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We have learned to look forward to each number of the . Westminster Review with expectations rising from a cause far superior to anything of personal sympathy . So much thought , learning , and eloquence we rarely meet elsewhere . In the number for January there is a want of those light agreeable papers which make the Quarterly so attractive ; yet there is variety and brilliancy in the treatment of the subjects , redeeming the Review from all imputation of heaviness . Mary Tudor , the opening article , is a splendid historical study , a rare sagacity giving weight to a brilliant style . The crisis of the Reformation , as regards England , is admirably brought into view ; and the reader learns to understand and pity " Bloody Mary , " while rejoicing in the calamities of those times , from which sprang
a nobler freedom and more energetic nationality . Ireland , the conditions and prospects of which have been so bewritten that the very name becomes a name of terror to readers and politicians , nevertheless forms the subject of a bright and striking article , which no one will leave unread who begins it . The mistaken philanthropy which all men note as so active in our times , is discussed in an elaborate paper on Charities Noxious and Beneficent , full of curious details and sensible remarks . The English Stage and its Decline is the light article of the number , and a -very gay , pleasant , searching article it is , taking a rapid survey of the existing conditions , as respects authors , actors , managers , and public . One of its curious revelations we will quote : —
" The public are so little acquainted with the details of managerial speculation , and generally form so inadequate an estimate of the great cost ( if they ever trouble themselves to think of the cost at all ) of those entertainments which they sometimes condemn so summarily , that it may . be worth while to collect the items of a single case ( by no means an exceptional one ) in illustration of the hazards and charges of theatrical enterprise . The conclusion to which it will conduct us , we venture to anticipate , will surprise most of our readers . " We will take the instance of Sir Bulwer Lytton ' s comedy of Money , produced a few years ago at the Havmarket Theatre . In order to give full effect to the
representation , it was considered necessary to retain the services of Mr . Macready , in addition to whom , special engagements , with reference to this play , were entered into with Miss Faucit , Mr . Wrench , and Mr . Vining . We believe we are correct in saying that these performers were expressly engaged to appear in Money , and that their salaries , therefore , formed , throughout the term of their engagement , an extra charge upon the resources of the theatre , in addition to the expenses of the regular company . We are the more particular upon these points , as they are material to the formation of a just view of the efforts that are made on such occasions . Let us now see what were the increased expenses incurred in the production of this comedy , after which we will sum up the total expenditure it entailed upon
the management . " In the first place , the author received a sum of 600 Z . for the London right of acting the play , extending , we presume , according to custom , over a period of three years ; Mr . Macready received a weekly salary of 150 / ., Miss Faucit , 30 ^ ., Mr . Wrench , 18 / ., and Mr . Vining , 8 / . or 10 / ., making altogether an increased weekly outlay of 170 / . or 178 / ., without taking into account any of the other costs of production , in the shape of costume , scenes , and decorations . The play ran for upwards of fifteen weeks . By the aid of the simple process of multiplication , we shall now arrive at some very curious and rather startling results . Multiplying Mr . Maeready ' s salary by 15 , we shall find that for playing in this comedy , for which the author received if > 00 / ., that gentleman received no less a sum , from tho Haymarket Theatre , than 2250 / . ; and if we could follow him into the provinces , and
through hif ? subsequent appearances in London in the same play , and add to this 2250 / . the further receipts he netted from the same performance , the total would present an amount which , contrasted with tho amount paid to the author ( and that , too , a very large sum , as compared with tho Hums usually paid ) , might reasonably excite the astonishment of the play-goer , who is not in the habit of entering into calculations of Hum nature . Wo are far from desiring to draw any invidious inferences from thin comparison between the actor and the author ; we are merely jotting it down amongst the curiosities of stage statistics . Applying the hhiiic method of investigation to the other extra performers , we find that in tho run of fifteen weeks , Miss Fauci t received 450 / ., Mr . Wrench , 270 / ., and Mr . Vmmg , 120 / . or 150 / . Now , adding all these sums together , the total additional expenditure upon the single comedy of Money will stand as follows : —
"Author *™» Mr . Macready ^ "J jviiHH Fimrii 4 > L ' : Mr . Wrench * "t Mr . Vining , nay - Total 48 «» ° irrespective , of tho other co « t « of production and the regular unabated nightly ex-I Z of the theatre , which , added to this amount , would bring up , th « -tot * eKjjnliture . luring the run of Money , to the prodigious amount of at IwihI , . 1 , 000 / . WZilthe manager reaped any profit from this costly venture wo have no me , ™ of knowing ; but w « think it may l > e safely »<*! , that •< he < 1 . « 1 , » t <<> uld not have been considerable enough to repay him for the nwk .
