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admirable order, than any he had met with elsewhere. Devonshire is now almost entirely an agricultural county ; for, although the woollen trade still lingers in a few towns, it is not sufficiently extensive to be of great importance, and now disperses but slender labours of the loom'

"Through Dart, and sullen Exe, whose murmuring wave
Envies the Dune and Rother, who have won

serge and kersie to their blanching streams.'* Yet Devonshire was at one time a centre of this manufacture. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Totnes was one of the chief clothing towns of England, and hose of fine Totnes' appear in sundry romances and in the Welch 'Mabinogion,' when the dress of an important personage is described as especially splendid. Crediton became the later wool mart of the county. “As fine as Kirton (Crediton) spinning,' was a general proverb; and Westcote asserts that 140 threads of woollen yarn spun in that town were drawn together through the eye of a tailor's needle, • which needle and threads were, for many years together, to be seen in Watling Street in London, in the shop of one Mr. Dunscombe, at the sign of the Golden Bottle.'

The modern history of Plymouth, of its dockyards, its harbour, and its wide-extended commerce, demands a volume to itself. The influence of its great public establishments is felt throughout the county, of which it has become by far the most important town. Mr. Cotton's noble gift to Plymouth of his very valuable art library, sketches by the ancient masters, prints, and pictures, ought to make it a school of art for both Devon and Cornwall. In this respect, as in so many others, the county has been distinguished above most of the other counties of England. The succession of eminent Devonshire artists, at the head of which stands the glorious name of Sir Joshua Reynolds, includes Northcote, Haydon, and the present accomplished President of the Royal Academy.

ART. VI.--1. The Life and Times of Charles James Fox. By

Lord John Russell. Vol. I. 1859. 2. A History of England during the Reign of George III. By

William Massey, M.P. Two first volumes. 1855, 1858. THE

IE work of Lord John Russell will probably disappoint

many readers, more from the promise held out by the announcement than from any real deficiency in the execution. A • Life of Fox' by such a band as his Lordship's, familiar through

* Dyer's 'Fleece.'


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party and household tradition with the personal character of the great Whig leader, enabled by a long course of public life to judge of his achievements and failings as a statesman, would indeed be no common gain to the literature of our country. It is the more disappointing to find that, in the present instance, his Lordship has, in his own words, only attempted rather to follow the political career, than to portray the personal life, of Mr. Fox;' and that, in point of fact, the. volumne before us contains


little except the mere skeleton narrative of public facts, and extracts from parliamentary speeches, which are within the reach of any industrious man. Some of the observations of the author are extremely interesting, and it is to be regretted that he should speak so seldom in his own person. It would, however, be premature to criticise a work of which the present may perhaps be regarded as a mere introductory volume. In the mean time we intend to concern ourselves on this occasion with one portion only of Lord John Russell's labours. He has dwelt with much force on the circumstance that a clue to a large portion of our Court and Parliamentary history for more than twenty years is to be found in the antagonism of will and character between George III. and Charles Fox. But we are forced to add that he is unable to take a generous view, in our belief, of the real character and position of the two champions who are thus set in historical opposition to each other.

There are periods in history,' it was observed in this Journal a few years ago, on which the calm of impartial opinion never rests. The grave softens no animosities—time clears away no prejudice. Nearly a century has elapsed since the accession of George III.; yet misrepresentation is as busy with his name now as when the mob chalked 45 on every wall in London, and Wilkes, Junius, and Horne propagated their calumnies.' Yet we had imagined that even the strength of Whig tradition was beginning to soften under the influence of years—at least in writers of the higher order—that the justice his personal virtues deserved was beginning to be rendered to the monarch--and that, while retaining even more than contemporary admiration of the great qualities of Fox, modern readers were at least ready to admit that, in the quarrels between him and his Sovereign, the faults were by no means confined to one side. Lord John Russell, however, we are sorry to say, adopts the stereotyped Whig parallel of the last century-the Tyrant on one hand, the Friend of the People on the other; the political Arimanes and Oromasdes of our Jacobin grandfathers :

George III. was actuated by a conscientious principle, and a ruling passion. The conscientious priuciple was an honest desire to perform

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his duty; and the ruling passion was, a strong determination to make the conclusions of his narrow intellect and ill-furnished mind prevail over the opinions of the wisest, and the combinations of his most powerful subjects. For the space of fifty years these two traits of his character had a mighty influence on the fortunes of Great Britain and of Europe. His domestic life, the virtuous example which he gave in his own court, his sincere piety, contributed much to the firmness with which the nation resisted the example of the French Revolution, and gave solid support to the throne on which he sate. But his political prejudices prolonged the contest with America; his religious intolerance alienated the affections of Ireland ; his national pride and his hatred of democracy promoted the war against France, whether monarchical * or Jacobin.

On the other hand, it was the taste of Mr. Fox to vindicate, with partial success, but with brilliant ability, the cause of freedom and the interest of mankind. These views and sentiments made him through life obnoxious to the King. We shall see the results of this antagonism, which was throughout, on both sides, not only political, but also in some degree personal. Thus, for a great part of his life, he appears as a kind of rival to the throne.'-Life of Fox, p. 26.

