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Stantoid Untrarwir UUsDM 

3 6105 116 980 736 



THE 

COLLECTED WORKS OF WILLIAM HAZLITT 

IN TWELVE VOLUMES 



VOLUME TWELVE 



Att ri^tt rtttrpid 



THE COLLECTED WORKS OF 

WILLIAM .HAZLITT 

EDITED BY A. R. WALLER 
AND ARNOLD GLOVER 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

W. E. HENLEY 



Fugitive Writings 



LONDON : J. M. DENT & CO. 
McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO.: NEW YORK 

r 



v./a 



565965 



EdinboTfh : T. kad A. Com*tabl«, Prinun to HU Migerty 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



Or the tm»y* in tbit volvme tome have already been publnhed in Liwsry Xmwinj, 
Sitiektf anJ Bt'tyiy Or M^hutrtlvw (tee Bibliufrtphtcnl Ndu la Vol. 21.], and ihe 
ml (with DDc exception) ate now reprinie<1 for (he lini tunc. The exorption it 
*The Sick Chtmbrr ' which wai pufaliiheiJ by Mt. Trelind in hit tfiUiam H^ttt 
Kusfiii tmiCritk, StltciMtfram kii tf'iiiiigM. Sittnt of the e*t»y* no» rcpublxihed 
for Ihe lint time have been attributtd to Mxlitt by Mt. W. C. Hailitt {Mimtiri, 
1S67, I. xxii-kxxii— ^hionolofiical Citalo^uc], or by Mr. Ircliod {Liit tf tkt 
H^mingt^fH^iiUumHarlitiamiLtilh f/>nf];uthcri have oat before been iilcnlified. 
The Editort, bowciret, have not included anj ratiy at to Hatliti't aulhonhip of 
vthich any reatonaUe danfal can eiial. 

Reference may here be made to a ftw eitayt which, though they may have bees 
wriilcii by Harlitt, hare b«cnraclut>e'l from the prctcot volume, bceauie the evi> 
dence of their aulhonhip wb* not lufEcieotly druog. They ire arranfed in the 
foUowing Ijit under the heading of the Majfasiac in which tbey Aral appeared. 

I. tn TU h'rw MmAiy ^o^vsnr. 
I. Four papera entitles) ' Tlie ConfcHiooal ' (iSll, vol. tv. pp. 349, 450 ) 

vol. V, pp. 54, 406) which read very much aa if tbey were written by 

Maeliti during the Litn Amtni prriod. 
1. An rtaay entitled 'Social Crievinctt' (iSat, vol. v. p. 412). 
]. An cttjy on 'The Influence of Booki on tbe PrapeM ol Manners' 

(M*yi ><l'i vol' ^i*" P- 409)> 

II. la Th LiUrmi. 

I. In Tit Lihtral (vol. 11. iRaj] appeared an cway entitled *A Sunday*! 
Pete at St. Ctonii ' which wa* reprinted (without mentmn being made 
of iti lourcc) under the title ' A Fete at St. Ctood ' >n<l atlributea to 
Haditt in a volume of mitccllanict callcrl * The 7'aliimiin \ or B<nn{iMt 
of Literature and the Fine Artt * (llj}l}. edited byMr*. Alaric A. 
Witts. The etuy ihowt nu trace of Httlin'i handiwork, and accma 
to have been written 'under a foretjn thy,' whrreat Hatlitt did not 
itart for hit tour in France and Itily till after the ptibJication of tbe 
ettay in Tlit Libtral. An riHlorUl paragraph publiihed in The L»mJ»m 
AtdiMsiat for October 1824, under the hcadini; of * Tbe Liou'i Head,' 
would teem 10 thow that the writer of the tkelch bad tent it to that 
magaxine tor poblicntion. ' TJU Filio/St.Clmd^ (the paragraph runi), 
* lltou|h not imtmuiint, would imI nit our picea. French aubjecli, 

T 



FUGITIVE WRITINGS 

u all Editon and Kings can teitify, are lively and dangerout. They 
are very irregular, or very poor.* The editor of Tie London Magazine, 
though he bad at the time a grievance againit Haslitt (tee Vol. xi. 
note to eitay on * Peveril of the Peak '], would hardly have ipoken %a 
patroniaingly of one of hit moit diitinguithed contributQri. 

III. In Tkt London Wttk^ Stview. 

I. An ettay entitled * BnimmelliaDa ' (Feb, 2, liii). 

IV. In Tit AiUt. 

1. * Manner! make the man * (March 29, 1829). 

2. *Mr. JefTrcy'i Reaignation of the Editorihip of the EdinburghReview' 

(June 21, 1829). 

3. 'Autographi' (June 18, 1S29). 

4. ' A Hint upon Education ' (Aug. 9, 1829]. 

5. * A Newipaper Sketch* (Oct. 18, 1829}. 



Tl 



CONTENTS! 



CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE 



The Fight 

Mcny England .... 
Of Persons One would Wish to 

have Seen .... 

On the Conversation of I-ords 
On a Sun-dial .... 
Why the Heroes of Romance are 

inupid 



»5 
26 

5> 
59 



The Shyness of Scholars 
The Main Chance 
Self-Love and Benevolence . 
The Same Subject continued 
*The Free Admission . 
The Sick Chamber 
Footmen .... 



rACB 

&S 
7« 
95 
104 
119 
lis 
131 



CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MONTHLY MAGAZINE 



On the Want of Money .136 

On the Feeling of Immortality in 

Youth 150 

On Reading New Books . .161 
On Disagreeable People 173 

CONTRIBUTIONS 



On the Spirit of Monarchy . 241 

*On the Scotch Character 253 

My First Acquaintance with Poets 259 



1 ThoK Muyi which arc now republiihed for the first time are indicated by an asterisk. 





PACK 


On Means and Ends . 


. 184 


On Personal Identity . 


198 


*Aphorisms on Man 


XO9 


A Chapter on Editors 


. 230 


The Utter Bell . 


■ »3S 


THE LIBERAL 






rum 


♦Pulpit Oratory . 


■ »75 


♦Arguing in a Circle . 


- 285 



FUGITIVE WRITINGS 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LONDON WEEKLY REVIEW 



*Queri« and Anawen . 
On Knowledge of the World 
The Same Subject continued 
The Same Subject continued 
On Public Opinion 



rASB 

296 

301 
306 
311 



On the CauKS of Popular Opinion 
A Farewell to £ssay-wntlng 
•B)rron and Wordsworth 
On Cant and Hypocrisy 
The Same Subject continued 



CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ATLAS 



•Poetiy .... 

*Engli«h Grammar 

*Memorabilia of Mr. Coleridge 

♦Peter Pindar 

•Logic .... 

•The Late Mr. Curran . 

*The Court Journal— A Dialogue 

*The Late Dr. Priettley 

•Sects and Parties . 

•Convenationt as Good as Real ( i ) 



FAGE 

339 
341 
346 
34-8 
350 
353 
354 
357 
360 

363 



•Conversations as Good as Real (a) 

Trifles Light as Air . 
•Common Sense . 
•The Spirit of Controversy 

Envy .... 

On Prejudice 

The Same Subject continued 

The Same Subject continued' 

On Party Spirit . 



PACK 

3t6 
321 
328 
330 
336 



369 

370 

377 
38t 
386 
391 

394 
396 

40a 



MISCELLANEOUS 



Project for a New Theory of Civil 
and Criminal Legislation . . 405 

On the Conduct of Life ; or, 
Advice to a School-boy . 423 

Belief, whether Voluntary . . 439 



Definition of Wit 

Personal Politics . 
•The Emancipation of the Jews 
•On the Punishment of Death 



445 
456 
461 
466 



PACK 

NOTM 473 

Addenda to the Notes in Vols. 1.-XI 504 

Index to Titles of Hazlitt's Writings 50S 

^ This esssy wss appsreatljr not published in Tht Adta, 



vUi 



FUGITIVE WRITINGS 



THE FIGHT 

■ Thrfigh, thr fieit'* the Ihing, 

Wbenia I 'U catch uk coatcience of the king.' 

\Whrre there't a vn/l, thrrt's a •a/ay. — I said k> to myself, as I 

walkctl dowD Chancery- lane, about half-patc six o'clock on Monday 

the loth of December, lo inquire at Jack Randail's where the fight 

the next day wa» to be ; and I found * the proverb ' ooihing ' musty ' 

in the preECDt iostaiice. I was determined to tee this Ggbt, come 

what would, and see it I did, in great style. It was vay fo/i Jight^ 

yet it more than answered my expectations. Ladies! it is to you I 

dedicate this description ; nor let it seem out of character for the fair 

to notice the exploit! of the brave. Courage and modesty arc the old 

English virtues; and may they never look cold and askance on ooe 

another ! Think, ye fairest of the fair, loveliest of the lovely kind, 

,je practtsers of soft eochantmeDt, how many more ye kill with 

[poitoncd baits than ever fell in the ring ; and listen wtth subdued air 

[ud without thuddering, to a tale tragic only in appearance, and 

BCred to the Fancy ! 

I was going down Chancery-lane, thinking to ask at Jack Randall'i 
where the fight was to be, when looking through the glass-door of 
the Hitlc in tbt Wail^ I heard a gentlemnn asking the same question 
at Mrs. Randall, ai the author of Waverley would express it. Now 
Mrs. Randall stood answering the gentleman's question, with the 
authenticity of the lady of the Champion of the Light Weights. 
Thinks I, L Ml wait till tbii person comes out, and learn from him 
now it is. For to say a truth, I was not fond of going into this 
FWise of call for heroes and philosophers, ever since the owner of '\\ 
(for Jack is no gentleman) threatened once upon a time to kick me 
out of doors for wanting a mutton-chop at hit hospitable board, when 
the conqueror in thirteen battles was more full of Ww ruin than of 
good mannert. I was the more mortified at this repulse, inasmuch 
as I had heard Mr. James Stmpkins, hosier in the Strand, one day 
roL. XII. : A 1 



THE FIGHT 

wben the doractrr of the HvU « the WaU wu farougbt ta qnettMOi 
ofMcrrr — ' 7^ hoosc » a very good hoiue, aad the oompaaj qtute 
geoted : I have been there mrself ! ' RenemberiDg thu onluiwi 
treatment of mine host, to which mine hoitess was also a jxuty, and 
DOC wuhio£ to pot ber to unquiet thoagbu al a tiioe jubiluit tike the 
nreient, I waited at the door, wfaco, who ihoald tasar foith but my 
friend Jo. Tonu, and tanung floddealjr up Qtuccry-bikc with that 
i|uick jerk ai>d ioiMtieot itride whkb dutiogiuthca a lonr of the 
Fakcy, I said, * t *u be haogcd if that fellow b tKX going to the figbt, 
and H OD hia way to f;et me to ^o with Hm.* So it proved in eflcci^^ 
and we agreed to •djouro to my kxigtn}^ to discvn meaaurca 
diat cordaliiy vbich make* old fricod* like new, and new fri* 
like old, on great occMOoa. We aje cold to otberi only wben we 
are dull in oarvdvcs *^ hare oeiiher tboagbu nor feeUngs to impart 
to theio. Gire a man a tojac to bis head, a throb of pleaaure in hti 
heart, and be will be glad to share it with the first perwia be meeta. 
Tomi and 1, thoagh we ■eldom meet, were an abtr idtm oo thit 
mcn i ci r ah le iKcasioo, and had ixit an idea that we did not cantlidly 
inpvt; and *so carelemly did we fleet the time/ thax I wnh oo 
better, when there ia anMber fifjbt, than to hare him for a com- 
puioo on my joamey down, uid to remm with my friend Jack 
Ptgott, tafluDg zA what was to happen or of what did happen, with a 
noble aobject always at hand, and liberty to digress to others when- 
CTer they o9<end. Iixleed, on my repeating the lines from Speoier 
in an inroltmtary fit of entbustann, 

* What more frBcity ran fall to crtatuie. 
Than to ni)oy drhght «riih tiberry r * 

my last-ttainrd ingenioiu friend ttopped me bv vma^ thai llni, tna»- 
laled into the *utgate, meant ' C^m^ m ttt »J>g^* 

Ja Tonu aitd I coold itoc settle aboot tbc method of going down. 
He aaid there was a caraTan, be onderstood, to vtart froai Tom 
Bdcher^s at twi\ whidl woM go there n^ «mt and back again the 
next day. Now I neves travel all oight, and laud t thouM get a 
cut to Newbury by one of the msils. Jo. iwose the thing was 
impOMible. and I could ooly answer that I bad made up my mind to 
it. In short, he wemed to mc (o waver, aid be only came to see if 
I was going, had letters to write, a cause eomtog on ibe day after, 
aad laiotly said at pwtnc ikf T was bent on seniiig out that monettj 
— * Well, we meet il Ph^p ! ' 1 made the beat of toy way 
Piccadilly. The mail coach atand was hare. * Tbey an ul gone,,' 
aaid I — * this is always the way with me — in ihe inttaac 1 lose the 
future — if I had not stayed to poor oot thai faut c«p of tea, 1 sboidd 

t 



THE FIGHT 

haTc been jnit in time' — and curting my folly and Hl-ltick together, 
without inquiriag iit tbc coach-office wlicthcr the muils were gooc or 
not, 1 watkcd on in despitr, and to punmh my own dilatorinen and 
want of determination. At any rate, I woukl not turn back : I 
might get to Hounslow, or perh-ips farther, to be on my road the 
next morning. I pa»»cd Hyde Park Corner {my RuWcon), and 
truBied to fortune. Suddenly I heard the clattering of a Brentford 
stage, and the Hght ru^cd full upon my fancy. I argued (not 
unwisely) that even a Brentford coachman was better company than 
my own thoughts (ituch an they were just then), and ai hi* invitatioo 
mounted the box with him. 1 immediately ttated my case to him — 
namely, my quarrel with myself for misxing the Bath or Bristol mail, 
and my determination to get on in consequence aa well as I could, 
without any disparagement or insulting comparison between longer or 
shorter nages. It is a maxim with me that siage-coachc«, and con- 
sequently stage-coachmen, are respectable in proportion to the distance 
they have to traTel : so I said nothing on that sobject to my Rrent- 
ford friend. Any iaciptent tendency to an abAract proposition, or 
(as he might have construed it) to a personal reflection of this kind, 
was however nipped in the bud; for I had no sooner declared 
tndign.uitly that I had missed the mails, than he flatly denied that 
they were gone along, and !o! at the insunt three of them drove by 
in rapid, provoking, orderiy sacceision, as if they would devour the 
ground before them. Here again I seemed io the contradictory 
tituuioD of the mati in Dryden who exclaims, 

* [ follow Kate, which docs too hard puruic t ' 

If I had stopped to inquire at the White Horse Cellar, which would 
not hare taken me a minute, I should now have been driving down 
the road in all the dignified unconcern and idea! perfection of 
mechanical conveyance. The Bath mail 1 had set my mind upon, 
and I had missed it, as T missed every thing else, by my own 
abtordity, in pttttiog the will for the deed, and aiming at ends without 
employing means. 'Sir,* said he of the Brentford, 'the Bath mail 
will be up presently, my brother-in-law drives it, and 1 will engage 
to stop him if there is a place empty.' I aliiiDic doubted my good 
genius ; but, sure enough, up it drove like li};htning, and stopped 
directly at the call of the Brentford Jehu. I would not have believed 
this possible, but the brother-in-law of a mail-coach driver is himself 
no mean man. I was tranifcrred without loss of time from the top 
of one coach to that of the other, desired the guard to pay my fare 
to the Brentford coachman for nie as 1 had do change, was accom- 
modated with a great coat, pal up my umbrella to keep off a 

3 



THE FIGHT 



drizzling miit, and wc began (o cut through the air like an arrow. 
The mile-atones disappeared one after aaother, the rain kept off; 
Tom Ttirtlr, the trainer, aat before mc on the co.ich-box, with whom 
1 cxchaiigctl ctvilitirs as a gentleman going to the light ; the pastioa 
that had transponed me an hour before was subdued to peaiive 
trgm and conjectural munng on the next day'fl Kittle; I was 
pfomiiied I place iosidc at Readings and upon the whole, I thought 
niyaelf a lucky fellow. Such is the force of inaaginatioo ! On the 
ouliiilc of any other coach on the lOth of December, with a Scotch 
mill Jritr.ltng through the cloudy moonlight air, 1 should have been 
cold, conifortlets, impatient, and, no doubt, wet through ; but seated 
on the Royal mail, I fell warm and comfortable, the nir did me good, 
the ride did mc £ood, I wat pleased with the progress we had made, 
and confident that all would go well through the journey. When 1 
got inaide at Reading, I found Turtle and a stout Taletudinariao, 
whose costume bespoke him one of the Fancy, aod who had risen 
from a three months' sick bed to get into the mail to see the fight. 
Tliey were intimate, and we fell into a liiely discourse. My friend 
the tr.iincr was confined in his topes to ^ghting dogs and men, 
to bean and badgers; beyood this be waa* quite chap-lallett,' had 
not R word to throw at a dog, or indeed very wisely fell asleep, 
when any other game was started. The whole art of training (I, 
howerer, learnt from him,] coosistt in two thingt, exeiciae and 
nh«)nrncr, abatinrace and exercise, repeated alternately and without 
riKl. A yolk of an egg with a tpoonful of rum id it is the first 
thing in a muraing, iikI then a walk of six milea till breakfau. 
I'hii meal coniisl* of a {Jentiful supply of tea and toast aod beef- 
■tnik»i Then another six or seven miles till dioner-ume, and 
another nipply of aolid beef or mutton with a pint of porter, and 
|irrhaps, at the uunost, a couple of gtassea of sherry. Martin trains 
on water, but this increases hia infirmity on another very daogerooi 
lute, The (las iiiaa takes now and then a chirping glass (under the 
roK) to i'onxttir him, during a six weeks' probiation, for the abaence 
of Mrm Hickman— an agreeable woman, with (I uaderataod) a 
ixrtly Inriune at two hundred poutidi. How niaiter prrssea on tne! 
\Vhat MubbtHQ things are fiictal How inexhaustible is nature aod 
•nl * It M well,' as 1 onc« heard Mr. Rtcbmond obscrre, 'to 
flff* I mmfj.* He WM tpctktng of cocknj;btictg aa aa edt^ng 
yicttch. I OPHMM dmy but that one leazna BMre of what u (I da 
Ml ny «r «ImI m^ IIS Jv) in this deMltory node of practical 
■ndv« tKM A«iB rrwUttit the Hunr book tvk« enr, e?eo though it 
aWeuM bv • MOnd liwliat. Wkrrv wu H I «w sftting at dinoR 
wWtilw cuaWwifcr lilt hwwm of the rinfr*wbect good dyakm 
4 



THE FIGHT 

'Waits oo appetite, and health on both.' Then fotlows on hnur of 
■ocial chat and aaxivc gtec; aad aiierwardt, to another brcaihiag 

' over heathy hill or dale. Back (o supper, and then to bed, and up 
bj fix agaio — Our hero 

* Follows so the rrer-ninning (un 
With piofitable arJottr ' — 

to the day that brings him victory or defeat to the green fairy circle. 
If not this life more sweet than mine I I waa gobg to say ; but I 
will not tibel any life by comparing it to mine, which ii (at the 
date of these presents) bitter as coIo<]uinttda and the dregs of 
aconitum ! 

The invalid in the Bath mail soared a pitch above the trainer, and 

did not sleep so sound, because he had * more ligurca and more 

fanusies.* We talkcil the hours away merrily. He had faith in 

surgery, for he had had three rib* set right, that had been broken 

)□ a tunt-up at Be)cher*6, but Umught physictaDS old women, for they 

[had DO antidote in their catalogue for brandy. An indigestion is an 

Kxcellent common-place for two people that never met before. By 

|vay of ingratiating myself, I told him the nary of my doctor, who, 

on my earnestly representing to him that I thought his regimeti had 

done me harm, assured me that the whole pharmacopeia cont^oed 

nothing comparable to the prencriptioD he had given me ; and, a* a 

proof of its undoubted eflicacy, said, that, 'he had had one gentleman 

i with my complaint under hit hands for the last fifteen years.' This 

lole made my companion shake the rough sides of his three 

Igreat coact with bntsicrous laughter ; and Turtle, starting out of hts 

[deep, swore he knew how the fight would go, for he had had a 

idieam about it. Sure enough the ra&cal told us how the three first 

trouods went off, but *his dream,* like others, 'denoted a foregone 

>nclueion.' He knew hi» men. Tlie moon now rose in silver 

Fitate, and I ventured, with some hesitation, to point out this object 

of placid beauty, with the blue serene beyond, to the man of «iCtence, 

to which hii ear he 'seriously inclined,' the mure as it gave promi»e 

</*ufl 6tau Joyr for the morrow, and showed the ring undrenched by 

envious showers, arrayed in sunny smiles. Just then, all going on 

well, I thought on my friend Toms, whom I had left behind, aad 

iiiaid innocently, * There was a blockhead of a fellow I left In town, 

rho said there was no possibility of getting down by the mail, and 

talked of going by a caravan from Belcher's at two in the morning, 

after he had written suroe kttcrs.' ' Why,* said he of the lapells, 

' I should not wonder if that was the very person we saw runniag 

about like mad from one coach-door to another, and asking if any 

5 




THE FIGHT 



ooe kid «eai a friead ti hvi a y li ta (onc m dw Gfbt, whom 
be had mimtd. ^x^iHty taam^ by ■^■r^lE t^ *"** * ■>°*c.' * Pray, 
Sir/ said ny frU0»«n«lkr, « tel he a pfaii«loah 00?'— * Why. 
DO*' nid I. 'DOC ac the ti^ I left hm, bat he very vcU might 
afterwards, for he ofend la lead ne oab* The |iUMl<loak and 
the letter detidtd the thiig Jae, Hre a— fb. «» la the Bristol 
mail, which preceded wm hy JbotL Utj yard*. This was droll 
coougb. We had now bia a few laika to oer place vi deninatioa, 
and the fint thiag 1 did oa afig^Miog at Newbory, both coaches 
Roppng at the tane tbw, vac to caM ott, * Pray, u there a gentle- 
inao io that ouil of the aaoie of I'oms '. ' * No,' said Joe, bof rowing 
aODething of the veto of Gilpia, * far I have joit got ouc' * Well I ' 
MVt he, 'this U lucky; bat yoa doa't know how vexed I was to 
miu you; for,' added be, lowerisg hia voice, *do yoo know when 
I left you I wcDt to Bdchcr'k to Mb about the caravan, and Mm. 
Belcher raid Tery obligingly, ihe oooldn't tcU about thai, but there 
were two gentlemrn wlio ttad ukeo places by the mati and were gone 
on in a landau, and the coald fnak ti*. It 'a a pity I didn't meet 
with you i we couM then have got down ibr nothing. But miau 'i the 
wertf.' it's the devil for any one to tell roe a secret, for il*« sure 
ID come out in print. I do not care to much to gratify a frieod, 
hut the public ear is too great a tempution to me. 

Our present buiitKus was to gel bede aod a supper at an ion ; but 
this WH DO easy task. The public-houses were full, and where you 
saw a light at a private hoaic, and people poking their heads out of 
the casement to see what was going on, they instantly put them in 
and shut the window, the moment you seemed advancing with a 
suiptcioui ovriture for accommodation. Our guard and coachman 
thundered away at the outer gate of the Crown for some time without 
ciTcct — such was the greater noise wiiliJn ; — and when the doors 
were unhirred, and we got atiniiiiance, we found a p^rty asaemUed 
in the kitchen round a good hospitable tire, some sleeping, others 
drinking, others talking on politics and on the light. A tall 
f£i)£Ush yeoman (something like Matthews in the face, and quite 
M grcai a wag) — 

* A hisiy man (o hm an abbot able,* — 

WIS making *uch a prodigious noite about rent and taxes, and the 
peice of corn now and formerly, that he had prevented us from being 
iMsrd at the gate. The first thing I beard him say was to a shuffling 
Mlow who wanted 10 be otf" a bet for a sbilliog glaaa of brandy aad 

«ntti ■Coafoond it, man, don't be iiuiuJ\ ' Thinks I, that is » 

pttA phmc It was a good oineo. He kept it up so all tugjhw 
6 



I 
I 



I 



THE FIGHT 



not fllachcd with the approach of moniiDg. He was i iiDc fellow, 
witli MTDSc, wit, and spirit, a hearty body and a joyous mind, frct-- 
•pokcn, frank, coDvivial — one of that true Eoglisb breed that went 
with Harry iJif Fiftli to the siege of Harflcur — 'standing like 
greyhounds in the slipa,' &c. Wc ordered tea ami eggs (beds were 
fooo fuuitd to be out of the question) and this fellowV conversatiOD 
was taiife fnauanlf. It did one's heart good to see him brandish his 
oakco towel aod to hear him talk. He made mincc-mcat of a 
drunken, stupid, red-iaccd, quarrelsome, Jntuty farmer, whose nose 
'he moraliz^ ioto a thousand similes/ making it oat a firebrand like 
Bardolph'n. ' I '11 lell you what my friend,* says he, ' the landlady 
has only to keep you here to Ktve ^re and candle. If one waK to 
touch your note, it wotdd go off like a piece of charcoal.' At this 
the other only grinned like an idiot, the sole variety in his purple 
face being bis Uttic peering grey eyes and yellow teeth ; called for 
another glass, swore he would not stand it ; and after many attempts 
to prOTOke bis humourous antagonist to single combat, which the 
other turned oif (after working him up to a ludicrous pitch of 
choler) with great adroitness, he fell quietly asleep with a glass of 
liquor in his hand, which he could not lift to his head. His 
laughing persecutor made a speech over him, and turning to the 
opposite side of the room, where they were all sleeping in the midst 
of this * loud and furious fun,' said, * There 's a scene, by G — d, for 
Hogarth to paint. I think he and Shakspearc were our two best 
men at copymg life.' This canltrmed me in my good opinion of 
him. Hogarth, Shakspearc, and Nature, were just enough for him 
(indeed for any man) to know. I siiid, 'You read Cobbctt, don't 
you? At least,' says I, * you talk just as well as he writes.* He 
seemed to doubt this. But I said, < We hare an hour to spare : 
if you'll get pen, ink, and paper, and keep on talking, I 'II write 
down what you say \ and if it doesn't make a captul * Political 
Register,* 1 'II forfeit my he^d. Vou have kept me alive to-night, 
however. I don't know what I should have done without you.' He 
did not dislike this view of the thing, nor my aiikiDg if he was not 
about ttic size ot Jem Belcher ; and lotd me soon afterwards, in the 
confidence of friendship, that 'the circumstaiice which had gtren him 
nearly the greatest concern in bis life, was Cribb's beating Jem after 
be had lorn his eye by racket -playing.' — The morning dawns; that 
dim but yet clear light appears, which %-cighs like solid bars of metal 
on the sleeplen eyelids; ihe guests drof> down from their chambers 
one by one — but it was too late to think of going to bed now (the 
clock was on the stroke of seven), wc bad nothing for it but to find a 
barber's (the pole that glittered in the morning sun lighted us lo his 

7 



THE FIGHT 

■hop)* and then a nine mtlca* inarch to Hongcrfonl. The day 
fioet ^^'^ '^y '"^^ i>iiie> the mists were retiring from the man 
ground* the path was tolerably dry, the sitting-up all night had not don 
ui mudh harm — at Iea«t the cause was good ; we talked of this and 
that with amicable dilference, roving and sipping of many HubjectSf 
but itill invariably we returned lo the fighL At length, a mile to the 
left of Hungerford, on a gentle emiocnce, we taw the ring surrounded 
by covered cart«| gigs, and carriages, of which hundreds had passed 
UB un tbe road ; Toms gave a youthful shoot, and we hastened down 
a narrow Lne to the scene of action. 

Reader, have you ever seea a fight ? If not, you have a pleasure 
to comt't at least if it is a fight like that between the Gasman and 
Bill Ncate. The crowd was very great when we arrived on the 

r; open carriagta were coming up, wttli streamers flying and music 
,ing, and the country-people were pouring in over hedge and ditch 
10 all dircctioDs, to see their hero heat or be beaten. The odds were 
suit on Gas, but only about five to four. Cully had been down to try 
NctW, atHl had backed him considerably, which was a damper to the 
laaguiQrconrKlenccnf the adretse party. About two hundred thousand 
pounds were pending. The Gas says, he has tost 3000/. which 
were proniiptcd him by different gentlemen if he bad won- He had 
presumed too much un himself, which had made others presume on 
iiitii. 1'his spirited and formidable young fellow seems to have taken 
for his motto the old maxim, that * there are three things necessary to 
•uceets in life — Jm/>itJrn,-t ! Impudmct ! ImptiJetue ! ' It is so in 
matters of opinion, but not in the Fim^j, which is the most practical 
of all things, though even here confidence is half the battle, but ooly 
half. Our friend had vauoutcd and iwaggered too much, as if be 
wauled lo grin and bully hu adversary out of the fighu * Alas ! the 
Drlflol man waa not so umcd I '— ' This is iht grave-Jigger ' (would 
Tom Hickman exclaim in the moments of intoxication from gin and 
WCOtu, shewing his trcmrndout right hand), 'this will send many of 
lliem to theii long homes [ I haven't done with them yet ! ' Why 
ihttuM he— though he had licked four of the best men within the 
))uuf,yrt why should he threaten to inllici dishonourable chastisement 
on my old msstet Kithnmnd, a veteran going otf the stage, and who 
Itii* U>ri)r hi« laltlf huntHirs meekly ? Magnanimity, my dear Tom, 
airtl diiitrry, shituM be inwpaiable. Or why should he go up tu hia 
aiitNijoiitii, the hilt lime he ever uw him at the Fives Court, and 
|[iri*iuitii|t ^>''<i friiiii head to fool with a glance of contempt, aa 
AiImIUh Mirvrycd Mecior, say lo him, * What, ore you Bill Neate? 
I 'II kiiiwk rnuto blood out of that great carcase of thine, this day 
(iKiiiiUlii, than yuu vnt knock'd out of a bullock's! ' It was not 
H 



THE FIGHT 



taaaly, 'twis not lighter-like. If he vna sure of the victory [.ik he 
was not), ihe te*g said about it the better. Modetty should accom- 
pany the Fatuy as its shadow. The best men were always the best 
behaved. Jem Belcher, the Game Chicken (before whom the Gas- 
man could not have lived) were civil, silent men. So is Cribb, so Js 
Tom Belcher, the most elegant of sparrers, and not a man for erery 
one to talic by the nose. I enlarged on this topic in the mail (wliile 
Tonle was asleep), and said very wisely (at 1 thought) thnt impcrti- 
DCQce was a part of no profeseion. A boxer was bound to beat his 
man, but not to thrust his (tit, either actually or by implication, in 
every one's face. Even a hijjhwtymao, in the way of trade, may 
blow out your brains, but if he uses foul language at the same time, I 
should say he was no gentleman. A boxer, I would infer, need not 
be a blackguard or a coxcomb, mote than another. Perhaps I press 
this point too much on a fallen man — Mr. Thomas Hickman has by 
this time learnt that first of all lessons, ' Thai man was made to 
mourn.' He has tost nothing by the late tight but his presumption; 
and that every man may do as well without ! By an over-display of 
this quality, however, the public had been prejudiced against him, 
and the kna'oting-onet were taken in. Few but those who had bet on 
him wished Gas lo win. With my own prepoesesstons on the subject, 
the result of the I tth of December appeared to me as fine a niece of 
poetical justice as I had ever witnessed. Tbc difference ol weight 
between the two combatants (14 stone to 12) was nothing to the 

rrtiog men. Great, heavy, clumsy, long-armed Bill Ncate kicked 
beam in the scale of the Gas-man'^^ vanity. The amateurm were 
frightened at his big words, and thought that they would make up for 
the difference of six feet and five feet nine. Truly, the Fancy are 
not men of imagination. They judge of what has been, and cannot 
conceive of any thing that ii to be. The Gas-man had woo hitherto ; 
therefore he must beat a m.in half as big again as himself — and that to 
a certainty. Besides, there arc as many feuds, factiooB, prejudices, 
pedantic notions in the Fancy as in the state or in the schools. 
Mr. Gully is almost the only cool, sensible man among them, who 
exercises an unbiassed diKretloD, and is not a slave to his passions in 
these matters. But enough of rtileccions, and to our tale. The day, 
as 1 have said, was tine for a December morning. The grass was 
wet, aod the ground miry, and ploughed up with multitudinous feet, 
except that, within the ring itself, there was a spot of vtrgin-grceo 
cloned in and uoprofancd by vulgar tread, that shone with dazzling 
brightness in the mid-day sun. For it was now noon, and we had an 
hour to wait. This is the trying time. It is then the heart sickens, 
OS you think wliat the two champions are about, aod how short a lime 

9 



THE FIGHT 



I 



I 



them ftrw with the news of her husbaad'i victory to the bosom of 
Mr*- Neatc. Alas, for Mrs. Hickman ! 

