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The movement was at first chiefly excited amongst the Non- | chivalry. Dr. Coke had planted Methodism in the West Indies. conformists, or at least amongst a section of them; and it is not too much to say, that Nonconformity might have all but dwindled away, if it had not been for the movement. Wesley and Whitfield took the ball at the rebound, and sent it higher. But in the religious stir there were many who did not approve unreservedly of all the principles and practices of Methodism; and these, joining themselves to Independent and Baptist churches, greatly increased that portion of the Dissenters. In fact, the word Nonconformity disappeared; the Independents, comprehending both the Congregational and the Baptist bodies, took higher ground. Many ministers of great talent appeared amongst them; the congregations increased in numbers and respectability, comprising a large portion of the middle classes, while the triumphs of Methodism were amongst the hand-working classes. Its success, however, was not so great in Scotland as in England; the ground was already preoccupied; the congregations assembled to hear a Methodist preacher, too often, instead of giving them selves up to the emotions of fear and alarm created in England, were more disposed to criticise. Whitfield made some impression, but Wesley complains of the coldness of the Scotch, and accused them of having no heart-an accusation which Burns disproved. The truth is, the Scotch were nearly as far advanced in intellectual capacity and religious instruction as are their brethren in England at the present day. Had we risen to our present state of improvement without the aid of Methodism, Wesley, and even Whitfield, preaching as they did seventy or eighty years ago, would often complain of a barren congregation, and be tempted to accuse the English, as Wesley accused the Scotch, of having no heart. Nevertheless, the religious movement was felt in Scotland; a great nonconforming body, the Secession church, was created by Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine ; and from that time to this dissenting bodies of various name and character have been gradually growing.
The religious spirit, now fast extending itself, and rising rapidly, began to overflow the boundaries of particular sects and parties, and to acquire something of a portion of Catholicity. The remarkable example of John Newton and the delightful poetry of William Cowper gave a character to it, and diffused it through the middle classes. Hannah More, who had realized the dream of her childhood, had associated with " bishops and booksellers," was the pet of Johnson, the friend of Garrick, and a favourite in fashionable circles, felt its influence, and ventured, though timidly and anonymously, to publish her "Thoughts on the Manners of the Great." This work sold well, and was soon followed by "An Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World." But a far more effective impression was made a few years afterwards. "A Practical View of the Prevailing System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country, contrasted with Real Christianity," made its appearance in 1797, bearing the undisguised name of "William Wilberforce, Member of Parliament for the County of York." "Taken in all its probable effects," said the Rev. Thomas Scott, "I do sincerely think such a stand for vital Christianity has not been made in my time."
Before this time, the religious spirit had been organized into the first really "CATHOLIC" association. The suppression of the SLAVE TRADE presented a rallying point for ardent and benevolent minds of all parties and creeds. Mr. Wilberforce became the centre of a combination, which taught the lesson of untiring agitation to accomplish its purpose. And thus, in the very hour that Burke was exclaiming, "The age of chivalry is gone!" he might have seen expanding around him a newer and a nobler
In the year 1791, William Carey, who, till his twenty-fourth year,
But now the religious spirit was about to develop itself more powerfully, and to occupy a larger and a wider sphere. An agitation arose amongst the friends of religion respecting a more extensive distribution of the Bible. A Society did indeed exist-the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge-which, as a Christian Diffusion Society, supplied the Bible in places where it was little known. But its operations were too tardy to satisfy the more ardent of those who longed to distribute the Bible everywhere. They were also of a confined and narrow character, for the members of the Society did not perceive that the public mind was ready to advance, if it only had a leader. At last, after some years of delay, inquietude, and indecision, a few individuals who were acting together in the spirit of a catholic Christianity, formed the rudiments of a new society. But how to go about their work they did not clearly see. All was in a kind of dimness and darkness-they were like men groping their way. They judged it wise, before proceeding farther, to appeal to the public respecting their design: and so they issued their manifesto. One of their number, the Rev. Mr. Hughes, a Baptist minister, wrote, "The Excellence of the Holy Scriptures, an Argument for their more general Diffusion." This appeal, extensively circulated at an appropriate time, because the minds of people were prepared for something of the kind, had a powerful effect. The BRItish AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY was formed, commencing in weakness and obscurity, but soon to pass the period of its infancy, and to become the mightiest association for the diffusion of knowledge that the world has ever seen. Some there were, indeed, who viewed its operations with jealousy, and who were fearful of intrusting the great mass of the people with the Bible without note or
comment; but the bulk of all classes in the religious world hailed the scheme with delight and wonder. They beheld, in its common bond of union, a proof that Christianity was essentially one in its spirit and character, and they hastened, by their contributions, to enable the Society to set in motion a machinery, the extent of whose influence on the world at large a future age must determine. The excitement respecting the Bible Society has in a great measure died away; but it still carries on its gigantic operations, steadily and quietly supported, and effectively pursued. Through its exertions, and the exertions of all those numerous associations to which it gave origin in Europe and America, the Bible is finding its way into the language of "every nation under heaven;" and thus a volume containing the most ancient, the most affecting, and the sublimest compositions, is now, and will be, the most widely diffused of any book that was ever penned.
