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and intoxicating is required by the reveller in fiction, than the plain nourishment of our good, old-fashioned, moral tales; and he asks for no valuable lesson, provided his ima. gination has been wrought upon, or his love of the marvellous gratified. We see no remedy for this state of things, till writers of genius like Hugo, Dumas and Sue, are content to employ their powers in stemming the unhallowed tide. The same agency that has wrought the mischief, may check it; but nothing short of such a force. We might show what their efforts, better directed, might do, by pointing to the healthy and joy-diffusing romances of Bremer ; but our business is with the drama; and we close by expressing a hope that Victor Hugo, before he publishes another play, may convince himself that the true aim of the poet should be to elevate and purify his readers, not to obtain popularity by ministering to their depraved passions. He has powerand, we trust, yet time—to make amends for wasted talents, and to reform the public taste, which he has hitherto labored only to pervert.
Art. IV.-CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STATESMAN. 1. Sketches of Statesmen who flourished in the time of George
III. 2d series. By HENRY, LORD BROUGHAM. Lea &
Blanchard : Philadelphia. 1839. 2. New York Review. Art. Demosthenes. Vol. IX: July,
1841. 3. Banner of the Constitution ; devoted to Politics, Political
Economy, State Papers, etc. Edited by Condy RAQUET,
Mem. Am. Phil. Society. 3vo.: 1830-31-32. Philad. 4. Speeches of John C. Calhoun; delivered in the Congress
of the United States from 1811 to the present time. New
York: Harper & Brothers. 1843. 5. Life and Speeches of Henry Clay. 2 vols. New-York:
Greely & McElrath, Tribune buildings. 1843.
SUMITE MATERIAM, and so forth, says Horace, in a passage which has been bandied about so much, that we ally have not the heart to inflict the whole of it again upon the reader, albeit the effect of it is, that a man should know, as Mr.
Locke quaintly expresses it, “the length of his tether," and be content to confine his effort within the circle it describes. Full many a time have we been tempted to wish that the quotation had some practical agency in determining the general literature of our times, since it constitutes a stereotyped reproof of those whose wont it is to rush in medias res, with which they can possibly have but the most partial acquaintance. For ourselves, whilst we admit the pungency of the application, we cannot refrain from being bolstered up, at the same time, with the comfortable assurance, that the temerity which characterizes our effort is but common property in these days, when men on every side of us are at a race-horse speed in their eagerness to say something, on some subject, it matters not what or how, so that something be said and printed, and they “awake and find themselves grown famous,” with the honorable appellation of author or reviewer affixed to their names. The strict enforcement of the rule, too, we are credulous enough to be. lieve, would make sad havoc in the essay, speech, pamphlet, book literature, which the press is day after day vomiting forth, to be floated about in the current, upwards and downwards, as it is agitated by the "catch-penny" spirit of the times; shearing many a Sampson of his ill-gotten strength, and sending not a few aspirants back to their garrets, “not laurel crowned but clad in rusty black," there to be perfected, at least, in the rudiments of the knowledge they proudly conceived themselves capable of imparting to others. We say these things in perfect kindness and good will ; and whilst we cordially admit that it is better to keep silence, unless we have something to say better than silence, are willing enough that the lash should be applied to us in turn, and that our length, breadth, extension and solidity, be determined by the rigid admeasurement of the same scale we have unhesitatingly applied to the overgrown proportions of our contemporaries.
At the head of this article will appear five publications. The first, a work by the master hand of Brougham, in which is sketched, with all the vigor of his original mind, the biography of some of those distinguished men who have occupied, at different epochs, prominent positions in the councils of the British nation. The second, a production of the lamented Legare, controverting, with all the fire of his genius and depth of his erudition, the bitter aspersions of Lord
Brougham, poured out upon the head of him who was emphatically "the man, the patriot and the statesman." The third, published during the stormy times of the far-famed ** American System,” immortalized "bill of abominations," “nullification," "proclamations” and “protests," "Conventions," "force bills,” etc., etc., where we see living and breathing and burning all the discordant elements of the times, worked up by the lungs and pens of Calhoun, Clay, Webster, Hayne, McDuffie, Hamilton, Turnbull and others, into speeches, essays, resolutions, documents, the most extraordinary, perhaps, the world ever saw. The fourth and fifth, publications with which, it is presumed, the American people are at this time sufficiently familiar.