Mau an revoir, as Sir Fopliog Fluuer uya. I weot down with 
Tonu ; I returned with Jack Pigoic, whom I met oti the ground. 
Toms is 3 nldc brain ; Ptgott is a seatimentalisl. Now, under 
favour, I am a scnlimcnlaliKt too — therefore I say nothing, but that 
the toterest of the excursion did not flag as I came back. Pigott 
aad I marched along the causeway leading from Hungerford to New- 
bury, now observing the effect of a brilliant sun on the tawny meads 
or moss-coloured cottages, now exulting in the tight, i»ow digressing 
ID some topic of general and elegant literature. My friend was 
dretsed in character for the occasion, or like one of the Pancv ; that 
is, with a double portion of great coats, dogs, and overhauls : and 
jan as we had agreed with a couple of country-lads to carry his 
superfluous wearing -apparel to the next town, we were overtaken by 
a return post-chaise, into which I gut, Pigott preferring a seat on the 
bar. There were two strangers already in the chuse, and on tbeir 
t^Mcrring they supposed I had been to tlie fight, I said [ had, and 
concluded they had done the same. They appeared, howercr, a little 
shy aod sere on the subject ; and it was not till after several hints 
dropped, and qucationu put, that it turned out that they had missed it. 
One of these friends had undertaken to drive the other there to his 
gig: they had set out, to make sure work, the day before at three in 
the afternoon. The owner of the oae-borse vehicle ecomed to ask 
his way, and drove right on to Dagshot, instead of turning off at 
Hounslow : there they stopped all night, and set off the next day 
acTOBE the country to Reading, from whence they took coach, and 
got down within a mile or two of Hungerford, just half an hour after 
the 6ght wan over. This might be safely set down as one of the 
miseries of human life. We parted with these two gentlemen who 
bad becQ to see the iigbt, but had returned as they went, at 
Wolhampton, where we were promiHed beds (an irresistible temjita- 
tion, for Pigott had passed the preceding night at Hungerford as we 
had done at Newbury), and we turned into an old bow-windowed 
parlour with a car|)et and a snug fire ; and after devouring a quantity 
of tea. Coast, aiwl eggs, sat down to consider, during an hour of 
philowphic leisure, what we should have for supper. In the midst 
of an Epicurean deliberation between i roasted fowl and mutioa 
chops with mashed potatoes, we were interrupted by an inroad of 
Gothi and ^'^aIldal9 — procul eiu profani — not real flash-men, but 
inierlopers, noisy pretenders, butchers from Tothill-fields, brokers 
from Whitechapel, who called immediately for pipes and tobacco, 
hoping it would not be diugrceabic to the gentlemen, and began to 

«3 



THE FIGHT 

tnsiit that it was a erott. Pigott withdrew from the tmokc and none 
into another room, 2nd left me to dispute the point with them for s 
couple of hoars taru m/ermhtien by the dial. The next moroiog we 
rove refreshed ; and on obierving that Jack had a pocket irolume in 
his hand, in which he read in the intervals of our discourse, I 
inquired what it was, and learned to my particular saustaction thai 
it was a volume of the New Eloitv. Ladies, after this, will you 
contend that a Iotc for the 1''ancy is iocompatible with the culttFation 
of sentiment ? — Wc jogged on as before, my frirtid setting me up in 
a genteel drab great coat and green silk handkerchief (which I must 
say became nic exceedingly), and after stretching our legs for i few 
miles, and seeing .lark Uandjtl, Ned Turner, and Scroggins, pau oo 
the top of one of the Bath coaches, we engaged with the driver of 
the second to Like us to London for the usual fee. I got itutde, and 
found three other passengers. One of them was an old gentleman 
with an atjuilinc nose, powdered hair, and a piguil, and who looked 
as if he had played many a rubber at the mlh rooms. I said to 
myself, he is rcry like Mr. Windham; I wish he would enter into 
conversation, chat I might hear what 6ac observations would come 
from those fioely-tumcd features. However, oothing passed, till, 
stopping to dine at Reading, some inquiry was m»de by the company 
about the fight, and I gave ^as the reader may believe) an eloquent 
and animated description of it. When we got into the coach again, 
ihe old gentleman, after a graceful eM)rdium, said, he had, when a 
boy, been to a fjglit between the famous Broughton and George 
Stevenson, who was called the Fighting Coaehmm, ir the year 1770, 
with the late Mr. Windham. This beginning flattered the spirit of 
prophecy within me and rivelted my attention. He went on — 
'George Stevenson was coachmati to a friend of my father's. He 
was an old man when I saw him some years afterwards. He took 
hold of his own arm and said, " there was muscle here once, but now 
it is no more than this young gentleman's." He added, *' well, no 
matter | I have been here long, I am willing to go hence, and I hope 
I have done no more harm than another man." Once,' said my un- 
known companinn, * I a^kcd him if he had ever beat Broughton ? 
He said Yes ; that he had fought with him three times, and the last 
time he fairly beat him, though the world did notatlow it. " I'll tell 
you how it was, master. When the seconds lifted as up in the last 
round, wc were to exh.-iusted that neither of us could staikd, and we 
fell upon one anuther, and an Master Broughton fell uppermost, the 
mob gave it in his favour, and he was said to have won the battle. 
But," says he, "the fact was, that as his second (John CuthbertJ 
lifted him up, he said to him, * I'll light no more, IVe had enough;' 



MERRY ENGLAND 

"which," eayi Stevenwrn, "you know gave me the Tictory. And to 
pruTc to yau that this wa* the case, when Joha Cuthbert wa» on hia 
death-bed, and they asked him if there was any thing on his mind 
which he withed to coofesa, he aoBwercd, * Yes, that there was one 
thing he withed \o set right, fur that ccrtaioly Master Strvenson won 
that last fight with Master Broughton; for he whispered him as he 
lifted him up in the l;i« round of ail, that he had li;id enough.' "* 
'This,* said the Bath gentleman, 'was a hit of human nature;' and I 
have written this account of tlie fight on purpose that it might not be 
k»t to the world. He also siaied na a proof of the candour of mind 
in this class of meo, that Steieoson acknowledged that Broughton 
could have beat hitn in his best day ; but that he (Broughton) was 

ftting old in their last rencounter. When we stopped in Piccadilly, 
wanted to ask the gentleman some quectloni about the late Mr. 
Windham, but had not courage. I got out, resigned my coat and 
green silk handkerchief to Pigott (loth to part with these omaments 
of lifr), and walked home in high spirits. 

P.S. Toini called upon me the next day, to ask me if I did not 
think the tight was a complete thing ? I said I thought it wa«. I 
hope be will relish my account of it. 



MERRY ENGLAND 



Ttt ^rw Mstiklj Miigtnht.l 



[DtttmlKrf 1825. 



* St. CeoTEC for nwrry Engliixl I ' 



Trtis old-fashioned epithet might be sopposed to ha^e been bestowed 
ironically, or on Uie old principle — Ifi htcui a non lueentlo. Yet there 
is wmething in the soand that hits the fancy, and a sort of truth 
beyond appearances. To be sure, it is from a dull, homely ground 
that the gleams of mirth and jollity break out ; but the streaks of light 
that tinge the evening sky arc oot the less striking on that account. 
The beams of the ntDmiog>sun shining on the lonely glades, or through 
the idle branches of the tangled forest, the leisure, the freedom, 'the 
pleasure of going and coming without knowing where,' the troops of 
wild deer, the spona of the chase, and other rustic gamboll, were 
suificteut to justify the well-kuowo appcllalion of ' Merry Sherwood,' 
and in like nunner, wc may apply the phrase to Merry £ng/and. 
The cmtle is not the less sincere because it does not always play npoti 
the check ; and the jest is not the less welcome, nur the laugh less 
beany, because they h.ippcn to he a relief from care or leaden-eyed 
melancholy. The instances are the more precious as they arc rare; 

'5 



MERRV ENGLAND 

Md we look forward to them whh tbe grciter good wiU, or back 
tyo* than with the greater gratitude, as wc drun the la«t drop in the 
cap wUi ptrticuJar reluh. If oot always gay or in good ipirits, we 
an ^td whm any occaiion draws us out of our lutural gloom, and 
4lipOMd fo make the inoit of it. We may uy with SiLnc^ in the 
■by, * 1 have hccD merry ooce ere dow,' — >and this OQce wat to aerre 
Mm all his life ; for he was a person of wooderfii] uleocc aod gravity, 
Ihouf^i * he chirped over his cups,' and aimouDced with characteristic 
|Jf« that • there were pippios and cheeae to come.' SiUme was in 
liii« WOM a nirrry man, that is, he would be merry if he could» and 
a irry jreal rconomy of wit, like very slender fare, was a baoquel lo 
Inm, from the iimplicity of his taate and habits. *CoQtincntH,' a-ayi 
HoHNrti ■hart most of whai they contain ' — and in this riew it may 
b* coBtradtd that the hnglinh are the merriest people in the world, 
•JiK« they only show il on high-days and holidays. They are then 
llkv I achoolhoy let loose from school, or like a dog that bat slipped 
his collar. They are aot gay like the French, who are one ccemal 
•mile of Bflf-compUcrncy, tortured inio affectation, or spun into 
laafnU Indiffrrertce, nor are they voluptuous aod immersed Jo sensual 
Ifwolmre, like the Ililiana; but they have that sort of intermittent, 
filful, irregular ((aictv. which ta neither worn out by habit, nor 
(llMd«M>d l>y pusion, but is sought with avidity as it ukcs the mtod 
bjr mrpriH, ii lUrtlrd by ■ tense of oddity and incongruity, indulges 
lt« wayward humonrs or lively impulses, with perfrct freedom and 
ItghlrkTM of bean, sttd scites occasion by the forelock, that it may 
rvltirn (a tprloas businrii with more cheerfaloess, aod have something 
IN hMytlr the hours »f thnu^^ht ui sodoess. I do not see how there 
MM he htnh apirir* without low oiKS; and every thing has its price 
MeO'ilInK lo ririumsuncrs. Perhaps wc hare to pay a heavier tax 
on tilcAturr, lliun Minif othen : what skills it, to long u our good 
sfitriK anil gn<i<l hearu roable us m t»ear it ? 

''I'hty* (fhr l^nellsh), says FroisMrt, 'amuKd themsctrcs aadly 
■her (he fiMhi^tn of (lielr countiy' — ih tt njomttneni trisUmtnt tehn 
Af mtiiMM* lU ftme f^ii- I'hey have indeed a way of their own. 
't*h»lf riiliHi Is a trlaiailon ftooi gravity, a challenge to dull care to 
\m ||i*o»i awl Mi* U Mit alway* clear at lirst, whether the appeal is 
*u(ii«itlHl. Tlip I loud may Hill hiog on the browi the ice may oot 
lliaw n( unci*. Tu help tliHit out in their new character is an act of 
iliarlljr. Any iblnu shnrt of hanging or drowning is tomethiog to 
tw)(lit wtlh< 'I'ltay do tiDl vntrt into their aniusetnents the less 
d<>K|t*"lly tt)'t<tuM> iliry may pUswr others. They like a thiog the 
Uiui (Ml liltiiiiD iheiii H rap oo int knucklea, for making their blood 
llli|U. Thry tlu HtH dani-v ur abif bui ihey make good cheer — *eat, 



MERRY ENGLAND 



drink, and arc racrry.' No pcojplc arc fonder of field-sports, Christmas 
gambols, or practical jrsU. BltndmariVbufr, hunt-the-slipprr, hot- 
cocklrs, and map-dragon, arc all approved 1-nglish games, full of 
laughable surprises and < hair-breadth 'scapes,' and serve to amuse the 
winter fire-side atter the roast-beef and pltim-pudding, the spiced ale 
aod roasted crab, thrown (hissing-liot) into the foaming tankard. 
Punch fnot the liquor, but the puppet) is not, I fear, of English 
origin ; but there is no place, I take it, where he finds himscU more 
at horoe or meets a mote joyous welcome, where he collects greater 
crowds at the corners of iicrccts, where he opens the eyes or distends 
the cheeks Wider, or where the bangs and blows, the uncoutti gestures, 
ridiculous anger and screaming voice of ihr chief performer excite 
more boundlcH merriment or louder bursts of laughter among all ranks 
and sorts of people. An 1-^nglish theatre is the very throrir of 
pantomime ; nor do I believe that the gallery and boxes of Drury-laoc 
or Covent-garden filled on the proper occasions with holiday (oiks 
(big or little) yield the palm for undisguised, tumultuous, inextinguish- 
able laughter to any spot in Europe. 1 do not speak of the rctioemcnt 
of the mirth (this is no f:istidious speculation) but of its cordiality, on 
the return of these long lookcd-for ai>d licensed periods; And I may 
add here, by way of illustration, that the EnglisJi common people are 
a sort of grown children, spoiled and sulky perhaps, but full of glee 
and merriment, when their attention is drawn oS" by some sudden and 
striking object. The May-pole is almost gone out of fashion among 
us : but May-day, besidei its flowering hawthorns and its pearly dews, 
hu still its boasted exhibition of pninied chimney- sweepers and their 
Jack-o'-thc-Grecn, whose uwdry finery, bedizened facet, unwonted 
gestures, and bhort-lived pleasures call forth good-humoured smiles and 
looks of sympatliy in the spectators. There is no place where trap- 
ball, fives, pnGon-bsse, fuot-ball^ quoits, bowls are better understood or 
more successfully practised ; and the very names of a cricket bat and 
ball make linglish lingers tingle. What happy days must ' Long 
Robinson * have p.'LSficd in getting ready his wickets and mending his 
bats, who when two of the fingers of hia right-hand were struck off 
by the violence of a ball, had a screw fastened to it to hold the bat, 
and with the other hand still sent the ball thundering against the 
boards that bounded OU LoriPs cncttt^roiinJ \ What delightful 
hours rauHi hare ix-en hih in looking forward to the matches ihnt were 
to come, in recounting the feats he had performed in those that were 
past! I have myiiclt whiled aw.-iy whole mornings in seeing him 
strike the ball (like a countryman mowing with a scythe) to the 
farthest extremity of the smoutb, level, sun-burnt ground, and with 
]ong> awkward stride* count the ootches that made victory sure! 
mtm XII. : i 17 



MERRY ENGLAND 

Then again, cudcel-pUying, quarter-BUfT, bull and badger-budng, 
cock-fighting arc almosi the peculiar divertiioas of thii isbod, ud ohea 
objected to us as barbaroiu and cniel ; horse-raciag it the delight and 
the ruin of numbers ; and the oobie science of boxing is all our own. 
Foreigners can scarcely ondemind how we can squeeze pleasure out 
of this pastime ; the luxury of hard blowR given or received ; the joy 
of the ring ; nor the pcnctrrance of the combatants.' The EngUsh 
alio excel, or are not excelled in wiring a hare, in stalking a dcrr, in 
shootings liihing, and hunting. England to this day boasts her Robin 
Hood and his merry itk-d, that stout archer and outlaw, and patron- 
sabt of the sporting-calendar. What a cheerful sound is that of the 
huotcr)« issuing from the autumnal wood and sweeping orer hill and 
d^e! 

' A cry mote tuneable 

Wu never halloo'd to by hound or horn.' 

What sparkling richness in the scarlet coats of the riders, what a 
glittering confusion in the pack, what spirit in the horses, what eager- 
ness in the followers on foot, as they disperse orer the plain, or force 
their way over hedge and ditch ! Surely, the coloured prinu and 
pictures of these, hung up in gentlemen's balls and village alehouses, 
bowcTer humble as works of »rt, have more life and health and spirit 
in them, and mark the pith and nerre of the national character more 
creditably than the mawkish, BrDtimeaial* affected designs of Theveui 

' 'The gentle *nd fntfMtnge of irnia st Aihbjr' wat, we ire talA^ so called bjr 
the Cbfonicttii i>f the limr, nn account of the feata of bofcnuothip and the 
quantity of kninbtty bl^od ihit wai iheil. Tbli Isit cifctiintuace wai pethapt 
ncceMary to qualify rt vrtih the irpitltci of 'fcntlc,' In tbe opinion cf some of ihne 
hUtorisoa. I (hink the tcuoD why the Enclitfa are the braveit natMO on earth it, 
Ihst the thought of blood or a delight in cniclty ia not the chief excitement with 
then. Where it ia, there ia neceMarily a rtaetiM ; for though tt may add to out 
'-aicfneM and aava^e fcrocitj' in inttictins woonda, it <lo«a not enable d» to endiuc 
them with freater pailencc. The En; liah an led to the attack or auiliin it equally 
mil, becaitte tliey Ajht aa they box, not out of matice, but to ihow fluek and inan- 
hoo^t PMr pUy mtJ tU t^iiaad yir n^r I Th:i i« the pnlj buvery thai will 
sUnd the test. Ther« ii the aame determinalian and ipirit ahown In miiunce u 
In sttsdt t but not the aaone pleaiurt in getting a cut with a aabre a* in gi*to( one. 
There U, therefore, alwayi a certain degree of elTeminacy mixed up with any 
apprMch to cruelly, aince both have their Morev tn the aame prineiple, via. an 
0wcf>valuin| of pain. {«} Tliia wa* the reiioa the French [having the beat ante 
and the beat general in the world] raa away at Waterloo, bccanae they were 
inAanied, furtoui, dnink with the blood of their enen)ir», but when it came to 
their luiii, wanilng the tame atirnolua, cbcy were panic-atruek, and thcit bcarti 
•nd lh*i> Mnaea failrd them all jt oner. 

{») Vaflily i« the aame half-wiiied peineiple, compared with pride. Tt leaves 
■n in ihr lurch when it i* moit needed ; ii mortified at beinj; reduced to (tsnd 
«n Uk ilefajialwe, and rclinquiahea the field to its more nrtjr antaeonitt. 
18 



MERRY ENGLAND 



I 



anj Pirtthoua, and iEocas and Dido, pasted on foreign laloni a tnoTtja-f 
and the interior of country-housca. If our tastes are nut epic, nor our 
pretentions lofty, they are timple and our own j and we may possibly 
enjoy our native rural sjioru, and tlie rude remembrancet of them, with 
ihe truer rettih on this account, that they are suited to us and we to 
tbcm. The Hnjilish daiioo, too, arc oaiurally * brothers of the naglt.' 
This pursuit implies just that mixture of patience and pastime, of 
vacancy and ihougbtfuincss, of idleness and buiineu, of pfcaiiure and 
of pain, which is tmitcd lu the genius of an UngliElinian, and as I 
suspect, of no one else in the same degree. He is eminently gifted to 
stand in the situation assigned by Dr. Johnson to the angler, ' at one 
end of a rod with a worm at tJie other.* I should suppose no 
language can show such a book as an often-mentioned one, 'Walton's 
Complete Angler,' — bo full of naivtte, of unalfeclcd sprighttiness, 
oi busy tritting, of dainty songs, of refreshing brooks, of shady 
arboun, of happy thoughts and of the herb called Heart i Eate ! 
Some persons can see neither the wit nor wisdom of this genuine 
Tolume, ai if a book as well as a maa might not have a personal 
character belonging to it, amiable, renenhle from the spirit of joy and 
thoroogh goodness it manifests, indepcodcDtJy of acute remarks or 
Ecienttnc discoveries; others object to the cruelty of Walton's theory 
and practice of trout-fishing — for my pan, I should as soon charge an 
infant with auelty for killing a Hy, and I feel the same sort of pleasure 
in reading his book as I should have done in the company of this 
happy, cbild-like old man, watching his ruddy cheek, his laughing rye, 
the kindness of his heart, and the dexterity of his hand in seizing his 
ftony prey 1 It must be confessed, there is often an odd sort of 
matrruiily in English sports and recreations. I have known several 
persons, whose existence consisted wholly in manual exercises, and 
all whose enjoyments lay at their finger-eods. Their greatest happi- 
ness was in cutting a stick, in mending a cabhage-net, in digging a hole 
in the ground, in hitting a mark, turning a lalhe, or in something else 
of the same kind, at which they had a certain iiiaci. Well is it 
when we can amuse otirselvc* with such trifles and without injury to 
others ! This class of character, which the Spectator has immonaliscd 
in the person of Will Wimble, is still common among younger 
brothers ai>d gentlemen of retired incomes in town or country. The 
Cwkacy character is of our F.nglish growth, as this intimates a feverish 
fidgety delight in rural ughts and sounds, and a longtnt; wish, after 
the turmod and confinement of a city-life, to transport oiie's-self tothe 
freedom and breathing sweetness of a country retreat. London is 
half suburbs. The suburbs of Paris are a desert; and you see nothing 
but crazy wind-mills, stone-walls, and a few straggling visitanu in 

'9 



MERRY ENGLAND 

■pots where in Eogland yoa would find a thousand nllu, a thousand 
t«mce< croword with their own delights, or be itunocd with the 
ooise or bowIing-grccDi and tea-gardens, or aifled with the ftimcB ol 
tobacco mingling with frsgnnt shrubt, or the cloudi of du&t raised by 
half the population of the trMtropolb pautiDg and toiling in warch M 
a mouiiiful of fresh air. The Parisian ii, perhap*, as well (or better) 
contented with himself wherever he is, stewed in his shop or hti 
garret; the Londoner is miserable in these circumstances, awi glad to 
escape from them.' I.ct no one object to the ;»loomy appearance of 
a London Sunday, compared with a Parisian one. It is a part of our 
politics and our religion : wc would not have James the First's* Book 
of Sports' thrust down our throats : and besides, it is a pari of oar 
character to do one tiling at a time, and not to be dancing a jig and 
on our knees in the same breath. It is tn>e the LCngliahroan spends 
his Sunday evening at the ale-house — 

' And e'en on Sunday 

Dnnk with Kinon Jean till Monday ' — 

bat be only unbends and waxes mellow by degrees, and tits soaking 
till he can neither sit, stand, nor go : it is his vice, and a beastly one 
it is, but not a proof of any inherent distaste to mirth or good-fellow- 
ship. Neither can tbrcigncrs throw the carnival in our lerth with 
any effect : those who have seen it (at Florence, for ejtample), will 
say that it is duller than any thing in England. Our Bartholomew- 
Fair is Queen Mab herself to it ! What can be duller than a parcel 
of masks moving about the streets and looking as grave and mono- 
tonous as poMiblc from day to day, and with the same lifeless formality 
in their limbs and gestures as in their features * One might as well 
expect variety and spirit In a procetsioo of waxwork. We muGt be 
hard run indeed, when we have recourse to a pasteboard proxy to set 
off our mirth : a mask may be a very good cover for licentiousncsi 
(though of that I saw no tigns), but it is a very bad expooeot of wit 
and humour- I should suppo*e there is more drollery and unction in 
the caricatures in Gilray'sahop-window, than in all the nuuka in Italy, 
without exception.* 

The humour of English writing and description has often been 
wondered at; and it flows from the same source as the merry 

• The Eoflisb »re fond o( chinje of scene % the Frcocb of dunjc of poitnre ; 
the ItilUai tike to sit still tad do noihiag. 

* Belli are peculiar lo England. They jioEle ttiem m tmly Ouring iIm carnival 
as bo]rm do with ui at Shroveti'lc ; bat they ha«« no Dalian of ringing iben. The 
Manil of vilUge btlU ncTcr cberti yon in trsvcUin;, nor luve yoa the lute or 
cittern in thrir *[eiil. Tkr cipreiiion of ' Merry Belli* b a favourite and not one 
of ibe least appropriaU in our laD|iu|e. 

SO 



fERR' 



INGLAND 



trixki of our character. A degree of burbariim and rusticity wcnii 
necfSfiary tu the perfection oi huinuur. The droll and laughable 
idepcDd on peculiarity and iocoogruity of character. But with the 
^STogrefit of refinrniCDt, the peculiarities of iDdividuals and of ctasapa 
wear out or Iok their iharp, abrupt edges ; nay, a ceruin slowncu 
and dulne«s of uoderttaadiRg is re<]uir«d to be struck with odd and 
nnzccoiintable appcamnccB, for which a greater facility of apprehension 
' cao sooDer assign an explanation that break* the force of the eeemiog 
^absurdity, and to which a wider scope of imagiDation is more easily 
recoDcilcd. Clowns and country people are more amu*ed, are more 
disposed to laugh and m;ike spurt ot the dreu of Btraogert, liecause 
from their ignorance the sorprise is greater, and they cannot conceive 
any tiling to be natural or proper to which they are unused. Without 
a given portion of hardness and repulsiveoess of feeling the lodicrous 
cannot well exist. Wonder, and curiovity, the attributes of inex- 
perience, enter greatly into its composition. Now it appears to me 
that the English are (or were) ju« at tliat mean point betwcea 
intelligence and obtuseness, which must produce the most abundant 
and happiest crop of humour. Atwurdity and singularity glide over 
the French mind without jarring or jostling with it ; or they evapo- 
rate in levity: — with the Italians they arc lost in indolence or 
pleasure. The ludicrous takes hold of the EogUih imagination, 
and dings (o it with all its ramiGcttions. Wc resent any ditTerence 
or peculuriiy of appearance at first, and yet, bariDg not much malice 
at our hearts, wc are glad to turn it into a jest-~we are liable to be 
offeoded, and as willing to b« pleased — -struck with oddity from not 
knowing what to make of it, we wonder and bunt out a laughing at 
the eccentricity of others, while we fallow our own bent from wilful- 
Dcfs or simplicity, and thus atford them, in our turn, matter for the 
indulgence of the comic vein. It is jHKsible thai a greater refinement 
of manners may give birth to finer diBiinctiont of satire and a nicer 
tact for (he ridiculous: but our iasujar situation and character are, I 
should say, most likely to foeteri as they have in fact fostered, the 
greatest quantity of natural and striking humour, in spite of oar 
plodding tcnaciouuiess, and want both of gaiety and quickness of 
perceptioo. A set of raw rccrvits with their awkward movemcnti 
and unbending joinu are laughable enough : but they cease to be so, 
when they have once been drilled into discipline and uniformity. 
So it is with nations that lose their angular points and grotesque 
^uahties with education and intercourse: but it is in a mixed state 
of manners that comic humour chiefly tlourishcs, for, in order that 
the drollery may not be lost, we must have spectators of the passing 
•ceoc who are able to appreciate and embody its most remarkable 



MERRY ENGLANT> 



features, — wits as well as iuiU for ridicule. I shall fmrntion two 
names in this department, which may serv« to redeem the oational 
character from abwlute dulnesi and solemo pretence, — Fielding and 
Hogarth. These were thorough ipecimens of true Hngliah humour ; 
yet both were grave men. In reality, too high a pitch of animal 
EpiritA runs away wiih the imagination, instead of helping it to reach 
the goal ; is inclined to take the Jest for granted when it ought to 
work it out with patient and marked touches, and it ends in vapid 
flippancy and iinpertineoce. Among our neighbours on the Continent, 
Molierc and Rabelais carried the freedom of wit and humour to an 
almoKE incredible height; but they rather belonged to the old French 
school, and even approach and exceed the linglith licence and 
extravagance of conception. I do not consider Congrcrc's wit 

J though it belongj to us) as coming under the article here spoken of; 
or hit genius is any thing but merty. Lord Byron was in the habit 
of railing 3i the spirit of our good old comedy, and of abusing 
Shakapcate's Clowns and Fools, which he eaid the reftDcment of the 
French and Italian stage would not endure, and which only our 
grostnets and puerile taste could tolerate. In this I agree with him ; 
and it is f>at tu my purpose. I Dattcr myself that we are almost the 
only people left who understand aod relish nonienie. We arc not 
' merry and wise,' but indulge our mirth to excess and folly. When we 
trifle, we trifle in good earneet ; and baring once relaxed our hold of 
the helm, drift idly down the stream, and delighted with the cliange 
are tossed ^xnit * by every little breach ' of whim or capricei 

'That under Heaven i» blown.' 

All we then want is to proclaim a truce with reason, and to be 
pleased with as little expense of thought or pretention to wisdom at 
pofiiibte. This licensed fooling is carried to its very utmost length 
in Shaktpeare, and in tome other of our elder dramatists, without, 
perhaps, sufficient warrant or the tame excuse. Nothing can justify 
this extreme relaxation but extreme tension. Shakaiware's irifiing 
does indeed tread upon the very borders of vacaocy : hit mcaniog 
often hangs by the very slrnderest threads. For this he might be 
blamed if it did not tiltc away our breath to follow his eagle flights, 
or if he did not at other times make the cordage of our bcorU crack. 
After our heads ache with thinking, it is fair to play the fool. The 
clowns were as proper an appendage to the gravity of our antique 
literature, as foob and dwarfs were to the stately dignity of count 
and noble houtci io former days. Of all people, they hare the be« 
right to claim a total exemption from rules and rigid formality, who, 
vhen they have any thing of importance to do, set about it with the 

33 



4 



MERRY ENGLAND 



greatest eamcKtoess aod perseverance, and are generally grave and 
lober to a proverb.' Poor Swift, who wrote more idle or nmirnte 
Tcnes thaa any man, was the KTcreM of moralists ; and bis feelingii 
aod observations morbidly acute. Did not Lord Byron himaeif 
follow up his Childe Harold with his Don Juan ? — twt that I insist 
OD what he did as an illustration of the English charaaer. He was 
one of the Bnglish Nobtlity, not one of the tinglitb People ; and bis 
occasional ease ainl familiarity were in my oitnd equally constrained 
and affected, whether in relation to the pretensions of his rank, or the 
cfTorts of his genius. 

They ask you in France, how you pass your time in England 
without amusentcnts ; and caa with difficulty believe that there are 
theatres in Loodon, still less that they are larger and handsomer than 
those in Paris. That we should have comic actors, 'thcj* own, 
surprises them.' They judge of the English character tn the lump 
as one great jolter-head, containing alt the stupidity of the country, 
as the targe ball at the tup of the Dispenury in Warwick-lane, from 
Us reaemblance to a gilded pill, has been made to represent the whole 
pfaarmacopoeia and professional cjuacliery of the kingdom. They 
Bave DO more notion, for insuncc, how wc should have such an actor 
«• Luton on our suge, than if we were to tell them we have parts 
performed by a sea-otter ; nor if they were to see him, would they 
be much the wiser* or know what to think of his unaccountable 
twitches of couctenaocc or non^descript gestures, of his teeth chatter- 
ing in his head, his eyes that seem dropping from their t^ockets, his 
nose that ii tickled by a jest at by a feather and shining with telf- 
complacency as if oiled, his ignorant conceit, his gaping stupor, his 
lumpish viTAcity in Lubtn Log or Tony Lumpkin ; for as our rivals 
do not wiihI up the machine to such a determined intensity of purpose, 
neither ha»e they any idea oi m running down to nuch degrees of 
imbecility and folly, or coming to an absolute itand-ttill and lack 
of meaning, nor can they enter into or be amused with the contrast. 
No people ever laugh heanily who can give a reason for their doing 
to: and I believe the EngliBh in general are not yet in this predica- 
ment. They are not mei.iphysical, but very much in a state of 
nature ; and ibis is one main ground why I give them credit for 
being metry, doi withstanding appearances. Their mirth is not the 
mirth of vice or desperation, but of innocence and a native wildness. 
They do not cavil or boggle .it niceties, and not merely come to the 
edge of a joke, but break their necks over it with a wanton ' Here 

goes,' where others make a pirouttle ard stand upon deconun. The 
• 

' IV itnci formalitv af French Krio^ii wntin; is resorted to as a foil to the 
nstHnl ttvity of their clurscter. 

«3 



MERRY ENGLAND 

Pirnch cannot, however, be persoidcd oF the excellence of our comic 
stage, nor of the store we Bet by it. When they ask what amune- 
meats we ha»c, it is plain they can never have heard of Mr*. Jordan, 
nor King, not Bannister, nor Suctt, nor Mundeo, nor Lewis, nor little 
Simmons, nor Dodd, and ParRons, and Emery, and Mia Pope, and 
Mils FarrcD, and aII thoie who even in my time have gladdened a 
TiMion and < made life's biuinesit like a summer's dream.' Can I tliink 
of them, and of their narnf^R that glittered in the play-bilU when I was 
young, exciting all ihe flutter of hope and expectation of seeing tliem 
in their favourite parts of Nell, or Little Pickle, or Touchstone, or 
Sir Peicr Teazle, or Lenitive in the Prize, or Lingo, or Crabirce, 
or Nipperkin, or old Dornton, or Ranger, or tlie Copper Captoia, or 
Lord Sands, or Filch, or Moses, or Sir Andrew Aguecheek, or 
Acres, or HIbow, or Hodge, or Flora, or the Duenna, or Lady 
Teazle, or Lady Grace, or of the gaiety (hat eparlcled io all eyes, 
and the delight chat overflowed all hearts, as they glanced before ua 
ID tl]e«c parts, 

* Throwing a gaudy shadow upon life,* — 

and not feel my heart yearn within me, or couple the thoughts of 
HngLmd and the spleen together? Our cloud has at least its rainbow _ 
tints} our* i> not one long polar night of cold and dulness, but we H 
have the gleaming lights of fancy to amuse us, the houHehold fires of ^ 
truth and genius to warm us. We can go to a play And see r>istDo ; 
or stay at home and read Roderick Random ; or have Hogarth's 
prints of Marriage a In Made hanging round our room. *Tutl 
iJiere 's livers even in England,' as well as * out of it.* We are not 
tjniie the forlorn Inpe of humanity, the last of nations. The French 
look at u» across the Channel, and seeing nothing but water and a 
cloudy mist, think that this is England. 

♦ What '» our Britain 

In the world's volume > In a great pool a kvran'i nest.' 

If they have any farther idea of us, it is of George in. and our Jack 
tors, the House of Lords and House of Commons, and this is no 
great addition to ua. To go beyond this, to talk of arts and 
elegances as having taken up their abode here, or to say that Mrs. 
AluDgtoa was equal to Mademoiselle Mars ^d that we at one lime 
got up the • School for Scandal,* as they do tlic • Misanthrope,' is to 
persuade them that Iceland is a pleasant summer- retreat, or to recom- 
roeod the whale-tishery as a classical amutemcot. The French arc 
the eoftneyt of Europe, and have no idea how any one can exist out 
of Paris, or be alive without incessant grimace and Ja6&er. Yet what 



MEnnV ENGLAND 

impons it? What ! though (he joyous train I bare just enumernred 
w»e, perhaps, oever heaid of in ibe preciocu of the Palaie-Royal, U 
it not enough that they cave pleanire where they were, to those who 
taw ud heard them ? Must our laugh, to be Biacere, have its echo 
on the other bide of the water? Had not the French their favourites 
Bod their eojoymctits at the time, that we knew nothJog of? Why 
then should wc not h^vr ours (and Ixiast of ihein too] without their 
leave ? A moropoly of self-conceit is not a trvonojmly of all other 
advantafjes. The tlDgtigli, when they go abroad, do not take away 
the prejudice against them by their looks. Wc eeem duller and 
■adder than wc arc. Aa I write this, 1 am sitting in the open air in 
a beautiful valley, neat Vcvey : Clarcne is on my left, the Dent de 
Jamam is behind mc, the rocks of Meillerie opposite : under my 
feet is a green bank, enamelled with while and purple flowers^ in 
which a dew-<lrop here and there still glitters with pearly light — 

' And gaudy butterAieh flutter around.' 

