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Memoir of James Baldwin Brown, Esq. LL.D.
other writers on the ccclesiastical his- | after its nomination, and which was tory of the fourth century, to whose afterwards printed by order of the productions scarcely any reference is house of Commons, in the shape of a ever made in the days in which we large folio volume. One half of this live. The talent displayed by him report was drawn up by Mr. Brown, in this inquiry, drew from even the the other being simultaneously preconductors of those reviews which pared by the chairman of the comsupport the high church party of the mittec, with his occasional assistcountry, and who have ever been most ance. On the subject of this memoir anxiously opposed to those claims devolved also the superintendence which he has so strenuously advocat through the press, of this report, ed, the warmest eulogies; nor does with its huge appendix of documents, the British Critic hesitate to declare, furnished by our ambassadors and " that in depth and variety of research, diplomatic agents, in nearly all the and in display of testimony and docu- languages of Europe. For these lament, he is unrivalled, and that, as far bours, Mr. Brown was very liberally as the work proceeds, it is a most remunerated by the government. valuable reservoir of ecclesiastical A series of papers which he subsehistory, not only in the information quently wrote against the political which it actually gives, but in the inconsistencies, &c. of Wm. Cobbett, means which it affords, by its numer-introduced him to the friendship of ous citations and references, of pur the late Right Honourable John Hiley suing the inquiry to a still greater Addington, then Under Secretary of extent."* Nor will this praise, un State for the Home department, with qualified as it is, be suspected of par whom he continued in close and intitiality, when the Eclectic Review, the mate correspondence until the period organ of the dissenters, whilst con- of that gentleman's sudden removal tepding with great zeal against the from a circle of friends, by whom he interference of the civil power in the was held in the highest estimation. affairs of the Church, rates as highly Soon after this, namely, in Easter the value of this work, from the tem- Term, 1816, Mr. Brown was called to per, the talents, and the assiduity the Bar, and chose, as the sphere of displayed in its composition.t To his professional exertions, the Northese testimonies to the talent and thern circuit, and Cheshire and Lanresearch, evinced in an inquiry as cashire sessions, in which he has been uninviting as it was laborious, was gradually rising into a considerable added, a very honourable mention of practice, very far beyond his standing it in the house of Commons, and a in the profession. list of subscribers, containing the To that profession, however, he denames of the leading members of both voted not exclusive attention, having, houses of parliament; but, for some two years after his call to the Bar, reason with wbich we are not ac- published, in a quarto volume, “ Mequainted, Mr. Brown never continued moirs of the Life of John Howard, the his project; and can now, we presume, philanthropist," compiled principally have neither leisure nor inducement to from his own papers, and the comresume it. His immediate attention munications of his surviving friends. was diverted from its continuance by This work was so very favourably rethe success of his friend Sir John ceived by the public, that, in the course Cox Hippisley's motion for an in- of about two months from its first apquiry into the regulations of foreign pearance, the greater part of the imstates, with respect to their Roman pression was disposed of, when its Catholic subjects, on which his ser- future circulation was unfortunately vices were speedily put in requisi- suspended by the failure of its pubtion, under the express authority of lisber, and the impounding of the work the late Marquis of Londonderry, (then for two or three years in the court of Lord Castlereagh) as Secretary of State Chancery, in the course of a suit for Foreign affairs, in assisting to pre-instituted there by its printer. The pare a report, which the committee so moment, however, that proceeding appointed presented, about six weeks terminated, an arrangement was made
with the assignees of the publisher, in . * British Critic, May 1816.
consequence of which, a second edition + Vide Eclectic Review, June 1817. in 8vo. was published in the year 1823.
With the exception of two small! Ah! sore in every speaking line, works, we have now noticed the whole Delight, perfidioos bard, was tbine; of Mr. Brown's publications; the first
And, lingering oft, thy fancy hong
Enraplur'd o'er the lay she sung, of these is, the volume of · Poems by Three Friends," mentioned in our ac Spare but the minstrel's tuneful lyre, count of Mr. Wiffen, who formed, And goench not bis celestial fire; with Mr. Brown and the Rev. Dr. then Though 'rest of ev'ry joy beside, Mr. Rafles, this poetical triad of con His springs of bliss are well supplied. tributors. From this we select the Nor need he court the sordid race, following elegant verses, by the subject Whose loudest plaudits were disgrace, ; of our memoir, with a view, at once, While dearly cherisbed is his name to give somewbat of relief to the dry By those whose praise alone is fame. ness of detail, necessarily incident to
Though passion with ecstatic thrill, the life of even a literary lawyer; and Ere long around his yielding will to enrich our pages with the reply to May solily bind ber rosy chain, them, which, appearing first in the 'Tis passion gaileless of a stain. Morning Chronicle, was thence trans
"Tis not the sensaal, low deligbt, ferred into the preface to that edition That sbrioks abash'd from buman sight, of the poems, which assigned the dif Nor dark seduction's selfish wile, ferent pieces to their respective au-|
Where rain lurks beneatb a smile. thors.
