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reverence, and to protect them from the rude hands which, instead of repairing the dilapidations of time, or completing the tower or the battlement which may have been left unfinished, are seeking to undermine the fabric, and to destroy, not only the labour of past ages, but the tranquillity of the present, and the hopes of the future.'

A short extract or two will give our readers a sufficient idea of the execution of the work. Mrs. Hack's style is natural and unaffected, frequently spirited, and the dialogue is excellently conversational.

The reign of Henry Plantagenet affords occasion for reference to the institutions of chivalry; and a passage is given from Henry's History of England, descriptive of the exercise of tilting. The conversation then proceeds.

Harry. Oh, this is delightful! I wish I had been born in the days of chivalry!

Mrs. B. Rather rejoice, my dear boy, that you live at a time when the feelings of honour, of justice, and humanity, which were revived by the spirit of chivalry, have become so general, that such institutions are no longer necessary to support them. But in that period of barbarous ignorance, the liberal and generous sentiments inspired by chivalry, were of important service in refining the manners of the European nations. Feudal monarchies were too frequently the scenes of war, rapine, and confusion, which exposed the weak and defenceless to continual injuries, The power of the king was too limited to prevent these evils, and public justice was then too weak to punish the oppressors. The most effectual protection was often to be found in the valour and generosity of the knights of whom we have been speaking. Courage, humanity, courtesy, justice, and honour, were the distinguishing qualities of chivalry. To check the insolence of oppressors, to rescue the helpless from captivity, to protect or to avenge women, orphans, and those who could not bear arms in their own defence, were therefore considered as acts of the greatest merit. The order of kuighthood was generally conferred at the altar, with the most impressive ceremonies; thus adding the motives of religion to the feelings of honour. Indeed, the spirit of the institution was so exalted and so heroic, that it was peculiarly fitted to seize the imagination, and influence the actions of young men. It has even been asserted, that, from the ninth to the sixteenth century, those characters which have descended with most honour to later ages, derived their virtues chiefly from this source.

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Lucy. Mamma, if any body had told me beforehand, that you would have said so much in praise of a military institution, I could not have believed it.

'Mrs. B. Remember, my love, that I praise chivalry, because it was one of the means by which the manners and feelings of the European nations were humanized and refined. The feudal governments, under which chivalry flourished, were also of a military character; and from their oppressive exactions, and the encouragement they afforded to the

desolating practice of private war, they were not calculated to promote the peace and good order of society.


Lucy. I do not understand what you mean by private war, mamma. Mrs. B. You have seen that religion, in those barbarous ages, was supposed to consist in performing pilgrimages, and making rich presents to the church, but appears to have been very little applicable to the regulation of the stormy passions of men. In such a state of society, and among people educated in military habits, revenge was continually exciting them to warlike enterprises. Every man who owned a castle to shelter him in case of defeat, and had a sufficient number of dependents to follow his banner, was at liberty to wage war upon his neighbours, whenever he thought himself injured. This mode of revenging injuries, was called private war, as being carried on by individuals on their own account; and such was the cruelty with which it was exercised, that the invasion of the most barbarous enemy could not be more desolating to a country, or more fatal to its inhabitants.

Harry. Well, mamma, though you praised chivalry, I am sure you cannot say a word for the feudal governments which suffered these private wars.

Mrs. B. As your knowledge of history increases, my dear boy, you will perceive how intimately good and evil are blended in human affairs. Notwithstanding their great defects, the feudal institutions produced many good consequences; and we may now look back upon them, as part of the means by which Providence has been carrying on the great work of moral improvement. They arose at a period when the nations of Europe were sunk into a state of utter depravity: a period distinguished by the prevalence of falsehood, treachery, and ingratitude. The feudal spirit then exerted a beneficial influence. Violation of faith was considered as one of the greatest crimes and because it would have destroyed the security of feudal tenures, it was severely and quickly avenged, and branded by general infamy. The institutions of chivalry still further refined the sense of honour, and polished the manners of the higher orders. Thus was the spirit of liberty and independence kept alive, through a dark and stormy period, when the power of the crown might have destroyed the rights of the subject, if, while the people were poor and disunited, the nobility had not been brave and free.'

We have read with high satisfaction the section on the early reformers. After a notice of the venerable Bishop Greathead, Wicliff is thus introduced.

At length the rapacity of the court of Rome arrived at such a height, that the taxes gathered, under various pretences, by its agents, exceeded, by more than two thirds, the revenues ofthe king; this holy church, so long the object of veneration, became wholly immersed in temporal things; its mercenary views were evident from its exactions; and serious men began to question opinions, which were accompanied by such scandalous practices.

But though suspicion thus floated in the minds of men, they were not yet prepared to come forward and present any effectual opposition

to the errors and vices of the church. It was easy to point out the faults of the existing religion; but the whole was not to be rejected together; for the popery of the fourteenth century. was the result of a gradual corruption of that divine religion which was taught by the Saviour of men, and attested by the miraculous interposition of the Deity. The most sacred truths still remained hidden among the accumulated rubbish of human invention ; but to search for them, with any probability of success, required an union of courage, firmness, judgement, knowledge, and piety, which at that time was to be found only in John Wicliff.

