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JUNE 1826.... SEPTEMBER 1826.
TO BE CONTINUED QUARTERLY.
JUDEX DAMNATUR CUM NOCENS ABSOLVITUR.
Printed by the Heirs of D. Willison,
FOR ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND COMPANY, EDINBURGH :
CONTENTS OF No. LXXXVII.
ART. I. Who Wrote Icon Basilike? By CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, D.D. Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. London, 1824.
A SUCCESSION of problems or puzzles in the literary and political history of modern times, has occasionally occupied some ingenious writers, and amused many idle readers. Those who think nothing useful which does not yield some palpable and direct advantage, have indeed scornfully rejected such inquiries, as frivolous and useless. But their disdain has not repressed such discussions-and it is fortunate that it has not. Amusement is itself an advantage. The vigour which the understanding derives from exercise on every subject, is a great advantage. If there be any utility in history, it must be very useful that it should be accurate-which it never will be, unless there be a solicitude to ascertain the truth even of its minutest parts. History is read with pleasure, and with moral effect, only so far as it engages our feelings in the merit or demerit, in the fame or fortune, of historical personages. If it did not excite such feelings, we should study it with the same coolness and tranquillity with which we study physical science. But in contemplating the fortunes of our fellow-creatures, in history, in fiction, or in real life, we are eager, we are intensely anxious to discover the guilt or innocence, the claims to eminence, or the events of the lives of those whose characters have excited in our minds strong feelings, whether friendly or adverse. Our interest in the history of past times is of the same nature with our sentiments on the matters that daily occur around us. The breathless anxiety with which the obscure and conflicting evidence on a trial at law is watched by the bystanders, is but a variety of the same feeling which prompts the reader of history to examine the proofs against Mary Queen of Scots, with as deep an interest as if she were alive, and were now on her trial. And it is wisely ordered A
VOL. XLIV. No. 87.