Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.

The next note is mere political, an ebullition of party rage, in which Mr. Smith abuses the present ministry with great bitterness, talks of “wickedness,” “weakness,” “ignorance,” “temerity,” after the usual fashion of opposition pamphlets, and clamours loudly against what, with an obstinacy of misrepresentation hardly to be credited, he persists in terming the “persecuting laws” against the Roman Catholics....  He is very anxious that his political friends should not desist from urging the question—­an act of tergiversation and unconsistency which, he thinks, would ruin them in the estimation of the public.  Yet, if we mistake not, these gentlemen, at least that portion of them with which Mr. Smith (as we are told) is most closely connected, gave up, without a blush, India, Reform, and Peace, all of which they taught us to believe were vital questions in which the honour or the security of the country was involved.  But Catholic emancipation has some peculiar recommendations.  It is odious to the people, and painful to the King, and therefore it cannot be delayed, without an utter sacrifice of character....

Now we are by no means so eager on Mr. Smith in what he would term the cause of religious freedom.  We belong to that vulgar school of timid churchmen, to whom the elevation of a vast body of sectaries to a level with the establishment, is a matter of very grave consideration, if not of alarm.  We think that something is due to the prejudices (supposing them to be no more than prejudices) of nine-tenths of the people of England; and we are even so childish (for which we crave Mr. Smith’s pardon) as to pay some regard to the feelings of the King, in whose personal mortification, we fairly own, we should not take the smallest pleasure....

We now take leave of the sermon and its notes.  But, before we conclude, we are desirous ... to convey to Mr. Smith a little salutary advice ... to remind him that unmeasured severity of invective against others, will naturally produce, at the first favourable opportunity, a retort of similar harshness upon himself; and that unless he feels himself completely invulnerable, the conduct which he has hitherto pursued, is not only uncharitable and violent, but foolish.  He should be told that, although he possesses some talents, they are by no means, as he supposes, of the first order.  He writes in a tone of superiority which would hardly be justifiable at the close of a long and successful literary career.  His acquirements are very moderate, though he wants neither boldness nor dexterity in displaying them to the best advantage; and he is far, very far indeed, from being endowed with that powerful, disciplined, and comprehensive mind, which should entitle him to decide authoritatively and at once upon the most difficult parts of subjects so far removed from one another as biblical criticism and legislation.  His style is rapid and lively, but hasty and inaccurate; and he either despises or is incapable of regular and finished composition.

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