We must now go back to the period of the commencement of the movement, and perceive how it was that, as the religious spirit ascended, the sceptical or infidel spirit descended. The latter portion of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, were periods of considerable controversy respecting the EVIDENCES of Christianity, and also its DOCTRINES. "The philosopher of Malmesbury (Thomas' Hobbes) was," says Warburton, "the terror of the last age, as Tindall and Collins are of this. The press sweats with controversy, and every young churchman-militant would try his arms in thundering on Hobbes's steel cap." It was an intellectual exercise for ministers to defend the bulwarks of Christianity, or to strengthen the foundations on which its evidence rests: but the controversy was confined to the thinkers and readers of the time, who were comparatively few in number. The great body of the people were too ignorant to be either infidels or Christians; they did not understand the matter. But in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, the general corruption of morals which prevailed amongst the upper classes was favourable to a propagation of infidelity; and accordingly infidelity became fashionable. The religious excitement caused it to descend upon the classes below. Cool and sober people, who were offended by many of the extravagances of which Methodism was guilty in the early part of its career, considered those extravagances as part of Christianity itself, and by the reaction of provocation became infidel in their opinions. Methodism also supplied a number of infidels. For amongst those who became Methodists there were some who deceived themselves and others, and for a time were zealous in their profession. But when their artificial heat died away, and they fell into indifferency or into sin, the ghosts of their departed characters haunted them, and they rushed into profligacy or into infidelity to hide themselves. Then came Hume," the most subtle, if not the most philosophical, of the deists, who, by perplexing the relations of cause and effect, boldly aimed to produce a universal scepticism, and to pour a more than Egyptian darkness over the whole region of morals." The discussion which arose spread still wider the principles of infidelity. The works of Lardner and of Leland bear testimony to the diffusion of scepticism. Lardner, in the Preface to his "Credibility of the Gospel History," tells us he wrote, not for learned, but for plain men; and in like manner Leland gave his "View of the Deistical Writers," that the "bane and antidote " might be seen together. Still, a large audience had not yet been obtained; the discussion was almost confined to the comparatively small number of readers and thinkers; but amongst them Hume's writings produced a considerable influence. The works of Hume, in which he has directly assailed Christianity, are the " Essay on Providence and a Future State," and the "Essay on Miracles."
Gibbon came to help Hume, not by impugning Christianity, but by sneering at it; the first volume of the "Decline and Fall," containing the chapters on the progress and extension of Christianity, was published in 1776. This carried still farther the discussion respecting the divine origin of Christianity, and drew out numerous productions in defence of it. But while the debate was going on, and the press teeming with controversy, plain, half-informed readers became confused and confounded; they felt as if enveloped in a mist of argument, and could not see their way; until Paley, with his penetrating understanding, his clear, logical head, and level style, appeared to throw light on the darkness. Paley's "Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy" appeared in 1785; his "Horæ Paulinæ," in 1790; and his "Evidences of Christianity," in 1794. His "Natural Theology "' did not appear till 1802. The great success of these works shows what a large and deeply interested audience was now obtained.