Intent upon the scene af>d upon the thoughu that stir within tne, I 
conjure up the cheerful pauaces of niy lile, and a crowd of happy 
images appear before mc. No one would see it in my looks — my 
eyes grow dull and fixed, and I seem rooted to the spot, as all this 
phantasmagoria pafisrs in review before me, glaocing a reflex lustre 
OD the face of the world and nature. But the traces of pleasure, in 
ray case, sink into an absorbent ground of thoughtful melancholy, 
and require to be brought out by time and circumstances, or (aa the 
critics tell you) by the vamtth of style! 

The comfort^ on which the l-inglish lay so much stress, is of the 
ume charaaer, and arises from the same source as their mirth. Both 
exist by contrast and a sort of contradiction. The English arc 
certainly the most uocomforuble of all people in themselves, and 
therefore it is that they stand in oeed of every kind of comfort 
and accommodatioa. The least thing puts them out of their way, 
and therefore every thing must be in its fJace. They arc mightily 
otfendcd at disagreeable tastes and smells, and therefore they exact 
the utnioct neatocsa and nicety. They are sensible of heat and cold, 
and therefore they cannot exist, unless every thing is snug and warm, 
or else open and airy, where they are. They must have • all 
appliances and means to boot.' They are afraid of interruption and 
iotnision, and therefore they shut themselves up in in-dr>or enjoymeats 
and by their own fireside*. It i* ool that they require luxuries (for 
that implies a high degree of epicurean indulgence .ind gratificatioD), 
bat they cannot do without ihrir (omforh ; that i», whatever tends to 
supply their physical wants, and ward ofT physical pain aiKl annoyance, 

*5 



OF PERSONS ONE WOULD 

Ai they luvr Dot a fond of asiinal tpiiits and cnjoymeou in tbem- 
kIt«s, tbey ding to exunul objecu for aupporif aod derive BoUd 
auisficcioa from tbe ideas of order, clcaaliness, plentyt property, and 
domestic quiet, u tbey aeet for diveruoo irom odd accideou and 
grotesque turpriseSf aiid have the bighcst possible relish oot of 
vdaptuoitt aoltncss, but of hard knocks and dry Uowi* u one meaui 
of iscf rtaioiof their pcreooal ideatity. 



OF PERSONS ONE WOULD WISH TO 
HAVE SEEN 



Tit Ken U$Mify JU^MM.] 



[Jtmrnaiy, iit6. 



' Come like •badov 



ikparL* 



B it was, I think, who niggetted this subject, as veil ac the 

defrocc of Guy Faux, which I urged htm to exectrtc. As, howerer, 
be would undertake aetther, I suppose I mud do both — a task for 
which he would have been much fitter, do lew from the temerity than 
the felicity of his pen — 

' Nerer so sure our rapture to mate 
As when it touch 'J the brink of all we hate.* 

Compared with htm I shall, I fear, make but a commonplace piece 
of biuiness of it ; but I iihould be loth the idea was entirely lost, and 
besides I may avail my»elf of some hints of his in the progress of it. 
I am sometimes, I suspect, a bc!tt» reporter of the ideas of othcr 
people thiin expounder of my own. I pursue the one too far into 
paradox or mysticism ; the others I am not bound to follow farther 
than [ like, or than seems fiir and reasoitable. 

On the question iKiog surted, A said, * I suppose the two 

lirst persons you would choose to see would be tbe two greatest 
Dame* m English literature, Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Locke?* 

Id this A' ; as usual, reckoaed vilhout his host. Every one 

burst out a laughing at the expression of B 's lace, in which 

impatience was restrained by courtesy. ' Ye«, the greatcn lumet,' 
he stammered out hastily, ' but they were not persons — not pereofta.' 

— * Not persons ? ' said A , looking wise and foolish at the same 

time, afraid his triumph might bo premature. 'That is,' rejoined 
B — ■ — , 'not characters, you know. By Mr. Locke and Sir Isaac 
Newton, you mean the Essay on the Human Understanding, and the 
Prindfiia, which we have to this day. Beyond their contents there 
is nothing nersooally interesting in the men. But what we want to 

36 



WISH TO HAVE SEEV 

Kc any one Miy for, U when (here is somethuig peculiar, itrtking in 
tfar iixlividuale, more than wc can leam from their writings, and yet 
are cnrious to know* I dare say Locke and Newtoo were rery like 
Knclln-'s portrait* of them. But who could paiot Shakipcarc ? ' — 

' Ay,* retorted A , ' there it is ; then I suppose you would prefer 

seeing him and Milton instead?' — 'No,' said B , 'neither. I 

have seen so much of Shakspcarc on itic stage and on book-staJis, in 
frontupieces and on mantle -pieces, that I am quite tired of the erer- 
lasttDg repetition : and as to MUioh'r face, ihr impressions that h.iTe 
come down tu us of it 1 do Dot like; it is too starched acd puri- 
tanical ; and I should be afraid of losing some of the manna ot bis 
poetry in the leaven of his countenance and the precisian's band and 

gown." — * 1 shall guess i» more,' nid A . ' Who is it, then, 

you would like to sec **in his habit as he lived," if you h-id your 

choice of ihe whole range of English literature ? ' B chco named 

Sir ThomaB Brown and Fulke Grerille, the friend of Sir Philip 
Sidney, as the two woithies whom he should feel the greatest 
pleasure to encounter on the Boor of his apartment in their ni^t- 
gown and slipperSf nnd to exchange friendly greeting with them. At 

this A laughed outright, and conceived B - was jesting with 

him { but as no one followed his example, he thought there might be 
something in it, and waited for an explanation in a state of whimsical 
luspense. B— — then (as well as I can remember a conversation 
that passed twenty years ago— how time slips ! ) went on an follows. 
'The reason why I pitch upon these two authors is, that their 
wntisgs are riddles, and they themselves the must mysterious uf 
personages. They resemble the soothsayers of old, who dealt in 
dark hints and doubtful oracles ; and I should like to ank tliem the 
meaniog of what no monal but themselves, I should suppose, can 
fathom. There is Dr. Johnson, I hare no curiosity, no strange 
uncertainty about him : he and Buswell together have pretty well let 
me into the tectet of what panted through his mind. Ke and other 
writers like him are sul^ciencly explicit : my friends, whose repose I 
should be tempted to disturb, (were tt in my power) we impHcit( 
ioextricable, inscrutable. 

" And call up him who left half-iold 
The stoiy of (Jambu&ran bold." 

* When 1 look at that obscure but gorgeous prose-composition (the 
Um-hunal) I seem to myself to look into a deep abyss, at the bottom 
of which are hid pearls and rich treasure ; or it is like a stately 
labyrinth of doubt aod withering speculatioo, and I would invoke the 
•pifit of the auibot to lead me through it. Besides, who would not 

a? 



OF f BR30NS ONE WOULD 



W wiww » ■» dW tmmman af a nu who, hanng faim«lf bra 
ft««kv noirinL ««Aa^ ifttt aMkiad were propa^inj &je atet ! At 
tw h<.l' ^Vk be B tte oBtfaKj bat ooe of hk owa 

i|N«kjtu ~v ^~ ^Bmi of « oU k»g of Onm>," a tmly {oraudM^ 
^ '-- --^-^g |an«it*: hi* ttjte ■ apootypdcd, fihaRmnI, a kxM 
««nlly of Mtik «tt ifiiririBii to ontit ; and for the imnTelGDg a 
MtMfv at VMh t wawl ■■*! tbc brunt of an encnantcr wilb m 

mt^mtmm * ««MBnMHr ! '— * I am afiaul in that cue,' mk) A aj 

Mi^ if th» «yM«T ««* (Mcr clraml up, the nient mi^t be Ion ; '1 

'Mil IM«ll( te aa^ y^kftKd » ineadly apprehcnaioQ, chat wbtle 

Hi ■! <tMlitoHAi»adBa>«chc«ald crabbed author*, be would dctct 

^p ^ vwMf I |[n|ii>ir W W > Dr. Utoooe vaa mmboocd aa i vriui af J 

VIA itafukii ibA «te« m aw f » often qvia aa unfwwtoA&yj 
hMMI • inMMil eteiM fivn dK dead, at thai of any of hia 
tiMMinW^ Tbe ««&■■> vaa wodoccd; ood while tome cmx 
*ai »i|Myil>^ m Ih* « n iMii w MBtAdry and beamy of the portrait 

|tnA«M w tkw aU nkoMv A gpt bo[(l of the poetry, and 

HvUtiMldc * WW luw «• Wn ? * icad ibc follawtDg : — 

« llv(« Um « Sh»4Mtt aad ■ He-Moon thett, 
• ll* ba* Idta to btt where, 
>«Wlk«ria.ai>d«i 
rh*r vnto nut aaatbu MAiog owt.' 

'4 iw naiat^ tWa^ 131 B , adzing the volume, turned 

>>>u) * l.iM* hi y* UHim^' rli—arfing her ft^om accom- 

hiiti «tu\ud« tMi md thtw wsh ailfuBcd feature* nd a 

iMtgWt 

* Ity vur Am aiHM and iMkI inttnirw, 
Hv ill ,U4m ^tkStk ibaMf <Bd ensue, 
Mj uot Uti4[ aiMt^ kiap«H by dut rnnone 
Whkli iHV wvAb* ^iTiiliiM pmuasirr fbm 
Hmm \n ihrr, mhI by the uaman 
IH nuns which tftn atMl mak tWaieo'd roe, 
t t*\»\h iffn- Mm by tby faihrr'i wrath. 
Mt aU |>4>ii* whtrh <«iBt and (linHrrnunt hath, 
I (tutjiiii* tltr« ( and aB the oath* whrch I 
Ami ihitii havT «wi.tni to ml joint constancy 
Hrir t uiiiwr«t,aiid ovmwear th<m thus, 
Thitti thalt Hi>t lm» by wmri so JuigtrofB. 
Trmprr. nh fair U«-c ! lovii impettiou* ragr, 
Sf my tnjf mirtiTM »iill, not my ftxgtt'd P»e | 
I'll (p>, and, by thy kinit leave, Inre bchiiuT 
Thee, only wonhy to nunc in my niDd. 
99 






WISH TO HAVE SEEN 



Tbirst to come hark ^ oh, If ihnit <1ir before, 

Mr (Out (nm other Undx to thee xhall «oitr. 

Tnjr (eUe Almighty) beauty cannot inovc 

Rage from ihc seas, nor thy love (each ibcm lorr. 

Nor toine wild Borea&' hanhneu ; thou hasi read 

How roughly he in piecei shiver'd 

Fair Orithea, whom he (won: he Iot*<I. 

Fall ill or good, 'tin madness to hsTc pror'd 

Dangers unurg'd: Feed on this flanervt ' 

That abitent lover* one with ih' other be. 

Diweinblc nothing, not a boy ; nor change 

Thy hody's tiabit, nor mind j be not nrangc 

To (hysclf only. All will ipy in thy face 

A blLishing, womanly. diu:ovcriiig grat'c. 

Richly eioih'il apc» are called ape*, anil an »oon 

Eclipc'd as bright we rail tlie moon the moon. 

Men of France, changeable cameleom, 

SpitllcN of di!icuc», shops of fa>hion^, 

Lnve'i fiiellers, and the righiett company 

Of playen, which ii^Min the world't (^ge be. 

Will quickly know thee. . . . O iCty here ! for thee 

Englarid is only a worthy gallery. 

To walk in expectation^ till from thence 

Our greatest King call thee to hi^ presence. 

When I am gone, dream me some happiness. 

No* let thy lookt our long hid lowc confew. 

Nor praiM, nor ditpnive me ; nor bleu, nor ctirsc 

Openly love's force, nor in bed fright thy narte 

With midnight slartings, cr^'ing out. Oh, oh. 

Nunc, oh, my love ■> *Tain, I »aw him go 

O'er the white Ahw alone j 1 jaw him, I, 

AsAail'd. light, taken, ttabb'c!, bleed, fall, and die. 

Augur me Dcttef chance, except dread Jove 

Think it enough for me to have had thy love.' 

Some oDe then iiK|airet] i>f B if we cotild not lec from the 

window the Temple-walk in which Chaucer used to take his exercise ; 
and OD bis Dame being put to the vote> I was pleased to 6ad that there 

wma a general Eensatiun in hta favour in all but A , who said 

•oinething about the ruggedness of the metre, and even objected to 
the quaintnesa of the orthography. I was vexed at this superficial 
gloM* pcrtinacioualy reducing every ihinp to it,i own trite level, and 
aaked * if he did not think it would be worth while to scao the eye 
that h»d first greeted the Muse io tli^i dim twilight and early d;iwn 
of IitigliEh literature ; to kc the head, round which the visions of 
fancy must have played like gleams of inspiration or a sudden glory; 
to watch those lips th:it ** limped in iHimbers, for the Dumbers came " 

19 



OF PERSONS ONE WOULD 



by a Mndt, oc u if the domb d 
Ik had been the fint to mae bit 



^eok I Nor was it aloiK 
mope {boWTcr impet- 



i) ; boi be <ru himidf a nobk, maaiy character. 



tbdnre Ui igr lad gu-mn^ to adrance k ; a 

oohr banded don ti> m tfac fiviog 



nmioBntt 



bad, no doubt. Hare of 



aad ({ttiint devices^ 



Tabard. 
r vkb Fecrafdk is rimlM wkb ntcfcat. Yet I wootd 
Mcn CbaaccT m maiiiay «ub ibe aufaor of cbr 
,aad bafcbeudtbctBcxaiMfetbeirbeK Konca togetber. 
d^ SfHv** Tik apiM tbe Stscy «< tbe Falow. ibe Wife of Batb'a 
VMa^r ipiMC tbe Admitcrca of Friar Alben. How fine to kc 
At b^ ■fMenoBi b(o« «bkb kaniac tbea vvrcy lelkwd by the 
P9^ f T low of Bca of ibe voM, asd by tbe comics of 
9mm. S«lr,tbetbM«bBa^ fcdi^awbkhpaMd iteoogbtbe 

HBBB Ol MBC pvOt IK.IIIUI fla iBHliB|| tbcse CldOBMBS WDO HlVcd 

Ar KcA flf ktBen» ■■■. haic lOHfed ^ ^e|riwm oo their 
fcaaM^ aa tfcactt froat tbe Bodcfos a* tbcir faoolu, aad well worth 
I oaadBoed* *ii at io uffW io f a penoo as bii 
He iMoaneMi conooiy waaid aa cagniy dcwoof 
m iforit, sod tbe eoij ooe of tfac Iialni poeii 
1 ibHUorc ^Bck w K<e. ThenvafiDcaonnicof ArioKoby 00 
ItBabadAaolltiM**; li^ Moaritb, sfu i nd , !■ oot M sw eri Hg 
«K UcL TW aiMc aniK*« brge cobod frafile of ^aer Arctinc if 
Ac miffkasatrnti tbe kaid tbai bos tbo ^«ct af eaoicni^ with 
*Ac mi^Kf dad,** lod dot m noly yuia l, ^— ty, o wr oM i B ri c' 
B^^ |« « la ar if t iboaU Gfcr ID Kc SfCMT as wd ai Chaocff ; 



vHb kaa caiaAy Abh Ac hsk. nis aoeiry waa nc nacocc or 
■■^M^ a iny mIo nomI na KHot oiD n nMcy s oodtbcbnnpK 

•* -" - ^ -■ ■ . - «._ »• > -» « M_ - . - - - ^ • rnlilil 

€mme lyw ibe mUsboi cadaoe of bai «cne; oo farm bw of ■ 
■wydawB^ «MM«iewiA AeMtyihyahe ^Aimiinl He 
w {•» ov III I ) iMber «a cnatve of tbe dneni. tbit 

fiNil*^ I il I orf tfawd a^ Abird ctedw** tbaaa 

iilffiasiij J Ok if beAl aiav, I AoiUw^ it «• be asa 

of hi. WM »««. aid te be sfaNll r»a fa, 




«M be |*Vii« wihr w«>; ihte r 



M.C. 



WISH TO HAVE SEEN 



ihe lul was set aside as spurious, aod the 
World. 



I 
I 



Waodeiing Jew { 
lirst made over to the I 

< I shouid like,' sakl Miu D , ^ to have aeea Pope talking witb 

Patty Blount; and I have seen Goldsmith.' Every one turned 

round to look at Mit« D » a< if by to doing they too could get a 

sight of Goldsmith. 

* Where,' atked a bar«h croakiog voice, * was Dr. Johoioo io the 
years i 745-6 i He did oot write arty thiog tliat we know of, nor is 
there any account of htm in Botwell during those two years. Was 
lie in ScottaLd with the Pretender I He teems to have paa«ed 
through the scenes in the Highlands in company with Boswctl many 
years after " with lack-lustre eye," yet at if they were familiar to 
him, or associated in his mind with interests that he durst not explain. 
If so, it would be an additional reason for my liking him ; and I 
would give something to have seen him seated in the tent with the 
youthful Majesty of Britain, and penning the Proclamation to all true 
subjects and adherents of the legitimate GoTemmeot.' 

* I thought,* said A , turning short round upon D , ' that 

yoa of Uie Lake School did not like Pope?' — 'Not like Pope! 
My dear sir, you must be under a mistake — I can read him over aod 
over for ever ! ' — • Why certainly, the " Plssay on Man " must be 
master-piece.' — < It may be so, but I seldom look into iu' — * Oh ! 
thcD it's his Satires you admire?' — *No, not his Satires, but his 
friendly Epistles and bis compltmeou.' — ' Complimeots ! I did not 
know he ever made any.'— 'The finest,' said H- — -, » that were 
ever paid by the wit of man. Each of them is worth an estate for 
life — nay, is an immorulity. There is that superb one to Lord 
Combory : 

" Dc*pise low jo)-(, low gains ; 
DisOAin whatcvrr Conibury disdains; 
Be virtuous, and be happy far your paini." 

' Was there ever more artful insinuation of idolatrous praise f And 
then that noble apotheosis of his friend Lord Mansfield (however 
little deserved), whc:D, speaking of the House of Lords, he adds — 

" Contpicuuiii scene 1 another yet ii nigh, 
(More iilcni far) wlitre king* and poct^ lie j 
Where Murray (Inng enough hi* rountty's pride) 
Shall be no mure than Tully or than Hyde \ " 

' And with what a fine turn of lodignint flattery he addresses Lord 
Bolingbtoke — 

" Why rail they then, if but one wirath of mine, 
Ob ! all arcomplUh'd St. John, derk thy shrine > " 

3' 



PERSONS ONE WOULD 

' Or turn,' coiiununi B , with a. i)tj[bt hectic oa bis check and hU 

eye glisicning, 'to hit list of early fricods: 

" Bur why then mibliih f Gnnvilte the polite. 
Ami knowing Walih, would icll me I coiiM write t 
Wfll-iiaiurMl Gutti tiiiUmrd with early praitc, 
And Cotimvc tavrd and Swift mdund my layi: 
The oounly Txibot. Somen>, Shelliekl md, 
Ev'n mitred RochrMer would nod the hejd j 
And Si. John'* *cll' (grral Drydcn"« friend beftiiT) 
Kfecivcil with open anm one port more. 
Ilaiupy mv (itKlics if by ihcte approved I 
Happier tnetr nnthor, if bv thc^ helored ! 
From thew the worUt wilt judge of men and book*, 
Not from the Butnct*, Oldmixons and Cooks."* 

Here hit voice totally failed him, and tbrowitig down the book, he 
uid, ' Oo you thiok 1 would not wish to hare been frietid* with such 
a man u ihui ' 

•What aay you loDryden?* — 'He rather made » thow of him- 
•elf, aiKi courted popularity in that lowest temple of Fame, a 
cofiee>-houac» ko as in »omc measure to vulgarize one's idea of him, 
pDpCf OD the conuary, reached the very Ifau ideal of what a poet's 
life tthould lie t and his fame while living seemed to be ao emanation 
from that which wu to circle hi« name after death. He was so far 
enviable (and one would feel proud to have witnessed the rare spec- 
tacle in him) thai he was almost the only poet and man of genius who 
met with hit reward on ihia tide ot tli« tomb, who realized io ftirnds, 
fonune, the nteem of the world, the most sanguine hopes of a 
youthful ambition, and who found that *orI of patronage from (he 
great during his lifetime which thry would be thought anxious to 
bestow upon him after his death. Read Gay's verses to him oo bis 
supposed return from Greece, after his t/aoslatioo of Homer was 
finuhcd, and say if you would not gladly join the bright proccsBion 
that welcomed bim home, or see it once more land at Whitehall- 

stiiri).' — * Still,' said Miss D , * I would rather have seeii him 

talking with Patty mouot, or riding by in a corooet-coach wjih 
Lady Mary Wortiey Montagu ! ' 

E , who W3J> deep in a game of piquet at the other end of the 

room, whispered to M. C. to ask if Junius would tMK be a fit person 

to invoke from the dead. * Yes,' said B , * provided he would 

agree to lay aside his mask.' 

Wc were now at a stand for a short time, when Fielding was 
mentioned as a candidate : only one, however, seconded the pr<^x>si- 
tion. ' Richardson I ' — * By all means, but only to look at htm 

5» 



WISH TO HAVE SEEN 



I 



I 



through the glau-door of hii back-shop, hard at work upon one of hit 
novels (the most extiaordiiiary conuaat that ever wu preaented 
berwcm an author nrwl his works), hut not to let him come behind hU 
cotinter lest he should want you to turn customer, nor to go upttaUt 
with him, lest he nhould otfcr to read the first manuscript of Sir 
Charles Grandison, which was origiDaFly written in eight and twenty 
TolumcE octavu, or get out the Irtteisof his female coirrtpondeoCa, to 
pforr thnt Joseph Andrews was Jow/ 

There wat but one itatettnan in the whole of Engltth history that 
any one cxprcGGcd the tnu desire to see — Oliver Cromwell^wnh hit 
&De, frank, rough, pimply face, and wily policy : — and one enthusiast, 
John Bunyan, the immortal author of the Pilgrim's Progress. It 
■eciDcd that if he came into the room, dreams would follow him, and 
that each percon would nod under his golden ctoud, 'nigh-sphered to 
Heaven,' a canopy as strange and siately as ary in Homer. 

Of all persons near our own time, Garrick's oanie was recetred 

with the greatest enthusiasm, who was proposed by J. F . He 

presently superseded both Hof,arth and Handel, who had been talked 
o^ hot then it was on condition that he should act in tragedy and 
comedy, in the play and the farce, Lear and Wildair and Abel 
Dnigger. What a t't^hi for JOre tjet that would be ! Who would 
not part with a year h income at least, alnxxt with a year of his 
oatoral life, to be present at it ? Besides, as he could not act alone* 
and recitations are UDsalisfactory things, what a troop he muet bring 
with him — the silver-tongued carry* and Quin, and Shuter and 
Weston, and Mrs. Clive and Mrs. Pritchard, of whom I have heard 
my father speak as so great a favourite when he was young \ This 
would indeed be a revival of the dead, the restoring of art; and to 
much the more deEitable, as such is the lurking scepticism mingled 
with our overstrained admiration of past excellence, that though we 
have the speeches of Burke, the portraits of Reynolds, the writings of 
Goldsmith, and the conversation of Johrson, to show what people 
could do at that period, and to confirm the universal tesiintooy to the 
merits of Garrick ; yet, as it was before our time, we hare our 
misgiTings, as if he was probably after all little better than a Bartlemy- 
&ir actor, drecsed out to play Macbeth In a scarlet coat and laced 
cocked-hat. For one, I should like to have seen and heard with 
ray own eyes and ears. Certainly, by all accounts, if any one was 
ever moved by the true histrionic £itut^ it was Garrick. When he 
followed the Ghost in Hamlet, he did not drop the sword, as most 
actors do behind the scenes, but kept the point raised the whole way 
round, so fully was he possesied with the idea* or lo aoxioui not to 
lose sight of his part for a moment. Once at a splendid dioner-party 

TOL. xii, : c 33 



OF PERSONS ONE WOULD 

3t Lord 't, they luddcDly roiBScd Garrick, .ind could not imiginr 

what was become of him, tilt they were drawn to thr window by the 
conmlme screams aiwi pcals of laughter of a young negro boy, who 
was rolling on the ground in an ccKtacy of delight to sec Garrick 
iDimicing a turkry-cuck in th^c court-yard, with bis coat-tail stuck out 
behind, and in a seeming flutter of feathered rage and pride. Of our 
party only two persons present had seen the British Roscius ; and 
they leemed at wiliiog at the rrst to renew their acqiuinuncc whh 
their old favourite. 

We were interrupted in the hcy<day and mid-career of this fancifit] 
speculation, by a grumbler tn a corner, who declared it was a sharae 
to make alt this rout about u mete player and farce-writer, to the 
neglect ard exctuaioQ of the fine old dramatists, the con temporaries 

and rivala of Sbakspearc. B said he had anticipated this 

objection when he had named the author of Mustapha and Abham; 
and out of caprice insisted upon keeping him to lepre&cni the set, in 
preference to the wild liair-braincd enthusiast Kit Marlowe; to the 
sextoQ of St. Ann's, Webiur, with his melancholy yew-trees and 
deaih'e-hend8 ; to Decknr, who was but a ganntous pr oser ; to the 
voluminous Hcywood ; and even to Beaumcot ai>d Fletcher, whom 
we might offend by complimenting the wrong author on their joint 
productions. Lord Brook, on the contrary, stood quite by himself, 
or to Cowley's words, was 'avast species atone.' Some one hinted 
at the circumstance of his being a lord, which rather startled B , 
but he said ighctt would perhaps dispense with suHct etiquette, on 
being regularly addressed by liis title. Ben Jonson divided our 
su^ragcs pretty equally. Some were afraid he would begin to traduce 
Shakipeare, who w.-ls not present to defend himself. * If he gnrars 
disagreeable,' it was whispered aloud, 'there is G— can roaich 
him.' At length, his romantic t-tsit to Drummond of Hawthomden 
was mentioned, and turned the scale in his i^rour. 

B inquired if there was any one thai was hanged that I would 

choose to mention ? And I answered, liugene Aram.i The name 
of the 'Admirable Crichtoo ' was suddenly started as a spleodid 
example of lifasU talents, so different from the generality of hia 
countrymen. This choice was mightily approved 1:^ a Korth-BritoD 
preKDtf who declared himself descended from that prodigy of learning 
and accomplishment, and said he had family-plate in his possession is 
Touchers for the fact, with the inhiali A. C. — ^dmiralit Criehtom! 

H laughed or rather roared as heartily at this as I should thtak 

he has done for many years. 



S4 



) S«e Hcwgite CslcDdar for 175$. 



WISH TO HAVE SEEN 



I 

! 

I 



The last-named Mitre-CDUiticr ' tbra wished to know whether there 
were any meuphysicians to whom odc might be tempted to apply the 
wizard spell '. 1 replied, there were only six id modern times 
dcwrving the name — Hobbes, Berkeley, Butler, Hartley, Hume, 
Lribaitz ; and perhaps Jonathan Kdward*, a MaasiichuEctt man.' 
As to the French, who talked fiuently of having ereatfd this science, 
there was not a title io any of their writings, that was not to be found 
literally in the authors 1 had mentioned. [Home Tookc, who 
might have a claim to come in under the head of Grammar, was still 
living.] None of these names seemed to excite much interest, and I 
did Dot plead for the re-appcn ranee of those who might be thought 
best fitted by ^e ab«tracted nature of their ctodies for their pretent 
spirttaal and disembodied stale, and who, even while on this liring 

stage, were itearly dirested of common t)esh and blood. As A 

with an unciisy (idgctty face was about to put some question about 
Mr. Locke and Dugald Sten-an, he was preremcd by M. C. who 

observed, 'If J was here, he would undoubtedly be for having 

op ihose profound and redoubted scholiasts, Thomas Acjuinaii and 
Duns Scottu.' I Kud this might be fair enough in him who had 
read or fancied he had read the original works, but I did not aee 
bow we could have any right to call up tbc>c authors to give an 
account of themselves in i^erson, titl we had looked into their 
writings. 

By this lime it shotitd seem that some rtunour of our whimsical 
deliberation had got wind, and hnd dimurbed the irrttakiU gnus in 
their shadowy abodes, for we received messages from several candi- 
dates that we had just been thinking of. Gray declined our invitation, 
though he had not yet been asked : Gay offered to come and bring 
in hia band the Duchess of Bolton, the original Polly : Steele ana 
Addison left their cards as Captain Sentry and Sir Roger de Coverley : 
Swift came in and sat down witliout speaking a word, and quitted the 
room as abruptly : Olway and Chattertun were seen lingering on the 
opposite side of the Styx, b*it could not muster crwugh between ihem 
to pay Charon his fare: Thomson fell asleep in the boat, and was 

' B tl ihi* time occupicit clumbcri in Miirt court. Fleet Stnet. 

* Lord Bucan ii not included in tbit liit, nor da 1 knnw vrhcre he ihoiild came 
in, It 1* not risy to nukr roam for him and hi* reputslion logctlifr, Tbt* grut 
sad oeUbcated nun in toine of hit vttiiu nmmmcodt ic to pour ■ bottle of cisrei 
into the ponod of a morning, >nd to itsind orer it, inhaling lh« perfum«i. So he 
MMDctimei enriched the i)ry tad bsncn toil of tpcculiiion with ihc fiac iioiuttic 
tpirit of hit geniu*. H ii * If tuyt ' tad hit ' Aiivanccraent of Leannnjc ' arc worki 
of *att dcflh tnd icope of alservMlon. The lut, ihough it coaliLn* no potitin 
ditcovcrici, is ■ ooblc chtrt of the hnman intellect, tnd t guide to til fnture 
inqnircn. 

35 



OF PERSONS ONE WOULD 

rowed back agib — and Bum* tefit a low fellow, one Joho Barle;c 
aQ old compamoo of hia who bad cotiducml him to the other wor! 
to aay that he bad during hit lifetime been drawn oai of h'u retirem 
a* a show, only to he nude an cxcteemao of, and that he would rath' 
reomo where he vu. He desired, however* to thakc hands by b 
f gpreaen ta tire — the hand, thus held out, was to a burning fever, ami 
shook prodigiously. 

The room wan hung round with several portruta of cmtiteni 
painters. While we were debatinji whether we should demand speech 
with thete masteri of mntc eloquence, whose features were m lamiliac 
to UK, i: seemed that all at udcf they glided from their frames aii4, 
•caled themielvcs at tome little distance B-om oe. There was 
Leonardo with his nujestic beard and watchful eye, haring a bast of 
Archimedes before him ; next him was Raphael's graceful head 
turned round to the Fomarina; aixl on bis other side was Lucreda 
Borgia, with calm, golden locks; Michael Angelo had placed the 
model of St. Peter's on the table before him ; Corregio bad an angel 
at his side; Titian was seated with hii Mistress between himself and 
Giorgioni t Cuido was ncrompanied by his own Aurora, who took a 
dice-box from him ; Claude held a mirror in his hand ; Ruben* 
patted a bcaudfiil panther (led in by a satyr) on the head ; Vandy 
appeared as hii own Paris, and Rembrandt was hid under furs, gold 
chains and jewels, which Sir Joshua eyed closely, holding his hand 
•o as to shade his forehead. Not a word was spoken ; and as we 
rose to do tbem homage, they still presented the sattw surface to the 
riew. Not being hond^fide representations of living people, we got rid 
of the splendid apparitions by signs and dumb show. As soon a» 
they had melted into thin air, there was a loud noise at the onter 
door, and we found it was Giotto, Cimabue, and Ghirlandsio, who 
had been raited from the dead by their earnest desire to aee their 
illustrious successors — 

' Whose names on earth 
In Fame's eternal records hve for ajre ! * 

Finding them gone, they had no ambition to be seen after them* 
mourohilly withdrew. * Egad I ' said B , * those arc the Tery^ 
fellows I should liki- to have had some talk with, to know how they 
could see to paint when all was dark around them I ' 

* But shall we have nothing to say,' interrogated G. J , ' to 

the Legend of Good Women ? ' — ' Name, name, Mr. J. - — ,' cried 

W in a boinerotu tone of friendly exulutioD, * name at roaoy as 

yon please, without reserve or fear of molestation 1 ' J was 

perplexed between so many amiable recollections, thai the name of the 

36 



nu 

i 

ndV 



■i 



WISH TO HAVE SEEN 



lady of his choice rxpired in a pensive whiff of hi« pipe ; and B 

impatieDtly declared for the Duchess of Newcastle. Mr*. Hutchin- 
son vaa no sooner mentioned, than she carried the day from the 
Duchess, We were the less solicitous on this subject of filling up 
the postbumouB UhIb of Good Women, as there was already one in 
the room as good, as sensitdc, and in all respects as exemplary, as the 
best of them could be for their livi-s ! * I should tike vaatly to have 
seen Ninon de l*Fnclos,* aaid that incomparable person; and this 
immedtaiety put us in miod that we had neglected to pay honour due 
to our friends on the other side of the Channel : Voltaire, the patriarch 
of levity, and Rousseau, the father of sentiment, Mortai^c and 
Rabelais [great in wisdom and in wit), Moli^re and that ilfustriouB 
group that are collected round him (in the print of that subject} to 
hear htm read his comedy of tlie Tartuffe at the house of Ninon ; 
Racine, I^a Foniaine> Rochefoucaull, St- Rvremont, &c. 

