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SONNETS.

ro OCTOBER Of all the months which variegate the year

I love this month the best ; for as aware

That Winter soon will come to strip her bare,
Nature with pensive gait approaches near
The confines of her taskmaster severe,

No longer panting in the Summer air,

Wreathing her face with smiles ; but not less fair, Tho' deeper shades are darkening round her sphere

Ah! would that this sweet month with longer stride Would take a wider range of fleeting time,

Or that the star which o'er it doth preside Were fixed for ever in ascendance prime,

Then would no meaner cares our hearts divide, Nor poets sigh for a more genial clime.

England I thou still art strong: where'er I look

Watching the aspect of thy lowering sky:

An earnest speaks in many a kindling eye, Of hope and power that will not tamely brook To see thy harvest fall before the hook

Of traitors that unseen in ambush lie

With wolf-like hunger and with jackal cry, Gathering for murderous ends in shades forsook.

Who fears for England while that heart still beats Which quailed not at Napoleon! while a head

Still sways our councils, called from faction's heats
To noble triumphs : while Truth's light is shed

From her pure altars; and while Heaven takes part
With her who reigns in every Briton's heart.

III.
« The voice of that eternal ditty sings

Humming of future things."-CLARE.
A voice came to me from the fields of sleep,

A mournful voice, as of a troubled wind

Seeking for something which it could not find,
And always restless. Thus it spoke-"I sweep
On, on for ever ; but no purpose reap :

I coast the skirts of heaven, but still am blind;

I see no goal before me or behind,
No barrier meets me in that unknown deep-

Yet am I bafflled.” Words like these methought
Were uttered to my soul, and it replied

"Oh, wandering echo of all hearts! be taught An humbling lesson. Here with me abide,

Till I, like thee, can wander, and the while
We may with song the weary hours beguile."

B. B. FELTERS. HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETI CENTURY.

“ HISTORY," Lord Bacon tells us, “is philosophy teaching by examples." How few the number who are quali. fied to extract from it lessons of true wisdom ! Lord Plunket seldom exhibited the sardonic sagacity, of which he is possessed, more happily, than when he said, of some of his antiqua. rian antagonists on “ the Catholic question," that their references to his. tory, in its application to present events, were no better than references to an old almanac; and he would himself, perhaps, now acknowledge, that those whom he so severely censured, were not then more ill-judging in their retrospect of the past, than he was himself erroneous and unhappy in his anticipations of the future.

To see, in their principles, the processes by which society is modified, so as to discern the future from the past; to take in, at one steady and comprehensive glance, the various, contradic. tory, and subtle influences, which de. termine, in any given country, the condition of the human race; to possess such a grounded knowledge of the nature of man, in all his moral, social, and political combinations, as may lead to just deductions respecting the work. ing of any given system of polity, the accidents to which it is exposed, and the tendencies which it is calculated to foster and generate—this may be pro. nounced to be one of the rarest gifts of the human mind, and to raise the possessor of it to the very nearest approach to inspired humanity, or even the angelic nature ; leaving far behind him the most successful of those whose labours have obtained for them high distinction, in those sciences of which the principles had been already determined, the paths already pointed out, and where each succeeding investiga. tor has been enabled to build upon the foundation laid by another.

When we consider the steady lights which guide the discoverer in the ex. act sciences, and the settled and certain rules which he must follow, if he would arrive at truth, as compared with the chaotic mass of facts, the “ rudis, indigestaque moles," in which

the moral investigator is involved, and out of which he must deduce his prescient conclusions, in the mental la. bours of each the difference is almost as great as that between working by instinct, and working by reason.

T hat moral propositions could be demonstrated with the certainty of the physical and mathematical sciences, is a notion which no one now entertains. The chameleon shiftings of aspect under which they may be viewed, must impart, to any definitions which may be formed of the terms employed, something of their own mutation and instability; so that as men, intellectually, or even complexionally, differ, the same truth will appear different to dif. ferent minds. The ardent and the sanguine will take one prognostic froin events or measures, which, to the cold and cautious, suggest another. The hopeful will often anticipate good, where the desponding can only see coming evil. And thus men's temperaments will influence their judgments ; so that the same propositions may often be understood in opposite senses, and the same data lead to opposite conclusions. Thus, when Mr. Fox talked of the French Revolution “as a glorious edifice raised up to Liberty," Mr. Burke could only regard it as a wall daubed with untempered mortar."

But there are certain broad principles of action which the master-mind alone is competent to discern, amidst all the confusion and perplexity of human affairs; and by the aid of which human sagacity may learn to divine the future, with a certainty very little short of that derivable from strictly scientific demonstration.