The descent of the infidel spirit upon an ignorant population might have produced the most disastrous effects, if its influence had not been counteracted by the religious spirit. We need not speculate on what would have been the result, if the agitation of the American war of independence, and the excitement produced by the French revolution, had found the upper classes in England as loose in morals, and the lower as ignorant, brutal, and depraved, as when Methodism began its work. That a very great improvement had taken place by the time of the French revolution, is evident, even in spite of the glaring facts of the London and Birmingham riots. There was much dimness and confusion in the public understanding; men were called upon to make up their minds on new questions of religion, law, and government, before they had any thing like a clear conception of what the things signified; and hence bitter party spirit, savage rancour, and a confounding of things wholly distinct. But the religious spirit triumphed over the infidel; a vast body of evidence has been erected around Christianity; and though Paine's "Age of Reason," or Volney's "Ruins of Empires," continued for a portion of the present century to puzzle and pervert young, uninstructed, or petulant minds, intellectually the infidel spirit was broken; and SUNDAY SCHOOLS, and LENDING LIBRARIES, came to give their influence and their power over the minds of the rising generation.
II. THE POLITICAL INFLUENCES.
THE discussion on the principles of political science had been confined, in England, to the few thinkers and readers, who found pleasure in dissecting the structure of society. But a change was coming-political discussion was about to shake both Europe and America. In 1753, William Blackstone, who was a barrister, and afterwards became a Judge, began to lecture, at Oxford, on the principles of the laws and constitution of England. His lectures acquired great celebrity, and widely diffused a kind of political knowledge to readers who would never have dreamed of attempting to understand the subject, but for the manner in which it was treated. Blackstone's great antagonist, Jeremy Bentham, terms his lectures "correct, elegant, unembarrassed, ornamented; the style is such as could scarce fail to recommend a work still more vicious in point of matter to the multitude of readers. He it is, in short, who, first of all institutional writers, has taught jurisprudence to speak the language of the scholar and the gentleman; put a polish upon that rugged science; cleansed her from the dust and cobwebs of the office; and if he has not enriched her with that precision that is drawn
only from the sterling treasury of the sciences, has decked her out, however, to advantage, from the toilet of classic erudition, enlivened her with metaphors and allusions; and sent her abroad, in some measure to instruct, and in still greater measure to entertain, the most miscellaneous and even the most fastidious societies." Some controversies arose on incidental points touched upon in Blackstone's lectures. But on the whole they were received with almost unbounded applause, as the first great popular attempt to exhibit the laws and constitution of England, and to give to the increasing body of readers a why and a because for | the government and state of things under which they lived. De Lolme, on the "Constitution of England," was to Blackstone what Paley was to Lardner, breaking down the larger and more elaborate work into a smaller, adapted not for professional, but for general readers.
One of Blackstone's pupils at Oxford, where the lectures were delivered, was Jeremy Bentham, a young man, then only sixteen years of age. According to his own account, he was, even then, dissatisfied with many of Blackstone's reasons, which he considered as so many fallacies. The first volume of Blackstone's Commentaries was published at Oxford, in 1765; and in 1776, appeared Bentham's first work, "A Fragment on Government." It was published anonymously; and, though it was a book not calculated to gain many readers, it at least startled the thinkers. Dr. Johnson attributed it to Dunning, the celebrated lawyer, who was afterwards created Lord Ashburton. Bentham's book was the first philosophic attack upon many of the distinguishing characteristics of the English constitution. In it he propounded his famous doctrine of UTILITY, as a universal solvent of all difficulties in law and government, as the grand test of political right and wrong. The "Fragment on Government" may be said to have been the commencement of his long career of projects of reform. He sowed in his closet the seeds of those reasons and arguments which were made use of by other men, and which have materially influenced the demand for the great changes that have been made in English forms of government and law. In the preface to the "Fragment on Government," he says, "The age we live in is a busy age, in which knowledge is rapidly advancing towards perfection. In the natural world, in particular, every thing teems with discovery and improvement. The most distant and recondite regions of the earth traversed and explored; the all-vivifying and subtle element of the air so recently analyzed and made known to us, are striking evidences, were all others wanting, of this pleasing truth." And, in like manner, De Lolme introduces his book on the English Constitution, by telling us that "The spirit of philosophy which peculiarly distinguishes the present age, after having corrected a number of errors fatal to society, seems now to be directed towards the principles of society itself; and we see prejudices vanish which are difficult to overcome, in proportion as it is dangerous to attack them."
