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were a better stimulus than hope; and that, since peculiar circumstances have given them a claim to the situation, they anticipate it as one in which distinction is to be acquired, and are more intent upon the discipline of their own minds, and the cultivation of the necessary branches of knowledge, than those are likely to be who have to hunt tutors, and canvass for votes in the Colleges where the elections are open. If the scope of Mr Brougham's truly patriotic exertions were to be extended, as we cordially wish to see it, so as to embrace the English Universities, we should hardly so much desire to have his keen and caustic scrutinies directed towards the Colleges in which the elections are close, as towards those which profess to offer their Fellowships to the indiscriminate competition of all learning and ability;-except, indeed, it happen to be Irish. But to the wisdom and humanity of this exception, it is clearly impossible to oppose a single argument. The Brogue is such a black, premeditated crime, that the misjudging infant who lisps those wilful accents, is fairly doomed to a youth of beggary—no ill-imagined training for a life of proscriptions.
It is in these half-open institutions, that inquiry would detect the true spirit of the Monkish system in full and flagrant operation. Place power in the hands of a conceited, ignorant, illiberal recluse, and it asks no gift of prophecy to foresee the inevitable consequence. With feline attachment to localities, such a being soon contracts the prudish air and treacherous propensities of the retromingent animal from which that narrow sentiment is imitated. No antiquated virgin more resembles her own tabby in duplicity, malice, and demureness. The sleek disguise of imbecility, the abuse of his miserable rights, the instinctive preservation of his apprehensive egotism from the contact of superior brilliancy, which he knows to be as little catching as gallantry itself, become the first objects in existence with this hater of a joke. The creature must be followed, sought, and sued:' taste must listen to its paradoxes, and talent tremble at its frown. Let a young man only abdicate the privilege of thinking-to some no painful sacrifice-and devote his whole body and soul to the sordid ambition of success, and the way to win' with such electors is no formidable problem. As an undergraduate, he must comb his hair smooth, avoid cleanliness and essences, be regular at Latin prayers, and sedulous in capping. After a dull examination in the schools-if a failure so much the better-he may begin to be the butt of Common-rooms, circulate tutors' wit, and prose against the Edinburgh Review. With a hopeless virginity of face, sacred from the violence of meanings
with a manner so nicely balanced between the weight of manhood and the decent levity of youth, that it happily escapes the gracefulness of either-guiltless of fame, originality, or humour-our tyro may then approach the scene of action, secure that the judges will take good care that the race shall not be to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.' Hardy professions of impartiality are indeed held forth, to attract unwary merit; and selfish mediocrity finds the most exquisite of all its gratifications in the momentary chance of harassing the talent it would tremble to confront. The candidates are locked up to write themes-solve a Sorites-discover the Latin for an earthquake --and perform other equally edifying tasks :-and the close of this solemn farce is the annunciation of a choice that had been long before determined, in proportion to the scrapings, grins, and genuflections of the several competitors. Who can be surprised if, under a system like this, genius and knowledge should so seldom strike a lasting root? or that the maturity which succeeds to a youth so prostituted, should produce, by its most vigorous efforts, nothing better than learned drivelling, or marrowless inflation? In many, and in very important respects, Oxford has undoubtedly improved upon its former self; but, in all points of right sentiment or liberal feeling, it is still the same University that stripped Locke of a studentship, and refused Johnson a degree.
We must say a few words upon the work whose title stands at the head of this article, though we cannot but regret the appearance of a publication, however meritorious in some respects, which offers nothing to increase the well-earned reputation of the late Mr Dalzel. The elementary criticisms, and judicious selections from the Greek authors, for which we are indebted to the labours of that learned Professor, must always keep their station in this country, and have made their way, in spite of Southern jealousy, into the best academies of England. In the Lectures now given to the world, likewise, there is frequently a propriety of thought, and, throughout, a fine and cordial spirit of liberality and freedom, which must be very gratifying to the admirers of Grecian literature, and entirely accords with the idea generally formed of the accomplished and amiable author. But it is precisely because they were addressed and adapted to the comprehension of a youthful audience; because they were written hastily for oral delivery, and never subjected to scrutiny and careful revision;' and because they are in fact not suited to the judgment of persons far advanced in literary attainment;' that we do not like to see them stand upon record, as mature, deliberate productions,-to which, in spite of all
prefatory explanations, the press must expose them. In short, though we have no objection that such a work should exist for the use and encouragement of youthful students, we are sorry to see any performance, of no uncommon or superior excellence, associated with the name of Dalzel.
