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and moralizes, and rants, and sings, and jigs, and kicks, alt in the space of five minutes.
There is an almost total want of literary good taste. His language has almost every kind of fault but heavy regularity; it is incorrect, unpolished, grotesque, sometimes motley and bombastic; though generally perspicuous, and not seldom considerably vigorous, expressing with unstudied ease a sentiment strongly and explicitly conceived. He will often make a furious dash into a crowd of metaphors, and bring out a quantity in torn pieces of dissimilar kinds, that even magic could not force to coalesce. He thinks himself never the worse company for that sort of vulgarity in which a gentleman may indulge by choice, without being mistaken for one of the vulgar by necessity. He does not, like some tourists, hunt and watch for occasions of coarse allusion ; he will not give himself so much trouble; but if they occur, they will do as well as any thing else.
Perhaps we ought to believe that every thing done and said in Ireland, is distinctively characteristic of the country. Very properly, therefore, we have it all over about breakfast and dinner, and wine and punch, and all the other odd customs and things that are so perfectly unknown in our own country, and our author will be gratified io receive the expressions of respect for his opinion in this department, which may not be so readily given him in that of literature, morals, and what is called sentiment- for want of some better term.
The charge of defective taste is very commonly applicable where that of irreligion may be justly made. A mind that makes light of religion is generally disposed to degrade its peculiar topics, facts, and images, even from that venerableness which they possess in virtue of their sublimity, their antiquity, and their infinity of solemn and poetical associations-a character which fine taste strongly recognises in them, with a perception distinguishable in some degree from the precise conviction of truth and divinity. Irreligion, that will not let them be thus acknowledged by taste, in so far depraves and debases that taste, which therefore thenceforth perceives no incongruity (we say not a word of impiety,) in placing the marvellous, the doctrine, or the language of the Bible, in the meanest or most ludicrous associations, This is repeatedly done by Mr. Gamble; and we have no doubt he would think it all the better, for wit, sense, and good taste, if every page of the venerated volume could have such low associations profanely fixed on it. We will cite only the first example we noticed. In mentioning a village where a brewery is thrown down, or converted into a distillery,' he says, "Whiskey, like Aaron's rod, seems to swallow up every other liquor.' p. 17. He has a very considerable knack of biblical quotation, which he employs sometimes indeed gravely, but is at the very least as much pleased with himself when he can hit it off in the way of humour and parody.
We should take some little notice of the course of the ramble. At Dundalk, he begins talking French with the family of an inn-keeper who had lived long in France; and in his delight to find himself able to keep up a little dialogue in the language, he must maintain, and illustrate by examples selected, evidently with deep research, though he pretends at random, its infinite superiority to English for the expression of the affections.
While others admire the light graces of this beautiful language, to me its great charm is its overflowing tenderness. Innumerable instances might be given. I take two at random. How cold seem in our mouths the expressions of father, mother, daughter, brother, compared to the sweetly affectionate ones of Mon Pere, Ma Fille, Mon Frere, Ma Mere; and unfeeling would be the heart which did not vibrate in unison with the soft and dulcet sounds in the lips of a French woman of Je vous aime.'
A diction as dulcet' as this is not unfrequent in the book ; and we may remark that the affectation of the language of exquisite sensibility by those who do not understand it, is commonly marked, just as this is, by an overdone quantity of sweet words. It is overlaid, like a wedding cake, with a mawkish preparation of sugar.
But though our author cannot make trifles of sentiment interesting, nor create, as some writers have done, by means of tender forms of fancy and refined touches of sensibility, an interest out of nothing, he is more successful when he comes, in the progress of the book, to the relation of some facts of such a nature as to command the reader's feelings by their own essential quality, and in spite of the writer's coarse, dashing, and sometimes jocular mode of telling them.
The first story of considerable length is that of the extraordinary circumstances attending an early attachment of the wise of a gentleman to whose hospitable house the author was introduced a few days after the commencement of his excursion. He understood her to be then in a state of dotage though not very aged. The history is distinctly said to have been given to him by her daughter, to whom he apologizes for having repeated it with perhaps less effect than she would tell it. This very formal reference, (though indeed no name is given) seems a sufficient authentication. The most striking circumstance was, that when the desired union, which had appeared an altogether hopeless object, had been brought into a happy train by events quite like the forced improbalities of a romance, the deserving object of her affections died at the very moment the clergyman was pronouncing the matrimonial benediction. The
catastrophe was proved to be in consequence of an injury of the brain, caused by his having, a few days before, received a blow on his head, in rushing in to shield a venerable and most generous benefactor (the chief agent in the train of events apparently so happily completed) from an iron crow which a sailor was unwittingly in the act of swinging round.
Such a history will in a considerable degree excite its appropriate emotions in defiance of almost any possible mode of telling it; but nevertheless the reader will be forced to feel how much it suffers in the hands of the relator.- The brother of this lady's husband had been an officer in the American service, during the war for independence, and greatly amused our author by the singularity of his appearance, and his most passionate enthusiasm in favour of the Americans.
• He actually shrieked at the idea, that, in what I must deem the most unfortunate struggle about again to commence between them, the mercenary slaves of England should prove a match for the freeborn sons of America. I thought he would have suffocated, nor was I relieved from my apprehensions until I saw the tears of affection roll down the poor man's furrowed cheeks, as in imagination he beheld the future greatness of his beloved adopted country. “And oh," exclaimed he, “ that I may be permitted to look down a hundred years hence, and to see her greatness extending from the rising to the setting of the sun. I warrant ye, her low minded enemies will then be as low laid.” His dress bespeaks his fondness, as forcibly as his conversation. He wears upwards of two dozen of silver buttons on his blue coat and waistcoast, on each of which are engraved some great American statesman, general, or event. General Washington occupies the upper button of the coat, and Mr. Handcock, President of Congress, the same station on the waistcoat.' p. 101.