' There is one person,' said a shrill, <|ucntIous voice, * I would 
rather ncc than all these — Don Quixote ! ' 

'Come, come!* said H ; *l thought wc should hare no 

heroes, leal or fabulous. What say you, Mr. B ? Arc you for 

eking out your shadowy list with such n^imes as Alexander, Julius 

Cxsar, Tamerlane, or Ghengts Khan ? ' — ' Iixcusc me/ said B , 

* on the subject of charactrri in actire life, plotters and disturbers of 
the world, I have a crotchet of my own, which I beg leave to reserve,' 
— *No, no! come, out with your worthies ! ' — -'What do you think 

of Gny Faux and Judas Iscariot .' ' H turned an eye upon him 

like a wild Indian, but cordial and full of fiinochered glee. * Your 

most exquinitc reason ! ' was echoed on alt aides ; and A 

thought that fi — >- had now fairly entangled himself. * Why, I 
cznnoi but think,' retorted be of the wistful countenance, * that Guy 
Faux, that poor fluttering annual scare-crow of straw and rags, is an 
ill-Qsed gentleman. I would give something to sec him sitting pale 
and emaciated, surrounded by his matches and his barrels of guo- 
powdcr, and expecting the moment that was to transport him to 
Paradise for his heroic Klf-devotion ; but if I say any more, there is 

that fellow G will make somelhiag of tt. And at to Judas 

Iicariot, my reason is different. T would fain liee the face of him, 
who, having dipped his hand in the same dish with the Son of Mao, 
could aftcrwaras betray him. I have no conceptiun of such a thing } 
oor have I ever seen any picture (not even Leonardo's very fine one) 
that gave me the least idea of it.' — *You have said enough, 
Mr. R , to justify your choice' 

*Oh ! ever right, Mencnius, — ever right! ' 

■There is only one other persoD 1 can ever think of after thict* 

37 




ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 

COncinu«^ H ; bat without mentioning a name that oner {ml on 

a eemblaace of mortality. ' If Slukspcare was to come into the 
room, wr iihould .ill riiic up to meet him ; but if that person was toi 
come into it, we should aEl fall down and try to kiw the hem of his' 
garment t ' 

A« a lady present seemed now to get unea»y at the turn the 
cOQTcrtation had ukcn, we rose up to go. The morning broke withi 
that dim, dubious light by which Giotto, Cimabue, and Ghirlandaio 
must have »eea to p«iDt their earlieM works ; and we parted to meet 
again and rrnew aimilar to]ncs at night, the next nighty and the night 
after that, till that night overspread Europe which saw rto dawn. 
The same event, in truth, broke op our little Congress that broke up 
the great one. But that was to meet again : our deliberationt have 
never been resumed. 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS. 

TJk iVcw AlMtiJ^ Attt/^nim.} {-^^fl, ■>>&• 

*An iolinita deal of DVthinK** — SiiAKfnABS. 

Thx conversation of Lordii is very different from that of authors. 
Mounted on horsckick, they stick at nothing in the chace, and clear 
every obstacle with Hying leap)), while we poor devils have ao chance 
of keeping up with rhcm with our cloutcn shoes and long hunting- 
poles. They have all the bcaclit of education, society, conlidence, 
they read books, uurchase pictures, breed horses, learn to ride, dance, 
and fence, lock after their estates, travel abroad : — authors have oone 
of these advantages, or Inlets of knowledge, to as«ijt them, except 
one, reading ; and this is sTill marc impoverished and clouded by the 
painful exercise of their own thoughts. The knowledge of tJie 
Great lias a character of weaUh and property in it, like the stores of 
the rich merchant or manufacturer, who lays his hands on all withia, 
his reach : the understand iog of the student is like the work&hou of^ 
the mechanic, who h.is nothing but what he himself createa. How 
difficult is the production, how small the display in the one case com- 
pared to the other ! Most of Corrcggio*a dcugns are contained in 
one small room at Parma : how different from the extent and variety 
of some hereditary and princely collections! 

The human mind has a trick (probably a very natural aad cOMot 
iog one) of striking a balance between the favours of witdom and of 
fortune, and of making one thing n gratuitous and convenient fcuJ to 
another. Whether this is owing to envy or to a, lore of justice, I 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



will not uy : but whicherer it it owing to, I must owo I do Dot 
think it well founded. A Achobr is without money: therefore (to 
make the oddi evrn] we argue (not very wiKly) that a rich man 
niuii be without ideas. This does not follow. *Ttir wish ib father 
to that thought ;' and the thought is a spurious one. We might as 
well pretend, that because a man has the advantage of us in height, 
he is not strong or in good health ; or because a woman ia haodsonie, 
the is not at the same time young, accompliihcd aod well-bred. Our 
bstidiou* self-love or our rustic prejudices may revolt at the accumula- 
tioo of advanugei in others; but wc must Icara to rabmit to the 
mortifying truth, which every day's experience point& out, with what 
grace we may. There were those who grudged to Lord Byron the 
name of a poet because he was of noble birth ; as he himself could 
Dot endure the praise* bestowed upon Wordswonh, whom he con- 
cidered as a clown. He carried this weakness so fat, that he even 
•eenjed to regard it as a jwcce of presumption in Shakapeare to he 
preferrtd btfart bm as a dramatic author, and contended that Milton's 
writing an epic poem and the 'Answer to Salmasiun' was entirely 
owing to vanity — to little did he relish the superiority of the old 
blind school-master. So it is that one parly would arrogate every 
advantage to ihemaelves, while those on the other side would detract 
from all in their rivals that they do not themeclvce poMcss. Some 
will twt have the eutue pointed : others can »ee do beauty in the 
cUy-modcl I 

The man of rank and fortune, besides his chance for the common 
or (now and then) an uncommon share of wit and onderstandiog, has 
it to bis power to avail himMlf of every thing that is to be taught of 
art and science; he has tutors and valets at hit beck ; he may master 
the dead language*, he mutt ac<)ui[c the modern ones ; he moves in 
the highest circles, and may descend to the lowest \ the paths of 
pleasure, of ambition, of knowledge, arc open to him; he may devote 
binuclf to a particular study, or skim the cream of all ; he may read 
books or men or things, as he finds most convenient or agreeable ; he 
is not forced to confine bis attention to some one dry uointeresttog 
pursuit ; he has a single hsbby^ or half a dozen ; he is not distracted 
by care, by poverty and want of leisure; he has every opportunity 
and facility afforded him for ac(]uiring various accomplishments of 
body or mind, and every encouragement, from confidence and success, 
fot nuking an imposing dts[^y of them ; he may laugh witli the 
gay, ieit with the witty, argue with the wise ; be has been in courts, 
in coLlegcst ittd camps, is familiar with playhouses and tarerni, with 
the ridmg-hoase and the dissecting-room, has been present at or taken 
pirt in the debates of both Houses of Parliament, was in the O. P. 

39 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 

row, and it deep in the Fancy, uDdrrsuodB the broadivord exerciK, 
t$ a conooiueur in reginieauU, plays the whole gune at whist, is ) 
tolerable proficient at backgammon, drirrE Tour in hnnd, tkxtrs, rowii, 
swimi, shooU; knows the different sorti of game and modes of 
agricultuie in the different counties oi England, the manufaciurex and 
commerce of the ditfercnt towns, the politics of Europe, the cara- 
paigos in Spain, has the Gazette, the newipapcri, aod rcriews at his 
fingers' ends, haa fisited the finest scenes of Nature and beheld 
the choicest works of Art, and is in society where he ii contioually 
hearing or ulkirg of all these things; and yet we are surprised to 
find that a person so circumstanced and qualified bu any ideas to 
communicate or words to express himself, and is not, as by patent 
and prescription he was bound to be, a mere well-dressed top of 
ftsKioo or a booby lord! It would be less remarkable if a poor 
author, who has none of this giddy range and scope of infoimation, 
who pores over the page till it fades from his tight, and refioes upon 
his style till the words stick in his throat, should be dull as a beetle 
and mute as a fish, instead of spontaneously pouring out a Tolame of 
wit and wisdom on crery subject thiit can be started. 

An author lives out of the world, or mixes chiefly with those of 
his own class; which renders him pedantic and pragmatical, or gives 
him a reserved, hesitating, and inierJicud manner. A lord or gentle- 
man-commoner goes into the world, and this imparts that flucocy, 
spirit, and freshness to hts convers.itioii, which arises from the circu- 
lation of ideas and from the greater animation and excitement of 
unrestrained intcrcouric. An author's tongue is tied for want of 
somebody to speak to : his ideas rust and become obscured, from noc 
bdng brought out in company and exposed to the gaze of iostant 
admiration. A lord has always some one ai hand on whom he can 
'bestow his tediousness,' and grows voiublc, copious, iDcxhaustibJe 
in consequence : his wit Is polished, and the lowers of his oratory 
expanded by hts smiling commerce with the world, tike (he figam 
to tapestry, that after bcirg thrust into a corner and folded up ia 
closets, are displayed on festiral and gala-days. Again, the man of 
fashion and fortune reduces many of those arts aod mysteries to 
practice, of which the scholar gains all his knowledge from books 
sad vague descnption. Will not the rules of architecture find a 
readier reception and sink deeper into the mtnd of the proprietor of 
s noble mansion, or of him who means to build one, than of the half- 
starved occupier of a garret? Will not the political ecooomist'i 
insight into Mr. Ricardo's doctrine of Rent, or Mr. MalthusV 
theory of Population, be vastly quickened by the circumstance of his 
pOMMung a large landed estate and having to pay enoimout poor- 

40 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



rales? And in general is it not self-eTident that a man's knowledge 
of the true imereits of the country will be enlarged jut io proportion 
lo the itaie he has in it? A person may have read accounts of 
different citiei and the customs or different nation« : bm will thi« gi« 
him the same accurate idea of the Eituattoa of celebrated places, of 
the aspect and manoeri of the inhabitanti, or the same lircly impulfc 
and ardour and fund of striking particulars in cxpatiatiitg upon them, 
as if be had run orer half the countries of Europe, for no other 
purpose tbao to satisfy his own curiosity, aod excite that of others 
on his return ? I many years ago looked into the Huke of New- 
caatie'i • Treatise on Horsemanship'; all [ remember of it is some 
quaint cuts of the Duke and hii riding-mairtcr introduced tn illustrate 
the lessons. Had I myself pouessed a stud of Arabian coursers, 
with grooms and a master of the horse to asfist mc in reducing 
these precepts to practice, they would hare made a stronger impres- 
sion on my mind ; and whit interested myaelf from Taoity or habit, 
I could have made iotcrcsling to others. I am sure t could have 
learnt to rije the Great Hortt^ ard do twenty other things, in the 
lime I have employed to codcavouring to make sometlitng out of 
nochisg, or in conning the same problem fifty times over^ as monks 
count orer their beadi! I have occasionally in my life bought a few 
prints, and hung ihcm up in my room with great satisfaction ; hut is 
It to be supposed possible, from this casual circumttancc, chat I should 
compete in laste or in the kimwiedge of xnrtu with a peer of the 
realm, who has in his poMessioo the costly dcsignt, or a wealthy 
commoner^ who baa spent half his fortune in learning to distinguis)) 
copies from originals? 'A question not to be asked!' Nor is it 
likely that tJie having dipped into the Memoirs of Count GrammoQt> 
or of Lady Vane in Pcfcgrioe Pickle, should ciuble any one to 
sustain a cooversatioo on subjects of lore and gallantry with the same 
easei grace, brilliancy, and spirit as the having been engaged in a 
hundred adventures of one's own, or heard the scandal and tittle- 
utile of fashionable life for the Ian thirty years canvas&ed a hundred 
times. Books may be manufactured from other book* by some dull, 
mechanical process: it is conversation and the access to the best 
society that alone lit us for society; or •the act and practic part of 
Ul'e must be the mistress to our theorique,' before we can hope to 
shine in mixed company, or bend our previous knowledge to ordinary 
and familiar uses out of that plaster-cast mould which is as brittle as 
it is formal ! 

There is another r/iing which lends to produce the same effect, 
viz. that lords and gentlemen seldom trouble themselves about the 
knotty and uninvitiog parts of a subject : they leave it to * the d/eci 

4« 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



of earth * to drain the cup or (iad tlie bottom. They are attracted 
by the frothy aad sj>arkliug. If a queubo puzzles them, or is Dot 
likely to amuse others, they Icare it to ita fate, or to those whoac 
buiioesa H is to contend with dilBculty, aod to pursue truth for its 
own sake. They string together as maiiy available, off-hand topics 
as they can procure for love or money ; and aided by a good pcrwn 
or aJdresii, sport them with very conKidenible effect al the next tout 
or party they go to. They do not bore you with pedantry, or tease 
you witli fiojihistry. Their conrertation it not made up of moot-fioiitU 
or rbohptart. They do not willingly forego 'the feast of reason 
or the Sow of soul ' to grub up some solitary truth or dig for hid 
treasure. Tbcy arc amateurs, not professors ; the patrons, not the 
drudges of knowledge. An author loses half bis life, and tnUlifia 
his faculties, in hopes to liod out something which perhap« tieither be 
nor any one else can ever iind out. For this he neglects half a 
hundred acquircmenu, half a hundred accomplishments, jiut Cttar 
aut nihil. He is proud uf the discovery or of the fond pursuit of one 
truth — a lord is vain of a thousand osteotatious common-places. If 
the latter ever devotes himself to some crabbed study, or seu about 
finding out the longitude, he is then to be looked upon as a humoriec 
if he fitilt — a genius if he succeeds — and no longer belongs to the 
class I have \xva spe.iking of. 

Perhaps a multiplicity of attainments and pursuits it not very 
(kvourable to their aelcctnesa ; as a local and personal acquaintance 
with objects of imagination takes away from, instead of adding to, 
their romantic interest. Familiarity is s^id to breed contempt \ oX 
at any rate, the being brought into contact with places, persons, or 
things that we have hitherto only heard or read of, removes a certain 
aerial delicious veil of refinement from them, and strikes at that i<Itat 
abatraction, which is the charm and boaR of a life conversant cbiedy 
among books. The huddling a number of tastes and studies together 
tends lo degrade and vulgarise each, and to give a crude, unconcocted, 
dissipated turn to the mind. Instead of stutTing it full of grosi, 
palpable. Immediate objects of excitement, a wiser plan would be to 
leave something in reserve, something hovering in airy space to draw 
our attention out of oursetves, to excite hope, curiosity, wonder, and 
never to satisfy it. The great art is not to throw a glare of light 
upon all objects, or to lay the whole extended landscape bare at one 
▼icw ; but so to manage as to see the more amiable side of things, and 
through the narrow vistas and loop-holes of retreat, 

* Catch glimpses that may make us less forlorn.' 

[ hate to annihilate air and distance by the perpetual use of an 

4» 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



opera-glass, to run every thing inio foreground, and to intcrpoee no 
medhiro between the thought and the object. The breath of words 
>'«iri and plays idly with the gosumcr web of fancy : the touch of 
tbiogs destroyR it. I hare nren a good deal of aufhorR: and I beltere 
> that they (ai well as I) would quite a> lievc that I had not. Flacei 
1 1 bare eeen too, tbai did not answer my expectation. Pictures (that 
. is* sooir few of them) arc the cmly things that are the better for oar 
haring studied them * face to face, not in a glau darkly,' and that ia 
I themselves surpass any description we can give, or any notion we can 
[ Jbnn of them. But I do not think (erioutly, after all, that those who 
'•pOM CM are the best judges of them. They become furniture, pro- 
' pcny to their hands. The purchasers look to the price they will 
Ktch, or turn to that which they have cost. They consider not 
beauty or expression, but the workraanBhip, the date, the pedigieet 
the school — something that will figure in the description in a catalogue 
or in a puffin n newspaper. They are blinded by silly admiration of 
vhatCTcr belongs to themKlves, and w^ped so as to eye * with jealous 
leer malign' all that is not theirs. Tantc is melted down in the 
crucible of avarice and vanity, and leaves a wretched caput mortwtm 
of pedantry and conceit. As to books, they 'best can feel them who 
have read them most,' and who rely on them for their only i>up})ort 
And their only chance of distinction. They most keenly rchsh the 
graces of style who have in vain tried to make them their own : they 
■lone naderstand the value of a thought who have gone through the 
trouble of thinking. The privation trf other advantages is not a clear 
loss, if it is counterbalanced by a proportionable concentration and 
unity of interest in what is left. The love of letters is the forlorn 
hope of the man of letters. His ruling passion is the love of fame. 
A member of the Roxburgh Club has a ccruin work (let it be the 
Decameron of Boccaccio) splendidly bound, and in the old tjuarto 
edition, we wilt say. In this not only his literary taste is gratified, 
but the pride of property, the love of external elegance and decora- 
tion. The poor student haH only a paltry and wmewbat worn copy 
of the same work (or perhaps only a translation) which he picked up 
at a stall, sunding out of a ahower of rain. Wfkal then ! has not llie 
Noble VirtuoAO doubly the advantage, and a much higher pleasure in 
the perusal of the work? No; for these arc vulgar and mechanical 
helps to the true enjoyment of letters. From all this mock-display 
ud idle parade of binding and arms and dates, bis umhougbt-«f rival 
is precluded, and sees only the talismanic words, feels only the spirit 
of the anchor, and in that author reads ' with sparkling eyes ' 



* HU title to a manxlon in the skies.' 



43 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 

Oh ! divine lir of teaming, (anncd by the uodying breath of genius, 
stiil let me taste thee, free from all adventitioui adaiixiurcSt 

'Pure in the bd rccncet of the lool !' 

We are {»r at present from the style of Swift's * Poliu Conrcna- 
tioo.' The fashionable tone has quite changed in this respect, antti 
almost gooe into the opposite extreme. At that period, the poliiej 
world teems to have been nearly at a stand, ia a state of intellectual I 
aityaiufi or in the interral between the disuse of chivalrous exerciseaj 
aitd the iotrodDction of modern philosc^y, not to have Icnown how 
to pass its time and to have sunk into the most commoo -place formality , 
and unmeaning apathy. But lo ! at a signal given, or rather prompted ; 
by that most powerful of all calls, the want of soinelhioj* to do, alt 
rush into the lists, having anned themtclres anew with the shining 
panoply of scieoce and of letters, with an eagerness, a perseverance* 
a dexterity, ud a snccess that are truly astonishing. The higher 
clatMs have of late taken the lead almost as much in aru ai they 
formerly did in arms, when the last was the only piescribed mode of 
distinguithing themselves firom the rabble whom they treated as tttH. 
and churls. The prerailiog cue at present is to regard mere authors' 
(who are not alto of gentle blood) as dull, illiterate, poor creaturvs, 
a son of pretenders to taste and elegance, and adventurers in inicllcct. 
The true adeptk in black-letter ate Icoiglils of the shire : the swora 
patentees of Parnassus arc Peers of the Realm. Not to pas« for a 
literary quack, you must procure a diploma from the College of 
Heralds. A dai>dy conceals a bibliomanist : onr belles are JiW- 
tlotkiags. The Press it so entirely monopolised by beauty, birth, or 
importance in the State, that an author by profession resigns the field 
to the crowd of well-dressed competitors, out of modesty or pride, it 
fain to keep out of sight — 

' Or write by stealth and blush to find it fame f * 

Lord Byron uaed to boaat that he could bring forward a dozen young 
men of faihioa who could beat all the regular authors at their Kveral 
weapon* of wit or argument ; and though I demor to the truth of the 
asaertion, yet there is no saying till the thing is tried. Young grnlle- 
nwn make very pretty sparrtriy but are not the 'oglie»t customers* 
when they uke off the gloves. Lord Byron hinuelf was to his 
capacity of iiuthor an out-and-ciiter ; but then it was at the expense of 
other Uiings, for he could not ulk except in short semecices and 
sarcastic allusions, he had no ready resources; all his ideas moulded 
themMlves into stanzas, and all his ardour was carried oS in rhyme. 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



Tbe dunnel of hU pen wai worn deep by habit and power; the 
current of bia thoughts ttowed wrong in it, and nothing rem^iincd to 
fluppty the ncighbouriflg flaca and shaElows of nii»celUneoas convcrsa- 
ttoo, bat a few apcinkllngs of wit or gu&hcB of spleen. An intense 
purpose concentrated and gave a determined direction to his energies, 
that 'beid on their way, unslaclced of motion.' The track of his 
genius vaa like a volcanic eruption, a torrent of burning lava, full of 
beat and fplendour aod headlong fury, that left all dry, cold, hard, 
and barren behind it ! To say nothing of a hoet of female authors, a 
bright galaxy above otir heads, there is no young lady of fashion in 
the present aay, scarce a boarding-school girl, that is not mistress of 
aa many branches of knowledge a« would set up half-a-dozeo literary 
hacks. lo ]ieu of the sampler and the plain-stitch of our grand- 
mothers, they have »o many hours for French, so many for Italian, 
ao many for lin^liih gramnur and composition, so many for geo- 
graphy and the use of the glnbcs, so many for history, so many for 
botany, so many for painting, music, dancing, riding, &c. One 
almost wonders how so many studicfi are crammed into the twenty- 
four hours ; or how such fair and delicate creatures can master them 
without ipoiltng the smoothness of their brows, the swcetnesa of their 
tempers, or the graceful simplicity of their manner*. A girl learns 
French (not only to read, but to speak it) in a few months, while 
a boy is as many years in learning to coostmc Latin. Why so ? 
Chiefly because the one is treated as a hagateSt or agreeable rciaxa- 
tton ; the other as a serious task or (teces&ary evil. Education, a 
very few years back, was looked upon as a hardship, and enforced by 
menaces aod blows, instead of being carried on (as now) as an anaute- 
nirnt and under the g.-wb of pleasure, and with the allurementi of 
self-love. It is foutxl that the products of the tnind flourish better 
and shoot up more quickly in the sunshine of good-humour and in the 
air of freedom, than under the frowns of sullconess, or the shackles 
of authority. 'The labour we delight in physics pain.' The idlest 
[)eopte are not those who hnre most leisure-time to dispose of as they 
choose : take away the feeling of compulsion, and you supply a motive 
for application, by ronTerting a toil into a pleasure. This makes 
nearly all the difference between the hardest drudgery aod the moat 
delightful exercise — not the degree of exenion, but the motive and 
the acconripanying sensation. Learning does not gain proselytes by 
the austerity or awfulness of its looks. By representing things as to 
difHcull, and as exacting such dreadful sacrifices, nnd (o be accjuired 
under such Kvere peoaltiei, we not only deter the student from the 
aciempt, tut lay a dead-weight upon the imagination, and destroy that 
cbeerfulneta and alacrity of spirit which is the spring of thought and 

45 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 

actioa. But to return. — An author by profnrion reads a few work* 
thzt he iateodx to criticUt ind cut up * for a consideratioD/ — a Mi^ ' 
jfockitig by profession reads all that c<»neB out to pass the limr or 
satisfy her curiosity. The author has sometliing to say ibout Fieldiog, 
Richardiion, or even the Scotch novels: but he is soon distanced by 
the fair critic or OTerwhelmed wiih the content* of whole Circulating 
Libraries poured out upon his head without stint or inter mi ssioti. 
He reads for ao object and to live ; she for the sake of reading or to 
talk, fie this as it may, the idle reader at present reads twecty-time* 
an many books as the learned one. The fornier skims the suiiface of 
koowloige, and carries away the striking points aod a variety of 
amusing deuils, while the Utter reserves himself for great occasions, 
or perhaps docs nothing under the pretence of having so much to do. 

* From every work he challenges eistiiUf 
For coniemplation'fc take/ 

The tilerati of Europe threaten at present to become the Monks of 
leuers, and from having taken up learning as a profesnion, to live oa 
the reputation of tt. As gentlemen have turned autlmrs, authors | 
seem inclined to turn gentJemen ; and enjoying the olium mm d'tgniiair^ , 
to be much too refined and abstr.icted to condescend to the >al^> 
ordinate or mechanical parts of knowledge. They are too wise inj 
general to be acquainted with anything in particular : and remain ia 
I proud and listless ignorance of all that is within the reach of the 
vulgar. They arc not, as of old, walking libraries or Gncyclopxdiat, 
but rather certain faculties of the mind personified. They scorn the 
material and initrumcnial branches of inquiryithe hunk and bran, and 
affect only the tine flour of literature — they are only to be called in 
to give the last polish to style, the last refinement to thought. They 
leave it to their drudges, the Reading Public, to accumulate the fiacts, 
to arrange the evidence, to make out the daiaj and like great paintcraj 
whoae pupils have got in the ground-work aiKl the established pn>-< 
portions of a picture, came forward to go over the last thin glazing of 
rhe colours, or throw in the finer touches of expression. On my 

exciuing myself to N for some blunder ia history, by saying, 

* I really had not time to read,' — he said, ' No, but you have lime to 
write ! ' And once a celebrated critic taking me to task as to the 
subject of my pursuits, and receiving regularly the same answer to his 
queries, that 1 knew nothing of chemistry, nothing of aMronomy, 
of botany, of law, of politics, &c. at last exclaimed somewhat im- 
patiently — 'What the devil is it, then, you do know?' I laughed, 
and was not very much diaconccncd at the reproof, at it was jost. 
Modern men of letters may be divided into three classes j the 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



mere scholar or hooi-vtorm^ all whose kaowlcdge is taken from boolcB^ 
and who may be paused by as an obsolete character, little inquired 
after — the literary had or coffce-hou*r politician, who gct« hin in- 
rormaticm moctly from hearsay, aod who makes some notte lodeed, 
but the echo of it does not reach beyond hit own club or circle — 
and the iriiin of real or of pietcoded geniun, who aim> to draw u[>on hit 
owD reaourccR of thought or feeling, and to throw a new light u|Nm 
nature and books. This last pereonngc (if he acts up to bit Kupposed 
character) has too much to do to lend himself to a variety of pursuits, 
or to lay him»elf out to plea»e in all companiei. He has a task in 
band, a row to perform ; and he cannot be diverted from it by 
incidenul or collateral objecin. All the time that he does not devote 
CO this paramount duty, he should hare to himselt, to repose, to lie 
fallow, to gather strength and recruit himself. A boxer is led into 
the lists that he may not waste a particle of vigour needlessly ; and a 
leader in Parliament, on the day that he is expedited to get up a grand 
attack or defence, ib not to be pestered with the ordinary news of the 
day. So ao author (who is. or would be thought originaH has no 
time for tpare accomplish menu or ornamental studies. All that he 
intermeddles with mu« be marshalled to bear upon his purpose. He 
must be acquainted with books and the thoughts of Others, but 
only so far a« to assist him on his way, and *to uke progrewion from 
them.' He nana from the poiot where thty left off. All that docs 
not aid him in his new career goes for nothing, is thrown out of tbe 
accouat ; or is a useless and splendid incumbrance. Most of his 
time he passe<> in brooding over some wayward hint or suggestion of 
a thought, nor is he bound to give any explaoatioo of what he docs 
with the rest. He cries to melt down truth into eMencea — to express 
some fine train of feeling, to solve some difficult problem, to etan 
what is new, or to perfect what ii old ; in a word, not to do what 
Qthen can do (which tn the division of mental labour he holds to be 
tmoecesMry )t but to do what they all with their joint effortii cannot 
do. For this he is in oo hurry, and mu£t have the disposal of his 
leisure and the choice of his subject. The public can wait. He 
deems with a living poet, who is an example of his own doctrine— 

' Thai there art power» 

Which of themBclvet our minds impnu % 
That nrc can feed this mind of ours 
In a wise pauiveness.' 

Or I have sometimes tliought that the dalliance of the mind with 
Fancy or with Truth might be described almost in the words of 
Andrew Marvell't a-ldress ' To his Coy Mistress : ' — 

47 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 

* Had w« tnit world enough snd time, 
Ttiii toying, Ladf, were no crime i 
Wc would lit down, and rhink wliich way 
To walk and pass our lovc'i loi^ day. 
Thou by the Iiulian Gange*' lidc- 
Shuuklit rubin lind ; I by the title 
Of Humbcr would complain. I would 
Love you ten jran before the Bood ; 
And you KhouM, if you pleatte, rtfuu 
Till the conveoion of the Jew*. 
My contemplative love ahoukj grow 
Vaiter than empires, and more »law. 
An hunJred yean »hoiild go to pratte 
Thine cyc*^ and on thy forehead gaiC{ 
Tivo hundred to adore each brcart, 
Bui thirty thousand to the mt; 
An age at Icau to every pvt, 
And the last age thould show your heart : 
Por, lady, you deserve thi» state i 
Not would I love at lower rate ! ' 

The aspiring po« or pro*e-writcr undertakes to do a certain thing ; 
and if he nucceedd, it ii eoougb. White he is intent upon that or 
adeep, other* may amuse tJiemselves how they can with any topic 
that happens to be ailoat and all the clotjuence they arc mastera of, 
•0 that they do not disturb the champion of truth, or the proclaimer 
of beauty to the world. The Cooversatioo of Lords, on the con- 
trary* is to this like a newspaper to a book — the latter treats welt or 
ill (H one subject, and leads to a codcIumod on one point ; the other 
is made up of all sorts of things jumbled together, dehalefl in narlia- 
mcnt, law-rejx>rt$, plays, operas, ccmcerts, routs, Icvce;!, fauiiofw, 
auctions, the last fight, foreign newt, deaths, marriages, and crim-fmt, 
bankniptcies, and quack medicines ; and a targe allowance is freqtmtly 
to be made, besides the natural confusion of the subjects, for cnut' 
rraiTingi in the speaker's mind ! ^ Or, to take another iltustntion, 
fashionable conversation has something theatrical or me/o-dramatU in 
It i it is got up for immediate effect, it is calculated to make a great 
display, there is a proftwioa of paint, scenery, and dresses, the motic 

' At when ■ perMn aiki yon 'whriher yoti dn nai And a itroag re*emblin<e 
between Rabcn*'* pIctBrei and Quarlct'i poetiy i' — whuh i% OWidi to tliC cmk'l 
havinn Ulely bten at Antwerp inii bought >n edition of Quarln's Emblem. Odd 
eomhinitioiii malt tike plice where a nnmber of i^ii are brought togelber, wiifa 
only a thin, hiity partition b«twccn tbem, and witbovt a lafficient ijuantity of 
jndgment to :iiacTimmaie, An Englithmaa, of aorae apparent cMiae^ueucc p^ionE 
by the St. Peter Martyr of Titian at Venke, obaetved *lt was a c«py ot the tame 
Mibjcci by Domcaichino at Bolosna.' Tbii betrayed aa abaolute fpioraiKr both 

48 



l?rTHE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



I 



I 



I 



U loud, thcrtf are banquets and proccssioni, yo« have the dancers from 
the Opera, the horses from Astley's, and Ehe elephant from Exeter 
'Change, the wage is all life, buntle, noise and glare, the audience 
brilliant and delighted, and the whole goe» olT in a blaze of phoii- 
phorui ; but the dialogue is poor, the nory improbable, the critics 
shake their heads in (he pit, and the next day the piece is AetmntAl 

In Ehort, a man of rank, and fortune takes titer advmtttious and 
omimcQtal part of letters, the obviout, popular, faahionahle, that 
kerres to amuse at the time, or minister to the cravings of vanity^ 
wiihoat laying a very hea^")' tax on hia own undemanding, or the 
patience of his hearers. He furnishes his niind as he docs his house, 
with what is showy, striking, and of the newest pattern : he mounts 
his hthhf as be does his horse, which is brought to his door for an 
airing, and which (should it prore rcstire or Bluggishl he turns away 
for another ; or like a child at a fair, gets into a round-about of know- 
ledge, till his head becomes giddy, runs from sight to sight, from 
booth to booth, and like the child, goes home loaded with trinkets, 
gew-gaws, and rjttle*. He does not pore and pine over an idea (like 
some poor hypochondriac) till it becomes impracticable, unsociable, 
iDcocnmuoicabfe, absorbed in mysticism, and lost in minuteness : he 
is not upon oath never to utter anything but oracles, but rattles away 
in a 6De car^lesi hair-brained dashing manner, hit or miss, and succeeds 
the better for it. Nor does he prose oter the same stale round of 
politics and the state of the nation (with the coffee-house politician), 
bat launches out with freedom and gaiety into whatever has attraction 
and interest in it, ' rung the great circle, and is still at home.' He is 
inquisitive, garrulous, crediuouf, sanguine, florid, — neither pedantic 
Dor vulgar. Neither is he intolerant, exclusive, bigoted to one set of 
opiiiioni or one class of individuals. He clothes an abstract theory 
wOb illustratioDS from his own ex[>erience and observation, bales 
what is dry artd dull, and throws in an air of high health, buoyant 
spirits, fortune and splendid connections to gire animation aod vivid- 
oesB to what perhaps might otherwise want it. He selects what is 
palpable without being gross or trivial, lends it colour from the flush 
of success, and elevation from the distinctions of rank. He runs oo 
and never Mops for an answer, rather dictating to otiiers than endeavour- 
ing to ascertain their opinions, solving his own queitioni, improving 

ofThiaasaH nf Domcnichino, jnd of the wbfrle worM of sri : ycl unlcul bad sIm 
■cm the St. P«ttr al Bolo^a, llbt coonvisteur would have had the advacilap of 
RM, two to one, snii mifhl have ditpute'l the precetienoe of the two pidgru with 
Be, b«) that chreda)o];y would ba*t come to my aiil. Thua prr'tona who travel 
&om plAcc to place, and toam from tnbiect to lubject, make ap by the eatent and 
disrarsmaos of their knowtrilcc for the want of trudi snd nfioement in their 
ccracaption of the objects of it. 

