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“ I understand by public opinion the sense and sentiment of the com. munity, necessarily irresistible, showing its sovereign power everywhere. It is this public opinion which gives sense to the letter and life to the law; without it the written law is a mere husk. It is the aggregate opinion of the members of the state, as it has been formed by practical life; it is the common sense of the community, including public knowledge, and necessarily influenced by the taste and genius of the community. How is it formed ? It is formed as the opinion of any society is formed, which must always consist of leaders, superior men, men of talents, or well-informed men, who had an opportunity to see or inform themselves, and less gifted men, or less informed persons, the acquiescing or trusting ones. Not that the leaders prescribe with absolute power; they only either pronounce clearly what has been indistinctly felt by many, or they start a new idea, which, in being received by the acquiescing ones, has to accomodate and modify itself to the existing circumstances. The leaders themselves are under the strongest influence of that sense and sentiment of the community, for from early childhood they live in the same relations with the others. Public opinion is not only an opinion pronounced upon some subject, but it is likewise that which daily and hourly interprets laws, carries them along or stops their operation, which makes it possible to have any written laws, and without which any the wisest law might be made to mean nonsense. It is that which makes it possible to prescribe and observe forms, without their becoming a daily hindrance of the most necessary procedures and actions ; it is that mighty power which abrogates the most positive laws, and gives vast extent to the apparently varrow limits of others ; according to which, a monarch ever so absolute in theory cannot do a thousand things, and according to which a limited magistrate may dare a thousand things; which renders innocent what was most obnoxious, and makes, at times, useless the bestintended measures, protecting sometimes even crime."
Courtiers entertain or promulgate very erroneous views relative to the seat and source of sovereign power :
“ Power, it will be remembered, has an inherent tendency to absorb, increase, extend; and interested men will always be found in abundance to help along this tendency, because it is pleasing to power to increase. Every prince, used in the above sense, finds his courtier. Republics are not freer from base courtiers than monarchs. The power holder finds always ready instruments; and we ought early to learn how to guard against the flattering insinuations of those who live in the wake of power. Power loves to be flattered; the same flatteries are ever repeated. The Turkish emperors, the Solimans, Mustaphas, Mahmouds, loved to hear their fury comparel to the ire of God and the lightnings of the heavens ; and we have seen already how the revenge of the French people in the first revolution was complacently or cunningly compared to vast natural phenomena. Demagogues are but courtiers, through the court-dress of the one may consist in the soiled handkerchief of a Marat, that of the other in silk and hair-powder. The king of France was told in 1827, • The royal absolute power exists by natural right. Every engagement against this right is void. Thus the prince is not obliged to hold bis oath ;' and in America the people of a large state were lately urgently
advised to break a solemn engagement, because they, the majority, had sovereign power. When Napoleon was at the summit of his power, the Archbishop of Paris wrote to his Bishops in a pastoral letter_Servants of the altars, let us sanctify our words ; let us hasten to surpass them by one word, in saying, he (Napoleon) is the man of the right hand of God.' And one of the Presidents of the United States (General Jackson) was told in a pamphlet, that he was the actual representation and embodiment of the spirit of the American people, the personification of American democracy, that is, of the American nation."
One of Mr. Lieber's works which we reviewed two or three years ago, is entitled, “ Reminiscences of Niebuhr," the celebrated Roman bistorian. If our readers will go back to that paper, they will obtain some knowledge of the eventful career of our author, they will learn that he is a German by birth, and has visited many countries. He is now and has been for a number of years Professor of History and Political Economy in one of the American colleges. Mark his mastery of the English tongue.
ART. XXI.-A Brief Treatise on Geology. By Biblicus DELVINUS.
Second Edition. London: Seely. 1839. In this work it has been the author's design and effort to make out a Scriptural system of Geology, not by setting himself in opposition to wellknown facts and well-accredited theories, but by viewing Geology through the medium of divine revelation. In other words, his purpose has been to vindicate the Mosaic account of the creation of the world, of the deluge, and the notices found in the sacred volume of physical phenomena ; not by supposing that these accounts were accommodated to the understanding of the vulgar, but by endeavouring to show by facts and suggestions, that a sound system of philosophy, much more fully developed than is generally represented, is to be found in Holy Writ. A great deal of geological and theological knowledge plainly and vigorously stated, .s brought together in a small compass, to support views eminently calculated to reconcile the lights of science and revelation. The second ought not to be the last edition of such a well-intentioned and able work,
ART. XXII.- The Author's Printing and Publishing Assistant.