To what purpose, then, this pompous, but not at all pedantic array? None other than this: it naturally enough brings before us names and characters long familiar, and distinguished as familiar,-names which have been identified with the history of their countries, on both sides of the Atlantic, and have no small prospect of being handed down, from generation to generation, neither unhonored nor unsung. It introduces to our acquaintance anew, characters who have made politics a profession.--the state a mistress, whose caresses they have wooed with all the assiduities of accomplished gallantry. It shoves upon the stage again, those who have coveted the name of statesman ; and whether or not in all cases justly, but certainly iv some, have had it affixed by their admirers, their partisans, or countrymen.
Where, in fact, could we have found a more suitable introduction to the remarks which in the following pages we design to make? Remarks not, indeed, upon politics in general, nor yet upon law or government in particular, but upon the leading features, the strong and natural characteristics, which are to be sought for and found in one who, with full justice; can lay claim to the name of statesman.
Perhaps, too, the era is the very best that could be selected for the publication of such an essay, when hundreds and thousands are pressing themselves on every side upon the attention of the people, to lrave their claims respectively adjusted; each anticipating for himself the highest favor and promotion. We say the very best era, and if the signs of the times be attentively considered, the aspect of parties into which the country is broken up, the great sectional divisions and questions vitally affecting the very existence of the
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Union, we shall be more and more assured of the fact ; and the regret is that some more able hand has not before undertaken the task, urged on, as he would be, by every consideration of patriotism, and that republican spirit which calls forth from every man the exercise of the best talent he possesses, and makes him feel each moment of his life as Cicero has well expressed it, “Ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat.” We have looked, and looked in vain, for a work of this nature, and do not know what more acceptable service an able, learned and virtuous mind could do the nation, than to make the effort. To know what the work should be, is a much easier matter than to be able to execute it. Of course, the true aims and objects of the statesman should be considered in general,—the statesman, not indeed belonging so much to the particular age and country, but the statesman in the abstract,—the man occupying in all times, latitudes and longitudes, a certain, fixed and invariable relation to law and government. The resources which are to be at his command, the directions from which they are to be gathered, the moral and intellectual endowments which is to form and fashion them,-all of these are, of course, but a few divisions of the superstructure. The field for a work of this kind, to be sure, is a broad one; all the light of ancient and modern days could be reflected upon it, all the wisdom of the philosophers, the statesmen and scholars, the Platos, Aristotles and Ciceros, Bacons, Lockes and Montesquieus, would add a strength and majesty to its proportions. We do not despair yet, that the desideratum will be supplied at a day not distant, although but too well aware of the great difficulties that will attend it. For ourselves, the undertaking we design making is more huinble. We would but draw public attention to the subject, and feebly touch some of the leading features and outlines, leaving the subtler shades and lights of the picture for the pencil of the master who will come after us.
But, to enter upon our subject, the first and most obvious remark that we will venture, and which will require little argumentation to enforce, is, that the character of the statesman will, in any age or country, depend in a very large degree upon the nature of the government he is called upon to administer. This, although true as a general proposition, does not at all militate with another, equally true, that the complex and multifarious operations of the government will,
in many cases, be influenced, determined and sometimes controlled by the character of the statesman.
In all monarchical, despotic or aristocratic governments, the former will, in general, be found to be the case ; whilst in free governments, where the people are distinctly recognized, the influence of the master minds of the age will be continually felt, and give frequent illustration of the latter phenomenon. The reason is as obvjous as the fact; the rules of action in the one description of government present a fixed and unalterable character, whilst in the other they claim that flexibility which can be moulded and altered to suit the exigencies of the times. We would not, however, be understood to assert, that even in monarchies it is absolutely true that the government determines the statesman. We affirm it only sub modo. There is a reflex' operation that must be noticed: an action and reaction, in every conceivable form of government. The same government, although unaltered in its leading features, will present phases under one administration, very different from what it does under another; and the statesman will give its distinctive character to the phasis. With Hume, we cordially agree in condemning that most iniquitous proposition which is set up by a certain school of politicians, that there is no essential difference between one form of government and another"; and that every form may become good or bad, in proportion as it is well òr ill administered.*
We think it beyond all things evident, that the history of legislation is the 'bistory of the human mind,—the proper philosophy of history, of which in our day and generation we are hearing so much; in the faithful chronicle is registered with certainty the vicissitudes through which it has passed,—its degradation and its triumph,-its shame and its glory. The gradual development of its conditions is marked with unerring precision,-its passivity, its activity, its inertness, and its struggles, as age succeeds age in the steady march of time. We discover, too, that it is for government to reflect these mental conditions; and that the mirror neither magnifies, diminishes, inverts or distorts them ; that it is not an original, independent luminary, diffusing light and life, but like the mirror of which we have spoken, it can radiate only the rays that are incident upon it,—that it may
* Vide Hume's Essays, 1,3.