Ttn« xn. : D 49 



ON THE CONVERSATION OF LORDS 



upon their hiou, and bcanog down or precluding oppo«itioD by a 
good'Daturcd loc|uac!ty or ttatdy dogmauim. AU thii u perhaiM 
mote edifying as a subjea of speculaiioa than delightful id itself. 
Shakspearc Kimcwbere uyt — * A nun'i mind ii parcel of bit fortanet,' 
— and I think the inference will be borne out in the present caae. I 
•Would guns that in the prevailing tooe of fa^ionable tociety or 
aristocratic literature would be found all that variety, ipleodour, 
facility, and stanling effect which corresponds with cvicmal wealth, 
cnagDinceoce of appearance, aod a comrnaod of opponuotty; while 
there would be wanting whatever depends chiefly on intensity of 
purnnt, on depth of feeling, and on sitnplicity and iodepeodeoce of 
mind joined with straitened fortune. Prosperity is a great teacher ; 
adversity is ,-t greater. Possessioo pampers the mind ; privation trains 
.ind strengthens it. Accordingly, we find but one really great name 
(Lord Bacon) in this rank or bnglish society, where superiority it 
isken for granted, and reHectcd from outward circumstances. The 
rest are in the second class. Lord Bolingbroke, whom Pope idolized 
(and it pains me that all his idols are not mine) was a boastful empty 
mouther! I never knew till the other day, that Lord BoUogbfoke 
was the model on which Mr. Pitt formed himself. He waft bis 
Magnus jfyotia; and no wonder. The late Minister used to lament 
it as the great desideratum of English literature, that there was no 
record anywhere existing of his speeches as they were spoken, and 
declared that he would give any price for oite of them reported as 
^jeeches were reported io the newspapers ia our time. Being asked 
which he thought the best of his written productions, he would 
answer, raising his eyebrows otmI deejwning the tones of his voice to 
1 toDOrouB bus — 'Why, undoubtedlvt Sir, the Letter to Sir WiUiam 
Wyodham ie the most masterly of all his writings, aod the first com- 
position for wit and eloquence in the English language ; ' — and then 
he would give bis reasons at great length and cen amerf, and say thst 
Junius had formed himself entirely upon it. Lord Bolingbroke had, 
it seems, a house oext-door to one belonging to Lord Chatham at 
Walham-Green ; and as the gardens joined, they could hear Lord 
Bolingbroke walking out with the company that came to sec him in 
his retirement, and elaborately declaiming polidcs to the old lords aod 
statesmen that were with him, and philosophy to the younger ooet. 
Pitt learned this story from his father when a boy. This accooot, 
interesting in itself, was to me the more interesting ai>d extraordinary, 
as it had always appeared to me that Mr. Pitt was quite an original, 
/If/ generis^ 

■ At if a man vrrre author of himself, 
And own'd no other kin *^ 



I 

I 



ON A SUN-DrAL 

that K> far from hsviog a niodcl or idol that he looked op to and 
grouoded himself upon, be had neither xdmiiation nor cooiciousncas 
of any thing existing out of himself, and thai he lived solely in the 
sound of his own Toice and rcrotred in the circle of his owd hollow 
and artificial period*. I have it fiom the same authority that he 
thought Cobbett the be« writer and Home Tocke the cIcTerest man 
of the day. Hi* hatred of Wyndiiani vnm exceuivc and mutual. — 
Perhaps it may be said that Lord Chatham was a first-rate mar in 
hi* way, and I incHne to think it; but be was a self-made aiao, bred 
in a camp, not in a court, and his rank was owing to hia talents.' 



ON A SUNDIAL 



T*r fiew MmtUj M4gtnuu.\ 



[OenJ^t 1817. 



• To carve out dial* quwntly, point by point.* 

SHAKeirEAKS. 

Harat non atimera niii strftuu — is the motto of a *un-diat near 
Venice. There 1* a toftne** and a harmony in the word* and io the 
thought unparalleled. Of al) conceits it is surely the most clasflical. 
• I count only the hours that are Krcnc.' What a bland and care- 
dispelling feeling! How the shadows seem to fade un the dial-plate 
as the sky lourit, and time presents only a blank unles* as iu progress 
is marked bv what is joyaue, and all that is not happy flinke into 
oblivion ! What a fine lesson i« conveyed to the mind — to take no 
notr of time but by its beoefits^ to watch only for the smiles and 
nrglect the frowns of fate, to compose our lives of bright and gentle 
RiomcDU, turning always to the sunny side of thing*, and letting the 
rett slip from our imaginations, unheeded or forgotten ! How differ- 
cnt from the common art of selt-tormcnting ! For myself, as I rode 
along the Brenta, while the sun shone hot upon its sluggish, slimy 
wavcBt my *eo<ations were far from comfortable j but the reading this 
tnscriptioti on the side of a glaring wall in an instant restored me to 
myself; and still, whenever I think of or repeat it, it has the power 
of wafting mc into the region of pure and blissful aUtraelion. I 

' There aie few tliingi marc cunlcmptiblc ihjn the convcrsilMfl of nacfc mm af 
lit ttvn. tl ii mide up of ibc technicalitirs and cant of all profuiiaai, withoBt 
the ipirit ot knowledjte of any. It ti flaahy ind vapid, at ii lilce the Hniiagi of 
rilffmat tiiiuori al a nigbl-<cllar instea<l of a battle of hat ol<l port. It it without 
bftrfy or ckameu, and a heap of aftectatioti. In faei, I am very much of the 
opinion of that oW Stotch gentleman who owned that 'he preferred the ilulteK 
book he h^d cvct read to iht moat briUiaat <onvemii«B it bad cv«r faUen to btt 
tol to hear ! ' 

5» 



ON A SUN-DIAL 



breuts as tbc poetry of ttut line in Shaktpcarc — * How tweet tlbe 
moonlight ilnpi opon that bank !' They Dcver arrive at the cbssical 
— or the romantic. They blow the babbles of vanity, fashion, and 
pleasure ; but they do not expand their pcrccptiona into refinement, 
or strengthen them into solidity. Where there i« nwhing fine in the 
ground-work of the inuginatioa, nothing fine id the luperstructure can 
be produced. They are light, ;iiry, fanciful (lo give them their due) 
— but when they attempt to be terioua (beyond mere good koic) 
ihey arc either doll or extravagant. When the volatile salt haa 
flown off, nothing but a caput morltium remains. They have infinite 
crotchets and caprices with their clocks and watcheSf which seem 
made for any thing but to tell the hour — gold-repeaters, watches 
with metal covers, clocks with hands to count tbc teconds. There 
is DO escapitig from cjuackery and impertiacnce, even in our attempts 
to calculate the waste of time. The years giltop fast enough for me, 
without remarking every moment as it flies ; and farther, I mast say 
I dislike a watch (whether of French or English manufacture] that 
comes to me like a footpad with its face muffled, and does not 
present its clear, open aspect like a friend, and point with its finger 
to the time of day. All this opCDing and shutting of dull, heavy 
cases (under pretence that the glass-lid is liable to be broken, or lets 
in the dust or air and obstructs the movcrocoi of the watch), is not to 
husband time, but to give trouble. It it mere pomposity and self- 
importaocc, like consulting a mysterious oracle that oik carries about 
with one in one's pocket, instead of asking a common question of an 
acc^uaintance or companion. There are two clocks which strike the 
hour in the room where 1 am. This 1 do not like. lo the first 
place, I do not want to be reminded twice how the time goet (it 
18 like the second tap oi a saucy servant at your door when pertupa 
you have no wish to get up) : in the next place, it i* starting a ditfer- 
ence of opinion on the subject, and I am averse to every appearance 
of wrangling and disputatioa. Time moves on the same, whatever 
disparity there may be in our mode of keeping count of ii, like true 
fame in spite of the cavils and contradtclions kiS the critics. I am no 
friend to repeating watches. The only pleasant association I have 
with them is the account given by Rousseau of some French lady, 
who sal up re.iding the AVw Hilo'ue when it first came out, and 
ordering her msid to sound the repeater, found it was too late to go to 
bed, and continued reading on till morning. Yet how different is the 
interest excited by this story from the account which Rousseau some- 
where else gives of his sitting up with hii father reading roroaaoei, 
when a boy, till they were stnnlcd by the swallows twittering in thor 
nests at day-break, and the father cried out, half angry and ashamed 
54 



! 



ON A SUN-DIAL 



I 



AllotUf mon J!lt i je luu plus enfant ipit toil ' In gcaeral, I have 
beard repealing watches sounded in iitage-coache* at olght, wben lome 
fcliow-traTellcr suddenly awaking and wondering whit w2« the hour, 
another has very deliberately taken out his waich, and preuing the 
swing, it has counted out the time ; each petty itrolce acting like a 
sharp puncture on the ear, and informing rac of the dreary hours I 
had already passed, and of the more dreary ones 1 had to wait till 
rtwroiog. 

The great advantage, it it true, which clack* have over watches 
sod other dumb reckoaeri of time i«, that for the most part they 
strike the hour — that they are as it were the mouCh-pieceB of time ; 
thai they not only point it to the eye, but impress it on the ear ; that 
they * lend it botJi an understanding and a tongue.' Time ihuR speaks 
to OS in an audible and warning voice. Objects of eight are easily 
distinguished by the sense, and suggest useful rcilections to the mtod } 
•OUtulB, from their intermittent nature, and perhaps other causes, 
appeal more to the imagination, aad strike upon the heart. But to 
do this, they must be unexpected and involunta.ry — there must be oo 
trick in the case — they should not be squeezed out with a finger and 
a thumb; there should be nothing optional, personal in their occur- 
rence i they should lie like stern, inflexible monitors, that nothing can 
prevent from discharging their duty. Surely, if there is any thing 
with which we should not mix up our vanity and self-consetjucncc, it 
i* with Time, the most indepeadeot of all things. All the sublimity, 
all the superstition that hang upon this palpable mode of announcing 
iu flight, are chiefly attached to this circumstance. Time would lose 
its abstracted character, if we kept it like a curiosity oi a jack-io-a- 
box ; its prophetic warnings would hai-e no effect, if it obvioujiy 
ipoke only at our prompting, like a paltry ventriloquiim. The clock 
that tells the coming, dreaded hour — the castle bell, that 'with its 
brazen throat and iron tongue, sounds one unto the drowsy ear of 
night' — the curfew, 'swinging slow with sullen roar' o'er wizard 
stream or iouniain, arc like a voice from other worlds, big with un> 
known events. The last sound, which is still kept up as an old 
custom in many parts of England, is a great favourite with me. I 
used to hear it when a boy. It tells a tale of other times. The days 
that are past, the generations that are gone, the tangled forest glades 
and hamlets brown of my native country, the woodsman's art, the 
Norman warrior armed for the battle or in his festive hall, the 
conqueror's iron rule and peasant's lamp extinguished, all start up at 
the clamorous peal, and fill my mind with fear and wonder. I 
confess, nothing at present interests me but what has been — the 
cecoUectioQ of the impreuiotu of my early life, or ercDis long past, 

55 



ON A SUN-DIAL 



of which ooij th« dim traces remain to a nnouldenog ruin or bilT- 
otwolctc cuMom. That thingj ihoulJ bt t/>al are nov m more, createt 
ID my niiod the most unfeigned astonishmcot. I cannot solve the 
mystery of the past, nor exhaust my pleasure in it. The years, the 
gcneiationft to come, are notbiog to me. We care oo more about the 
world in the year 2300 than wc- do about one of the planets. Eren 
George ir. ib better thu) the Earl of Windsor. We might u veil 
make a voyage to the moon as think of stealing a march upon Time 
with imjiiuiity. De non M^renii^ui et non exulentt^t eadem ett rath. 
Tboic who are to come after us and push us from the su^e Gcem like 
npstans and pretenders^ that nuy be $aid lu exist ht vonM, we know 
Dot Upon what, except as they are blown up with vain and self 
conceit by their patronn among the moderns. But the ancientii are 
true .nnd bond-JiJe people, to whom we are bound by aggregate 
knowledge and filial ties, and in whom seen by the mellow light of 
history we feel our own existence doubled and our pride cooaoled, 
as we ruminate on the vestiges of the past. The public in geoeral* 
however, do not carry this speculative iodiffcrence about the future to 
what is to happen to theouclvcs, or to the part they are to act in the 
busy scene. For my own part^ I do i and the only wish I can form, 
or that ever prompts ihc passing sigh, would be to live lome of my 
years over again — they would be tho«e in which I enjoyed and 
iuffefcd rao4t ! 

The ticking of a clock in the night has nothing very intereiting 
nor very alarming in it, though supentitioD has magnified it into an 
omen. In a state of vigilance or debility, it preyi upon the spiriu 
like the persecution of a teaming pertinacfous inaect ; and haunting 
the imagination after it has ceased in reality, is convened into the 
death-watch. Time is rendered vast hy contemplating its minute 
portions thus repeatedly and painfully urged upon its attention, a* Che 
ocean in its immcRsity it composed of water-drops. A clock striking 
with a clear and silver sound is a grc» relief in such circumstances, 
breaks the spell, and resembles a sylph-like and friendly spirit in the 
room. Foreigners, with all their tricks and contrivances upon clocks 
and time-pieces, are strangers to the sound of village-bell s, though 
perhaps a people that can dance may dispense with them. They 
impart a pensive, wayward pleasure to the mind, and are a kind of 
chronology of happy evenu, often serious in the retrospect — births, 
marriages, and so forth. Coleridge calls them * the poor man's only 
music* A village-spire in England peeping from its cluster of trees 
is always associated in imaginaliou with this cheerful accompaoimeni, 
and may be expected to pour its joyous tidings on the gale. In 
Catholic countries, you are stunned with the everlasting tolling of 

56 



I 



% 



A SUN-niAL 



bell* to priyeri or for the dead. In (be Apeoniocs, aod other wild 
and mountamous dUuicta of luly, the littJc chapeJ-bell with its timple 
tinktiDg sound has a roniADtic and charming enect. The Monks in 
former times appear to have taken a pride in the cooitniction of bell* 
a> well as churches ; .-tnd name of those of the grent cathedrals 
abroad (as at Cologne and Rouen) may be fairly said to be boane 
vith counting the flight of ages. The chimes in Holland arc a 
nuisance. They dance in the hour* and the quarters. They leaw 
DO reipite to the imagination. Before one set has done ringing in 
your ears, another begins. Ydu do not know whether the hours 
move or stand still, go backwards or forwnrds, ho fantastical and 
perplexing are their accompaniments. Time is a more staid peraoo- 
agc, and not so full of g:imboU. It puts you in mind of a tunc with 
Tiriaboos, or of an embroidered dress. Surely, nothing is more 
nmple than time. His march is straightforward; but we should 
have leisure allowed us to look back upon the distance we have come, 
and not be counting his steps every momenu Time in Holland is a 
foolish old fellow with al! the antics of a youth, who * goes to church 
ID a coranto, and lights his pipe in a cinque-pace.' The chimes wilh 
us, on the contrary, as they come in every three or four hours, are 
like suges in the journey of the day. They give a fillip to the lazy, 
creeping hours, and relieve the laasitude of country-places. At noon, 
their desultory, trivial song is diffused through the hamlet with the 
odour of rashers of bacon j at the close of day they send the toil- 
worn sleepers to their beds. Their discontinuance would be a great 
loH to the thinking or unthinking public. Mr. Wordsworth has 
painted their effect on the mind when he makes his friend Matthew, 
in a &l of ioaptted dotage, 

' Sing ihoK witty rhymes 
About the craiy old church-clock 
And the bewjlder'd chimes.' 

The tolling of the bell for deaths and executions is a fearful 
■ummons, though, as it announces, net the advance of litne but the 
approach of fate, it happily nukes no pxrt of our subject. Otherwise, 
the * sound of the beil * far Macheath'H execution in the * Beggar's 
Opera/ or for that of the Conspirators in * Venice PrcscrTcd,* with 
the roll of the drum at a soldier s funeral, and a digression to that of 
my Uncle Tob)*, as it is so lincly described by Sterne, would furnish 
ample topics to descant upon. If I were a moralist, I might dis- 
approve the ringing in the new and ringing out the old year. 



' Why dance ye, mortals, o'er At grave of Time ?' 



w 



ON A 8UN-DIAL 



St Paul's bril lolli only for the death of our English lungSt or i 
distinguiibcd personage or two, with long iotenals between.* 

Those who hare no artificial means of ascertaining the progreti of 
time, are ia general the mon acute io diKerning its imniediue ligu* 
and arc most retentive of individual dates. The mechaDical aids to 
knowledge are ooc sharj>cneT5 of the whs. The uoderttaodtng of a 
savage is a kind of natural almanac, and more true in its prognoitici- 
tioD of the future. In bis mind's eye he sees what has happened or 
what is likely to happen to bim, * as in a map the voyager hia coorse.' 
Those who read the times and seasont in the aspect of the heavena 
»id the conAgurationi of the stari, who count by moons and know 
when the sun tw& and sets, are by no means ignorant of their own 
alfairs or of the common concatenation of events. People in such 
situations have not their &culded di&tracted by any multiplicity of 
inquiries beyond what befalls themselves, and the outward appearaocci 
that mark the change. There is, therefore, a simplicity and clear- 
ness in the knowledge they posses*, which often puzzles the more 
learned. I am Bomctimes aurprised at a shepherd-boy by the road- 
side, who sees nothing but the earth and sky, asking roe the time of 
day — be ought to know so much better than any one bow far the sun 
is above the horizon. I suppose he wanu to ask a question of i 
passenger, or to sec if he has a watch. Robinson Crusoe lost his 
reckoning in the monotony of his life and that bewildering dream of 
solitude, and was fain to have recourse to the notches in a piece of 
wood. What a diary was hit ! And how time must have spread its 
circuit round him, vast and pathless as the ocean ! 

For myself, I hare never had a watch nor any other mode of 
keeping time in my possession, nor ever wish to learn how time goes. 
It is a sign I have had little to do, few avocations, few engagements. 
When I am in a town, I can hear the clock ; and when I am in the 
country, I can listen to the silence. What I like best is to lie whole 
mornings on a sunny bank on Salisbury Plain, without any object 
before me, neither knowing nor caring how time passes, and tbos 
* with light-winged toys of feathered Idleness ' to melt down hours 
to moments. Perhaps some such thoughts as I have here set down 
Boat before me like motes before my half-shut eyes, or some vivid 
image of the past by forcible contrast rushes by me — ' Diana and her 
fawn, and all the glories of the antique world ; ' then 1 surt away to 
prevent the iron from entering my sod, and let fall some tears into 
that stream of time which separates me farther and fanber from all I 

* Roviscin hu stlfnirsbljr ilcsaiber^ th< tffrct ol IwUi on itic inuKinstian la • 
p^—*ge in the Confcssimu, begiaarog * !■* ■*« ^« tItcAn m'm lu^ am n iii^a/urtmtmi 
afnu't 4tc. 
58 



WHY THE HEROBS OF ROMANCE ARE INSmO 

oner loved ! At length I rouse myself from my reverie, and hume 
to dioDcr, proud of killiog time wttli thought, nay even without 
thinking. Somewhat of ihis idle humour 1 inherit from my father* 
though be had not the tame freedom from ennui, for he wit ooi n 
metaphyncian ; and there were stops and vacant intervals in his being 
which he did not know how to hll up. He used in these cases, and 
i» ID obvioua resource, carefully to wind up liia watch at night, and 
* with lack'Iunre eye * more than once in the courte ot the day look 
to see what o'clock it was. Yet he had uotliing else in hti character 
in common with the elder Mr. Shandy. Were I lo attempt a 
sketch of him, for my own or the reader's satisfaction, it would be 

after the following manner : but now I recollect, I have done 

Bomeihing of the kind once before, and were I to resume the subject 
here, Mme bat or owl of a critic, with spectacled gravity, nught 
swear I bad stolen the whole of this Essay from myself — or (what is 
worse) from him ! So [ had better let it go as it it. 



WHY THE HEROES OF ROMANCE ARE INSIPID 

Tit Nrw MantUy Magavat.} {Navniter, liij. 

BiCAtKE it is taken tor granted that they must be amiable and interes- 
ting, in the Crst instance, and like other things that are uken for 
granted, ii hut indi^erently, or iitdeed cannot be made out at all in 
the sequel. To put it to the proof, to give illustrations of it, would 
be tu throw a doubt upon the question. They have only to show 
themselves to ensure conquest. - Indeed, the reputation of their 
Tictories goes before them, and is a pledge of their success before they 
even appear. They are, or are supposed to be, so amiable, so hand* 
some, so accomplished, so captivating, that all hearts bow before them, 
atid all the women are in Invc with them without knowing why or 
wherefore, except that it is understood that they arc to be so. AH 
obstacles vsnifih without a finger lifted or a word spoken, and the 
effect is produced without a blow being struck. When there is this 
imaginary charm at work, every thing they could do or say muat 
weaken the impresaion, like arguments brought in favour of a self- 
evident truth : they very wisely say or do little or nothing, rely on 
their names and the author'n good word, look, smile, and are adored ; 
but to all but the heroines of romance and their confidantes, are 
exceedingly Dointeresting and ctmimfm-fdact personages, either great 
coxcombd or wonderfully insipid. VVhcn a lover is able to look 
imuttcrabJe thbgs which produce the desired effect, what occasion 

59 



WHY THE HEROES OF ROMANCE ARE INSIPID 

tioQ« and bigh-flowD seotimcDU. Not only the Palmerini of HngUod 
and AmadUcs of Gaal* who made thnr way to ifacir mistrusct' 
bcaru by alaying giants and taming dragon*, but the heroes of the 
FrcDcb roimances of intrigue aitd gallantry wtiich succeeded tbow of 
necromancy and chivalry, and where the adventurem for the prize 
bare to break throogh the fences of mor^ility and scruples of conscience 
iofilead of &tone-walli and pnchantmenls dire, are to he excepted from 
the ceosurc of downright insipidity which attaches to those ordiaar)' 
drawing-room heroes, who aiL- installed in the good graces of ihcir 
Dmoities by a look, and keep their places there by the hwce of ^ti^ 
r^e\ It is Gray who cries out, 'Be mioe to read eternal new 
romances of Maiivaux and Crebillon ! * I could Bay the unne of 
those of Madame La Fayette and the Dake de ia Rochcfoucault. 

* The PrinccsH of Clcves * is a must charming work of thifi kind ; and 
the Duke dc Nemours is a great favourite with me. He is perhaps 
the most briUiaat pcrsDoagc that ever catered upon the lapit of i 
drawing-room, or iriOed at a lady's toilette. 

I prefer him, I owe, rattly to Richardson's Sir Charles GraodiMn, 
whom I look upon as the prince of coxcombs ; and so much the more 
impertinent as he is a moral one. His character appears to me *ogly 
all over wiih istfectation.' There is not a single thing that Sir Charles 
Grandi^on docs or ^y;; all through ttie book from liking to aoy person 
or object but himself, and with a view to answer lo a certain standard 
of perfeciion for which he pragmatically sets up. He is always 
thinking of himKlf. and trying to show that he is the wi»<«, happicsl, 
and moitt virtuous jtrrson in the whole world. Hr ie (or would be 
thought} 3 code of Christian ethics ; a compilation and abstract of all 
gentlemanly accomplishments. There is nothing, I cancciTc, thai 
cxcttefl so little sympathy an this inordinate egotism; or so much 
disgust as this everlasting self-complaceocy. Yet this seiradmiratioD, 
brought forward on every occasion as the incentive to every action 
and reflected from all around him, is the burden and pivot of the story. 

• Is not the man Sir Charles Grandison ? ' — is what he and all the 
other persons concerned arc continually repeating to themselves. His 
preference of the little, insignificant, selfish, affected, puritanical Miss 
Byron, who is remarkable for nothing but her conceit of herself and 
her lover, to the noble Clementina, must for ever sump him for the 
poltroon and blockhead that he was. What a conuasi between these 
two females — the one, the favourite heroine, settling her idle punctilios 
and the choice of her ribbons for the wedding-day with etjua! tntcreO, 
the other, self-dcvoied, broken-hearted, gercrous, disinterested, pouring 
out her whole «oul in the fervent expressions and dying struggles of an 
unfortunate and hopeless affection ! It was impossible indeed for the 

61 



WHY THE HEROES OF ROMANCE ARE INSIPID 



genius of the author (strive all he could) to put tho prcttine«»c8 and 
coquettitb scruple* of the bridc-clect upon a. par with tlic eloqucot 
despair and impauioned sentintents of her ntiijescic but unsuccessful 
rival. Nothing can show more clearly that the height of good fortune 
and of that conventional fautileHsnenti which is suppoted to &ecureiL,i» 
incompatible with any great degree of interest. Lady Clemeotina 
should have been married to Sir Charles to Burfeit her of a coxcomb 
— Miss Byron to Lovelace to plague her with a rake! Have we 
not sometime* seen such matches? A ilafthing critic of my ac<)uaiot- 
ance once obserred, that * Rtcbardaon would be surprised in the next 
world to find Lovelace in Heaveo and Granditon in Hell ! ' With- 
out going this orthodox length, I mtut aay there is something in 
Lovelace's vices more attractive than in the other's best virtues. 
Clarissa's attachment seems as natural as CIcaiCDtiaa's is romaatic. 
There is a regaSly about Lovelace's manoer, and he appears clothed 
LB a panoply of wit, gaiety, spirit, aod emcrprite, that is criticism* 
proof. If he had not posBcssed these dazzling qualities, nothing 
could have made us forgive for an instant his treatment of the spotless 
Clarissa ; but indeed they might be said to be mutually attracted to 
and extinguished in each other's dazzling lustre! When we thittk 
of Lovelace and hit luckJess exploits, we csa hardly be persuaded at 
this time of day that he wore a wig. Yet that he did so n evident ; 
for Miss Howe when she gave him that spirited box on the ear, 
Btniclc the powder out of it ! Mr.B. in ' Pamela * has all the insipidity, 
that arises from patronising beauty and condescending to virtue. 
Pamela herself is delightfiilly made out; but she labours uixler 
considefahte disadvantages, and is far froro a rtgulnr heroine. 

Sieroe (thank God!) bu neither hero cor heroine, and he does 
very well without them. 

Miny people find fault with Kicldiog's Tom Jooes as gross and 
immoral. For my part, 1 have doubts of his being so very haodsonie 
from the author's always talking about his beauty, and I suspect he 
was a clowQ, from being constantly assured he was so very genteel. 
Otiicrwise, I think Jones acquit* himself very well both in hin actions 
and speeches, as a lover and as a trmchtr-man whenever he is called 
opon. Some persons, from their antipathy to that headlong impulse, 
w which Jones was the dave. and to (hat morality of good-nature 
which in htm is made a foil to principle, have gone so Far as to prefer 
Blifil as the prttiitr fellovf of the two. I certainly cannot subscribe 
to this opinion, which perhaps was never meant to have followers, and 
has nothing but its singularity to recommend it. Joseph Andrews is 
a hero of the shoulder- ktiot : it would br hard to canvas!> his preten- 
siODs too seveicly, especially considering what a patron he has in 

63 



WHY TKK HEROES OF ROMANCE ARE INSIPID 

Parson Adams. That 0D« chara«er would cut up iota a hundred 
fine gcntltmcD and novcf-hcroes ! Bootli is anotJier of the gtKtd- 
Daturcd tribe* a tine man, a very (tnc man ! But there is a want of 
apiril to aotmiite the wrlU meaning mai*. He hardly deserved to 
ha?e the hashed mutton kep*. waiting for him. The author his 
redeemed hirmcif in Amelia : bat a heroine with a troien noie and 
who wa£ a married woman besides, must be rendered truly intcreningl 
and amiable to make up for superficial objections. Tbc character u 
the Nobtc Peer in this novel is not iofipid. If Fielding could have 
made rirtue at admirable as he could make vice detestable* he would 
have been a greater master eveii tbao he was. I do not QoderRtand 
what those critics mean who say he got all his characters out of alr- 
bou*». It is true he did tome of them. 

Smollett's heroes are neither one thing oor the other : neither very 
refined nor very insipid. Wilson in Humphrey CHoker comes the 
neareGt to the heaa-ii&al of this character, the favourite of the norel- 
reading and boarding-Khool girl. Narcissa and Kmilia Gauntlet arc 
very charming girli ; and Mooimia in Count Fathom is a fine monu- 
mental beauty. But jierhaps he must be allowed to he most at home 
in Winifred Jenkins! 

The wumrn have taken this matter up in our own time : let na 
what they have made of it. Mrs. RadclifTe's heroes and lovers arc 
perfect in dieir kind ; nobody can find any fault with them, for nobody 
knows any thing about ibem. They are described as Tcry handsome, 
and quite unmeaning and inolTcDsive. 

' Her heroes have no dtancter at all' 

Theodore, Vakncoort, — what delightful ramcs I and there is nothing 
else to distinguish them by. Perhaps however, this indefiniteDCM 
is an advantage. We add expression to the ioanimale outline, and 
fill up the blank with all that is amiable, interesting, and romantic. 
A long ride without a word spoken, a meeting that comes to nothing, 
a patting look, a moonlight »cene, or evening skies that paint their 
sentiments for them better thnn the lovers can do for themselves, 
farewelU too full of anguish, deliverances too big with Joy to admit of 
words, iiUpprcsEed sighs, faint smiles, the freshness of the morntDg, 
pale melancholy, the clash of swords, the clank of chains that make 
the fair one's heart sink within her, these are the chief means by 
which the admired authoress of ' The Romance of the Forest ' and 
* The Mysteries of Udolpho ' keejn .ilive :m ambiguous interest in 
the bosom of her fastidious readers, and elevates the lover into the 
hero of the fable. UniateDigtble disttnctioos, impossihie attempts, a 
«4 



WHY THE HEROES OF ROMANCE ARE INSIPID 



I 



I 



deltcicy that shrinks from ihc mo«t tritltng objecUos, and an eothu- 
tiasm that rtuhcs oo its dte, kucH arc the charming and Ie.-i7.ing 
contradictions tlut I'orm the flimky tcxturi? of a modeni romance ! 
If ihe lover in ^uch critical cmcs was any thing but a loTcr* he would 
cease to be the most amiable of all characters in the abstract and by 
way of excellence, aod would be a traitor to the cause ; to give 
reanons or to descend to [Hriiculars, is to doubt the omnipotence of 
lore and shake the empire of credulous fancy ; a MUDdiag Dime, i 
graceful form, are all that it necessary to suspend the whole train of 
tearK, itgbti, and the lofiest emotions upon ; the ethereal nature of the 
passion require* ethereal food to suttaio it ; and our youthful hero, in 
order to be perfectly inieresring, mu8t be drawn as perfectly insipid ! 

I cuitwt, howeTcr, apply this charge to Mrs. Inchbald's heroes or 
heroines. Howcrcr finely drawn, they arc ao essence of sentiment. 
Their words arc composed of the warmest breath, their tears scald, 
their sighs suHe. Her characters seem moulded of a softer cUy, the 
work of fairest hnrtdti. Mi^s Milnei is enchanting. Dnriforth 
indeed is serere. ind has a very stately opinion of himself, but he ha< 
■pint and pssion. Lord Norwynnc is the moM unpteasant and 
obdurate. He seduces by his situation and kills by indirerencc, ai it 
natural in such cases. But still through ail these the fascination of 
the writer's personal feelings never quitu you. On the other hand, 
Miss Barney's (MadameD'Aiblay'sjytfrt^ is ridicule, or an exquisite 
tact for minuie absurdities, and when she aims at being fine she only 
becomes affected. No one had e%-cr much lets of the romantic. 
Lord OrviUe is a condescending suit of clothes; yet ceruinly the 
sense which fcvcliii;i has of the honour doce ber is very prettily 
managed. Sir Clement Willoughby is a much gayer and more 
animated person, though his wit outruns his discretion. Young 
DelviUe it the hero of punctilio^a perfect diplomitiit in the art of 
tove-ma king— and draws his parallels and sits down as deliberately 
before the citadel of his mistress's heart, as a cautious general Uy* 
siege 10 .in impregnable foruess. Cecilia is not behind-hand with 
him in the game of studied cross-purposes and affected delays, and is 
almost the veriest and most provoking triHer on record. Mlsa 
Edgeworth, I beticre, has no heroes. Her trenchant pen cuts away 
all extravagance and idle pretence, and leaves nothing but common 
sense, prudence, and propriety behind it, wherever it comes. 

I do not apprehend that the heroes of the Author of Waverlcy form 
any very striking exception to the common rule. They conform to 
their designation and fullow the general law of their being. They 
are for the most part very equivocal and undecided personages, who 
receive their govemtag im|>u[»e from accident, or are pup[)eti« in the 

VOL. XII. ; £ 65 




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i^iit/-.t ityyti.' rii',f '/• rt.i- y^ *:.'JT\ ',: j^rrrrtiiCr arT*fC:ig she h»d 
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/■.'•'.I'Ut.yi, m'.I IV i.'/,i,'.v.*:ui*\, i/*>I<J, acd orirtra] in this beiutifal 

v. 



WHY THE HEROKvS OF ROMANCE ARE INSIPID 



I 

I 

I 



I 

I 



and glowing design, which is ai magniticeDt as it is magnanimous. — 
Lest 1 should forget it, I will mention while I am on the lubject of 
Scotch novels, ihat Mackenzie's * Man of Feeling' is not without 
interest, but it is an iDtcrest brought out in a very tiagular and ucprc- 
cedeoted way. He not merely says or does nothing to deserte the 
approbation of the goddess of his idotatry, but from extreme shvnets 
and seniitirencsi, instead of presumtog on bia merits, gets out of her 
way, and only declare* his passion on his death-bed. Poor Harley ! 
— Mr. Godwin's Falkland is a very high and heroic character : he, 
however, is not a love-hero t -ind the only part in which an efiisode 
of this kind is introduced, is of the moic trite and mawkish description. 
The case is diffierent in St. Leon. The author's rcisuHcitaicd hero 
there quaSs joy, lore, and immort:itit:y with a considerable gutto, and 
with appropriate maflifestatioos of triumph. 