The same year, 1776, in which Bentham's "Fragment on Government" was published, saw the publication of another far shorter work, but far more significant and startling in its nature. This was the American "Declaration of Independence." It was a kind of thunder-shock in the moral and political world. The American War of Independence was a natural product of natural causes. It was caused by the expansion of the democratic element, and the war opened a wide chasm for the passage of the ascending body, and allowed it to rest on the surface. John Wesley, writing at the time, says, “forty years ago, when my brother was in Boston, it was the general language there, 'We must shake off the yoke; we shall never be a free people till we shake off the yoke; and the late acts of Parliament have not been the cause
of what they have since done, but the occasion they laid hold on." Thomas Paine published, in 1776, his "Common Sense," exhorting the Americans to resistance; he boasts that the demand ran to one hundred thousand copies. On the other side, John Wesley, who agreed with Dr. Johnson that "taxation was no tyranny," issued a " Calm Address," of which forty thousand copies were issued in three weeks.
A few years before this, namely 1771, the Press obtained a triumph over the Legislature, the importance of which, as influencing the future character of the country, can scarcely be exaggerated. Hitherto, whatever reports of proceedings in Parliament had been given to the public had been done in a sinister manner, and under sufferance. But now, as if the Press had felt that it was past its nonage, and was about to enter on the exercise of a giant's strength, a number of the London newspapers began to publish boldly the parliamentary debates. In 1771, the subject was taken up by the House of Commons. Furious were the debates, and the divisions were almost endless. Printers were apprehended by the officers of the House of Commons, and released by the Lord Mayor of London, Crosby, and Aldermen Wilkes and Oliver. Crosby and Oliver were sent by the House of Commons to the Tower. Great public excitement prevailed,
and immense multitudes assembled nightly around the House of Commons. But after an exhausting struggle, the matter was dropped, and the debates have ever since been regularly published. To this great cause of public excitement may be added the various political and party strifes, interesting the people in political affairs more keenly than ever, just at the time when great exertions were making to supply them with food for their new appetite. The Letters of Junius" taught newspaper writers to come out boldly, and accustom their readers to the roll of the leading article.
At last, after gathering for a century, the French Revolution burst out. It was an awful time. Some, the eyes of whose understanding were but opened, and who saw "men as trees walking," shouted aloud for joy; the hearts of others failed them for fear, “because of those things that were coming upon the earth.” Dr. Price preached a sermon on the 4th of November, 1789, on "the love of our country," and Burke made it the text of his famous "Reflections on the French Revolution." "Dr. Richard Price," says Burke, "a non-conforming minister of eminence, preached at the Dissenting meeting-house of the Old Jewry to his club or society a very extraordinary miscellaneous sermon, in which there are some good moral and religious sentiments, and not ill expressed, mixed up in a sort of porridge of various political opinions and reflections, but the Revolution in France is the grand ingredient of the cauldron." Burke's impassioned and eloquent "Reflections" were read with amazing avidity. Six editions were issued within a year, and thirty thousand copies were sold before the first demand was satisfied.