But virtuous love bis bosom fires,
Which heavenly beauty first inspires ; On his expressing a Wish for the Possession of Tbat love, wbich next deligbts to find Poetical Talent.
Its temple in the charmer's mind. O! envy not the Muse's child,
And wbile to his expanded heart His ardent soul, his feelings wild,
Another's joy can joy impart, Nor wish that from the trembling wire,
A mournful pleasure be may kuow, Your hand could draw poetic fire.
In pity for another's wo. His is po pleasing task indeed,
Who, that the minstrel's rapture sbares, Whose lips attane the Doric reed,
Would fear to meet the minstrel's caresi E'en should be gain the heights of fame,
If e'er my soul to fame aspire,
Such fame be mine as waits the lyre.
Tben never, in so sweet a lay,
Let bard henceforth his Muse betray, And baughty Scorn, that rudely smiles
Nor weave a wreath so passing fair,
And say, destruction harbours there!
The lines which gave occasion to Caught bis young ear, and bade bim try this elegant tribute, were addressed to The soothing power of minstrelsy.
the late Charles Edward Newberry, His is the heart that's wont to feel
Esq. the author's earliest friend, a Deep interest in another's weal;
young man whose talents and enterWith joy at otbers' joy he glows,
prise led him to visit, in a medical And sheds the tear for others' woes, capacity, the retired mountains of the
Druses, in Syria, and the distant Hence, form’d to taste the highest bliss, Affection's warmest pulse is bis;
shores of China, whence he returned If Beauty's charms bis bosom move,
but to be snatched, in the prime of A minstrel's is no common love.
life, by the slow but certain inroads
of an hereditary consumption, from a And should his darling hopes be crost, He roves, by hurrying passion tost,
large circle of friends who knew and His noble mind to ruin barla,
loved bim well. The author was never A maniac in a scornful world.
discovered, but it was strongly suspect
ed to be the production either of CampThen envy not tbe Mase's child,
bell or of Moore, more probably of His ardent soul, his feelings wild, Nor wish that from the trembling wire
the former, to whose friendsbip Mr. Your hand could draw poetic fire!
Brown and his colleagues were intro
duced by the dedication to him of THE REPLY
their poetical volume.
The other úpnamed production of 'Twas cruel in so sweet a lay,
this gentleman's pen, is “An Appeal The Muse, that prompted to betray, To weave a wreath so passing fair,
to the Public and Legislature on the Then say, destruction barbour'd there. I tendency of Mr. Brougham's Educa.
Memoir of James Baldwin Brown, Esq. LL.D.
tion Bill to interfere with the Rights of ments of Dr. Brown, upon whom Conscience, and infringe the spirit of nearly the whole labour of conducting the Toleration Act.” Published, as it had devolved from its commencethis work avowedly was by its au- | ment. In the articles which this work thor, as one of the committee of the contains, extensive research, acute Protestant Society for the protection investigation, and manly argument, of Religious Liberty, and advocating, are alike conspicuous, and its disas it did, the cause of the dissenters, continuance can only be reflected on who were strongly opposed to the with regret. principle of this bill, it was, naturally, - We have now done with Dr. Brown received with great cordiality by the as a literary man; and upon his merits powerful party whose views it espous- as a lawyer it is alike out of our proed. But even the opponents of those vince and our power to give any accuviews treated the work with great rate opinion. With one qualification respect; the Edinburgh Review itself, for success in his profession, his works the organ of Mr. Brougham's peculiar themselves abundantly evince that he sentiments upon the question, charac- is eminently endowed ; viz. an interizing it as the most elaborate and defatigable industry and patience of best publication of those which had rescarch, which nothing can damp or opposed them; nor are its arguments overcome. As a speaker, too, we resupposed to have been altogether in- collect with satisfaction, the developefficient or powerless in convincing that ment of his powers at the Philosophilearned gentleman of the impossibility cal Society of London, where, for four of carrying a measure, which, soon af- or five years, he took a leading part ter the appearance of this minute ex- | in its discussions and management, amination into the different bearings of under the presidency of bis friend, the its various provisions, he abandoned late Dr. John Coakley Lettsom; and for ever.