As to the heroes of the philosophical school of romance, mich as 
Goethe's Werther, &c,, they are eridently out of the pale of this 
reasoning. Instead of being common-place and insipid, they are one 
rialeot and surtlitig paradox from beginning to end. Instead of 
being cast in stiff' unmeaning mould, they *all germins spill at once* 
that make mere mortal men. They run a-tih at all established usages 
and prejudices, and overset all the existing order of society. There 
is plenty of interest here ; and instead of compLiining of a calm, wc 
are borne along by a hurricane of paatiton and clo<]ucnce, ccn^tinly 
without any tiling of * temperance that may give tt smoothness.' 
Schiller's Moor, Kotzebue's heroes, and all the other German 
prodigies are of this sump. 

8bakspcare's lovers und Boccaccio's 1 like much : they seem to 
me full of tenderness and manly spirit, and free from insipidity and 
cant. Otway'a Jatlier is, however, the true woman's man — full of 
pMsioo and effeminacy, a mixture of «rength and weakness. Perhaps 
what I ha»e said almve may suggest the true reason and apology for 
Milton's having unwittingly made Satan the hero of ' Paradise Lost.' 
He suffers inhniic losses, and makes the roost desperate efforts to 
recover or avenge them ; and it is the struggle with fate and the 
prtvatioQ of happiness that sharpens our desires, or enhances our 
sympathy with good or evil. We have tittle interest lo unalterable 
felicity, nor can wc join with heart and soul in the endless symphonies 
and exulting hallelujahs of the spirits of the blest. The remorse of 
a fallen spirit or 'tears such as angels shed' touch us more nearly. 



67 




THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



TAi Nni> MaMikty VW«f «e(iw,] 



{Dtttm^, 1$17, 



* And of hii port m mnk i* it a mtirf.* 



Scholars lead a contempIstiTe and recircd life, both which circun- 
sUDCes muit be supposed to cooiribute to ihe effect to que«tioD. A 
life of study is alao conrrrsant with high and ideal models, which 
gires an amtntious turn to the mind ; and pride is nearly aktn to 
delicacy of feeling. 

That a life of privacy and obccurity ahould render it« votariei 
bashful jnd awkward, or unfit Uiem for the routine of society, froiu 
the want both of 3. habit of going into company and froin ignorance 
of iu us;igei, is obrious to remark. No one can be expected to do 
that well or without a certain degree of bcsitadoa and restrainCi 
which he is hoc accustomed to do except on particular occasions, 
and at rare intcrvalK. You might as rationally set a schnlai or a 
clown on a tight-rope and expect them to dance gracefully and with 
every appearance of ease, as introduce either into the gay, laughing 
circle, and suppose iliat he will acquit himself handsomely and come 
off with applause in the retailing of anecdote or the interchange of" 
reijartee. "If you h.ire not seen the Court, your numncrs must be 
naught ; and if your manners are naught, you must be damocd,* accord- 
ing 10 Touchstone's reasoning. The other cause lies rather deeper, and 
is DO far better worth considering, perhaps. A student, then, that is, a 
nun who condetnnb himself to toll for a length of time and through a 
number of volumes in order to arrife at a conclusion, naturally loses 
that ■martiiess and ease which distioguiih the gay and thoughtless rattler. 
There is a certain clasticiiy of movement and hey-day of the animal 
tptritii fteldom to be met with but in those who hayc never cared for 
any thing beyond the moment, or looked lower than the surface. The 
scholar having to encounter doubts and difficulties on all hands, and 
indeed to apply by way of preference to those subjects which are 
most beset with mystery, becomes heRitating, sceptical, irrraolote, 
absent, dull. All the processes of bis mind arc slow, cautious, 
circuitous, instead nf being prompt, heed less, straightforward. 
Finding the intricacies of the path increase upon him in ewj 
direction, this can hardly be supposed to add to tlwr lightness of 
his step, the confidence of his brow as he advancett. He doe* nw 
skim the surface, but dives under it like the mole to make his way 
darkling, by imperceptible degrees, and ihrowirg up heaps of dirt and 
rubbish over his head to track his progress. He is therefore stanlcd at 

68 



i 
I 



< 




THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



I 



any sudden light, puzzled by any casual (question, taken unawares and 
at a di&adrantage in ciTry crhical emergency. He must have titne 
giTea him to collect bi> choughtc, to consider objectioDG, to malte 
fanher inquiries, and come to no coDclu«ion at last. Thii in very 
differeoc nrom the dathiog, off-hand manner of the mere man of 
business or faehion ; and he who is repeatedly found in situntionB 
to which he ic unequal (particulirly if he ii of a reflecting and 
candid temper] will be apt to look foolish, and to lose both hit 
countenance and hit) confidence in himself — at least as to the opinion 
others entertain of him, and the figure he ii likely on any occaaioD 
CO make in the eyes of the world. The cuurtie of his studies has 
not made him vise, bat has taught htm the uncertainty of wisdom ; 
and has supplied him with excellent reasons for ius|)cnd)iig his 
judgmeni, when another would throw the castiag-weight of his own 
presumption or interest into tlie scale. 

The inquirer after truth learni to take nothing fur granted ; least 
of all, to make an assumption of hi* own superior merits. He would 
have nothing proceed without proper proofs and an exact scrutiny ; 
and would neither be imposed upon himself, nor impose upon others 
by shallow and hasty appearances. It takes years of patient toil and 
devoted enthusiasm to matter any art or science ; and after alt^ the 
Nuccets is doubtful. He infers that other triumphs must be prepared 
in like manner at an humble distance: he cannot bring himself to 
imagine that any objea worth seizing on or deserring of regard, 
can be carried by a cmip de main. So far from being proud or puffed 
up by them, he would be ashamed and degraded in his own opinion 
^F any advantages that were to be obtained by siKh cheap attd 
ntJgar means as putting a good face on the matter, as strutting and 
vapouring about his own preiensioos. He would not place himself 
on a level with bullies or cuxcombs ; nor belifvc that those whoir 
fiivour he covets, can be the dupes of either. Whatever is excellent 
in his fanciful creed is hard of attainment ; and he would (perhaps 
absurdly enough) have the means in all cases answerable to the end. 
He knows that there are difficulties in his lavouritc pursuits to 
puzzle the will, to tire the patience, to unbrace the strongest nerves, 
and make the stoutest courage quail; and he would fain think that 
if thefe is any object mure worthy than another to call forth the 
earnest solicitude, the hopes and fears of a wise man, and to make 
his heart yeatn within him at the must distant prospect of success, 
this precious prize in the grand lottery of life is not to be had for 
the asking for, or from the mere ea»y indifference or overbearing 
eff'runtery with which you put in your claim. He is aware that it 
will be long enou^ before any one paints a tine jiicture by walking 

69 



THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



up and down sod .idmiring himaelf in the glaM; or writer a 
poem by bdng delighted with the •ouod of bij own roice ; or lolic* 
a single problern in philosopby by nraggmog and baagfaty air*. Hr 
conceives that ic it the ume with the way of the world— woot the 
fair as he woo* the Mnae ; in converntion never pots io a word iQI 
be baa Botoething better to ra.y than any one else io the room; in 
buMneu ncrer nrike* while the iron is hot, and flings away all hu 
advamagrs by rodeavouring to prove to bis own and the ntic^ctioii 
of others, that be is clearly entitled to them. It acnz once eaten 
into hit head (till it i» too lute) that impudence is rbe current coin 
in the affairs of life ; that he who docbts his own merit, never h« 
credit ^iven him by others; that Fortune dors not stay to hare her 
overtures canvasird; that he who neglects opportunity, can seldom 
command it a second time ; that the world judge by appearaoceSf 
not liy realities; and that they sympathise more readily with tboK 
who are prom]>t to do themselves juitice, and to show off their 
various qunlilications or enfurcp their pretensiooa to the utmost, ihao 
with those who wait for other* to award their claima, and carry their 
fastidious refinement into helplcsaoess and imbecility. Thus *fooli 
rush in where angels fear to tread ; * and modest merit finds to its 
COM, tlut the bold band and dauntless brow succeed where timidity 
and bathfultvess are pushed aside ; that the gay, laughing eye is 
preferred to dejection and gloom, health and animal spirits to the 
•haltered, sickly frame and trembling nerves; and that to succeed 
in life, a man should carry about with him the outward and incontro- 
vertible signs of sutces*, and of hii^ tatisfactton with himself actd hi* 
pro«pccts, instead of plaguing every body near him with fantiKical 
scruples and his ridiculous anxiety to realise an unattainable standard 
of perfection. From holding back himself, the b|«rculative cnihuMasi 
is thrust hack by others: his pretensions are insulted and trarapled 
on ; and the repeated and pointed repuisea be meets with, malLe him 
still more unwilling to encounter, and more unable to contend with 
those that await bini in tbe prosecution of his career. He therefore 
retires from the contest altogetlier, or remains in tlie back-groundi 
a passive but uneasy spectator of a scene, in which be finds from 
experience, th^t confidence, alertness, and superficial accjuircmenti 
are of more avail than all the refinement and delicacy in the world. 
Action, in truth, is refet.ible chiefly to (]uicknes« and stieogtb of 
resolution, rather than to depth of reasoning or scrupulous nicery: 
again, it it to be presumed that tho»e who show a proper reliance oa 
themselves, will nut betray the trust we place in theni tlirougb 
puaillantmity or want of spirit : in what relates to the opioioD of 
others, wbicli is often fortned Uastily and on slight acquaintance, 
70 



I 



I 




HE SI 



rOLARl 



moch rauK be allowed to what Mrikc» ihe vmies, to what excitn 
the imagioation; ^nd in all popular worldly schemes, popular nod 
worldly meant rnunt be resorted to, lORcad of depending wholly on 
the hiddea and incriniic menu of the case. 

' In peace, there 'i nothing so becomci a man 
Ai modest fltillncM, and humility ; 
But when the hlas.1 of war blows in our ears, 
Tlven imitair ihr anion of (Jie lygei i 
Stiffen the sincw», summon up the bkmd, 
Dtiguise fair naturf with hard-favour'd rage : 
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect j 
Let it Dry through the portage of the head, 
Like tne brau cannon t let the brow o'erwhelm it, 
Ai fearfully, ai doih a galled roclc 
O'crhang and jutty h'n confounded base, 
SwUI'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.' 



Thia advice (Bensible as it is) t« abhorrent to the nature of a man 
who ti accustomed to place all his hopes of victory in reatooing and 
reflection only. The noisy, rude, gratuitous tuccess of thoK who 
have taken so much Icsh pains to deserve it, disguslB and disheartens 
him — he loses his sclf-poseension and telf-ettecm, has no standard 
left by which to measure himself or others, and as he cannm be 
brought to admire them, persuade* himself at last that the blame 
rests with himself; and instead of bespeaking a fashionable dress, 
learning to bow, or tailing a few lessons In boxing or fencing to 
brace bit nerves and rni»c hisi spirits, aggravates all his former faults 
by way of repairing them, ^rows more jealous of the propriety of 
every word and look, lowers his voice into a whisper, gives his style 
the last polish. rei:onsider& his arguments, reiines his sentimentM till 
they cvapor;ite in a nigh, and thus satisfies himself that he can hardly 
£ul, that men judge tmpATtially in the end, iliitt the public will 
■Oooer or later do him justice. Fortune smile, and (he Fair no longer 
be averse! Oi maiore/ He is just where he was, or ten times 
worw otT than ever. 

There is aiw>ther circumstance that tends not a little to perplex 
the judgment, sikI add to the difficulties of the retired student, whea 
be comes out into the world. He is like one dropped from the 
cloud*. He has hitherto converted cbicHy with historic personages 
and abstract propoeitions, and has no just notion of actual men aiKf 
things- He docs not well know how to reconcile the sweeping 
conclusions lie has been tauj^ht to indulge to to the cautious and 
pliant maxims of the world, nor how to comp.'ue himself, an inhabi- 

71 




THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



tnnt of Utopia^ with sublunary rooruils. He hat been habituated 
his life to look up to a few grcst namcii handed down bj Tirtue or 
Mriencc as the * Gods of hiii idolatry/ as ttte fixed «su^ in tbr 
firmamrm of reputation, and to bare some respect for himself sod 
other learned men a vouriea at the shrine aiuj as appreciating the 
meriia of their idol { but all the re«( of the world, who are oeJlfaer 
the object! of thi* lort of homage, nor cooceraed as a ton of 
prieithood in collecting and paying it, he lookt upon u acttulljr 
nobody, or as worms crawling upon the face of the earth withooi 
intellectual value or pretensions. He ta, therefore, a little surpriied 
■^nd uhucked to lind, wht:n he deigns to mingle with his fcllowr, 
tho»c erery-day raonali, on ordinary terms, that they are of a height 
nearly equal to himself, that they have words, ideas, feelings in 
common with the best, and arc not the mere cypher* be had bees 
led to consider them. From having underrated, he comeit to over- 
rate them. Having dreamt of no such thing, he is more struck with 
what he finds than perhaps it deseni'cs ; magnifies the least glimpse 
of sease or humour into sterling wit or wisdom ; is startled hy any 
objection from so unexpected a quaner ; thinks his own adTantagei 
of no avail, because they arc not the only anen, and shrinks from an 
encounter with weapons he has not been used to, and from a struggle 
by which he feels himself degraded. The Knight of La Manchi 
when soundly beaten by the packstavei of the Yanguesian carriers, 
laid all the blame on hit having condescended to fight with plebeians. 
The pride of learning comet in to aid the awkwardness and bashfut- 
ne«a of the inexperienced novice, converting his want of succets into 
the shame and nioriification of defeat in what he habitually considers 
as a contest with inferiors. Indeed, those will always be found to 
submit with the worst grace to any check or reverse of this kind in 
common conversation ot reasoning, who have been taught to set the 
most exclusive and disprcportioncd value on letters : and the most 
enlightened and accomplished scholars will be less likely to be 
humbled or put to the blush by the display of common setse or 
native talent, than the more ignorant, self-Hufficient, aod pedantic 
among the learned ; for that ignorance, self-suf^cicncy, and pedantry, 
are sometimes to be reckoned among the attributes of*^ learning, canoM 
be disputed. These qualltieK ate not very reconcilable with modest 
merit; but they are t]uite consistent with a great deal of blundering, 
confusion, and want of t,ici in the commerce of the world. The 
genuine scholar retires from an unequal conflict into silence and 
obscurity : the pedant swells into self-importance, and renders himself 
conspicuous by pompous arrogance and absurdity ! 

It i>i hard upon iho«e who have ever taken pains or done any thing 

7» 



I 
I 

I 

I 

I 



THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



lo liittioftuiith th^mnelve*, that they arc Kldom tht trumprtcra of 
their own aclilcvemeots ; and I believe it may be laid dowo u a 
ru1e« that we receive jiul as much homage from others as wc exact 
from them by our own declaratioDi, IouIch, anil manner. But no 
one wbo has prtfnrTncd any thing great looks big upon it : thow 
who hare any thing to boatt of arc generally silent on that head, and 
altogether thy o( the subject. With CuriuIanuB, they *will not have 
their nothings n)oasier*d.' From familiarity, his own uct^uircments 
do iHA appear to extraordinary to the individual as to other* ; and 
there is a natural want of sympathy in this renpect. No one who 
ia realty capable of great thing* it proud or vato of hts success; for 
he thinks more of what he had hoped or has failed to do, than of 
what be has done. A habit of extreme exertion, or of anxious 
siupeoMf is not one of buoyaDt, overweening self-coRiplaccncy : chose 
wbo have all their lives tasked their faculties to the utmost, may be 
lupposcd to have quite enough to do without having much disposition 
tetl to anticipate their success with confidence, or to glory in it 
afterwards. The labourB of the mind, like the dnidgery of the 
btxly, depresM and take away the usual alacrity of the spirits. Nor 
can such persons be litted up with the event ; tor the imp[cs»ion of 
die consequences lo result from any arduous undcruking must be 
light and vain, compared with the toil and anxiety accompanying it. 
It is only those who have done nothing, wbo fancy they caa do 
every thing; or who liave leisure and inclituitioa to admire them- 
tetvn. To sit before a glass and smile delighted at oar own image. 
is merely a tax on our egotism and self-conceit ; and these are 
resources not easily exhausted in some persons; or if they are> the 
deficiency is supplied by batterers who surround the rain, like a 
natural atmosphere. FooU who take all their opinions at second- 
hand cannot resin the coxcomb^s delight in himself; or it might 
be said that folly is the natural mirror of vanity. The greatest 
heroes, it has ohen been observed, do not show it in their faces; 
nor do philosophers affect to be thought wiiic. Little minds triumph 
on small occaaions, or over puny competitors: the loftiest wish for 
higher opportunities of tignatistng themselves, or compare themselves 
with those models that leave tiiem no room for fiippant exultution. 
Either great things arc accomplished with labour and pains, which 
startip their impression on the general character and tone of feeling; 
or if this should not be the case (as sometimes happens), and they 
are the effect of genius and a happiness of nature, then they cost too 
little to bf much thought of, and wr rather wonder at others for 
admiring them, than at ourselves for having performed them. * Vix 
ea nostra loco ' — is the niuttu of spontaneous talent ; and in tteither 

73 




THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



casr is conceit thr cxubnaot growth of great origina) power or of 
gTMt attainments. 

In one particular, the uneducated man carrtea it hollow against the 
nun of thought ami refinenienc : the first can ihoot in the long htmi, 
which the last cannot for the life of him. He who ha* spent the 
beiil part of his time and wasted his best powers in endeavouring tn 
answer the <|ucstion — ' What is tnith ? ' — scoms a lie, and e»ery 
thing nuking the smallest approach to one. His mind by hahit hat 
become tenacious of^ devoted to the truth. The grossness and 
nigarity of falsehood shock the delicacy of his percepti<H)B, as much 
aa it would shock the finest artist to be obliged to daub in a sign- 
post, or scrawl a caricature. He cannot make up hia mind to derive 
any benelii from so pitiful and disgusting a source. Tell mc that a 
man is a metaphysician, and at the same time that he is gi*'en to 
shallow and sordid boasting, and I will oot believe you. After 
striving to raise himself to an ccjuality with truth and nature hy 
patient investigation and refined distinctions (which few can make) — 
whether he Kucceed or fail, he cannot stoop to acquire a apurious 
reputation, or to advance himself or lessen others by paltry artilice 
and idle rhodoniontade, which are in every cnr*E power who has 
never known the value or undergone the Ubour of discovering a 
single truth. Gross personal and IocjiI interests bear the principal 
sway with the ignorant or mere man of the world, who considers 
BOt what things are in themselves, but what they are to bim: tbe 
man of science attaches a higher importance to, because he fin<la a 
more constant pleasure in the contemplation and pursuit of general 
and abstracted truths. Philosophy also teaches self-knowledge ; and 
self-knowledge strikes equally at the root of any inordinate opinion 
of oursclre*, or wish to impress others with idle admiratkn. 
Mathematicians have been remarked for persons of strict probity 
and a conscientious and somewhat literal turn of mind-' But are 
poets and romance-writers equally scrupulous and severe jud{;efi of 
themitclves, aod martyrs to right principle ? 1 cannot acquit them 
of the charge of vanity, and a wish to aggrandise themselves in the 
eyen of the world, at the exjiense of a little false coniplnisaDCe 
(what wonder whei> the world are so prone to admire, and they are 
so spoiled by indLilgence in sclf-pleasiog fancies?) — but in general 
they are too much taken up with their m/m/ creations, which have 
also a truth and keeping of their own, to misrepresent or exaggerate 
matters of fact, or to trouble their heads about thenn. The poet's 

' I hive hesril It isid thst carptnim, who rio cwrj thing by ih< sqtisrt snd 
line, ate honett men, and I »Ri willing to «nppoi« it. Sluk«pearr, in tbe 
^Midtammer Nichi'i Dream,' mikci Snaf tht Joiner the mtrtl man oftbr pieer. 

74 



THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



wakJDg tKoughta arc dreanu : the liar has al\ his wit» and MTitcs 
about him, and thinkii only of aMoniiihing hio hearere by fiomr wonh- 
IcM BNenion, a mixture of irnpudcDce aod cuoniog. But what iball 
we say of the clergy and the prireu of all countries ? Ace they not 
men of learning f And arc ihey no:, with (cw exceptions, noted for 
imposture and tinie-cerving, much more than for a love of truth aod 
candour? They are good oubjecu, it in true; bound to keep the 
peace, and hired to maiataio certaio opiatoos, not to ioquirc into 
thrm. So this U an exception to ihe rule, such as might be expected. 
I ipeak of the natural tCDdnicies of thing', and not of the faltc biaa 
dut may be given to them by thetr forced combinatioQ with other 
principle!. 

The worst etFect of this deprcHion of epiriu, or of the • KhoUr'i 
melancholy,* here spoken of, ii when it leads a man* from a di&tmst 
of himself, to seek for low company, or to forget it by matching 
below hinuctf. Gray it to be pitied, whose extreme dilDdcnce or 
(aslidtoutness was such aa to prevent his associating with his fellow 
collegians, or mingling with the herd, till at length, like the owl, 
thuldng himself tip from aociery and daylight, he was hunted and 
hooted at like the owl whenever he chanced to appear, and wu even 
assailed and disturbed in the haunts in which * he held his solitary 
reign.' He was driven from college to college, and subjected to a 
persecutioD the more harassing to a person of his iodotenc and retired 
habits. But he only shrunk the more within himself in conscqueDCc 
— read over his favourite authors — correspooded with bit distant 
firiends — was terrifled out of his wits at the bare idea of having his 
portrait f^e6xed to his works ; and probably died from nervous 
agtiatioR at the publicity into whicli his name h.id been forced by 
his learning, taste, and genius. I^his monastic seclusion and reserve 
is, however, better than a career such ai Porson's ; who from not 
liking the restrainu, or not possessing the exterior recommeodatioas 
of good society, addicted himself to the lowest indulgences, spent 
hi* days ond nights in cider-cellars and pot-houses, cared not with 
whom or where he wai, so that he had somebody to talk to and 
something to drink, 'from humble porter to imperial tokay ' (u Syuid, 
according to his uwa pun), and tell a martyr, in all likelihood, to 
what in the lirit instance was pure mauva'ue icnit. Nothing could 
overcome this propensity to low society and sotting, but the having 
Mmethiag to do, which required his whole aucntion and faculties ; 
and then he shut hini«cif up for weeks together in his chambers, or 
ax the University, to collate old manuscripts, or editc a Creek 
Cngedy, or expose a grave pedant, without seeing a single boon- 
companion, or touching a gun of wine. I saw him once at the 

7S 




THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



London loitituLioc) with a Urge pitch of coanc brown fuptf' 
hit oMCf the skint of his rutty black coat hiu^ vkh cobwroi, and 
talking in a cone of suavicy approacKiog to condetccosioD to one 
of th« Managen. It is a pity that men shoold to lote themaclTCi 
from a certain awkwardness and rusticity at the outset. Bttt did 
not Sheridan make the same melancholy coding, aiKl nm the came 
fatal carcTT, though in ;i higher aod more brtUiant circle ? He dtd t 
and though not from exactly the tame csase (for do ooe could accoM 
Sheridan's purple note aod flatbing eye of a baihfiiloecE — ■tnodeat 
as morning when »he coldly eyes the youthful Pbcefaus! '] — yet it 
was perhaps from one iKarly allied to it, aaioely, the want of that 
nobler inde})cn(icnce and confidence in lU own resources which should 
distinguish genius, and the dangerous ambitkm to get spoosora and 
roucbers for it in persons of rank aod fasbioo. The afTecutian 
of the society of lords is as mean and low-minded ai the love of that 
uf colliers and tapsters. It ib th.u coblern and tapsters may admire, 
that wc wish to be seen in the company of iJ>eir betters. The tooe 
of literary patronage is better than it was a hundred or a hundred and 
fifty years ago. What dramatic author would think now of getdng 
a lady of (Quality to take a box at the £rst night of a play to jirereot 
iu being damned by tiic pit I Do we not read the account of Parson 
Adama taking his ale in Squire Booby's kitchen with mingled 
incredulity and fihanie i At present literature hai, to a considerable 
degree, found its level, and is hardly in danger, 'deprived of iu 
lutural patrons and protectors, the great and ooble, of being trodden 
in the mire, and trampled under the hoofs of a swinish multitiKle' 
— though it can never again hope, to be what Icaming once was in 
the persons of the priesthood, the lord and sovereign of principalities 
and powers. Fool that it was crer to forego its privileges, and loOMO 
the strong hold it had on u^nnion in bigotry and superstition ! 

I remember hearing a lady of great flense and acuteoess apeak of it 
as a painful consequence of the natural shyness of scholars, that fron 
the want of a certain addreaa, or an acquaintance with the common 
forms of society, ttiey despair of making themselves agreeable to 
women of education and a certain rank in life, and throw away 
their fine sentiments and romantic tenderness on chambermaids aod 
maotua-makers. Not daring to hope for success where it would be 
most desirable, yet anxious to realise in some way the dream of 
books and of their youth, they are willing to accept a return of 
affection which they count upon as a tribute of gratitude in those 
of lower circumstances, (as if gratitude were ever bought by interest), 
artd take up with the first Dulcincn del Toboso that they nrKei witli, 
when, would they onlv try the experiment, they migtit do much 

76 



THE SHYNESS OF SCHOLARS 



I 



) 



better. Perhaps go : but there if. here also a mixture of priilr as 
well as modesty. The scholar is not only apprehcnnve of cut 
mecttog with s retuni of fondness where it might be most advan- 
tageoiu to him ; but he it afraid of subjeaing hit self-love to the 
mortification of a repulse, and to the reproach of aiming at a prize 
far beyond his deserts. BesidcSt living (as he does] in an uieal 
world, he has it in his option to clothe his Goddess (be she who 
or what she mny) with all the perfections his heart duats on ; and 
he works tip a dowdy of this ambigooiiB description a ion gre, as an 
artist docs a piece of dull clay, or the poet the sketch of some 
unrivalled heroine. The contrast it also the greater (and not the 
leu gratifying us being his own discovery,} between his favourite 
figure and the hack-ground of her original circumstances; and he 
iikes bcr the better, inasmuch as, like himself, she owes all to ber 
own merit — ;!nd hij notice ! 

Possibly, the best cure for thiK false modesty, and for the uneasi- 
ness and extravagances it occasions, would be, for the retired and 
abstracted student to conMder that he property belongs to another 
sphere of action, remote from the scenes of ordinary life, and may 
plead the excuse of ignorance, and the privilege granted to strangers 
and to those wbo do not speak the same language. If any one is 
iravelltng in a foreign Diligence, he is not expected to shine nor to 
put himself forward, nor need he be out of countenance because he 
cannot: he has only to conform as welt as he can to his new and 
temporary sittiatioo, and to study common propriety and simplicity 
of manners, livery thing has iu own limits, a little centre of its 
own, round which it moves; so th.it our true wisdom lies in keeping 
(o our own walk in life, however humble or obscure, and being 
satisfied if we can succeed in it. The best of us can do no more, 
and we shall only become ridiculous or unhappy by attempting it. 
We are ashamed, because wr arc at a loss in things to which wc 
have DO pretensions, and try to remedy our miiukes by committing 
greater. An overweening vanity or tclf-opioion is, In truth, often 
at the bottom of this weakness; and wc shall be most likely to 
conquer the one by eradicating the other, or restricting it within due 
and moderate bounds. 



77 



THE MAIN-CHANCE 



THE ilAIN-CHANCE. 



n>M«. 






[n^^^lUM. 



. aad tke fake aawe 1 



Pan. 

I AM oac of tbow «1m> d» wk tbidk tint ■—■ *^r*^ are tsaedj 
gff^erwta by moB or s obcI CMcabm of ci— un e nct* . I nucT 
faeBeve th« takm^ ■■pwrina, kbk, [mmom, pccjidice, words nuke 
a mwn aad fiti^t a t d iwM O« feai tlv r^fat Ime of prudeoce tad 
wwdoou T bare keeo eoU, bo«e*rr» thti cbete art merely tbe 
invgubribes lod cxce^ciaBi, aad Am reaacM feraa tfae rule or hash; 
iKu tbr MfefiaHMg, oiKad of Img the ^"^ '^ ^^ capriciocn 
•od aibicnry decwoaa of liK «3L gownlly (uctauc tlw fii»e of cob- 
duct ii it to [ft, aod tkx nW Mtmir, ot the mmm-^iamftt i« tbe 
awaiTiBC lood-iar of oar i Jleqi— ■ > or tke duef b^rcdicoc in aft 
oar oMtne^ tkai, t&rovm m u fa^Ml, p9t» <»i> i fi o tw and durctiun 
to oin* Tojifc ttrai^ life. I will ooi Qtx spaa ne to gire a verdict 
ia tkit cane at jivt hR I wiQ try to plead oae tide of it as an 
advocatr, yuhMft a naoBHl aod kcok ooe- 

Ai tJK pMMBa are aak) to be nbject to tbe cootrol of reaaoo* aod 
as reaaoo is i wolwrd (in Ac ftwatat aae) ate an a ttf ntioo to onr own 
taterefc* or a practical teaarofihevahKof mooey.iiwill sot be aoM* 
to utqair* Sow mack of lUa faKs|le itaelf k Ibonded b a rawaal 
esrinxate f^ thtn^ or is calcalaKd tar the end ii propoa ci , or bow 
wnch of it will tuiD oot (wbeo aaaljraed) to be o>ere madneu and foWj 
or « mixturr, Kke all thr »«, of otntnacjr, wfaiia, ftncjt Tacity , ill- 
utare, and so forth, or a nora^ pwiatt of good. TKts pusoo, or 
as ioordioatr low of wcdlb, ^ovc itadf^ wkn it k stituie, eijualh 
in two oppodie wiy% in MTiu or ia sp eodi a g in irarice (or stiogi- 
nna) ana in extnv^gsaoe. To ewaJac cacb of tbdr order. 1^ 
towe«t and moit ^miliar fara of cowetoi— eai| c nnwn o n ty called 
rtawiaeM, i« at prtMtit (k Boast be owned) greatly on the wane in 
dtiDsed society ; it has been drncn not nf faabtoo either by ridinle 
■ad |«od mme, or by the ^ccad of kunry, or by ■natyins the ouod 
with other aot^ce* of totcrcM, bcaides thoe wfaidi i^ated to the bare 
aieana of subswence, so that b may alsnost be ooaodered as a ricCi 

7» 



THE MAIN-CHANCE 



I 



or sbvufdity, itruck ofT the lint, at a set-off to some that, in tbe cbange 
of msimers and the progreHs of di«iipation have been brought upor 
the stage. It is not, however, so entirely baniabed from the vorJd. 
bui thai examples of It may be found to our purpose. It leemB to 
harr taken refuge in the petty provincinl towns, or in old baronial caAln 
in the North of Scotland, where it in Btttl triumphant. To go into 
this Rubject somewhat in delail, an a study uf the surviving manners of 
the Iiit age.-^Noihing it more common in thcK half-ciarved, barren 
regiatiK, than to stint the txrraniM in their wnj^s, to allowance them 
to the merest rtecetsartes, never to indulge them with a morsel of 
savoury food, and to lock, up every thing from them a> if they were 
thieves, or common vagabonds, broke into the hou»e. The natural 
consequence is, that the minrcsses live in continual hot water with 
their •ervantii, keep watch and ward over them — the pantry is in a 
itate of Biege — grudge them ever)- mouthhil, every appcannce of 
comfart, or moment of leisure, and torment their own soulii every 
minute of their live« alwut what, if left wholly to itself, would not 
mike a ditference of five thilllngs at the year'« end. There are 
feniilies so noioriouii far this kind of turv^liance and meannes*, that 
DO tervant will go to live with them ; tor, to clench the matter, they 
are obliged to etay if they do; as, under these amiable cstablishmeDtK, 
and to provide againut ■•m evasion of their signal advantages, domcBCio 
are never hired but by the half-year. loitances have been known 
where servants have taken a plea»ant revenge on their masters and 
mUtresBcs without inieoding it ; but where the example of sordid 
saving and meannewi set to them, having taken pocsesflion of those 
even who were victims to it* thcjr have cooicieotiously applied it to 
the benelit of all parties, and scarcely suffered a thinj> to enter the 
house for the whole six months they stayed in it. To pass over, 
however, those cases which may plead poverty as their excuse, what 
shall we say to a lady of fortune {the sister of one of their old* 
fashioned lairds) allowing the fruit to rot in the gardens and hot- 
houses of a line old mansion in large quanlitieji, sooner than let any of 
it be given away in presents to the neighbours ; and, when peremptorily 
ordered by the master of the house to send a boaket-fuU every morn- 
ing to a sick, friend, purcliatiing a small petite for the purpose, and 
satiafying her mind fan intelligent and well>informc<l one) with this 
miserable subterfuge: Nay, farther, the tame pertion, whenever they 
had greeO'peas, or other rarities, served up at table, could hardly be 
prevailed on to help the guests to them, but, if possible, sent them 
away* though no other use could now be made of them, and she 
would never sec them again ! Is there common sense In this ; or is 
it not more like nuulncstt I But is it not, at the same time, human 

79 




THE MAIN-CHANCE 



nature? Let us stop to explain a little. In my »iew, the rrri 
motirc of action to thii and other similar cases of grajptng peauriotu- 
oess has no more reference to self-lovr (properly so called) than 
anificial fruit and Sowers have to naiuraJ ones. A certain form or 
ouutdc appearance of utility may deceive the mind, but the oatanl, 
pulpy, wholesome, nutritious substimce, the pincipic of Tttatity it 
gone. To this callous, frigid habit of mind, the real uses of thing* 
harden and crystallise ; the piUi and marrow are extracted out of 
them, and leave nothing but the husk or shell. By a regular proceu, 
the idea of properly is gradually abstracted from the advantage It 
may be of even to ourselves; and to a well-drilled, thorough-brrd. 
Northern housekeeper (such as 1 hafe Mipposed), the fruits, or 
other produce of her garden, would come ai last to be things no more 
to be eaten or enjoyed, than her jewels or trinkets of any description, 
which aret professedly, of no use but to be trpt as symbott of wealth, 
to be occasionally looked at, and carefully guarded from the approach 
of any unhallowed touch. The calculation of consequences, or oi 
benefit to accrue to any living person, is so far from being the main- 
spring in this mechanical operation that it is never once thought of, or 
regarded with peevishness and impatience as an unwelcome intruder, 
because it must naturally divert the mind from the waq>cd and false 
bias it has taken. The feeling of property is here, then, removed 
fiom the sphere of practice to n chimerical and fictitious one. In 
the case of not sending the fruit out of the house, there might be 
some lurking idea of its being poasibty wanted at home, that it might 
be sent to some one else, or made up into conserves : but when 
different articles of food arc actually placed on the table, to hang 
back from using or offering them to others, is a deliberate infatuation. 
They muit he destroyed, they eott/tl not appear again; and yet this 
person's heart failed her, and shrank back from the only opportunity 
of making the proper use of them with .1 petty, sen&itire apprehension, 
as if it were a kind of sacrilege done to a cherished and favounce 
object. The impulse to save was become, by indulgence, a sort of 
dcspCTatc propeneity and forlorn hope, no longer the understood 
means, but the mistaken end : habit had completely supersc-ded tlie 
exercise and control of reason, and the rage of making the moat of 
every thing ly reai'mg no uir of it at all, resisted to the last montent 
the shocking project of feasting on a helpless ditth of green-peas (that 
•would fetch bo much in the market^ as an outrage against the GoddcM 
of stinginess, and torture to the soul of thrift ! The principle of 
economy is inverted ; and in order to avoid the possibility of wasting 
any thing, the way with such philosophers and houiewivcs is to 



abstain from tuuchiog it altogether. 

