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Here is a vindication of his lingering attachment to the Church of England.
· Abhorrence of the persecuting spirit which made me renounce my native country, is perhaps the most active sentiment of my heart. It was natural, therefore, that as soon as I became acquainted with the most powerful antagonist which Popery had ever met, I should cling to it with my whole heart. The Church of England was to me what I conceive the Maltese knights must bave been to a Christian slave who had escaped from the prisons of Algiers into one of the Order's gallies. A long experience must have been necessary, both to myself and the subject of my illustration, to make us perceive that neither of our places of refuge was the dwelling of the full liberty we sought.'-p. viii.
A brief explanation of the intolerance of dogmatism.
• A man who should believe that his salvation was connected with his assent to a series of geometrical problems, which he had once demonstrated, would not be irritated by the disbelief of his neighbours. But the disbelief of others has an irresistible effect on the mind, when the intellect is uneasy.'-p. 40.
A picture of the liberty that would remain to us, if truth of opinion was necessary to save us, and we had only our present means of attaining that truth without uncertainty.
• It would be such liberty as that which sailors would enjoy upon a coast abounding in sunken rocks, when every light-house and buoy and signal had been removed : or rather, when every family who lived in the neighbourhood had been allowed to set up lights, and to float buoys, according to their respective notions of the safe and dangerous parts of
hose seas; and to distribute contradictory charts of soundings, which each family had tried with lines of some three feet in length.'—p. 50.
The following seems perfect both in conception and expression.
• It is the moral duty of the will to use the understanding as a MIRROR, courting in every direction, and by every means in man's power, the
rays of Divine truth; and endeavouring by industry, disinterestedness, and sincerity, to remove the soiling breath of the passions and desires, which so frequently distort those rays, and make them diverge from the mind.'—p. 31. 32.
We will not insult the spirit of this book, by claiming Mr. White in the spirit of gratified sectarians. Nothing has more deeply impressed us with the refined philosophy of his mind, than the entire absence of the zeal of a new convert. To resume the figure in our last quotation, it is not the images in the mirror he deems of first importance, but that the mirror itself should be a powerful instrument, open to the light, and free from soil. We value him too much as a fellow-traveller and guide, the direction of whose moving tent we shall reverently watch, to detain him as a partizan.
We entreat our readers, especially the young minds with whom we have any influence, to dwell upon this work. We
regard it as the best foundation book in the language. When shall we have congregations whom our ministers might address, presuming their minds to be already furnished with the substance of these Letters, and of Professor Norton's Statement of Reasons'? We ought to have them now. Then might we hear something more quickening than controversy, more instructive than moral axioms.
THE LIFE OF SIR JAMES MACKINTOSII.
Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honourable Sir James Mackintosh, edited by his Son,
Robert James Mackintosh, Esq. In two vols.--Moxon, London. BIOGRAPHY best answers the double purpose of communicating information with pleasure when the individual tells his own story-when we can trace the workings of his mind, through every period of his life, faithfully delineated in his own wordswhen the motives of his actions are developed by himself, and we are not left to collect them from the more doubtful testimony of others, who, however closely they may have been connected with him, are liable to error and misconception. The portrait of a man's thoughts and feelings--of the impressions made upon him by surrounding objects and passing events—will be best drawn by himself, as no other person can have so intimate an acquaintance with the secret history of his mind and heart: hence autobiography is always to be preferred to memoirs compiled by either friends or enemies, and when written in a spirit of candour and sincerity, it reflects, as in a mirror, the failings and virtues of the subject of it. We, therefore, regret that so short a period of the Life of Sir James Mackintosh—scarcely extending to the close of his academical studies—has been sketched by his own pen, and that another hand was necessarily employed in the continuation of his Memoirs : but they may still be considered as written, in a great measure, by himself, since they consist chiefly of his own letters and journals, with only a slight connecting narrative' from the pen of the Editor, who has shown his good taste and judgment in saying no more than was absolutely necessary to unite these documents with the events of his father's life, and who is to be praised, rather than blamed, for the cold style of expression' which characterizes the supplementary matter. The son of Sir James Mackintosh is not to be censured, for not publicly offering up at the shrine of his father's virtues that ardent incense of affection, which, no doubt, daily arises from his heart: neither was it necessary to heap the flowers of adulation on a monument erected to departed worth, which patriotism has sufficiently consecrated and learning adorned.