Slavery and emancipation are treated in an article on Uncle lorns Cabin , teuu » mitclv and considerately ; though the maw ot readers will yawn at the very mention of » uch n subject . The writer ' s reference to our-Helvea i « founded on u misconception . The header has frequently and erratically expand itself against slavery , however eagerly it may desire ifc ^ Anglo-American alliance >) ' ? fyfAtonUc Theory Btfore Christ and Since , i « out : of those fascinating cxponitjro ^ s of a great nckuutiiic conception , i » » t « historical phases , which
Reviews , by the necessity of their miscellaneous audience , are forced ., 0 make popular . There is no need of popular science being shallow science , ( quite the reverse , ) but there is great need of the " long results of time " being expressed in such untechnical forms as will bring them within the comprehension of all thinking minds . What Moliere says of women , that they should possess les clartis de tout—the lights and generalities gathered from the laborious details of men , may fitly be applied to the public . Such articles as this are very efficient in that direction . How finely it is said
that" It is assuredly a centred and standing law that the very opposition , which is always being offered to the advancement of truth , whether by uncongenial circumstance or inconsiderate man , is overruled by principles as fixed , if not yet so calculable , as those disturbing forces that systematically retard the flight of Encke ' s comet , or drag big Neptune from his solar orbit . Both the new investigator and his hinderers may rest assured , that they unconsciously conspire at once to hasten and to steady the career of science . "
The writer properly objects to the current laudations of Newton ' s guess that the diamond was combustible , because it was a strong refractor of light ; not only was it a mere guess , which turned out , luckily , to be correct , but , as the writer reminds us , combustibility has really no connexion with refracting power , there being notoriously stronger refractors than crystalline carbon , which are not at all combustible . To one fundamental idea of this paper , however , we object . It is the one running
through the following passage : — " It is certainly the most provocative and wonderful thing in the history of positive knowledge , that many of the best results of modern science were anticipated , some four or five centuries before Christ , by the physiological and other schools of Greek or Egypto-Grecian philosophy . They did not , indeed , propose to draw forth some precious and unheard-of combustible airs from the olive-oils of their countrygroves , and send them all through Athens in a system of arterial tubes , to illuminate the city of Minerva when Dian should be resting from the labours of the chase ; nor to cross the Hellespont , or tempt the broad iEgean in fantastic barges rowed by fire and water ; nor to whisper words of amity to their allies , defiance to their enemies , swifter far than the flight of a dove to her mate , through the invisible hollows of a copper wire ; nor to dash strange metals out of marble and natrum by
means of subterranean levin-brands , filched from the carriers of Vulcan on their way to the heaven of Jupiter Tonans ; nor to make a hundred complex calculations of the disturbing forces exerted by one huge planet on another ; nor to go and seek another hemisphere , or make experiments with electron at the North Pole ; nor to dig extinguished worlds of animation from the laminated hide of the old Earth ; nor yet to sprinkle the ground with urine and the far-fetched dung of monstrous birds It was never in the divining , the excavation , and the intellectual manipulation of the concrete facts of nature that they came before , excelled , or even equalled the men of renovated Christendom . In the art of experiment , and in trying to find his way with untripped step among details , the Greek was as feeble as a child : whereas in the sphere of ideas and vast general conceptions , as well as in the fine art of embodying such universals and generalities in beautiful and appropriate symbols , it is not a paradox to say that he was sometimes stronger than a man . "
The analogy , such as it was , which arrested the mind of Demociutus , and originated that vague adumbration of the atomic theory , we are now in possession of , is eloquently set forth in this passage : — " It was the teeming head of Pemocritus that first conceived of the proposition , for instance , that a pebble from the brook is not a blank extended substance or dead stone ( as it seems to the bodily eye , and as it always remains to the judgment of common sense , like the Yellow Primro . se of Peter Hell ) but a palpable thing resulting from the congregation of multitudes of atoms , or particles incapable of being broken to piecon , as the atone is broken , when dashed against a rock , or worn to powder by friction with its neighbours . It was the secondary , but co-essential
half of this definition , that these co-aggregated and constituent atoms of tho stono are not in contact with one another , albeit that human eyesight is not fine enough to aeo the spaces between them . This marvellous view ( for marvellous it was and etill is , although now as trite as the dust under foot ) was probably the lineal ofTHpring of his earlier thought , to wit , that the Milky Way ( hitherto sacred to tho white feet of down-coming gods and the heaven-scaling heroes ) is no blank extensive show of far-spread light , but the unique resultant of multitudinous heaps of stars , ko distant and ho crowded in their single plane of vision ( though as free of
one another as things in reality ) as to render the interspaces undistinguishublo by the sight of man or lynx . The astronomical illustration of Professor Nichol applies to the crystal-stone oh well as to the firmament : —Across some vast American hike , the forest farmer is accustomed to see the mass of forest over against his log-hut as if it were some vast and silent and solid shadow on tho shore , ' sonio boundless contiguity of shade ; ' but he knows , with the same certainty as ho knows his homewtead , that it is in reality a vast , clamorous , and unresting assembly of trees , standing respectfully apart . "
We content ourselves with a quiet protest against the identification of tin ; two conceptions of atoms—the Dai . tonian and Dkmociutian , having no space here to argue the question . The article on The Mormons is almost purely historical ; but the history is so clearly and circumstantially written , that it forces the reader to draw his own reflections . On the whole , this rise and progress of Mormoni » m is one of the most instructive chapters in the history of religion for it enables us to understand all the others . What existing Imrlmrous nations
are to us , m furnishing the key to a correct understanding of the early history of Humanity , this Religion in , in furnishing u key to the early history of ancient Religions ; the Mormon Prophet may have been a more ignoble creature than the founders of other religions , but , whatever he may have been , the means he employed wen ; very similar to theirs . There is a sly sarcasm in the following which will not eseape the reader ; after detailing aoine examp le * of miserable grammar in the Mormon Bible , the writer adds : » The Mormon * admit these errors , but add , that for the inscrutable
Critics are not the legislators , but the judges and police of literature . They do not make laws—they interpret and try to enforce them . — Edinburgh Review .
16 T H E L EADER , [ Saturday ,
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 1, 1853, page 16, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1967/page/16/