We speak not of those lucky guesses, those casual hits, which have been verified by events, and look like prophecies. Of these, the instances are sufficiently numerous, and may excite our surprise without moving our wonder. But what we allude to is, that projection of the mind upon a voyage of discovery into the future, which has sometimes resulted in the ascertainment, by anticipation, of changes

wrought in the constitution of society, gancies, as ever were those who witthe frame-work of government, and nessed them in their coarsest or most the nature of man, by the tendencies revolting manifestations. of principles which were but recently Of Burke's prescience respecting the discovered, or adopted, when the in- revolutionary war, but little need be quiry into their working and influence said; as all our readers are familiar was first entertained. Here we have with the sagacity which foresaw its a moral phenomenon somewhat analo- long duration, and predicted its ultigous to that which would be presented mate result-and that, not at hapto us, if human sagacity should, from hazard, but from principles inherent the contemplation of the seed, be en- in human nature ; which his compreabled to deduce its successive develop- hensive mind, penetrating genius, and ments, until it arose and expanded into extensive acquaintance with public afa tree.

fairs, had rendered as familiar to him, Of isolated facts, discerned in the as are the elementary truths of any remote future, the poet, George Her particular science to those who make bert, who lived in the reign of James it their peculiar care. the First, furnishes us with a striking We have been led into these reinstance, when he says

marks by the almost accidental perusal

of a very rare and curious work,* the " I see religion on tiptoe stand, Ready to fly to the American strand."

publication of which, if it may be said

to have been published, bears date How came he to vaticinate with so 1730. The author, Doctor Samuel much correctness ? Manifestly because Madden, was an Irish gentleman of he saw the working of principles which, good family, and a beneficed clergysooner or later, must rise, in their an- man of the Established Church. Dr. tagonism, to such a height, that the Johnson, who authenticated upon his one must either yield to, or overthrow authority the marriage of Swift and the other; and that the monarchical Stella, speaks of him as an honour to and the high church principle was far Ireland. He was a great benefactor too strong, in his day, not to compel a to the University of Dublin, where he treatment of their opponents similar received his education; and the to that which Abraham was compelled founder of the Dublin Society, which to adopt towards Hagar, when the has since done so much to mature and latter was driven into the wilderness. invigorate the germs of Irish genius in It was not given to the poet to see painting, statuary, and architecture, farther into futurity; to see Puritan. and preceded, if it did not suggest, ism, at first, at bay; and then, in its the formation of the London Society reaction upon an obnoxious establish for the Encouragement of Arts and ment; until, in the end, its multiplied Manufactures, which aimed at similar extravagancies provoked a reaction objects. against itself; when better principles, The work of which we are about to both religious and political, began to give some account, is entitled “ Meprevail, and a very weariness of anar moirs of the Twentieth Century ; bechy, disgust of fanaticism, and dread ing original letters of state under of military despotism, led to the happy George the Sixth, relating to the most restoration.

important events in Great Britain and The same far-seeing sagacity, the Europe, as to Church and State, arts judicious Hooker exhibited, in the and sciences, trade, taxes, treaties, preface to his “ Ecclesiastical Polity," peace and war; and characters of the wherein he describes the progress and greatest persons of those times; from development of Puritanism, in lan- the middle of the eighteenth to the guage which much more resembles end of the twentieth century, and the a description of what is past, than a world ; received and revealed in the prediction of what was to come; and year 1728, and now published for the appears to have been as familiarly instruction of all eminent statesmen, conversant with its wildest extrava- churchmen, patriots, politicians, pro

* “ History of the Twentieth Century,” &c. By Samuel Madden, D.D. Lon. don: Woodfall. 1730.

knowledge, so I know no better method to nullif their measures, and serve his Majesty and my country, than shewing the world that, notwithstanding the poo polar cry of prosperity in our affairs, there will, some ages hence, be much greater and more successful ministers than they are, and who, by-the-bye, may then remember to their posterity the little respect these gentlemen pay one of their ancestors now, whom (out of that modesty so natural to all great spi. rits) I shall not mention here. ***

jectors, Papists, Protestants. In six volumes. Volume first."

It is addressed, in an ironical dedi. cation, to Frederick, Prince of Wales. Of the six promised volumes, only one appeared ; which was hurried through the press with marvellous rapidity (Boyer, Woodfall, and Roberts, having been all simultaneously employed in bringing it out, and suppressed almost as soon as it was completed. One thousand copies were printed, of which Dr. Madden received, and it is supposed destroyed, nine hundred. What became of the remainder does not appear; any more than the motives which could have induced the ingenious' author first to take such pains in maturing his work, and passing it, at so much expense, through the press; and then consigning it to oblivion. All that is certain is, that it is now ex. tremely scarce. Mark Cephas Tutet, Esq., who had a copy of it, never heard but of one other, though he frequently inquired after it. A second copy of it (marked only at 10s. 6d.) appeared in the catalogue of H. Chapman, in January, 1782, and was bought by Mr. Blundly.

We are, however, at present, more interested by the substance than by the history of this remarkable production.

In the following passage, which we extract from his preface, the reader will be reminded of Swift, whom this writer frequently resembles, in the sportive wit, the solemn irony, and the caustic vivacity, by which that extraordinary man was distinguished :

Our anthor's motto is
“ Mestazpissas iste; uzzīsi zaie."

