from them, I could not; and if I could, why should I? At this particular moment, too, but here I need not say a word: all know the present distresses of the agriculturists, all feel them, all are anxious to relieve them. I had drawn up some Resolutions on the subject, but my confidence in their truth and practicability is shaken: wiser and more experienced men have also drawn up Resolutions, who could deliver them from the seat of authority: yet we see in what a cavalier and unceremonious manner their Resolutions have been treated ; I fear we are all at fault, all groping in the dark. Let us trust, for our chance of recovery, that time, while it teaches patience, may bring knowledge: or that the natural buoyancy and elasticity of the country may bear it up amidst its present sufferings, as they have done amidst all the past. Every thing may be hoped from a sound,

, firm, unbroken constitution, although the skill of the physicians is acknowledged to be vain.”

“Yes :" said Clericus, " we must wait ; a complicated and deeply-rooted disorder cannot be cured easily, and must not be treated lightly. An ancient historian, Tacitus, I think, has very truly said, “ naturâ infirmitatis humanæ, tardiora sunt remedia, quam mala."

The Merchant observed, that he wished to be the advocate of the commercial and manufacturing interests of the empire, without appearing the enemy of the agricultural. He would draw no invidious comparisons; he would freely allow to the agricultural classes of the community the whole merit, which had been attributed to them by his friend the squire. But they were not all, they were not the only classes. He would frankly own, that if either branch must be lopped off from the national prosperity, that branch should be commerce, rather than agriculture. But there was no such necessity ; on the contrary, each was requisite for the preservation and subsistence of the other : if a part was cut away, the whole must wither. Commerce and agriculture were auxiliaries, and not rivals; allies, and not enemies. The agriculture of Great Britain was the best in the world : so, too, were her soldiers : yet from her size and her situation, it was impossible for England to be only a military, or only an agricultural, nation. Her navy and her commerce were her natural

props,

her efficient bulwarks, at least, as much as her army and her agricul. ture. And what would be her navy without her commerce ? its supplies would be exhausted; its fountains would be dried up: it would shrink, and shrivel, and dwindle, and die away, like a plant without sustenance, or sea-weed parched and drying in the sun. Small and insignificant as was the country in the extent of its home-territory, where would be its power, its pride, its splendour, without the resources of “ships, colonies, and commerce ?” where would be its wealth, without the skill and industry of its manufacturers! He had said enough: the Council, he believed, would thank him for still turning his views to those interests of the empire, in a concern for which his life had hitherto been occupied: he was sure, that a neglect of them would be deemed unpardonable in the prosecution of

.

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