In answer to Burke, and to the party for whom he appeared, there were many writers; amongst them were two young men who had been fellow-students, and who continued in friendly correspondence through life. These were Sir James Macintosh and Robert Hall, the celebrated Baptist preacher. Sir James Macintosh produced "Vindiciæ Gallicæ; a Defence of the French Revolution and its English Admirers, against the Accusations of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke." This work was the cause of the introduction of Sir James Macintosh into fame and public life. Thomas Paine came out with his "Rights of Man; being an answer to Mr. Burke's attack on the French Revolution." Robert Hall replied to an Independent clergyman, in the essay, "Christianity Consistent with a Love of Freedom;"
and afterwards issued "An Apology for the Freedom of the Press and for General Liberty; to which are prefixed, Remarks on Bishop Horsley's Sermon, preached on the 30th of January, 1793, before the House of Lords." Hannah More also appeared on the stage in this great time of excitement. She issued "Village Politics, by Will Chip;" of which the Bishop of London, writing to her, says, "Village Politics is greatly extolled; it has been read and admired at Windsor, and its fame is spreading rapidly over all parts of the kingdom. I gave one to the Attorney-General, who has recommended it to the Association at the Crown-and-Anchor, which will disperse it through the country.' The country was shaken to its centre; and with political associations, political or state trials, and the Irish Rebellion, seemed on the verge of destruction. The war that ensued diverted for a season the internal strife; but it revived with tenfold vigour after peace was secured, and produced, as its fruits, the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, Catholic Emancipation, and Parliamentary Reform, with all the other reforms and alterations of power which have followed.
III. THE PHYSICAL INFLUENCES.
THE advance of the lower and middle classes is strikingly illustrated by the fact of the great number from these classes who contributed to all the departments of agitation or improvement, especially in science and art. Thus, though Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, may be claimed by the upper classes, they belong strictly to the middle class. Franklin was emphatically a "working man." Of the three men whose discoveries laid the foundation of modern chemistry, Black, Cavendish, and Priestley, Cavendish alone belonged to the upper classes, being related to the noble family of Devonshire. Watt, the great improver of the steam engine, was a mathematical instrument maker. Fulton, who introduced steam navigation into America, was the son of Irish emigrants. Arkwright, through whose discoveries the cotton manufacture was destined to receive so prodigious an impulse, had been a barber. Brindley, the creator of canal navigation in England, was the son of a labourer. Captain Cook, one of the most scientific of maritime discoverers, rose from the condition of a common sailor. Sir William Herschel, the worthy and remarkable parent of a worthy and remarkable son, was of very humble origin. Dollond, the justly celebrated optician, had been a Spitalfields silk weaver. James Ferguson, one of the earliest of the diffusers of science in a popular form amongst the people, and to whom the extension of knowledge owes much, acquired the rudiments of astronomy while watching sheep. John Hunter, the profoundest and most philosophical of surgeons, worked in his youth as a cabinetmaker. Edward Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination, was a humble medical practitioner, though his discovery made him rich. In literature and religion, the Wesleys, Goldsmith, Cowper, Coleridge, &c., by virtue of being children of clergymen with small stipends and large families, belong to the middle class; but Whitfield was the son of a tavern keeper. Burns was the child of a poor farmer, and held the plough. Adam Clarke, the most learned man whom the Methodists have produced, was the son of Irish cotters. Gifford, the celebrated editor of the Quarterly Review, worked as a shoemaker, as did Carey, the chief of the British pioneers of Christianity in the East Indies. To the middle classes belonged Bentham, Sir Walter Scott, Cuvier, Sir Humphry Davy, &c.—we need mention no more, unless it be the name of William Cobbett.
between the years 1759 and 1763; and it is commonly said, that Watt was led by them to his improvement of the steam-engine. "This is, we think," says an author of the life of Black, "a mistaken view of the matter. That heat will generate steam, and cold condense it, are facts that were well known, independently of the doctrine of latent heat; though that doctrine undoubtedly gives the explanation of them. The knowledge of these facts might therefore have been practically applied to the construction of the steam-engine, had Dr. Black's discovery never been made. It is at the same time perfectly true, that this theory supplies us with accurate data dependent on the quantity of heat necessary to to be communicated, on which calculation must proceed; and it is on the basis of such exact investigation, that the great improvements in the application of steam have been brought about." But in spite of this objection, which almost moves in a circle, the popular notion is very probably true; "Black taught, and Watt learned;" and the fruits are the application of a physical power, which is changing the whole relative positions of men to
About the year 1765, Mr. Cavendish discovered and described the properties of inflammable air, since called hydrogen gas; and on the 1st of August, 1774, Dr. Priestley made the great and important discovery of what he called dephlogisticated air, since termed oxygen gas. From that period chemistry has risen into a science of almost inconceivable value, as affecting the whole physical condition and existence of the human race.