He here observes that many Presbyterians, actuated chiefly by aversion to an aristocratical and episcopal polity, had emigrated to America, and that 'they almost universally took part with her in her struggle for freedom, as they would consider it.' He represents the present Presbyterians of the North of Ireland as generally and unalterably possessed by this evil spirit, the love of liberty ;-an evil spirit, for he declares he cannot give it room in his mind. It is impossible to read this kind of avowal, now so frequent, and uttered with so little apprehension of disgrace, without recalling to mind the time, not so long departed but that the termination of it is within the remembrance of even middle age, when they were deemed fit only for the thirtieth of January sermons, and in the general opinion exposed the makers of them as persons of narrow understanding or corrupt principles. According to the general opinions of thinking Englishmen in that age, it would have been, on the ground of either politics or philanthropy, pitiful enough if any one would have been found delivering with honest gravity such a paragraph as the following:
In every country, and under every government, a few will revel in luxury, a few will work with their minds, and the many, (the happy many, would they but think so) must work with their hands. And, notwithstanding all the bustle and disturbance that have been made about modes and forms of government, there is hardly any truth more incontrovertible, than that they have worked in almost all countries with nearly equal security. Luckily for mankind, Providence has not trusted their happiness to statesmen or speculatists. The great business of life goes on under despotic as well as under free
governments -corn grows in Thrace as well as in Middlesex, and the vintager of the Rhine, or the Moselle, gathers his grapes (in ordinary times) as quietly as the man of Kent does his hops. p. 45.
It should follow from this, that the labouring part of the community, that is the bulk of the population, in this and the other countries of Europe, have no real interest in the great business for which their toils and their blood have been so largely and so long in requisition, of resisting the grand tyrant of the age; and that therefore it is most iniquitous and cruel to impose on them any exertions and sufferings for such an object, and most dishonest and deceptive to represent it to them as their interest or their duty. If it is of trifling importance, as to their substantial welfare, under what government they live and labour, it cannot be their duty to resign a large share of the benefit of their labours, or to expose their lives in battle, for the maintenance of the government they happen to be under, or any other principle than that they are absolutely its property. This principle we suppose Mr. G. is hardly prepared to avow. He might as well avow it, however, if he holds it. He will be in too much good company to have any occasion to be ashamed.
The people, he says, will be enabled, under almost any sort of government, to follow their work in tolerable security, and will find they obtain its natural comfortable results in corn, wine, &c. &c. How false and foolish is such an assertion it is needless to observe to any one who has but in the most cursory manner read the accounts of the condition of labour, and the state of cultivation and manufacture, throughout the greatest part of the Turkish empire-in India previously to the English conquests there-in a considerable portion of the American dependencies of Spain and Portugal -even in France under the old government,* (how the case is now, we have no adequate means of learning) and in many parts of Ireland.
Those accounts present a vast and melancholy picture of poverty, indolence, despondency, and sterility, caused by a vexatious and repressive direct interference with the people's labour, an interference which both harrasses the labour itself through all its stages, and watches and immediately devours its results. But we might contemplate a much more favourable condition of a laborious people, without much diminution of our contempt for
such doctrine as that of the paragraph quoted above. It would be easy to imagine the case of an industrious and ingenious population really protected, in a good degree, in the prosecution of their labours, aided in them by intelligent co-operation, distribution, and the new inventions of art, and apparently empowered to appropriate the profitable results : but there would be little to envy in the lot of that people, if they were doomed to find that with all their exertions and auxiliary inventions they were still becoming poorer; if they had a government boundlessly and incorrigibly lavish in expenditure-which consumed in direct corruption asunuch as the produce of innumerable myriads of industrious hands--which was unremittingly furious for wars, and scornful of all sober calculations as to the means of carrying them on-which, in short, kept its enormous taxation faithfully attendant on every labourer in the vast national work-shop, and instead of suffering the labourers to improve their condition, or relax their toils, pressed them, amidst alternate threats and cajoleries, with a continual aggravation of their tasks, perhaps at the same time, in the true Egyptian style, adopting, in the indulgence of its pride, measures tending to make the performance of those tasks in many instances impracticable. To such a population Mr. Gamble's congratulations on their privilege of working in security, and on the means of their welfare being independent of statesmen, would be an insult, if they were at leisure to notice or feel it, or if they would let themselves take as an insult any thing such a talker could say.
It is but fair to observe, that he does not pretend to be deep or systematic in politics; but he nevertheless flings down his remarks on this, as on all other subjects, in the manner of great confidence and self-complacency. We should not wonder if he were even particularly vain of the following mixed effusion of cant and rant, as a piece of wisdom and fine writing. Speaking of the innovating spirit in politics,
• I must confess,' says he, though I am “ native here," (in the North of Ireland) “and to the matter born,” it is a spirit in which I am in no degree a participator. I think mankind in general have fully as much freedom as they know how to make good use of; and I dislike untried and untrodden ways. Like Hardcastle in the play, I love every thing that is old-old customs, old religions, old constitutions, and old governments. And should my head at times de tect this as a delusion, my heart ever recognizes it as a legitimate
For what can novelty or new.created greatness command of respect or veneration, compared to that which has its origin in past ages! and I do not hesitate to declare, that I should prefer the decaying frame of ancient greatness, when viewed in the yellow light thrown on it through the stained casement of the sanctuary of the Gothic Cathedral, in which it has lain so long, to a constitution just