• It appears to have been early in the year 1379, that Wickliff set about a great work, which he had long intended to perform. This was the translation of the Scriptures into English. He had always considered it as one of the great errors of popery, that the Bible should be locked up from the people: he therefore resolved to free it from this bondage. But, before his translation appeared, he published a treatise to shew the necessity of engaging in it. He declared that the Bible contained the whole will of the Deity; that the law of Christ was sufficient to direct his church; and that in the Scriptures every Christian might learn what would render him acceptable to God. As to the necessity of commentators to explain the meaning of the text, he said that a good life was the best guide to this knowledge; or, as he expressed it, “ He that keepeth righteousness hath " the true understanding of Holy Writ.”. It was perfectly consistent with this sentiment to maintain, as he did, that “No good man could s be a heretic." Heresy, according to Wicliff, consisted in a bad life, as well as in false opinions.'

For the following excellent remarks, Mrs. Hack has been indebted to Mr. Turner.

• At the time of his accession, it was universally believed that Henry the Fourth was, in his heart, inclined to the opinions of the Reformers. But, with him, the maxims of policy had greater influence than the dictates of conscience. He examined the state of parties in England, and found that the ecclesiastical interest was the best able to support bis pretensions: he, therefore, without hesitation, attached himself to the church. This was an unworthy sacrifice of moral principle to ambition. Henry gained his purpose, but his enjoyment of the power thus acquired, was very short. The reign of his son was still shorter ; and misfortune, deposition, and a violent death, were the portion of his grandson, who was also the last of his race. The retribution is striking. By establishing his throne on the basis of ecclesiastical tyranny, he made this alternative necessary: that the improvement of mankind should be arrested in its course, or that the sovereignty of his house should cease. Happily for the world, the evil passions of men are so overruled

as to become the means of moting the designs of a benevolent Providence, but are never per. mitted to counteract them. The house of Lancaster disappeared ;



and the Reformation, when the minds of men were better prepared to receive it, revived with irrepressible power.'

The next Series is intended to comprise the dynasty of the Tudors ; ' and should health and leisure permit the Writer to • complete her design, she will, in a fourth volume, attempt to

delineate the most prominent features of the eventful history

of the Stuarts.' As the complete work will be much more likely to obtain general acceptance, than detached portions of English history, we earnestly hope that Mrs. Hack will be encouraged and enabled to bring out the remaining volumes. Lingard, as she proceeds, though to be followed with caution, will be of no small assistance to her. The chief difficulty in delineating the reign of the Stuarts, will arise from the 'immense mass of materials in the shape of contemporary memoirs and other original documents, and the utter faithlessness of the historians. Rapin contains the best digest of the materials which were accessible in his time. But the Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, a great part of the State Papers and other documents made use of in the Memoirs of Cromwell, the Diary of Evelyn, and the papers referred to by Mr. Fox and Lord John Russell, throw quite a new light on many circumstances and characters of that period. Burnet and Neal are invaluable; but the former, though his veracity is unimpeachable, has, perhaps justly, been charged with a little credulity, and the latter is sometimes warped by his Presbyterian prejudices. Archdeacon Coxe's voluminous memoirs of the Dukes of Shrewsbury and Marlborough, supply most valuable illustra-. tions of the reigns of the last two monarchs of the Stuart line. Dr. Mo. Crie's Lives of Knox and Melville may also be consulted with the greatest advantage for the earlier periods. But, really, we seem to be imposing on our Author a most unreasonable labour, in even hinting that she should consult half of these authorities. Mrs. Hack is, however, fully aware of the importance of not misleading children, and of the danger of instilling into their minds indelible prejudices in the shape of historical misinformation. The pains she has taken in compiling these volumes, afford a pledge that, so far as she has means of access to the requisite sources, no trouble will be spared to render her work correct; by which means she will lay both the rising race and their parents under no small obligation.

We understand that Mrs. Hack is sister of Mr. Bernard Barton.


Art. X. The River Derwent, Part the First ; and other Poems. By

William Branwhite Clarke, B.A. of Jesu College, Cambridge. 8vo.

pp. xvi. 112. London, 1822. WE E foresaw the mischief that was likely to

ensue from Mr. Wordsworth's sonnetizing the River Duddon. If the other rivers heard of it, we had no doubt they would be ready to burst their banks with jealousy; and every sedgy nymph would be turning syren. Thus we might expect to find

- books in the running brooks' with a vengeance, and in time, a whole library of rivers. Mr. Clarke has been seduced by the charms of the Derwent, to enter the lists as her nymphship’s champion. After expatiating in prose on the claims of his subject, he contrives to keep up his breath through one hundred and twenty-three stanzas of the kind yclept Spenserian; and this, he tells us, is only Part the First! Not only so, but he informs us of a mighty stir having already arisen among the other floods and streams.' Thus:

• Brook calls to brook as down the hills they stray.' p. 66. Again :

• And Barrow calls forth from its cultured steeps
To the loud thunder of the hoarse Lodore ;
And many a rill its tinkling current keeps
In unison with his majestic roar,-

Niagara of England.' p. 30.
And again, the Poet bids us list to

sounds, that the deep valleys thrill,
From brooks and floods that murmuring run,

Calling each other as they flow,
And mark the blissful union
Which nature's varied gifts avow.' p. 97.

p We leave our readers to decide whether this does not look very much like a conspiracy on the part of the said brooks and rivers, or threatening signs, at least, of a mutinous rising. Now, it is to put a stop, as far as in us lies, to this menacing inundation, that we have thus promptly given information against the inditer of this volume. Far be it from us to wish to stop the Author in his course: we would only seek to turn the stream of his composition into another channel ;-not a poetical one, indeed, for we fear that he must be characterized as but a water-poet—by the way, the Water-Poet was a very worthy fellow-but into the more legitimate direction of dry prose. Vol. XVIII. N.S.

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