Although the task be an unpleasing one, we should think our work imperfectly done if, before endeavouring to criticise this passage, we did not illustrate it by parallel instances from other historical writers of the modern age of literature-living men, witnesses, so to speak, whom we must call into court, to assume the responsibility of the personal accusations which party bias, often perhaps unconsciously, has induced them to leave on record against their great political enemy. And first we must cite the portrait which is drawn by Lord Brougham in his Historical Sketches :

* Of a narrow understanding, which no culture had enlarged—of an obstinate disposition, which no education, perhaps, could have humanised-of strong feelings in ordinary things, and a resolute attachment to all his own opinions and predilections—George III. possessed much of the firmness of purpose which, being exhibited by men of contracted mind without any discrimination, and as pertinaciously when they are in the wrong as when they are in the right, lends to their characters an appearance of inflexible consistency often mistaken for greatness of mind, and not seldom received as a substitute for honesty. In all that related to his kingly office he was the slave of deep-rooted selfishness; and no feeling of a kindly nature was ever allowed access to his bosom whenever his power was concerned, either in its maintenance or in the


* We cannot assign a definite meaning to this phrase. George III. made peace with monarchical France in 1763. He certainly was not answerable_for her making war on us in 1778. And if the allusion is to the war with the Emperor Napoleon, the King was too much impaired in intellect at that period to have much share in the responsibility for it.


manner of exercising it. In other respects he was a man of an amiable disposition !- and few princes have been more exemplary in their domestic habits, or in the offices of private friendship. But the instant that his prerogative was concerned, or his bigotry interfered with, or his will thwarted, the most unbending pride, the most bitter animosity, the most calculating coldness of heart, the most unforgiving resentment, took possession of his whole heart, and swayed it by turns. The habits of friendship, the ties of blood, the dictates of conscience, the rules of honesty, were alike forgotten; and the fury of the tyrant, with the resources of a cunning which mental alienation is supposed to whet, were ready to circumvent or to destroy all who interposed an obstacle 10 the fierceness of unbridled desire. His conduct throughout the American war, and towards the Irish people, has often been cited as illustrative of the dark side of his public character; and his treatment of his eldest son, whom he hated with a hatred scarcely betokening a sound mind, might seem to illustrate the shadier part of his personal disposition : but it was in truth only another part of his public, his professional conduct; for he had no better reason for this implacable aversion than the jealousy which most men have of their successors, and the consciousness that the Prince, who must succeed him, was unlike him, and, being disliked by him, must during their joint lives be thrown into the hands of the Whig party, the adversaries he most of all hated and feared.'- Sketches of Statesmen, vol. i.


10. Among those who form in our opinion far too depreciating an estimate of George III.'s character must be included the most recent historian of his reign, Mr. Massey, whose unfinished work we have cited at the head of this article. Though a man of temperate and judicial mind, he writes as a political partisan, and one by no means free from the one-sided tendencies, without which it would appear few can interest themselves in writing history or in reading it. But if his conclusions on questions of policy will be received according as his premises are accepted or rejected, his judgments on men will be recognised for the most part as unusually just and reasonable. They form in fact the most interesting, if not the most valuable, part of his work. Wholly free from arbitrary arrogance, and from that spirit of literary antithesis which is the common fault of historical authors in our day: almost timidly conscientious in the assignment of praise and blame, and generous to a fault in making allowance for infirmities and difficulties, lic brings at the same time to his task a practical politician's knowledge of public life. These are valuable qualities, and we are sorry

that his treatment of the King is an exception to his usual style, and a blot in our view on the general fairness of his pages.

We turn to the popular historian of English Civilization, Mr. Buckle, who, in his grand panoramic view of things past, present, and to come, has condescended to daub in, with two or three smirches of his dashing brush, a very rough portrait of his deceased Majesty, in which the features are evidently borrowed from the usual shop-caricatures :


" The reactionary movement was greatly aided by the personal character of George III. ; for he, being despotic as well as superstitious, was equally anxious to extend the prerogative and strengthen the Church. Every liberal sentiment, everything approaching to reform, nay, even the mere mention of inquiry, was an abomination in the eyes of that narrow and ignorant prince-without knowledge, without taste, without even a glimpse of one of the sciences, or a feeling for one of the fine arts, education had done nothing to enlarge a mind which nature had more than usually contracted. In that immense mass of evidence now extant, and which consists of every description of private correspondence, records of private conversation and of public acts, there is not to be found the slightest proof that he knew any one of those numerous things which the governor of a country ought to know, or, indeed, that he was acquainted with a single duty of his position, except that mere mechanical routine of ordinary business which might have been effected by the lowest clerk in the meanest office in his kingdom.'

Now, we believe that in merely bringing together these passages we have already half gained our cause in behalf of the memory of the Sovereign thus strangely misrepresented. No one really familiar with the portrait of the central figure of that long reign-that King who was for many years a kind of household divinity to great numbers of the steadiest, soberest, most thoroughly English of his subjects, and from whose name the traditional halo has scarcely yet faded away in the minds of their descendants--no one familiar with his real defects, as well as with his virtues, versed in all the lights and shadows of the picture, but will at once dismiss them as the mere ebullitions of party prejudice. But instead of criticising them in the gross, we prefer falling to something of a slower method,' and offering some small contributions of our own towards the ascertainment of the real justice or injustice of the principal charges specially deducible from them.

And first, as to the King's alleged hostility to men of liberal opinions, and in particular to Lord Chatham and to Fox.

“The elder Pitt,' adds Mr. Buckle, 'as the avowed friend of popular rights, strenuously opposed the despotic principles of the Court; and for this reason he was hated by George III. with a hatred that seemed scarcely compatible with a sane inind. Fox was one of the greatest statesmen of the eighteenth century, and was better acquainted than any other with the character and resources of those foreign nations with which our

Vol. 105.—No. 210.


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