In 1767, James Hargreaves, an illiterate but ingenious mechanic, invented the spinning jenny; in 1769 Arkwright took out his patent for spinning by rollers; Mr. Crompton, of Bolton, invented the mule jenny in 1775; and the Rev. Mr. Cartwright took out a patent for his invention of the power loom in 1787. The improvements made by Watt on the steam-engine, gave a giant's hand and strength to the cotton manufacture; and both together developed trade and commerce to an extent almost inconceivable, sustained a war of enormous weight, and supplied an expenditure far beyond the most sanguine imagination of the most daring speculator, who only knew Britain previous to the year 1767 ; and aided in the increase of a population, whose numbers and demands will yet produce extraordinary changes in society.
In 1767 Captain Cook sailed on his first voyage of discovery to the South Pacific Ocean. He clearly proved that there was no Terra Australis incognita, no unknown continent, supposed to exist, as a counterpoise to the great mass of land in the northern hemisphere. And yet the many isles of the southern seas are destined to be the seat of a "New World;" a safety valve for the old world, and a resting-place for its civilisation. The "voyages of Captain Cook" revived for a time the old spirit of maritime discovery, to which the "Mutiny of the Bounty" added a
We might easily accumulate a number of facts, exhibiting the prodigious change which the physical influences have produced on society; and in reading how, in a century, the National Debt was increased from 50,000,000 to 800,000,000, and the population of Britain, in half a century, from eight to sixteen millions how roads were formed, and mail coaches began to run, and Brighton, Ramsgate, and Cheltenham sprang up-we fancy that we see something of the change, and think that we understand how the present world differs from the past. But even if we had a visible glimpse of the old world, and saw our fathers dressed out in wig, and square-cut coat, and high-heeled shoes, we should form but a vague notion of the change which the physical influences have produced on our moral nature. We no longer breathe
Dr. Black matured his speculations on the nature of heat in the same atmosphere of thought and opinion; man has become
a new creature; old things have passed away, and all things have they soon brought themselves into an opinion that they really become new. Pope, writing a century ago, exclaimed
"Life's stream for observation will not stay,
It hurries all too fast to mark our way;
In vain sedate reflection we would make,
When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take."
deserved the fine things which were mutually said and sung of each other. Thus persuaded, they were unwilling that their inimitable productions should be confined to the little circle that produced them; they therefore transmitted them hither; and as their friends were enjoined not to show them, they were first
"A short time before the period we speak of, a knot of fantastic coxcombs had set up a daily paper called the 'World.' It was perfectly unintelligible, and therefore much read; it was equally lavish of praise and abuse; and, as its conductors were at once ignorant and conceited, they took upon them to direct the taste of the town, by prefixing a short panegyric to every trifle which came before them.
What language would he hold now? "If we were to prophesy," | handed about the town with great assiduity, and then sent to the says the Edinburgh Review, "that in the year 1930, a population of fifty millions, better fed, clad, and lodged than the English of our time, will cover these islands—that Sussex and Huntingdonshire will be wealthier than the wealthiest parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire now are-that cultivation, rich as that of a flower-garden, will be carried up to the very tops of Ben Nevis and Helvellyn-that machines, constructed on principles yet undiscovered, will be in every house-that there will be no highways but railroads, no travelling but by steam-that our debt, vast as it seems to us, will appear to our great grand-children a trifling incumbrance, which might be easily paid off in a year or twomany people would think us insane. Yet, if any person had told the parliament which met in perplexity and terror after the crash in 1720, that in a century the wealth of England would surpass all their wildest dreams-that the annual revenue would equal the principal of that debt which they considered as an intolerable burden that for one man of £10,000 then living there would be five men of £50,000; that London would be twice as large and twice as populous, and that nevertheless the mortality would have diminished to one-half of what it then was-that the post-office would bring more into the exchequer than the excise and customs had brought in together under Charles II.—that stage coaches would run from London to York in twenty-four hours-that men would sail without wind, and would be beginning to ride without horses-our ancestors would have given as much credit to the prediction as to Gulliver's Travels."