some of his later exertions at various To his name, apon the title-page to public'meetings in the metropolis. Forthis pamphlet, Mr. Brown, for the cible, energetic, with little fondness first time, affixed the degree of LL.D. for metaphor, though somewhat more which he received shortly after the ap- of action than we have usually wito pearance of the “Life of Howard,” nessed at the Bar, readily perceiving from the University and Marischal | the point pressing against him, and College of Aberdeen, the principal of dexterous in averting it, throwing into which, Dr. William Lawrence Brown, the shade, or treating with ridicule, bad furnished most valuable materials the arguments of his opponent, he from his manuscript memoranda, of can want, as far as we are able to form conversations with his philanthropic a judgment upon a subject out of the friend, with the memoirs of whose life usual range of our observations, but he was so pleased, that he himself pro- an aptitude at cross-examination, to posed the passing of the grace by render hinn an advocate likely, in due which this degree was gratuitously time, to attain a high rank in his proconferred. The testimonials of per- fession. Whether he is an adept in sonal knowledge were signed by His this part of his duties, for the disRoyal Higbness the Duke of Sussex, charge of which we have no reason to aod Sir John Cox Hippisley
apprehend that he wants a due con- In the year 1820, Mr. Brown com- fidence in himself, we have no op. menced the publication of a Quarterly portunity of knowing, never having Review and Magazine, entitled "The heard him in court; but as his name Investigator,” of which he was avow | frequently occurs, as successfully deedly joint editor with his early and fending prisoners on the most serious intimate friend, Dr. Collyer, and Dr. capital charges, it is but justice to (then Mr.) Raffles, whose only sister he him to presume, that beis by no means had married the year after he was call-deficient in this respect. ed to the Bar. Its object was to unite As a lawyer, therefore, as well as an sound literature and genuine piety, author, Dr. Brown is likely, we conwithout regard to sect or party; and ceive, to earn a fame sufficiently gration these principles it was successfully fying to his honourable ambition for conducted, until discontinued, at the distinction, and to repose, we trust, close of last year, from the rapid in- for many years to come, under the croase of the professional engage-shadow of his well-earned laurels..
| indelible brand of inanity. But the ON THE PROvince OF REASON RE
error of her zealous devotees lies here, GARDING OUR FAITH IN DIVINE
and it is a hold of which they are exREVELATION.
ceedingly tenacious, in making ber the In this enlightened age of the world, sole arbitrator of their belief in any when mankind are making such rapid statements of professed facts : conadvances in the paths of science, when sequently, when any proposition conthe secrets of nature are being gradu- taining a fact to be credited, clashes, ally developed to our astonished view or appears to clash, with the dictates
when literary researches are so uni- of this goddess Reason, when any versally pursued, and their results ap- moral or metaphysical crudity, falsely plied to the augmentation of our com so called, resists the dissolving proforts and luxuries in domestic and perties of this universal menstruum, it political economy in this state of is immediately discarded as unworthy things, the goddess Reason, as she of belief. has been denominated, from whose! Another, and a most fatal error, of subtile operations these scientific these persons, consists in not distinachievements have originated, is ex-guishing between what is contrary or alted by her possessors to the pinacle repugnant to reason, and what is beof fame, and her worship so effectually yond the reach of reason, maintaining engrosses the faculties of some of her that all propositions which may appear votaries, as to exclude from their to belong to the latter class, do indeed minds even the most distant idea of resolve themselves into the former ; paying adoration to that Being to but it is my object strenuously to inwhom the object of their idolatry is sist, in this place, that between these herself continually indebted for her two contrarieties there does really existence; who is, even by them- exist as positive and essential a selves, the acknowledged creator and difference, as between the opposites of sustainer of the universe; and con- right and wrong, perfection and imsequently most justly entitled to their perfection. supreme veneration and regard. It is . It is maintained by the extravagant true indeed, that reason, being the eulogists of reason, that all revelation noblest gift of the great God to his must be subjected to the test of reason, creature man, claims our earnest at- for, if in judging of any part we lay tention and solicitude; and be that aside this faculty of the mind, we do, neglects to cultivate this endowment, by that very act, render ourselves inbeing influenced by the feeling of base capable of judging; we discard the and servile submission to the judg- greatest gift, the richest blessing, that ment of others, in matters about which, | Heaven has bestowed upon man-that if properly alive to their importance, he very principle which raises him above, is able to form as correct ideas as any and distinguishes him from, the brute of those before whom he so degrading-creation-that alone enables him to ly prostrates his faculties ; this man, determine what is true and what is I say, deserves our sincerest pity, and false.-This argument assumes false at the same time our most unqualified data; it proceeds on the erroneous contempt. But not only is reason supposition that some statements and thus inadequately exalted by one doctrines in holy writ demand the class, and improperly depressed by servile prostration of our rational enanother, by a third she is wrested from dowments, from their supposed incomber proper province and jurisdiction, patibility with common sense; but and made the touchstone in religious, this is far from being the fact. All as well as in civil and literary, con: revelation ought most certainly to be cerns.