The father of Mackintosh, Captain John Mackintosh, was separated from his family by professional duties, and the son was, therefore, left to the sole care of his mother, who loved him with extreme affection. At the age of ten he was sent to school, in the small town of Fortrose, where he continued five years, making, from the indulgence or inability of his masters, but small progress in learning, and contracting habits of desultory reading and irregular application, the pernicious influence of which he felt to the last moment of his life. In his fifteenth year he went to the College of Aberdeen, where, from some school-verses which he had, perhaps injudiciously, exhibited, he acquired the title of The Poet. His most intimate companion at college was the afterwards-celebrated Robert Hall, in conjunction with whom he formed a debating society, the discussions of which afforded frequent opportunities for the exercise of his powers of extemporaneous address, and, amongst the books he read, the one which most delighted him, and most influenced his future studies, having inspired a passion for investigating the history of opinions,' was · Warburton's Divine Legation. At nineteen years of age he left Aberdeen,' with little regular and exact knowledge, but with considerable activity of mind and boundless ambition, and proceeded to Edinburgh, to begin his studies for the profession of physic, which he chose in submission to the wishes of his friends, his father's fortune being thought too small to render it prudent for him to yield to his predilection for the Scotch bar.' Three months after his arrival at Edinburgh, he became a member of a society which met weekly for the discussion of medical questions, and before he could have distinguished,' to use his own language, bark from James's Powder, or a pleurisy from a dropsy, in the chamber of a sick patient,' he discussed, with the utmost fluency and confidence, the most difficult questions in the science of medicine ! He also shortly joined three other societies—the Speculative,
Royal Medical, and · Royal Physical,' to which he contributed speeches and essays, that exercised both his tongue and his pen. In the mean time his professional studies were neglected, and he became too much devoted to social amusements and pleasures. His love of knowledge, however, was never extinguished, and even at the convivial board his literary tastes were indulged, so that he happily contrived to imbibe instruction with his wine. Having gone through the usual course of preparatory education, before leaving college, he became a candidate for a degree, and surprised his examiners by the lucid manner in which he investigated the different opinions of medical writers
on a most intricate and doubtful subject—the origin of muscular motion. Having obtained his diploma, after a few weeks' delay in Edinburgh, he repaired, with a store of knowledge more varied and comprehensive, than methodically arranged or concentrated on professional objects,' to London, where he was soon drawn into the vortex of politics, then agitated by the revolt of the American colonies and the financial bankruptcy of France. His father died shortly after his removal from Edinburgh, (his mother had died some years before), and he succeeded to the paternal estate at Kellachie, burdened, however, with an annuity to the wife of a former proprietor-a serious consideration to a young physician in an expensive metropolis, who had already begun to feel the pressure of pecuniary difficulties: yet, notwithstanding these, with all the thoughtlessness of youth, he privately married Miss Catharine Stuart, a young lady of a respectable Scotch family, but in circumstances no better than his own. This rash step offended the friends of both parties, but was not attended with the ruinous consequences that might have been expected: the lady's prudence having fortunately exercised a wholesome control on the too profuse disposition of her husband, and excited his too indolent nature to exertion. The exertion, however, was not of a professional kind—unless the work he advertised on insanity, shortly after that disease had attacked the King, may be regarded as such; but this work he did not finish. His whole soul was given to politics. He wrote a pamphlet on the Regency question, which pleased the Prince of Wales; and he took an active part in the election for Westminster, supporting the cause of Horne Tooke, in allusion to which a person giving an account of his conduct to an absent friend, writes—_ Instead of attending to his business, my gentleman was parading the streets, with Horne Tooke's colours in his hat.' He did, indeed, leave London, to attempt a settlement as a physician elsewhere, but the promising opportunity' which offered itself, first at Salisbury, and then at Wesmouth, was not seized : instead of soberly settling down to the practice of medicine, my gentleman' took his wife on a tour of pleasure into the Low Countries, from which, having acquired
uncommon facility' in the French language, and studied continental politics, during his residence at Brussels, he returned to London, and wrote political articles for the newspapers. His labours, however, were relieved by a summer progress to the Highlands ; on his return from which he hired a small house in the village of Little Ealing, in Middlesex, to escape, it may be supposed, from the expenses of a London residence, and the contagious fever of politics. The latter, however, was too widely disseminated, and too congenial to his nature, to be avoided even in the country. Burke's • Reflections on the French Revolution,' called forth from bis rural retirement the • Vindicia Gallicæ,' and the fame of that work fixed him a politician for life. It procured him the honorary situation of secretary of the celebrated · Association of the Friends of the People,' and the acquaintance of Mr. Fox, as well as of all the most eminent Whigs of the day. On Physic he now wholly turned his back, and she might well have apostrophized him in the language of the shepherdess to her departing swain
* Longum, formose, vale, vale! if so tender an adieu had not been suppressed in jealousy of her sister and rival, the Law, to whom the faithless physician, now in his twenty-seventh year, openly professed the admiration he had long secretly entertained. He went through the usual preliminary studies—the long and tedious courtship for the favours of this latter mistress--with a submissive grace, and attended, con amore, debating societies, which are so useful in forming the habit of speaking extempore. In 1795, he was called to the bar by the Society of Lincoln's Inn, and took a house in Serle-street, attaching himself to the Home Circuit. His leisure hours were devoted to writing for the Monthly Review, in which an article on Burke's • Thoughts on a Regicide Peace,' led to an introduction to that great statesman, who invited him to Beaconsfield, where he went on a visit for a few days; on his return from which he had the misfortune to lose his wife, leaving him a widower with three daughters. Shortly after this mournful event, which, in a letter to his friend Dr. Parr, he describes as ' a calamity which the prosperities of the world cannot repair,' he added greatly to his reputation by a course of · Lectures on the Law of Nature and Nations,' in the Hall of the Benchers of Lincoln's Inn, having previously published an · Introductory Discourse,' which • met with instant and brilliant success,' and drew around him a most illustrious and enlightened audience, consisting of lawyers, members of parliament, men of letters, and country gentlemen. The tone of these Lectures and the Introductory Discourse being more moderate than that of the Vindiciæ Gallicæ, alienated from him, for a time, some of his old political friends, who, seeing him surrounded by the adversaries of their principles, did him the injustice to suppose that he had abandoned the cause of freedom, or was preparing to do so, in pursuit of court patronage and secular promotion.
He consoled himself for the alienation of political friends, and the loss of his first wife, by marrying, a year after her decease, a second, the daughter of John Allen, Esq. of Cresselly; thus repairing the calamity, which the prosperities of the world could not repair,' and supplying the wants of that domestic happiness, which he was forined to enjoy. The few years that immediately