don : Saunders and Otley. 1839. Tre object of this little work is to afford such a view of the technical details of Printing and Publishing as shall enable authors to form their own judgment on all subjects connected with the publication of their productions. Many of the hints are valuable, and will be found particularly serviceable to persons in the country who may be ambitious to appear in point. The few simple directions presented in one page for the correction of typographical errors in the proof sheets submitted to the author will much facilitate this necessary and important process ; although some of the cabalistic signs presented by the author, we believe, are not generally used, as here set down, by printers. We may instance No. 7, where the mark itself should be turned that is meant to correct a
turned letter. We observe, also, that the author of this little Assistant has not always set the best example in the case of punctuation. Let any one look merely to the title page, and then say whether he has not been too sparing of his commas, &c. We copy it correctly in this respect :
“ The Author's Printing and Publishing Assistant comprising Explanations of the Process of Printing Preparation and Calculation of Manuscripts choice of Paper, Type, Binding, Illustrations, Publishing, Advertising, &c. With an Exemplification and Description of the Typographical Marks used in the Correction of the Press London Saunders and Otley, Conduit-street 1939."
Art. XXIII. - The Ballantyne Humbug Handled, in a Letter to Sir
Adam Ferguson. By the Author of the “ Memoirs of Sir Walter
Scott." London : Murray. 1839, We anticipated, and not without an anxiety that was painful rather than curious, that Mr. Lockhart would reply to the statement of the Son and Trustees of James Ballantyne, in regard to what they considered gross aspersions on the character of that Printer in the Life of Scott. We could not but predict that if the biographer returned to the charge, he would not only be most unsparing in the course of his castigation, but that he would adduce additional facts and proofs in support of his original representation. And this he certainly has accomplished not in the most enviable manner; his irony and personalities being so bitter and hume. thrusted that we think, were Scott to be his judge, a severe frown would be thrown at the alert and fearless-tongued son-in-law.
It is far from our purpose, however, to assert that the Ballantynes have not come off " second best,” although the complication of the affairs between them and Scott renders it impossible to decide satisfactorily to ourselves where the blame in any one particular arose. The former are clearly made out to have been anything but men of business, and at the same time to have owed the consideration they obtained to their connection with the latter. But why should Scott have allowed bimself to remain in such total ignorance as he seems to have done of the true nature of his affairs ? And why should a man of his discernment have been so bad and dull a judge of the other party ?
But without traversing ground which we formerly did as guided by Mr. Lockhart's very open, as we thought, and oft-reiterated acknowledgment of Scott's facility, culpable ignorance, head-and-foot entanglements and extravagant ambitions, we extract some short specimens of the present Handling :
"In the case of these Ballantynes," says Mr. L., “ the follies and absurdities which met every unfilmed eye in their personal manners and habits were too gross to be susceptible of caricature." Again, “ Will any honest man stand by his conspectus of this company's affairs during the first two years? And if not, who is to blame for the misrepresentation ? Is it Sir Walter, the sufferer by the loss, the only monied partner, but who had no knowledge of the details? or is it James, who continued to draw out of the concern largely, and who at least ought to have known, that according to the rules of trade these estimates were fallacious ? or,
finally, is it John, and John alone, who was certainly a sharp, clever fellow, and not likely prima facie, to be entirely incapable of distinguishing between a business gasping for existence, and one flourishing in the vigorous health of fifty per cent profits ? One word more as to John's accounts. In my narrative, I stated that he owed his dexterity in the mancipation of figures to having passed part of his early career in Lon. don, under the roof of a banking-house. On this head the • Refictation' gives me a flat contradiction (p. 14). It would, I suppose, be considered as (in the words of Johnny's old Scotch lady) na material to the story,' whether he had acquired his accomplishments in that way, or at a City banker's, or at Mr. Willis, the West-end tailor's. But I confess I was rash in asserting that he had been in a banking establishment at all; for I find, on examining my authority for the statement, that it was only his own word.” And again, “ Doubt, if you can, that the Ballantyne busi. nesses, under the mismanagement of these worthies, had engrossed a very large share of the hard-won fruits of Scott's genius and labourgenius and labour alike wonderful, but not so wonderful as the long suf. fering for bearance, unwearied kindness, and inexhaustible charity of the man whom James Ballantyne's trustees, 'acting in concert with the family,' dare to represent as the greedy, rapacious plunderer of beings, who derived, in fact, from his overflowing bounty, from the dawn of their manhood downwards, every jot of credit or consideration they ever enjoyed, every gratification their luxurious appetites and ludicrous vanity ever received."