IV. LITERARY INFLUENCES, EXTENSION OF
"At this auspicious period the first cargo of poetry arrived from Florence, and was given to the public through the medium of this favoured paper. There was a specious brilliancy in these exotics, which dazzled the native grubs, who had scarcely ever ventured beyond a sheep, and a crook, and a rose-tree grove, with an ostentatious display of 'blue hills,' and crashing torrents,' and 'petrifying suns!' From admiration to imitation is but a step. While the epidemic malady was spreading from fool to fool, Della Crusca came over, and immediately announced himself by a Sonnet to Love.' The fever turned into a frenzy: Laura Maria, Carlos, Orlando, Adelaide, and a thousand other nameless names, caught the infection; and from one end of the kingdom to the other all was nonsense and Della Crusca."
To crush the" tinkling trash," Gifford published his "Baviad," and afterwards the "Mæviad," a similar satire directed against the puerilities and extravagances of the modern drama. Pope's "Dunciad," Gifford's "Baviad and Mæviad," and Byron's 'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," are satires of a class.
Crabbe is the link that connects Goldsmith, Cowper, and Burns, with Scott, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Campbell, and Moore. Crabbe and Gifford have something very similar in their fortunes. Both had a hard struggle in youth; and both attained literary eminence and comparative affluence. The romantic portion of their respective histories ends at an early period, and the rest of their lives are only marked by their productions.
THE rhetorical age of literature, when tropes and figures were nearly as much valued as ideas, and a thought was little esteemed unless it was elaborately dressed, began to go out on Dr. Johnson's death. Three men, who may be taken as the representatives of their respective countries, Goldsmith, Cowper, and Burns, introduced The publication of Scott's Novels commenced in 1814; and the reign of genuine poetry, natural feeling, and common sense. the prodigious influence which they had in still farther stimuThe Scotch philosophers, Reid, Stewart, Brown, &c., were speculating the public appetite for reading is well known. Goldsmith's lating on the human mind; and Adam Smith had modelled the science of Political Economy. Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon, taught a new mode of history. While literature was thus ascending, a curious "literary episode " occurred. A style of poetry, called the "Della Cruscan" arose, and was in high favour for a time. Della Crusca, that is, literally, "of the bran or chaff," was the name of the celebrated Italian Academy, which undertook the sifting or purifying of the national tongue, and whose dictionary is the standard authority for the Italian language. The following is the origin of the Della Cruscan style of poetry as given by Gifford :
"In 1785, a few English of both sexes [amongst whom was Mrs. Piozzi, formerly Mrs. Thrale, the celebrated patroness of Dr. Johnson] whom chance had jumbled together at Florence, took a fancy to while away their time in scribbling high-flown panegyrics on themselves, and complimentary 'canzonettas' on two or three Italians, who understood too little of the language in which they were written to be disgusted with them. In this there was not much harm, nor, indeed, much good; but, as folly is progressive,
exquisite "Vicar of Wakefield" indicated a class of novels, to which some of our female writers, Miss Edgeworth, for instance, and Miss Hamilton, in her admirable "Cottagers of Glenburnie," powerfully contributed; but the general English school of novels merited, to the full extent, Cowper's indignant denunciation, as vile trash, that marred what they affected to mend. Scott opened a new novel world; and the interest which his writings excited, as well as the sale which they obtained, showed something more than the fact of their intrinsic excellence: they showed how rapidly had been the intellectual growth of the middle classes, and to what a vast audience literature could now appeal. A portion of "Waverley' was written in 1805; and we may put the question, if the success of the series would have been so great, if the publication had then commenced, instead of being delayed till 1814? All successful things are largely dependent upon appropriate time and opportunity. Scott's poetry had been creating the demand for his novels, and preparing the way; and when Byron, with his impassioned and fever-heated lays, was carrying off a portion of his popularity, the time was come for their appearance.