-ETRIP. And undoubtedly his sagacity was not at fault, when he saw, in distinct perspective, the decadence of the Turkish, and the aggrandisement of the Russian empires. When he wrote, the dominions of the sultan stretched from the northern coast of Africa to the Caspian Sea, embracing almost every variety of soil and climate, while his army was in a most flourishing condition; and, wielded as it was by an energetic despotism, founded on fatalism, seemed the very sword of fate for deciding the controversies of nations. That Europe would be overrun by the Turks, was an apprebension not uncommonly entertained ; and that they should suffer any serious reverses, so as to be reduced to a comparatively insignificant power, was, we believe, not regarded, by any of the leading statesmen and politicians of the earlier portion of the eighteenth century, as a contingency to be reasonably apprehended. But Dr. Madden, even then, saw in that vast empire the germs of decay. He foresaw the effects which an intercourse with European states, and the progress of civilisation, must have, in abating the fervour of fanaticism, which gave an almost superhuman energy to their arms; and as he knew that what was got by the sword, could only be maintained by the sword, he hesitates not to give expression to his full belief, that the decline of their military power would be rapidly followed by the loss of their territories, and the contraction of their empire. He even states the stages of this process, in the corruption of the janissaries, who are no longer trained or recruited after the old fashion, and whose faith in the prophet has been undermined, until it

“ Another motive I had for making these papers public, was, that by magnifying the glory of succeeding ministers, I might sink and lessen the repu. tation of those that at present sit at the helm, since they have been so regardless of all true merit as to do little or nothing for me or my family. I saw it in vain to attempt their ruin by downright railing, throwing dirt at random, call. ing them, at all adventures, rogues and knaves in print ; for they have so de luded the world by their cursed admi. nistration, that they will not listen any longer to general declamations, to witty insinuations, or the boldest satires, without some real facts to vouch them, and prove they are well-founded. Now as I found this an insuperable difficulty, since they manage with such vile art to keep all proofs of that sort from our

has become a mere hollow profession, utterly incapable of stimulating to the deeds of daring by which they were formerly immortalised. This, observes Dr. Madden, in his anticipative history, is not to be ascribed to any contests with European powers, in which they were unsuccessful. “ It is plain that these were not the causes, but the effects, of their decayed valour and discipline, by which they have, by degrees, lost all their conguests in Persia, and their territories round the Black Sea, together with the greatest part of Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wal. lachia, and almost to the gates of Adrianople."

Now, we do regard this as a singu. larly sagacious anticipation of events; as a progress of affairs seen in its causes, and estimated and calculated with a correctness and confidence that is almost akin to the prophetic vision. Let us now see what he says of Russia, which was, when he was engaged in the composition of his work, between 1720 and 1730, little better, as compared with its present enormous magnitude, than a barren and frozen desert. Our ambassador at Moscow is thus supposed to write to the prime minis. ter of England:

a vigorous despotism, controlling and directing the energies of a hardy and devoted people-guided by a never-tiring circumspection, and an ever-watchful vigilance, and always prepared to take instant advantage of such opportuni. ties as were presented in the chances and changes of human affairs, were, he clearly saw, in a long lapse of time, amply sufficient to extend and to consolidate the conquests and the acquisi. tions of the czar. A people in a low stage of civilisation-numerous, but scattered, and therefore not likely to combine for any popular object-and each identifying himself with the glory and the greatness of their common Father-must in time, under wise and steady guidance, become a preponderating power; and, what is most ex. traordinary, the very course of policy which Russia has invariably pursued towards this country, with one or two exceptions, is clearly marked out in the following curious extract:

“ Your lordship, who is so well acquainted with the vast encroachments this powerful empire has made on all her neighbours around her, both on the side of Turkey, Poland, Sweden, and Persia, and how dangerous an enemy and useful a friend she may prove to the affairs of Germany, can never want inclination to tie the czar to our interests, by all the ways and means that, in good policy, we can make use of.”

• The court has not, indeed, forgot the blow we gave to their naval power formerly in the Baltic, and the great restraint we kept them under ever since --yet, as they see there is no hope of bettering their affairs, by living on ill. terms with us, they seem determined to try to gain upon us by all the friendship and favour they can shew us in our commerce here. I shall omit no opportunity to improve their inclination towards us, according to my former instructions, and your lordship's commands; and, as this people are vastly improved in every way, have made great advances in all polite arts, as well as the learned sci. ences, and are grown considerable in the world, by their arms, conquests, and riches, I doubt not we shall find our account in keeping up a constant intercourse of friendship and amity with them. The great caravan for China went off yesterday, with near twenty British merchants in their company, all provided with sufficient passports, and allowed the same privileges as the czar's subjects; and I hope to see this branch of our commerce turned to greater account than it has been represented to the commissioners of trade in London."

In Turkey, the causes were not la. tent, to a sagacity like Dr. Madden's, which would eventuate in the changes which he foresaw and predicted. But in Russia, at that period, the antecedents were but few upon which he could base any calculations respecting the future. Peter the Great died in the year 1725, and had done no more than laid the rude, but strong foundations of the colossal empire which has since been realized ; and the hordes of undisciplined savages, who acclaimed him as their lord and master, were but inapt instruments to work out the stu. pendous projects upon which he had resolved. But the central power of

Here we have presented to us, by anticipation, a progress of Russian ag. grandisement which has since been fully realised. She has arisen, since the date of the publication of this record, from what was scarcely a fourth, to a first-rate power in Europe. The

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