subjected to the test of reason, where It is most readily conceded, tbat it she is capable of forming a judgment, would be the climax of folly, presump which she is, in every case of importtion, and ignorance, to maintain that ance to man as a fallen and depraved reason ought not to be the sole agent creature. It is admitted, that there in dictating to us a proper procedure are some parts of the revealed will of in matters of religious faith, as far as the Deity, we are required to believe, she is able to go; when she is exclud- the comprehension of which, our finite ed in the formation of a creed, the and feeble powers of ratiocination are forehead of such a slave displays the not. capable of grasping; they are
subjects above the reach of our rea-, or demerit, excepting such as are son, which is very different from being evidently too exalted for such tribucontrary to it, and it is in confounding nal; and further, in judging of any these two distinct ideas, that the dif | portion of the sacred writings, we ficulty arises in the minds of some should unequivocally submit it to the persons.
same test, and, if we meet with any The introduction of moral evil into thing that staggers us, we should be the creation, that is, the precise mode exceedingly careful to make the necesof its origination, and the assumption sary distinction between what we may of the human by the divine nature, suppose to be hostile and repugnant are the two grand doctrines which to reason, and what is clearly without form the mighty foundation on which its province, and placed beyond its the whole superstructure of reve- reach. We may illustrate this differlation is raised, with which it is as ence, to which we have just alluded, intimately connected, and on which by a familiar example. it is as much dependent for its stabi | Suppose any one should assert to a lity, as is the natural structure on its man of plain common sense, that it basis. These two inscrutable myste-was possible for the same thing to be ries are not to be rejected because a and not to be at the same instant--that clear comprehension of them is un- a number of objects similar in size attainable; they are subjects which and shape to any given object, differed we mortals cannot yet fully compre- in those particulars from each other, hend. They are situated without the he would, with propriety, immediately boundary of reason; in endeavouring reply, that he would not believe these to solve these difficulties, she is be- assertions, because they were directly wildered and lost in the thick maze opposed to his understanding of the which surrounds her ; they maintain nature of things ; but if any one an elevated position, in endeavour were to tell the same individual that ing to reach which, reason exerts her our earth, a globe eight thousand utmost efforts, but is obliged to aban- miles in diameter, was suspended in don the giddy height, and descend ether, merely by the exact balance of abashed and confounded at her utter certain centrifugal and centripetal incapacity to compass her object. forces,-if he understood the terms in Yes, truly there are heights in the in- which the information was conveyed, tellectual and physical world, which he could not say he would not credit reason cannot scale, there are depths the account because the assertion she cannot fathom. Let her be con- clearly implied a contradiction in tented with solving ordinary problems terms; but he might reply, he felt a in these departments, without perti- difficulty in giving his assent to the naciously, and, I had almost said, statement, because he could in no blasphemously, wearying herself with | way comprehend it. So limited inendeavouring to pry into the hidden deed are our intellectual powers, that mysteries of the providence of the Al the inost obvious phenomena in na mighty,-here she ventures on im ture will furnish questions we can mortal and forbidden ground, and, never solve; and he who is resolved therefore, it is no wonder that she so to make his comprehension the critelamentably faits.
rion of his faith, must deny his own Indeed, it is a wise provision of the existence. Creator, that his creature man should In concluding, it may not be irrelebe thus constituted ; for if there were vant to observe, that nothing can be nothing but what he could fully un- more common than our belief, that the derstand, nothing but what he felt fertility of the earth depends on its proudly conscious of his power to being watered by dews or rain, yet seize, then bis depraved condition and we can forin no correct idea of this entire dependence would not be so process of nature; this simple and glaring, and in all probability he would daily occurrence bids defiance to our be less willing than he even now is, to proud reason to understand it. It is acknowledge and adore his Maker.. impossible for any thing to be more Let every philosophical, mataphysical, extensively seen and known, than that and ethical speculation be brought to all sublunary objects are attracted by the bar of reason, there to stand or the earth; yet the utmost stretch of fall, according to its individual merit thought of the most acute philoso