So 



Ift not this ii common error? 



THE MAIN-CHANCE 



e wc coQsciouH of our motim In luch ca»ei ? [Or do we oot 
flattrr oufKlvcs by imputing every iuch act of idle folly to the neces- 
sity of adoptioj} soine rare and Judicious plan to shun ruin, beggarf, 
and the moit proHigate abuse of wealth? .\n old maid in the same 
Dorihero achool of humanity calling upoo iome young ladies, her 
oeigfaboun, was so alarmed and scandalised at finding the joff opeo 
in their abwnce, that she engaged herself lo drink tea the same 
■ftentoon, for the express purpose of reading them a lectnre oa the 
nnheard-of imprudence and impropriety of such an example, and was 
mobbed on her way home by the poor ■errant-girl (who had beea 
made the subject of her declamation) in return for her uncalled-for 
interference. Sle had nothing to fear, nothing to loee : Jj/r safe was 
carefully locked up. Why then all this flutter, tidgetty anxiety, and 
itch of meddling: Out of pure romantic generosity — because the 
jklea of any thing like comfort or liberaJity to 3 scrTant shocked her 
ecoQomicd and screwed-up prejudicci as much as the impi^ntng any 
article of her religious or moral creed could have done. The very 
truinnt and literal refinement! of thin passion are then sheer imper- 
tiiience. The housckecpci came imo the parlour of a. 'Ai^ ha' hmut* 
in the same land of cakci and hwpitality, to say that the workmen 
had reftiscd to eat their dinner. — 'Why so^' — Became there waa 
nothing but sowins and sour milk. — 'Then they must go without ■ 
dinner,' said the young mistress delighted ; ' there ii octbing else in 
the bouse for them.' Yei the larder at that time groaned with cold 
rontKls of beef, bamt, pasties, and the other plentiful remains of & 
liuge entertainment the day before. This was ilippancy and iU- 
Uture* as well as a wrong notion of self- interest. Is it at all vonderfiil 
that ad«ceni servant-girl, when applied to to go to this place, laughed 
Bt the idea of a service where there was nothing to eat? Yet this 
ftttcntioQ to the mamcbanct on her pan, had it come to the lady's 
knowledge, would have been treated as a great piece of insolence. So 
little conception hare such people of their own obligations on the 
claims ofotherii! The clergyman of the parish (protilic in this sort 
of anecdote), a hearty, good son of man enough, but irritable withal, 
took it into his head to fly into a violent passion if ever he found the 

f bases or spoons left out in the kitchen, and be always went into the 
itchca to look after this sort of excitement. He pretended to be 
mightily afraid that the one would be broken (to his irreparable loss) 
and the other stolen, though there wis 00 danger of either : he 
wanted an excuse to fret and fume about something. On the death 
of his wife he icnt for her most intimate friend to condole and consult 
with, and having made soine necessary arrangements, begged as a 
|>eculiar favour that she would look into the kitchen to see if the 
roL. XH. : P 8t 





THE MAIX-CHANCE 

Sbr K BT M ic d a muit 

wfako vnv Mrim 

ba^ccr H •oon Midv 

«ven to ounclta! 

IB our coftfltM 

Sbbi cbotce go ion 

M fll ip • ngoe o utling ; ud 

■V IHOfTSOBtCiy * UVB 

OBtr wlc Of this >ober, 

itt Tfymitigpi. A hub 

pomxU is 

by tkc vvl£ir, a nrf 

f. Why so? Nv 

there vcc otbm 

BLuy to BMiKcuce 

■ ■ MfB W t««F| 1 

a taxvy. Ifibr 

or |Ktri 

■o Boticc t» 

m m6tr. Trt 

aid the «af OF of tbe 

1 WaiAcd, •Btftwfau 

<' Aal «i«, fn^v >• A' OK of tbe £nr 

.hAbv to W loabgd at, to br adaufcd. aod 

.Afvaai pirtvn 

taUet; or don 

■n, jDd appeal' 

tsmr TVTaPf 

It ii irae, rtvrr 

r,aBd tfae 

■ar af ^OR talir 

■f oMcy* of hunt} 

m « ■ Ike habit flf 

a ■MiiaiiaoffMhioa. 

W «Mi far iNMd^ 

aMimbkt 




I 




THE MAIN-CHANCE 



I 

I 



I 



here spokvn of, is it out of love to htmvelf? Yet who scruples lo 
nm cKrough a t'ortune in this wsy. or accuses himKlf of any extra- 
ordioar; disiotetesLedneBb or love of others i One bed U 3« much as 
any one can sleep in, one room is a» much as he cnn dine in, and he 
may hare another for nody or to retire to after dinner — but he can 
only want more than this for the accommodation of his friends, or 
the admiratioD of ftrangeri. At Fontbill Abbey (to uke an extreme 
illuiitration), there was not a niagle room fit to sit, lie, or itand in : 
the whole was cut up into pigeon holes, or spread out into long 
endleu galleries. The building this huge, illacBorted pile cost, I 
beliere, nearly a million of money; ami if the circumstance was 
mentioned, it occaiioncd an exprcsiioD of surprise at the amount of 
ihc wealth tliat had been thuo squandered — but if it was said that a 
hundred pounds had been laid out od a highly-finisbed picture, there 
was the same aetonifthraeat expressed at its misdirection. The 
sympathetic auditor makes up his mind to the first and greatest loss, 
by retlecting that in case of the worst the building materials alone 
will fetch something considerable; or, in the very idea of stone walls 
and morur there is something solid and tangible, that repels tlie 
charge of frivolous levity or fine sentimenu This quaint excrescence 
in architecture, preposterous and ill-contnved as it was, occasionea, 
I suspect, many a heart-ache and bitter comparison to the throng of 
fashionable viMlanta; and I conceive it was the very want of com- 
fort and coovenieoce that enhanced this feeling, by magnilying, as it 
were from contrast, the expense that had been incurred in realising 
an idle whim. When we judge thus perversely snd invidiously of 
the employment of wealth by others, I cannot think that we are 
guided in our own choice of mcana to ends hy a simple calculation of 
downright use and personal accommodation. The gentleman who 
purchabed Funthill, and was supposed to be posKcssed of wealth 
enough to purchase half a dozen more Fonthills, lived there himself 
for some time in a state of the greatest retirement, rose at six and 
read till four, rode out for an hour for the benefit of the air, and 
dined abatemtousty for the sake of his health. I could do all this 
tnyaelf. What then became of the rest of his fortune ? It was lying 
in the funds, or embarked in business to make it yet greater, that he 
might still rise at six and read till four, &c.— it was of no other 
earthly use to him ; for he did not wish to make a figure in the world, 
or to throw it away on studs of horses, on equipagea, eoteTtatnmencs, 
gaming, clectiotwcring, subscriptions to charitable institutions, [mit- 
tresecs,] or any of the usual fashionable modes of squandering wealth 
for the amusement and wonder of others and our own fancied enjoy- 
mcta- Mr. P. did cot probably lay out five hundred a-year on 

»3 



THE XAIN-CUANCB 



I » At tkijta 



» kd a life of perica teclasuiu 
g af iiBW of kii uhle and of hii 
faA ik« Mcfa j»d to nriout ate 
did » kaow wtoi ii meuit bi 
aft. ■» iaeadjr, » if it was a 
f «■ ABd dwv yoB, and vrlach 
■n afHlf ain u. If mancy, u 
i^B-AHp? U It to hoard ii or 
•• ^mi iu •■ l iiKt iw m mhtui U d Aat foinu, we find 
dw ^BaA A— M it y aai ciBBaAaiBB fadck ai ktSag md practkt. 
O i n i mj >t»^teyfclii— ey !■»■ wiW il Mi J ii ml he who putt 
il wm ■ 4ia»4nL ■■* W aAawied m h«e a very diffcmit idn of 
^ *M4A«M». It b« tftii |inK hr ■ri wuuJ a principle of 
I fnMiiB«43r «e fi^we n*a oot itanre, ud 
~ wb K^iBi limmtim, lU seciDB dcuI; 
: «i w fa «e iir the world from being 
Ifmd IB tihnr 4iiiiMk «f Aia aAHlciUr tarn, thv ooe half (^ 
dkNB way bt «i a* Ank mi wa m S^meaial ^poniiao to the 



lift I* 'fiiiTi m 



AvWK* i>i 



^jt^ymaX |nA«kM« 



ikHir 

ipim viae* «• ih* piMB 
«itl«t<*wih« fam 11 
MMv U M* the <hMr 



wmk.m bmt m 1^ jaet't. A calculatioo 
ifaMK a ^K^MKof the <) B nt i uo mthe 
T^ ^ ha MR ha Biad OB ^oUftlK 
■■ Jmw « c^ea «r hit tNtoKd id 

■K Vie RBBK W ILMJL OOMBIJMcnOe 
7Vae A, adnd* a icfncme to MJf 
at a groM or 

' a TMt dttte "^pi"" 





AeUi 



jio fackaovn 
li Aad ate BOC the 
we Buhc for dthtf 
■awtoll to sfaovlM 
■■■ds as^wR chtt Ke 
>a 1^ !■■ iBOBgb die next 
>«|dear«eihh 
w a fad If hjBiM fa hit tint, 
I da* that ik CM be ^ aay other we 
w hm «» iMtch bbJ eiforiBKBd the letvw «f wAbbi^ Aw to watch 
the nrtim ec nv ocmvht BBoe^ ce a cmcbhM thcv attaooe^ w 
10 ropi i Biffa l MKnin^ar iBfiBier, ar she ae^ ar the doae of Su 
N«m'«» «r m/j «far ohpci thai nxmt onMEy aad Ibjii i ii fnm 

JfapilBil Mi ■MMTMCIII Do WW Mt hyc at (he MM 
«4 



dSTlLd p«i*(<enM ad 
taannfawitM m ict^or 
di^NMwaifawNvits 
falhcMHmM 



I 



I 

i 



I 

I 
p 

I 

I 



moantain with thrilling awe and wonder ? And ia it strange that we 
should ga/c at .1 mountain of gold with ftatit.raclion, when we can 
besides ay, *Thi« 'u ours, with all the power that belongs to it?' 
tlvery paBSion, however plodding and protaict has its poetical side to 
it. A miwr ii the true alchemist, or, like the magician in his cell, 
who overlooks a mighty experiment, who sees dazzling Tiwons, and 
who wields the will of others at his Dod j but to whom all other 
hopes and pleasures ire dead, and who is cut off from all connexion 
with his kind. He lives in a splendid hallucination, a walcing 
trance, and so far it is well : but if he thinks he has any other need 
or use for all this endless store (any more than to swill the ocean) 
he deceives himself, and is no conjuror nfter all. He goes on, how- 
rrer, mechanically adding to hi«) stock, and fancying that great 
riches is great gain, that e»ery particle that swells the heap ia some- 
thing in reserve against the evil day, and a defence againnt that 
poverty which he dreads more, the fanhtr he is removed from it ; 
as the more giddy the height to which we have attained, the more 
frightful does the gulph yawn below — so easily does habit get the 
mastery of reason, and so nearly is passion allied to madness ! * But 
he is laying up for hts heirs and successors.' In toiling for them, 
and sacriSciog himself, is he properly attending to the mam^ 
chanet i 

This ii the turn the love of moaey takes in caudods* dry, recluM, 
and speculative minds. If it were the pure and abstract love of 
money, it could take 00 other turn but this. But in a different class 
of characters, the sociable, the vain, and imiiginative, it ukea just the 
contrary one, vh, to expense, extravagance, and ostentation. It 
then loves to display itself in every fantastic shape and with every 
reflected lustre, in houses, in equipage, in drcsB, in a retinue of friends 
•nd dependants, in horses, in hounds— ^to glitter in the eye of fashion, 
to be echixd by the roar of folly, and buoyed up for a while like a 
bubble on the surface of vanity, to sink all at once and irrecoverably 
into ao abyss of ruin and bankruptcy. Does it foresee this result i 
Does it care for it ? What then becomes of the calculating principle 
that can neither be hood-winked nor bribed from iu duty ? Does it 
do nothing for us In this critical emergency? It is blind, deaf, and 
insensible to all but the noise, confusion, and glare of objects by 
which it ii fascinated and lulled into a fatal repose ! One man ruins 
himself by the vanity of asBociaiing with lords, another by his love 
d1 low company, one by his fondness for building, another by his 
rage for keeping open house and private theatricals one by philo- 
sophical experiments, another by embarking in every ticklish and 
laiitaaeic speculation that is proposed to him, ooe throws away an 

" 85 




OS a pcnrci 

ife «fade<tf 

That mam iilaiiiiMr 

' <■ HsBCl ■ 'CccMii IM aM^i^ tm |J|C1IK 

ClCIIBd ID iBf MBSK KBph* yct I WJJBtMl 

I mjteM lave kaovs narv thaa one 
BtlKaaKfTCCcaacM; Md i hutf oi t aaaat tfaiak ibu 
fivB Ihr be of Mnct y r a i fu. ^d wndon are ■> 
H the tlKvj I ^ afftMg ii p cw i m ikcn, or I 
If mAmi^iMc ■ b; acfHntMDrv Om of 
aware rf puiMi of tkio db» I eaiM aHBn levctil dni hnc 
ilnr fiMtBS •« of acre fitak, oAcn thai are ia ■ nee of 
oocife SBd iMOBCMK^ for fcv 0* vB^C M B P w i 9f In "Mf are wfth. 
TW iMi eve MiftiBC ^^"^ ^B ■aoer. So tkai th» boatfed imI 

pcMc^r. or tf «e*k,ii laU aad jncUi w 
dber nobvck Sadi ts ikc cBBoiMa^ to wnck WKf otNerratioa ot 
He hM M ne: if 1 am qvM «ra^ it « hnd ihsr m a world 
t haiaciw X ifcayiA BOl ksffc iwi wttfa a oo^ 
|ICJCDCll piliioioyiKT. 

A pti m a M ^ *jj -t— B motrvt Bctci to BUiry 107 one under 
■ dakeor a krd. Good. That may be nry veil as «a ebuli it ioa 

■ Mr. StBdMMi f tiiwi t* M » ■ai U tk pes*! ude, oa ibe fvinciBtr of i 
■r mini I r« rf ill ililliiiilmit tk 
<t»aMMH fw NaafbOW* ib4 hateaMrin ve ik bmc iMn-^iltteJ m^ 
rrifc m w*, ^MJriMMi kaa tsmvatf aay «CKt 19M thta. Thiiwi tml mdcr 
iW MkfcU I Mrf tr a rmM% iiimliM ' " | mmt bhin 4a ■« pmcu kii 
r«Ba«i« ^ rilfc «r A* gdtows — f iJ ; the lag at t mm t jfxa nt , «- bit luving 
alwaiy •■"f^ h« *^ ^ (^ !■*' tcaalatiHi W aay Wk iBB<k od tbc oco- 
•Ua, wU aai fnwai h« < 



Ii •■ mMiSkon 



I 



I 

I 



THK MAIN-CHANCE 

nf splrrn OT ranity ; but ii th«rc much common wnitr or r^ard to 
her own satisfaction in it } Were thrrr any likclilnxxl of her nuccccd- 
mg in hrr resolution, she would not make it : for it it ihr very difi- 
tincttoo to be attained lliai piqucj her ambition, and Icadfi her to 
gratify her conceit of herself by atTectJng to look down on any lower 
niatchen. Let her suffer c?cr so much monification or chagrin in 
the protecutioo of her ichcrac, it only confirm* her the more in it : 
the fpirit of contradiction, and the shame of owninjt herself defeated, 
increase with every new diiappoiotmeot and year of painful pro- 
bation. At Icaat ihia ia the case while there is any chance left. 
Bui what, after all, is this haughty and ridiculous pretension founded 
uQ i Is it owing to a more commanding view and a (tmier grasp of 
consequences, or of lur own interest ? No such thing : she is as 
much captivated by the fancied sound of 'my lady,' and dazzled by 
the image of a coronet-coach, as the girl who marries a footman is 
■mil with his broad shoulders, laced co.it, and rosy checks. * But 
why must I be always in extremes ? Few misses make tows of 
celilMcy or marry their footmen.' Take then the broad question : — 
I>0 they generally nurry from the convictions of the uoucrstacdiog, 
or make the choice that is most likely to ensure their future happi* 
oess, or that they themselves iippruvc al'tcrwards ? I think the answer 
must be in the Degativc | and yrt love and marriage arc among the 
weightiest and most serious coDCvms of life. Mutual regard, good 
temper, good sense, good character, or a conformity of tastes and 
dispusilionK, have notoriously and lamentably little to say in it. On 
the contrary, it is most frequently those things that pique and pro- 
voke opposition, instead of those which promise concord and sympathy, 
that decide the choice and indame the will by the love of conquest 
ar of overcoming diflicuUy. Or it is a complexion, or a fine set of 
teeth, or air, or diess, or a tine person, or taisc calves, or affected 
cooaequence, or a reputation for gallantry, or a flow of spirit), or 
a flow of words, or forward coquetry, or assumed indifference, 
sometbiag that appeals to the seniet. the fancy, or to our pride, and 
determines us to throw away our happiaeas for life. Neither in this 
case, on which so much depends, are the main-choHtf and our real 
interest by any means the same thing. 

people have a natanil avertian to bcinu tunned. The perstvtraace of cutprili ta 
lluir evil coarset icrm* a fitalilf, which is Hrrnclhcnecl by Ibc pruifiect of what 
la to foUow. Mr. Bcntlum (rgu<* that ill ' men art from calcuiatian, even maJ- 
n>en rcaaaa.' So fit it may be true thai ihe world ii not unlike » piat Bdlam, 
or aniwcn to thr title of »a olil play— * A Miit WorH, my mailers I' Tbit iaotir 
worlit, hot not hia. Life, on looking back to it, too often mrmbles a diaturbed 
(tresm, which AtKt not infer ita having been goiilcil by reason tn >>■ ptogrcai, 

87 



1^ 




THE MAIN-CHANCE 



* Now all ye ladin of fftir Scotland, 
And ladici t]f England that happy would piorr. 
Marry never for houMii, nor marry for lino, 
Nor many for nothing but only lore.'i — (^ BaSad. 

Or uke tbe paasioo of love where it has other objects and cm- 
■cqueocea in view. U reason any roatcli Tot the ])OiKin o{ tim 
pauioo, where it has been once imbibed i 1 might juat as well be 
told that reaton i* a cure for madneM or the bite of a reaonum 
lerpcnt. Are not health, fortune, friend^ character, peace of mioil, 
every thing eacriticed to iu idlest impulse i Are the instaocci rirt, 
or are they not common and tragical f The mmn-tbame doec not 
serve the turn here. Doca the proipect of ceruin ruia break the 
fascination to its frail victim, or doe* it not rather enhance and precipi- 
tate the result \ Or does it not render the conquest more easy and 
secure Uiat the seducer has already triumphed over aod deserted i 
hundred other victims ? A man a bonnet Jarttuits is the most 
irresistible personage in the lists of gallantry. Take drunkeoaesi 
again, that vice which till within thrsc few ycar& (and even nttll) vai 
fatal to the health, the constitmion, the fortunes of lo many individusU, 
and the peace of so many families in Great Britdn. I would ask 
what remonstrance of friends, what lessons of experience, what 
resolutions of amendment, what certainty of remorse and suiferiog, 
however exquisite, would deter the conlirnied sot (where the passion 
for this kiod of excitement had once become habitual and the 
imnicdijitc want of it was fcltj from indulging his propensity and 
ulcing his full swing, act withstanding the severe and imminent punish- 
ment to futlow upon his incorrigible excess? The consequence of 
not abstaining from his favonrite beverage is not doubtful and distant 
(a thing tti tbe clouds') but close ai hts side, staring him in the face, 
and felt perhaps in all its aggravatians the very morning, yet the 
recollection of this and of the next day's dawn is of no avail agaioit 
ihe momentary craving and headlong impulse given by the first 
application of the glass to his lips. The present temptation is indeed 
heightened by the threatened alternative. I know this as a rule, that 
the stronger the repentance, the surer the relapse and the more 
hopeless the cure ! The being ingrossed bj' the present moment, by 
the present feeling, whatever it be, whether of pleasure or pain, is the 

' pHsvc I not teen a huuicbold where love was not?' sayi the author of the 
'BecrotheJ;' 'where, althoush there wa* ikorth and |ood will, in>) enough of 
the meab* of life, all wai imbittetcd by tegrett, w hi<b wcfc not only vain, but 
crimiBil f'^'l would uke ibe Gk*i/i word for a thouiand ptmnd,' or in peefei-- 
eace to tJuE of any nun livioj, though I wai lold in the iticcii of EdinbarcU:,ltut 
Dr. JamieMii, the author of the ' Diclioaary/ was ^ilc «■ great a msn X\ 

88 



fN-CHANCE 



evident cause of both. Few iiwtaoces have been heard of, of alrad 
reform.itiun oo lli'is farad. Yet it is a cleur cane; and reaaOD, if it 
were that GUnt that it is repreKnted in any thiog but ledgers and 
book* of accounts would put down ihe abuse in an instant. It is 
true, thii infirmtty is more particularly chargeable to the ifngltsh and 
to other Northern oations, and there has been a considerable improve* 
meot among us of late years ; but I suspect it is owing to a change of 
iDinnertf and to the opeoing of new sources of amuscmem (without 
tbe aid of ardent spirits Dung in tu telirve the depression of our 
animal spirits,) more than to the excellent treattKS which hare beea 
written against the 'Use of Fermented Liquors^' or to an tncreasingi 
tender regard to our own comfort, health, and happineKs in the breast 
of iodiridttals. We still find plenty of ways of tormenting ourselre* 
and spiHting with the feelings of others! I will say nothinj^ of a 
pHion for gaming here, as too obvioui an illustration of what 1 mean. 
It iM more rare, and hardly to be looked uo ax epidemic with us. 
But few that have dabbled in this vice hare not become deeply 
invotved. and few (or none} that have done so have ever retraced 
their steps or returned to sober calculations of the mimt-chance. Tlie 
majority, it is true, arc not gamesters; but where the passion does 
exiet, it completely tyrannizes over and sttHca the voice of common 
■cose, reason, and humaotty. How many victims has the point of 
bonouf ! I will otA pretend that, as mutters stand, it may not be 
necessary to fight a duel, under certain circumstances aod on certain 
provocations, even in a prudential point of view, (though this again 
proves how little the maxim* and practices of the world nre regulated 
by a mere consideration of personal safety and welfare) — but 1 do 
say that the rashness with which this reKpflnsibility is often incurred, 
and the even reelctng for trifling causes of quarrel, shows any thing 
but a consistent re^atd tu self-interest as a general principle of action, 
or T«her betrays a total rcckJessness of consequences, when opposed 
to pique, petulance, or passion. 

Before I proceed to .-inswer a principal objection (and indeed a 
staggering one at first sight) I will mention here that I think it 
strongly confirms my view of human nature, that men form their 
opinions much more from prejudice than reason. The proof that 
ihey do so is tliat they form such opposite ones, when the abstract 
premiseB and independent evidence are the name. How few CalvinistB 
become Lutherans! How few Papists Protestantf^ ! How few 
Tories Whigs! ' Each shuu his eyes equally to facts or arguments, 
and persists in the view of the subject that custom, pride, aiMl 

> Ctriu more Whig* become Tories. Thn auy sUo be accDHnted for satis* 
fACtotil)', ihoa^h not very rstioMlly. 

B9 



or 



THE MAIN CHANCE 

indolence and procrastination, never easy but boehful and awkwdb 
compny (though with a *ast desire to *hine) or has some peraooal 
defect or weak Mdc on which the Devil 'n sure to awail him» and thf 
renung his spleen and irritability on which, through some loop-hok 
or other, makes the real biminess and torment of hi» life — that of fail 
shop may go on ai il pIcawR. Such is the perfection of reasoo ad 
the triumph of the soverwgD good, where there arc no strong 
to disturh, or no great vices to sully it! The humouri collect, 
will will have head, the petty passions ferment, and we rtart 
grievance or other, and hunt it down every hour in the day, 
machine of i(i//./(/> could not go on even in North Britain. But were 
I to grant the full force and extent of the objection, 1 should stiD 
«ay that it docs not bear upon my view of the subject or general 
assertion, that reason is an uncc^ual match for passtoQ. Business is 
a kind of gaoler or uskmatter, that keeps its vassals in good order 
while they arc under its c>t, as the slave or culprit perfonns his ta^ 
with the whip hanging over him, and punishment immediately to 
follow neglect ; but the (question is, what he would do with his 
recovered freedom, or what course the mind wiU for the most part 
pursiie, when in the range of its general conduct it has its choice to 
make between a distant, doubtful, sober, rational good for average 
state of being), and same one object of comparatively little value, 
that strikes the senses, flatters our pride, gives scope to the imagina- 
tion, and has all the strengtli of passion and inclination on its side. 
The main-chnnce then is a coDiideiable exception, but not a fair one or 
a case in point, since it falls under a different bend and Hike of 
argument.] The fault of reason in general, (which takes in tlie 
tubo^ instead of parls,) is that objects, though of the utmost extetvi 
and importance, are nut dctined and tangible. This fault cannot 
be found with the pursuit of trade and commerce. It is not s 
mere dry, abstract, undelined, speculative, however steady and 
well-founded conviction of the understanding. It has other levers 
and pulleys to enforce it, besides those of reason and reflection. As 
follows ; — 

I. The value of money is positive or specific. The interest in it 
il a sort of mathrmatical interets.t, reducible to number aiul quantity. 
Tec is always more than one ; a part is never greater than the whole ; 
the good we seek or attain in this way has a technical denomination, 
and I do not deny that in matters of strict calculation, the principle 
of calculation will naturally bear great sway. The returns of profit 
and loss are regular and mechanical, and the operations of business, or 
the main-chwicf, are so too. Uut, commonly speaking, we judge fay 
the J^ret of excitement, not by the ultimate quantit>'. Thus we 
92 



THE MAIN CHANCE 



caravans onr somerimcs mreu on thr road in which they traiwport 
wild beuts from phce to pbce ; and dull, heavy, safe, and flal as 
they look, the inmates continae their old habits, the monkeys play 
their thcks, aad the panthen lick their jaws for bumao blood, though 
cramped and confined to their excursions. So the vices and follies, 
when they caoDot break loose, do their wont ieiide this formal 
conveyance, the nudn-chantc. As this oTatioo is to paas up High- 
«creet, for the honour of the Scottish capital, I should wish it to 
<top at the shop-door of Mr. BarthoHne Saddletree, to Ke if he it 
at home or in tbc courts. Also, to inquire whether the suit of Peter 
Peebles is yet coded : and to take the opinion of counsel, how many 
of the Hij^hUnd lairds oc ScotltKh noblemen and gentlemen that were 
out in the ^fteen nnd the forc^'-jive, perilled their Iitcs and fortunes 
in the good cause from an eye to tlie mam-e/fatu:e i The Baron of 
Bradwnrdjoe would hare scorned such a suggestion ; nay, it would 
have bccD below Balniawhappic or even KiJlancureit. But 'the age 
of chivalry is gone, and that of sophists, economists, and calculators 
l-has succeeded.' I should say that the risk, the secrecy, the possi- 
bility of the leaders having ilieir heads stuck on Tcraplc-Bar, aod 
their estntei conAscatrd, were among the foremost cnuses that inflamed 
their zeal aod ctirred their blood to the enterprite. Hardship, 
danger, exile, death, — these words * smack of honour,' more than the 
nain-fl>4iit^e. The modern Scotch may be loyal on this thriving 
principle : their ancestors found tiar loyalty a very losing concern. 
Vet they persevered in it till and lotig after it became a desperate 
cause. But patriotism and loyalty (true or false) are important and 
powerful principles in human atfairs, though ncK always »el)ish and 
calculatiog. Honour is one great atandard-bearer and puissant leader 
io (he nruggle of human hfe ; and less than honour (a nickiuime or a 
bugbear) is enough to set tbc multitude together by the oari, whether 
io civil, religious, or private brawls. [But to return to our Rdinburgh 
shop-keepers, those practical modclii or witdom, and authentic epitomes 
of human nature. Say that by their 'canny ways and pawky looks' 
they keep their names out of the 'Gazette,' yet still care (not the 
less perhaps) mounts behind their counter*, and sits in their back- 
shops. A tradesman is nut a bankrupt at the year'n end. But what 
does it signify, if he is hen-pecked in the mean time, or quarrels with 
bis wife, or beats hie apprentices, or has married a wonan twice as 
old «s himself for her money, or has been jilted by his maid, or 
fuddles himself every night, or is laying in an apoplexy by over- 
eating himself, or is believed by nobody, or is a furious Whig or 
Tory, or a knave, or a fool, or one envious of the success of his 
spghbours, or dissatisfied with his own, or surly, or eaten up with 

91 



THE MAW CHANCE 



:Dto«a 







tD mfl 



periMil 
rand tk 

^rfhwgfr Ihllrftk 

(MO^ vhCfC tMTC SfV BOKraOl pMttOW 



ddaaer vnfc ■& 

or «ckcT, aako tfae ml 
■ha^MrgoMM ic ffc 
ifcctifiMylirfthcM»en 
laAoKKv ■■ iro*" 

«9 vfll h>f« hod, the petty pMMW femcM, «id vc Man kxm 
pi t T Mc t Mr sako-, anl biHt it i3u m m tvaj htmr m die day, or the 
mkUbc of i<tf4frcp«ld MC go «■ cm is North Briaw. Bat were 
I to (BMi ck fall Jbrcc mi cnuc cT tt* objectMe, I tbodd Mill 
M^ that k 6oe» mat bear ^bb mj new of tbe tabject or feoenl 
■ at enfc io. thx reaaoB ta an Meqil mmdk far punoa. Pwmcw ■ 
a kiad o£ j^uHa or -~*' — — *— _ tkat keepc ta iimiIi in good orda 
white they are sader ita eye, aa the alare or adprii perfocmt hii uik 
with the vfafp faaogiag over fatn, asd poniahmeDt imincdiately U 
follow oegleci ; boi the ipi«cJoa ia* what tie wonld do vitb hia 
recorcrrd ireedom, or what coonc the miad will for the moat pan 
poraoe, when in the range of iu poeral coodnct ii haA iu choice to 
make between a diacaot, doabtfiil, aobcf, ratiooal good for aven^ 
■tatc of beiDg)f aad aome one object of coaiparatively little valoe, 
that nrikrt the leiiaes, flatters oar pride, gires scope to the imagina- 
cioo, ^d hat all the atreogth of poasioa and LodiDatioa oo iu side. 
The mamtbance then is a conaiderablc exception, but not a fair one or 
a case io point, ctocc it falU uoder a difl ereat head and line of 
argument.] The fault of reason in geoerU, (%-bich takes in the 
«twwEr inatcad of fartt,) u that objects, though of the utmoci extern 
aad importance, are not defined and langihte. TKic fault cannot 
be found vitb the purEoit of trade and commerce. It ia ooc a 
mere dry, abstract, undefined, epeculatiTe, however steady and 
well-founded conviction of the understanding. It has other tevera 
and pulleya to enforce it, betidea those of reaaon and rcflectioiL Ai 
follows : — 

I. The valtK of money it positive or apedBc. The interest in it 
ia a aort of mathematical interest, reducible to number and quantity. 
Tea ia always more than one ; a part ia nerer greater than the whole ; 
the good we seek or atuin in this way has a technical denomination, 
and I do not dtny that in matters of strict calculation, the principle 
of calculation will naturally bear great away. The returns of profit 
and loss are regular and mechanical, and the operations of business, or 
the ma'm-<-hanct, are ao too. Cut, commonly speaking, we judge by 
the iligrtf ot' excitement, rtot by the ultimate {{uanlity. TbuK wr 

9» 



THE MAIN-CHANCE 



I 



I 

I 



)iwfcr a dMught of ntctar to (he recovery of our health, [and are on 
mo«t occwioM ready to exclaim, — 

■ An oaaix of swett is worth a pound of MXir.*] 

Vet there it a pcMiit at which Klf-wilt and humour stop. A mxa will 
take brandy* which is a iind of tlovj pasoa^ but he will not lake 
actual poicoD, knowing it to be such, however slow the operation or 
bewitchto^ the taste; because here the ctfect ia abculutdy foxed and 
certain, not variable, nor in the power of the imagination to riude or 
triEe with it. I sec oo courage in battle, but in going on what is 
called the_/ar/oni hopt. 