Some of the faults of the volumes now published are to be ascribed to the system of diffuse prelection which has too commonly prevailed, as we before remarked, in the Greek classes of our colleges. In the second volume especially, we find a good deal of trite dissertation on extraneous subjects. Criticism on the qualities and styles, beauties and defects, of the several Greek writers, may be very fairly introduced into the business of the class, together with such remarks on the antiquities of Grecce, and such illustrations of her literature, history and manners, as taste and erudition may supply. But why devote whole hours to tame discussions upon pastoral or lyric poetry? to the beauties of Pope, or the pathos of Virgil? Comments upon such topics as these, in a Greek class, should be as rapid, striking, and compressed as possible;-not spun out into commonplace comparison, or remarks that must be obvious to the most infantine capacity. A mere Lecturer on Greek might be allowed to expatiate at will into the field of the Belles Lettres: But a teacher of Greek must only scatter here and there a flower or two to beautify the path; and even these should breathe the fragrance of Hymettus, or be gathered on the margin of Cephisus. Without going beyond the student's comprehension, or indulging in abstruse speculation and inquiry,' it is surely the great task of scholarship and genius to give simplicity to the product of the deepest researches, and to lavish, with an open hand, those treasures that must be dug with personal pain and labour from the mines of learning. What youths can learn from Lempriere and Potter, it is as well to let Lempriere and Potter teach them :-what requires extensive knowledge and minute' investigation, it is the business of the Professor to communicate. In short, it should be his care to interpret, from the wide range of Classical Literature with which he is supposed to be familiar, the particular subjects with which his class may be employed,—rather than to poach on Tooke, or trespass upon Blair. It seems as irrelevant in a Greek Professor to inflict long quotations and poetical systems on his pupils from the chair, as to require Latin odes and English Essays as the exercises to be furnished by them.
If we wished to quarrel with these volumes, we might express our surprise at one or two instances of inaccurate scholarship and inconsistent judgment, which are not a little striking. Cau
tious of conveying false impressions to the youthful mind, our author should not, in one place, describe the Greeks as the most polite and virtuous' people that ever existed, and, in another, reproach them with insolence and vice of every sort.' So clear-sighted a reasoner as Mr Dalzel should not have connected the Plague of Athens with the Sicilian expedition as one cause of Athenian weakness and Spartan triumph:-the complete recovery of Athens from the effects of the former having been one concurrent towards her capability of undertaking the latter. Again, we find it affirmed, that the Balance of Power was as well understood in ancient as in modern times, '—a most unwarranted deduction from the history of Greece. If there be one fact more certain than another in ancient history, it is this, -that a Permanent Balance of Power, on the principles now understood and established, was an idea which never entered into the head of an ancient politician. A temporary equipoise was sometimes attempted; but even that was everlastingly deranged by systematic bad faith and restless jealousies. The fifth book of Thucydides alone, that singular epitome of Grecian politics, contains enough to set this question at rest for ever. We are astonished, likewise, that an accurate scholar
should confound the office of the Chorus in the Greek dramas with that of the awkward and greasy figures' who fill the orchestras of our theatres; and who, whatever they might have been in Mr Dalzel's time, are now as clean and civil a set of personages as one would desire to see. But we have neither space nor inclination to run our criticisms very close upon the present occasion. Whatever may be the faults or imperfections of these Lectures, it is something truly delightful to find a work from a man of real learning, unsullied by one single stain of bad feeling, pedantry, or prejudice.
ART. IV. Report of the Select Committee on Criminal Laws: Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, July 19th, 1819. pp. 270.
WE E cannot but hail with satisfaction the proofs contained in this Report, of the increasing attention of the Legislature to the amendment of our Penal Laws, and the progress of liberal and enlightened notions on the subject in the great body of the people. We say this, because we are convinced that the general discussion of all subjects of public interest leads ultimately to sound and salutary views of them; and besides, we conceive that the manifestation of a strong disposi
tion to remedy the defects of existing institutions, implies the absence of the only obstacle that can ultimately frustrate its accomplishment. To have the will to benefit or relieve the sufferings of our fellow-creatures, is (in the community at large) to have the power. The power, indeed, is there always; and all that is wanted to give it effect, is the inclination. To have a spirit of inquiry and philanthropy excited, is nearly all that the friend of truth and justice requires; and when we see that spirit excited and in motion, we need not doubt of the results. We are aware that there is a cant of humanity, and a cant of liberality, on this as well as on other subjects; and sorry should we be to learn that this cant was quite exploded; for when there is no longer any cant about a thing, we may be sure the thing itself is pretty well out of fashion; cant, in reality, being nothing but the overacting of pretenders to popular merits. What we have chiefly to guard against, however, on this occasion, is not a spurious zeal, but that callous indifference which discards not only every nice feeling, but every pretension to common humanity; and that bigotted sophistry which takes delight in thwarting every advance in improvement and knowledge.
When, in the year 1775, some friends of humanity in the city of London (merchants and others), began to look into the iniquities of the Slave-trade, and the master of a Guinea trader was indicted for throwing 140 negroes overboard in a time of sickness, literally to prevent their being charged to account, the Solicitor-General of that day took high ground on the occasion, and said, he was not to be put down by a false cry of pretended humanity, which had been raised to the prejudice of his client; that the slaves who had been thrown overboard were, in the eye of the law, to all intents and purposes, the property of the owners of the ship, and to be considered like any other part of the cargo; and that he must beg leave to protest against any plausible or highly-coloured descriptions of the odium of the case, as irrelevant to the question, and an insidious appeal from law and reason (which ought to guide the decision of the Court), to the passions and feelings of the multitude.' Now, it would not do at all to take up this tone at present; because, on that question at least, the cant of humanity has in the end triumphed over the loathsome jargon opposed to it. But we may observe the same engines set at work, the same resources of angry invective, or hard-hearted irony employed against every attempt to remove every unabated nuisance. The involuntary burst of indignation which is excited by its first exposure to public notice, is set down as popular clamour; and the expression of pity or disgust at those objects which unavoidably pro