221You will read, I think, with interest, and in part with groat satisfiaction, Godwin’s new volume, entitled “Thoughts on Man.” Probably it will prove the last fruit of his mind, for he is now rather nearer eighty than seventy, and I believe declining. With all his extravagances of opinion, some of which in the early part of his career did considerable mischief and threatened more, I have always entertained a respect for some parts of his character, as well as a high admiration of his powers; and felt sincere pity for the long misfortunes in which partly his own errors, hut still more the proscription of society, have involved him. I believe he justly describes himself in his new work as “one who early said to truth, (Go on; whithersoever thou leadest, I am prepared to follow’.” And is not this of itself a noble character of a man ? It was remarkable in him that the reasoning powers seemed to have been developed long before the sensitive part of his nature. Thus his system was originally constructed with a total disregard of the passions, the affections, and almost the instincts, of mankind. But it was beautiful to observe him, in his own experience of the tenderest ties of life, gradually expanding his groundwork to give admission to private and partial affections, and at length doing, as it were, public penance for the slanders which he had uttered against them in his days of ignorance. Those noble and rare virtues amongst the founders and champions of systems—candour and ingenuousness, have always attended him. And they have produced to him good fruit. They have enabled him, after discarding one error after another, to work out for himself principles which, in the midst of degrading embarrassments, and even of domestic dishonour, have preserved to himself respect, philanthropy, and cheering view’s of the character and destination of man. This volume is a repository of thoughts on many subjects, often I think original, often just as well as striking, and frequently expressed with great eloquence. He everywhere shows himself “lenior et melior.” Do not almost all men grow better as they grow older?