These passages must suffice as specimens of the spirit and pungency of this clever Letter; and we hope it will be the last document in a controversy that is painful to the public, and by no means essential, as far as Scott is concerned, to the sustainment of our long lasting and deep admi. ration of his genius and virtues.
Art. XXIV.—The Animal Creation : its claims on our Humanity Stated
and Enforced. By the Rev.Johx Styles, D.D. London: Ward. 1839. This essay gained for the author a prize of a hundred guineas, offered by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals--having been considered the best in support of the claims which the inferior creation of living beings have upon the kind and considerate treatment of man who reigns over them. We have sometimes felt, when reading tracts or treatises exposing and condemning cruelty to animals, that there was not only in the manner of handling the subject a cant of language and a fanaticism of feeling, but that the great primary desideratum was overlooked,-viz. efforts to elevate the standards of morals and of sentiment among the classes most obnoxious to the charge. We might, indeed, assert that had the society which awarded a prize to the author of the present essay, exerted itself so as years ago to have got the declivities a Holborn Bridge removed, an incalculable ainount of torture and destruction to animals would have been got rid of. We do not say that the effort must have been successful; neither are we prepared to state that it has not been vigorously applied. Our meaning is, that while commercial, wealthy, and corporate bodies are deaf to the groans of the most interesting and useful class of animals, upon a scale so terrible as that to
which we refer,—and while thousands of the working classes are neces. sarily the hackneyed and immediate authors of the wholesale and daily cruelty, it is to be feared that neither eloquent sermons nor forcibly argumentative books, will be of much permanent service. Think, again, of the appalling experiments of scientific men, upon harmless and confiding creatures, it may be !--for if it be said that the suffering in this way of a brute, may guide to results of unquestionable and far extending utility, the patron and promoter of dog-fights, and the like, may also talk largely and vauntingly of the necessity of perfecting and keeping up a particular breed, the degeneracy of which would affect the country practically and in its economical relations; and argue besides, that there is no other test by which to maintain the superiority in question, than one which occasions, through the taste of certain fanciers, suffering to a few individuals of any species.
It is very far from our intention by these remarks to ridicule or throw doubts upon the design or the services of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Every honest and zealous effort ought to be encouraged, and much wanton outrage has no doubt been prevented by means of this combination; although, we fear, that there is so much bar. barity in the breasts of some beings who wear the shape of humanity, as that it must not only wreak itself upon the unoffending horse and the faithful dog, but in a ratio, when sure of doing it with impunity, corresponding to the restraint in public, or, it may be, as a sort of compensasation for the fine levied on conviction at the instance of the Society.
Dr. Styles' essay is by far the best we have yet seen on the subject he has chosen. It deals in none of the sentimentality and the offensive rhetoric to which we have alluded above. If any thing in the shape of language, of verbal appeals, and unanswerable argument can touch those who wantonly give pain to an animal, his essay must do so. But that to which we would chiefly invite attention is this, that the real merit and pith of the work go to the elevation and enlargement of the very sentiments and principles which we regard as the true foundation of all the positive as well as negative beneħts contemplated by the Society which lias so fortunately enlisted him into its service.
Art. XXV.- The Reign of Lochrin. A Poem. London: Whittaker.
1839. A Romantic legend in Spenserian verse, carrying us back to the manners and events of ancient times in this country. This is a work of more than moderate merit in these fertile times of minor poetry. The author's power and versatility are not confined to sonorous stanza-making, and an unusual variety of harmony in his numbers; but his ideas, which are decidedly poetical, flow abundantly upon him from many quarters. To extract one or two of the stanzas would afford a very inadequate notion of the whole ; but we can safely recommend the production to all who have a healthy taste for poetry, and who long for proofs to aid the cherished hope that its reign is not for ever closed amongst us. We wish, however, that the author had not wasted, so much forced and affected cleverness as appears in his notes. They are a drawback upon that which is really good as well as beautiful.