2. Butioess is also an affair of habit ; it calls for incessant and 
daily application ; and what was at tirtt a nutter of necessity to 
supply our wants, becomes often a matter of necessity to employ our 
time. The man of business wants work for his head \ the labourer 
aad mechanic for his hands; bd that the love oi action, of ditftculty 
and competition, the stimulus of >uccci» or failure, is i>erhaps as 
strong an ingredient in men's ordinary pursuits as the tore of gain. 
Wc find persons pursuing science, or any hoUy-hortical whim or 
handicraft that they have taken a fancy tu, or persevering in a losing 
concern, with just the same ardour and obstinacy. As to the choice 
of a pursuit in life, a mao may not be forward to engage in bunincss, 
bat being once in, docs not like to turn hack amidst the pity of friends 
and the derision of enemies. How diHicult is it to prevent those 
who have a turn for any art or science from going into these 
unprofitable pursuits! Nay, how difficult is it often to prevent those 
who have no cum that way, but prefer starving to a certain income ! 
If there is one in a family brighter than the rest, he is immediately 
designed for one of the learned professions. Really, the dull and 
plodding people of the world luve not much reaaon to boast of their 
superior wisdom or numbers : they are in ao involuntary majority ! 

3. The value of mtincy is an exthangtahU value : chat is, this 
pursuit is available towards and convertible into a great many others. 
A person is in want of money, and mortgages an estate, to throw it 
awiiy upon a round of entertainments and company. Tiie [KUvion or 
motive here it not a hankering after money, but society, and the 
individual will ruin himself far this object. Another, who h.iE the 
same passion for show and a certain style of living, tries to gain a 
fortune in trade to indulge it, and only goes to work in a more 
round-about way, [ remember a story of a common mechanic at 
Manchester, who laid out the hard-earned savings of the week in 
hiring a horse and livery-servant to ride behind him to Siockpon e^ery 
Soaday, aitd to dine there at an ordinary tike a gi.-ntle[nan. The 

93 



THE MAIN.CHANCE 



4 



(lAUti btuowfd Upon the maia-eiaiKe hpre was only a cover for 
uti)rct, which cxercisni n ndiculoDS predominance orcr his miod. 
Money will purchate a hor*c, a house, a picture, leisure, disMpotion. 
or wbatrvcT the indiridual has a fancy for that is to be purchucd; 
but it doc* not follow ttuit he i« tbtKl of all these, or of whaierer will 
pfomutt hit leaJ inlcrrst, because he Is food of money, but that he hM 
ft paiiion for •omc one of theiic object), to which he would probably 
Wicritiire all tlie rr^ and hi* own peace and happtneti into the bargain. 

4. l^he aurav&nKT it an instmnieni of various posnona, bat i> 
dircilly uppo«ed to none of them, with the aingie exceptioo of 
ilHlolrocr 01 the vit imfrtiit, which of itself is seldom strong enougk 
to nuMet it. without the aid of some other rncicemeot. A barritter 
nicks to hi* duty » lonj; «■ he baa only his lorr of eaK to prex-ent ; 
but be fliogt up hit briefiK or ti^lects thrm, if he thinks he can 
make a figutT in Parliameot. [A scrrant-gtrl stays in her place aad 
don hrr vork* though perhaps lazy nd sbittcmly, because no 
ImmcdiMe wmpatioci occurs im>og enotigh to interfere with tiw 
niCiMfcr of gaminj* her bread, but she gon away with a bastard- 
ctiUd« occau»e herr pssioit ud dcsirv come into play, tboaj^l) 
ths> ca«ir(|we>cc is tlut tbr loscf not only her place, but her 
cHuwWT wd frrry troy q ta Ulr.) No ooe flings away the mji»- ■ 
t^mn witlMMt • ■waTC', amf man thaa be vofootari}/ walks into the-^H 
$n or bnaka kh nvck gar of wwdow. A man must lire ; the jirtf^^ 
«*p ia « Miet of MCtMiy : cray ■«■ wooU Ine veil [ the second ii 
« ysilrt wT haxwy. The bans^ or ma ac^tnring wealth does not 
y ww» our c^joyni: it in *arioea ««fk A ntaa may gire hti 
■lorohjli to biMnns, aad bis m aia js to plcaaare. Thenr is no 
c«Mn£nioot nor doc* be McriScc bn rvfiag Mioa by this, aoy 
man tftwa tb» hmi of kttm by «■!]% or tW aoUier by an atteotim 
40 wMi|Mi<h K40SOO aod yaaoao w afyoacd, mc paoMO im 
^■iiiiii, TVaei»dttghnM^dKdcboBcbMktlwsuM«ier, mail alt 
baw awMw;, to atabv dvir o«* aar of ie, aad tbry nay iodulge all 
ihMt fOMnw Md iki^ «ntk* m tbt mmt mm. It it only «bco 
tW Ml biCOl* ^ nIGaf fttlimm tte k aait a yrobihirion on tbe 
MbiCW U liM CM^ «v«T7 ibiif dMt « laK i^fac of ; bot k » 
tfUan cmM l» tbi> Imm^ «r «k** it «„ k k fir from 
■mOwc hm^ vkbar m ka w^ « evfa. fer n^m 
biMiMa^ M I barc abwh abva*. 

I baw laics ao aotic* bkkana t£ anUiHt or tinmt^ or 
»f Ik* r mmiim of tmm «c iaitfcct. T« aM ihsK an imtartMi 
n iaai i rt fc dinwgaa of tk* aaf «£ ^him ife. WW ncr ckirpd 
Mr. F«N wM « MM of cgwMtt HMk kcMa br £d w & wmb 
«|bM>? Haikbaw nn jia tl i»LafJBwatta»fctfckCT«7fcaay 





t 



SEI.F-t.OVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

Of hi* Mtatc, or c»ery partici* of his reputation, would he hart 
hesitated to part with the former? Is there not a Ioeg of character, 
a. ntain opon honour, that in felt as 3 Heverer blow than any reverie of 
fortune? Do out the rtchect hcire»sea in the city marry for a title, 
and think ihemselvcs well offi Are there not patriots who think or 
dream all their lives about their country's good j philanthropists who 
rare about liberty and humanity at a certain yearly loes i Are there 
not studious nn-n, who never once thought of bwiering their circum- 
staoces i Aie not the liberal profeidooi held more reapectabic than 
busioffls, though lees lucratire? Might not mon people do better 
thao they do, but that they postpone their interest to tbeir iDdoIeace» 
liieir taste for reading, their love of pleasure, or other pursuits ? 
And is it not generally uoderscood that all men can make a fortune or 
f ucceed in the main-chance, who have but that one idea in their heads ? ' 
Lavtiy, are there not those who pursue or husband wealth for their 
own good, for the betiefit of their friends or the relief of tltc dittrcssed ? 
But as the examples arc rare, and might be supposed to make against 
myvelf, I shall not infiKt upon them. I think I have said enough to 
vindicate or apologize fot my first pontion — 

' Masterks* pawiion sways us to the mood 
Of what it liken or lontns — ' 

or if not to make good my ground, to march out with fljing colours 
and beat of drum ! 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

T»» Nmi Mttaify Magmint.] [Oat^tr gmi Ortemitr, iSlS. 

jf. For my jwrt, I think Helvetius hai made it clear that self-love 
it ai the bottom of all our actions, even of those which are apparently 
tbc most generous and disinterested. 

B. I do not know what you mean by tayiog that Helvetius has 
made this clear, nor what you mean by sclf-Iuve. 

jf. Why, was not he the first who explained to (he world that in 
gratifying others, we gratify ourselves ; that thougli the result may be 
different, the motive ia really the same, and a selfish one ; and that 
if we had not more pleasure in performing what are called friendly 
or virtuous actions than the contrary, they would never enter our 
thoughts ? 

> t hsve (sid totnewherr, (ti*t iiLl fiotaaioat that do not make maatj hritd are 
CBtvki* ind extT*vs{snT. This i* nnt tnic of lawyers, tee. I onghl to have saift 
Ihsi Ibis n tlie caie with all iKote tJiat b]r the re(cularity of thtir returni do ■« 
afford > pnnpcct of TCsUEtB{ an inriepcniknce by fmsalKy >nd tndujiry. 

95 




SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

B. Cenunlj he » no morr entitled to this discorery (if tt be ooe) 
than you are. Hobbec and MaodeTille long before him UBerted tbe 
URIC ihiDg in the most explicit and une^fairocal niuuief ; ^ uid 
Butler, Id tbe Notes ud Prefice to hti Sermofu» lud also \aa^ 
before answered it in the mo&t utisfactory way. 

vf. Ay, iodced ! pray bow so? 

B. By giving the ^«wjtKui-/(iur auwcr to the qQeuiOD whicl 
have just xsked of you. 

ji. And what is that f 1 do not exactly compreheDd. 

B. Why, that aelf-love meaofy both in coiuitiqi) and philoaop tyol 
ipeech, the love o/'iclf. ^^ 

A, To be sure, there mttdt mo ghat to ttU ut thai, 

B, And yet, simple as it is, both ytw and many great phtlot 
seem to hare overlooked ii. 

j1. Vou are pleated to be obscure^unriddle for the Bake of the 
valvar. 

B. Well then, Bishop ButJer't statemeot in the volume I have 
mentioned 

yf. May I ask. is it the author of the Amtiogj yoo ipeak of J 

B. The same^ but an entirely different and much more valnahle 
work. His position is, that the argumenu of the opposite party go 
to prove that in all oar motires and actions it is the individual indeed 
who loves or is interested in /odv/Am;, but not in the smallest 
degree (which yet seems necessary to make out the full import of 
the compound *souad lignillcani,' srif-low) that that something is 
htKuel/^ By self-love is surely implied not ooly that it is I who feci 
a certain paasion, desire, good-will, and so for^, but that I feel this 
good-will towards myself — in other words, that I am both the person 
Kcling the attachment, and the object of it. to short, tbe coo- 
troversy between felfjove and benevolence relates not to the person 
who lovea, but to the person beloved — otherwiae, it is dat and puerile 
Qoosense. There must always be some one to fiwl the lore, that 's 
certain, or else there could be no love of one thing or aootber— «d 
far there can be no questioo that it is a given individual who feels, 
thinks, and acu in all po^iblc cases of feeling, thinking, and acting 
— 'there needs,' according to your own allusion, *no ghost come 



1 *I1 ■ nun^uc au pl« grsnd philosopbe qa'sient en In Fnncab, <le vine dia^^l 
quckpic tolitude de* A1p««, A»nt quelauc lejoui tl&i^Dt, tt >ic Uaocr dcU •on liv^|H 
diM I'irit iini y venii juniii lui-mcoie. Rau(»ns «vait trap ite KtMibilit* <^^| 
trap pcu tk raiioDf Baft>n nt>f d'hy^acrisK 3k tos jtfdln ck* pluiie>, Voltaite Iro^^^ 
d'endntilUcc ''in* 1* t^<Ct po"** povvoti l^gix ie priacipc d*HdTelis«.'~£)r I 
tAm»mr, toni. z. p. 2jo. 

Mjr frioxl Mr. Bcyk \ttn Uyt loo mach stivss an S bgrroweal vetbal falUcy. 

g6 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



}m the grave to tell ua that '->but whether the said individual in to 
doing always thinks ^ (evU /or, aod acu ti/ilb a in'eur lo hiautlf^ 



that 



and 



I 



I 



I 



I 



imporUDt qucsuon, and the only real 
the rery Matemcnt of which, in a distinct and tncelligiUc fonn, gives 
at once (he proper and ineritaUlc anKwcr to it. Setf-Iuvc, (u mean 
aoy thing, niun have a double meaning, that ii, niuKt out merely 
signi/y love, but love detined and directed in a particular manner, 
haviog ifif for itc object, reHecting and rcaaing upon ttif; but it in 
downright and intolerable triHing to persiHt that the love or concern 
which ve feci for another Rtill has scIC for iu object, because il is we 
who feet it. The same iiort of <]uibL>1iog would lead to the con- 
clusion ihat when i am tbioking of any other person, I am notwith- 
standing thinking of myielf. becaose it / who have his image in my 
mind. 

yt. I cannot, I confess, sec the conDcction. 

B. I wish you would paint out the distinction. Or let me ask 
you — Supiwsc you were to observe mc looking frequently and 
earnestly at myaclf in the gla», would you oot be inclined to laugh, 
and say that this was raniiy i 

A. I inighi be half-temptcd to do <o. 

B. Well ; and if you were to 6nd nie admiring a iine picture, or 
speakiog in terms of high praise of the person or qualities of another, 
wtHild you Dot set it down equally to an excess <^ coxcombry atKl 
•elf-ctmceit I 

A. How, in (he natne of common sense, shotild I do ao f 

B. Nay, how should you do otherwise upon your own principles? 
For if sympathy with another is to be conitnicd into lelf-bve becaue 
it is I who feel i(, cutely, by the ume rule, my adniitaiion and praise 
of another must be resolved into scif-praisc and BeU-admiralion, and I 
am the whole time delighted with myitclf, to wit, with my own 
iImhi^iu and feelings, while I pretend to be dclighicd with another. 
Another's limbs are as much mine, who comemplate thetn, as his 
feelings. 

A. Now, my good friend, you go too far : 1 can't think you serious. 

B. Do I not tell you thst I have a most grave Bishop (equal to ■ 
wfaote Bench) on my side? 

A, What ! is this illustration of the looking-glass and picture his? 
I thought it was in your own far-fetched manner. 
A And why far-fetched X 

A. Because nobody can think of calling the praise of another telf- 
concett — the words hare a dilTercnt meaning in the Innguage. 

B. Nobody has thought of confounding them hitherto, and yet 
they sound to me as like as selSsbness and gcncroiiity. If oar vanity 

vou xiu : c 97 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



cu be brmght to admire cxben diiiDtemtedljr, I do not mc but 
good-iutnre may be bi^fat to ierre Uiem u distotcTesiedly. Gmt 
roe btiT :his, ttut Klf-love nnti^ci Dot limply. 'I low,' bot re<)uira B 
bare this timber additioo, * I love wtyidf^ understood in order to make 
wDse or gnuBnnr t>f it, md I defy you to niake one or the other ol 
Heltctiits'* theory, if you will oeedi hiire it to be his. If, « 
Fielding Kiyt, ill o^ p wrion i are telfitb mereJy because they ue 
•v/, tbeo ia hiitng nodKr we mun be taid to bate ourtel*e«, ja« u 
wisely u to kniof aaotber* we arc uid to br acmatrd by aelf-love. f 
hatt DO utkncc with nch foolery. I respect that 6ite old iturdj 
fellow Hobbes or ercn tbe acute pertioacions iopbistry of Maodfr 
ville: bat I do •« like eke flnncy, ae]f-0Bti«6ed repetition of m 
aburdity, whkh with k* orifiniluy has km all in piquancy. 

A. Voa lUTC, t know, very Imle ntxnre with others who diAr 
ftoai you, Bor ue yoa a nry litcnl reporter of the argumeou of 
tkMe who haffca <o be oo your nde of chc (joeacion. You wrf 
ihvm. BD teO ne ^ i^mncc of fiader*a nuwer to Hdredu'i 
theory, if «e cas ht the wachroinm pMt ; and t have as yet ooljr 
bctrd ccitva ^bidi aad verbal diMiaciioin of your own. I lowt 
■till tbiok that the bor dJiBMreirid actioas proceed from a tel^ch 
OBOttre. A mtM feek diMTOK at the d^bt of ■ beggar, and he pan* 
with his Boocy to reoHivc tlia immmm. If be did not feel thii 
rliarf is Us owm HiBdi he woaM tdkc ao step* lo relievr the other'* 

B. Aad pray, does br fed this Jmixm ta his own mind oot of 
tofv w hiaaelf. or solely that be way have ibe pleuore of gettbg till 
of H? The first ^v«r in theg^atcofaHCail obGgabon is evidently ■ 
social, DO* a selfidi iiapilsr. and 1 s^ht test the dispute here and 
iansi apoa going oo fimher till this «rp ta got over, but it is not 
nccesMfy. I have aheody toU voa tbe suhstaoce of Butler's uewer 
to this GOfaaoft-phc* ad flaMlr obiectioB. He says, b bii £« 
broad mmly aad yet ■BfnfecBi&Bf OKide of statiDg a <)ucstion, that a 
Kviag betas iMy m w y y oaed to be aotaaied cither bv mere scnutioDi, 
having Ml r tfertoM lo aay ooe else^ or else that having an idea and 
forrsight of the coaatyeacei to others, be is iafloeEiced by aad 
iltKswd in thoae coMegueacci oely in so fir as they have a distinct 
COMUtkn wnh hit owo aMawte good, in both iriiicfa cases, seeing 
(hat the noiifta aad actioai have both their oripa u»d exid b idf, 
dWT inaT aad tmm. be p romerly doaHBMed jctfi^ But where thr 
■Mttva ■ aeither ph^rtKalfy aor aKnOy sdM. dwt u^ where the 
iauolie fo act is aesther excakd by a phyncal leaniioa oor bj- a 
rntctioa oa the twaaeyKnw to acciwe ta the iodividaal, it must be 
hard to lay ia w4at aeaae it caa he caled ao^ except ia that sesoe 



I 



( 
I 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



I 



I 



afrcidy exploded, namely, that which would infer thut an impulse of 
any kind is selfith merely because it acts upon some one, or that 
before we can eoicrtain dirintcrcstcd sympathy with another, we mu»t 
feel no sympathy at all. Benevolence, generosity, compasftion, friend- 
Khip, &c. imply, nys the Bishop, tliat we take an immediate and 
unKigoed intereat in the welfare of otheri ; that their pleaMires give 
ui pleasure ; that their pains give us pain, barely to know of them, 
and from do thought about Durtckct. But no ! retort the advocates 
of Rclf-loTe, this is not enough: before any person can pretend to the 
title of benrroleot, generouv, and so on, he must prove, that so far 
from taking the deepest and most heartfelt interest in the bappiocsi of 
titherst be has no feeling un the subject, that he is perfectly indilferent 
to their weal or woe; and then inking infmite paint and making 
unaccountable sacriiicei for their good without caring one fanhing 
about them, be mi^t pan for heroic and disinterested. But if he 
lets it appear he has the smalleat good-will towards them and acts 
upon ii, he then becomes a merely sellish agent; so that to estublttih a 
ciuracter for generojity, compaGsioc, humanity. Sec. in any of hi* 
actions, he muKt first plainly prove that he nerer felt the slightest 
twinge of any of these passions thrilling in his bosom. This, accord- 
ing to my author, is requiring men to act not from charitable motives, 
but from no mottrcs at all. Such reasoning has not an appearance of 
philosophy, but ratber of drirelling weakness or of tadt irony. For 
my pan« I can conceive of no higher ntrain of generosity than that 
which justly and truly says, Ni&U bummu J mt aRtnum puto — but, 
according lo your modern French fiiends and my old F.riglish ones, 
there is no difference between this and the most sordid selfishneu; 
for the instant a man takes an interest in .inother'n welfare, he makn 
it his own, and all the merit and disinterested ness is gone. * Greater 
love than this hath no man, that he should give his lite for his friend.' 
It must be rather a fanciful Aurt of ^L-lf-love that at any time sacrilices 
its own acknowledged and obvious interests for the sake of another. 

A. Not in the leasu The expression you have just useil explains 
the whole mystery, atid 1 think you must allow this yoorscM*. The 
moment I sympathise with another, I do In strictness make his 
interest my own. The two thingii on this supposition become in- 
separable, and my gratification is identified with his advantage. 
Every one, in short, consults his particular taste and inclination, 
whatever may be its bias, or acu from the strongest motive. 
Regulus, as Helvetius has so ably demontu-ited, would not have 
rcramed to Carthage, but that the idea of dishonour gave him more 
uneasiness than the apprehcosioa of a violent death. 

B. That is, had he not preferred the honour of bis country to his 

99 




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SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



own iateretU Surely, wbeo Klf-loTC by all accoooU take* to tvff 
wide a range and embrace* eourety new objecu of a character n 
tttterljr oppoied to iu general circumscribed and paltry routiae of 
action, it wtwtd be ^a well to desigtiate it by Bome t»ew aod ftpfm- 
priatc appcllatioo, unlets it were meant, by the intervention of the old 
and ambiguous term, tu confound the important practical ditdncttf 
which aubgists between the pony circle of a man's physical teat 
and private imeresu and the whole world of rirtue and hofioiir, 
thus to bring back the last gradually and disingcnaouAly whhin the 
verge of the former. 'Iliiogs without names are unapt to take root 
in tifie human mind : wc are prooe to reduce nature to the dinteTLsiant 
of language. If u feeling of a refined and romantic character b 
cxpreued by a grots and vulgar lume^ our habitual associauona will 
be sure to degrade the lirat to the level of the last, inatead of con- 
forming to a forced and technical definition. But X beg to deny, 
not only that the objccta in this caae are the same, bat chat the 
principle is aimitar. 

y/. Do you then svrioualy pretend that the end of sympathy is not 
to get rid of the momentary uncasineH occaaioned by the dieireu of 
another? 

B. And has that uneasineM, I again ask* its Murce in self-lore? 
If Bclf-love were the only principle of action, wc ought to receive no 
unca&inees from the paina of others, we ought to be wholly exempt 
from any such weakness : or the lean that can be ret] aired to pn 
the bmatlest ahadow of CKcutc to this exclusive theory is, ihiil the 
ioNtant the pain was coiiiintinicated by our foolish, iodiscreel aymjothy, 
¥re tbtnitd think of nothing but getting rid of it as fast aa possible, by 
fait means or foul, as b mechanical iaatinct. If the pain of sympathy, 
as soon as it arose, was decompounded from the ob}crct4 which gave 
it birth, »nd acted upon the brain or ncnrcs solely as a detacbcd, 
desultory feeling, or abBtracted sense of uneasinca, from which the 
mind shrunk with its natural aversion to pain, then I would allow 
that the impul^ in thtt> caae, bavicg no reference to the good of 
another, and seeking only to remove a present inconvenience from the 
individual, would still be properly Relf-love : but no such procc«s of 
abstraction takes place, ^'he feeling o( compassion, aa it first emen 
the mind, so it coniinuea to act upon it in conjunction with the idea 
of what another suffers ; refers every wish it forms or every effort tt 
makes, to the removal of pain from a fcllow-crcature, and ia only 
•auslied when it believes this L-nd to be accomplished. It is not a 
blind, physical repugnance to pain, as affecting ourselves, but 
rational or intelltgil^e conception of it as existing out of ourselvrs, 
that prompts aitd sustains our exertions in behalf of humanity. Nor 
lOO 



I 
I 
I 



1 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



it be ocherwiM, while man U thc'creature of imngination nnd 
oo, and haa facoJties that tmplicaic hrrtiWwbether he will or not) 
ID th« pleasures and pains of others, and bioa ftp hia fate with theirs. 
Why, ifacDi when an action or feeling is neither til-its commencement 
Dor progress, nor ultimate objecu, dictated by'or w^ject to the con- 
trol of self-loTe, bestow the name where every [hlng'pot the name is 
waotbg? :'*.''■ 

A. I must gire you fair warping, that in this last /jit^// yoti have 
more than once gone beyond my comprehension. Your distihctioos 
are too (ine-drawo, and there U a want of relief in the expreecion. 
Arc you not getting back to what you describe as your jfrj/ mate»tT\ 
Yovir present style is more anuuiog. See if you cannot throw 4*10^' 
high lights into th;it last argameatl 

B. Utt ptu plus a FAnglaue — soy thing to oblige! I say, then, it 
appears to me strange that sctf-love should be .tHscrted by any impartial 
reajoner, (not the dupe of a play upon words), to be ibsoluce and 
undisputed master of the huitun mtod, when compassion or uneanaesB 
on account of others enters it without leave and in spite of this 
principle. What ! to be instantly expeUcd by it without mercy, so 
that it may still assert it« pre-eminence? Not but to linger there, to 
bold consultation with another principle. Imagination, which owes no 
allegiance to self-interest, and to march out only undei condition and 
guarantee that the welfare of another is lirst provided for without any 
special clause in its own favour. This is much as if you were to say 
and swear, that though the bailiff and his niun have taken poseessian 
of your house, you are still the rightful owner of it. 

y/. And so I an). 

B. Why, then, not turn out such unwelcome intruders without 
standing u]xin ceremony ? 

jf. Vou were too vague and abstracted before ; now you arc grow* 
jog too figurative. Always in extremes. 

B. Give me leave for a momeat, as you will not let me spin mere 
meupbysica) cobweb*. 

jf. I am patient. 

B, Suppose that by sudden transformation your body were so con- 
trived that it could feci the actual sensauons of another body, as if 
your nerves had an immediate and physical communication ; chat you 
were uauled by a number of objects you saw and knew nothing of 
before, and felt desires and appetites springing up in your bosom for 
which you could not at all account — would you [tot say that this 
addition of another body made a material alteration in your former 
situation ; that it called fnr a nrw set of precautions and instincts to 
(jfovide for iu wants aitd wishes I or wouJd you persist b it that you 

101 




SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

were juit where you v/crt, 'A»t no change had taken piace in yaa 
being and interesu, nnd ihaVyour new body was in fact your old one, 
for no other rcawn thaii because it was yourt? To niy thinking, the 
ca«e would be tjuit^ .lUeted by the supeierogatioii of tuch a oc« 
sympathetic bod,yi'.and 1 should be for dtvidtng my care uid tjoie 
pretty equally* ii^w^n them. 

Captain C^'^Xan mean thai in that caae you would have taken in 
partners to" (he concern, si well as No. 1- ? 

B. Y^a ; and my concent for No. II. would be something very 
distifi^t (tom, and quite independent of, ray original and hithnto cx- 
clt.i»*C 'concern for No. I. 
•*. '.••4.' How very gross and vulgar ! (whispering to D ,and then 

^•. .turning (0 me, added,) — but why suppose an iropoMibility ? I hale 

>, *• all such incongruous and far-fetched illustrations. 

i » S. And yet this very miracle takes place every day in the hunvan 
miod and hear), and you and your sophists would persuade us that it 
ta nothing, and would slur over its existence by a shallow misnomer. 
Do I not by imaginary sympathy acquire a new interest (out of 
myself) in ulliers as much as I should on the former supposition by 
physical contact or animal magnetism? and am I not compelled by 
this new law of my nature (neither included in physical eenaation dot 
a deliberate regard to my own individual welfare) to consult the 
feelings and wishes of the new social body of which I am become a 
member, often to the prejudice of my own ? The parallel aeems to 
me exact, and I think the inference from it uoavoioable. I do imK 
po&tpunc a beitevoleni or friendly purpose to my own personal coo* 
veaiencc, or make it bend to it — 

' Letting i ihadti not rrait upon / 'wtuiJ, 
Like tiic poor cat in the adage' 

The will is amenable not to our immediate sensibility but to reason and 
imagination, which point out and enforce a line of duty very differeot 
from that prescribed by self-love. The operation of sympathy or 
Bocial feeling, though it h-is its scat certainly in the mind of the 
individual, is neither for his immediate behalf not to hia remote 
benefit, but is constantly a diversion from both, and therefore, t 
contend, is not in any sense selfish. The tnovcroents in my breast ai 
much originate in, and are regulated by, the idat of what anottter 
feels, as if they were governed by a chord placed there ribraciog to 
another's pain. If these movements were mecluwical, they would be 
considered as directed to the good of another : it is odd, that becaoae 
my bosom takes part and beats in unison with them, they should 
become vi a leus generous character. In the pas&iuns of hautdf 

I02 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



I 



nscDtmeot* nillennesa, or even in low epinta, we ToIimUnly go thraa|]li 
a great deal of pato, becauK tuch ii vur pleasure; or slrictly, becauM 
certain objects have taken hold nt'our imagination, and we cannot, or 
will not, get rid of the traprcsdoQ : wby should good-nature and 
generosity be the only teeliogs in which we will not allow a little 
forgetfulcew of ourselves? Once more. If self-love, or each 
individual's seasibility, sympathy^ what you will, were like an 
animalcule, acnsiiive, <]uick, shrirking tnttantly from whatever gave 
it pain, seeking iDstincuvely whatever gave it pleasure, and luvtng no 
other obligation or law of its exiatence, then I should be most ready 
to acknowledge that this principle was in its nature, end, and origin, 
selAsh, slippery, tieachcrous, incn, inoperative but as an instrument of 
•ome immediate ttimulut, incapable of gcccroui lacrifice or painfd 
exertion, and deierviag a name and title accordingly, leading one to 
bestow upon it its proper attributes. But the very reverse of all this 
happens. The mind is tenacious of remote purposes, todifferent to 
immediate feelings, which cannot consist with the nature of a rational 
and voluntary agent. Instead of the animalcule swimming in pleasure 
and gliding from pain, the principle of self-love is Incescautly to the 
imagination or sense of duty what the By is to the spider — that fixe* 
iu stings into it, involves it in its web, sucks iu blood, and preys 
upon its vitals ! Docs the spider do all this to please the t]y I .lust 
as tauch as Regulus returned to Carthage and was rolled down a hill 
in a barrel with iron spikes in It to please himself! The imagination 
or ooderfitaoding is no less the enemy of our pleasure than of our 
iutcresu It will not let ua be at ease till we have accomplished 
ceruia objects with which we have oureelves no coocero but a« 
tnelancholy truth*. 

j1. But the spider you have so quaintly conjured up is a different 
Baimal from the fly. The imagination on which you lay so much 
stress is a part of one's-self. 

B. I grant it : and for that Tcry reason, self-love, or a principle 
tending exclaslvely to our own immediate gratification or future ad- 
vantage, neither i* nor can be the sole spring of actioo in the human 
mifid. 

jf, I cannot see that at all. 

D. Nay, I think he has made It out better than usoaT. 

B, Imagination is another name for an interest in things out of 
ourselves, which must naturally run counter to our own. Self-love, 
for to (ine and smooth-spoken a geotlemao, leads his friends into odd 
scrapes. The situarion of Regulus in a barrel with iron-spikes in it 
was not a very easy odc : but, say the advocates of refined self-love, 

^ir points were a succeMlon of agreeable punctures in his sides, 

103 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

compared with the BttDg» of dUwoour. fiat «ba£ baand fain to tfajB 
dreadful altemarive .' Not Kif-love. When tkc fmnm of bcMV 
become* uoabtetorae, • thf ow boitour to the dog»— 111 bmm of it ! * 
'Chit wemit the true Epicoreso •olotkm. PhikMOfifaicad lelf-ton 
Mcms neither a rduptuary Dor u cffcnuiMlc oomdf bat a cjnic, and 
even a imrtyr, ao that I nm afraid he will haitlly daiv Aom bit bet 
at Very'*, and that, with this knowledge of hi* character, ev«B ihc 
couoteoance of the Count de Stutt^Tracy will noc procure hit ad- 
miHioo to the ulooDB. 

>f . The Count de Stutt-Tracy, did you say ? Who U be J I 
nerei heard of him. 

B, He i» the author of the celebrated ' Uiologitr' wbicb Booipane 
denounced to the Chamber of Peers as the cau«e of bi» dtaiKers to 
Ruitia. He ia eqtully hated by the Bourboni ; asd what ia moce 
rxtraordioary itill, he ii paUoniied by Ferdinaad vii. «bo aettled i 
MTiaion of TWO hundred crowns a year on the iruiilator of his vorki. 
He speaks of Condillac as having ' treaud the sctcQce of Idctdogy,' 
and holds HcNctius for a true philosopher. 

j1. Which you do not I I thick it a pity yoa should ai!ect 
■inj;utariiy of opinion in Kuch matters, when you have all tbe nicHi 
leniible anil lirit-informi'd judges agnioiit yoo. 

B. I am sorry Tor it too; but I am afraid 1 c;in hardly expect 
you with me, till I have all blurupc on my side, of which I see tw 
chance while the Ln^lishman with his notions of lolid beef aitd 
pudding hotdi fast by his nubstantial ideotityt and the Frrncbman 
wkb hii lighter food and air mistake* erery shadowy impulte for 
himstlf. 



THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. 

Tib Ntvi MtmiAfy M0£a*imr.] [Dntmin-, ttii. 

D. You deny. 1 think, that personal identity, in the qualified way 
in which you think proper to admit it, ie any ground for the doctrine 
of sclf-inlcrcit? 

B. YfH, in an exclusive and absolute sense I do oodoubtedly, that 
is, in the sense in which it ia alftrcDed by mctaphysiciaiw, and 
urdin.irity lirlievcd iu. 

D. Cnuld you not go over the ground briefly, without enieriaf 
into technictliiies? 

B. Not easily : but stop me when I entangle myself in difUcuhiet. 
A person fancies, or feels habitually, that be has a poutiTc, nb- 

104 



* 



tD BENEVOLEVi 



I 



I 



niDtial imerest in hit own welfare, (generally ipealung) ju>t u mach 
as hr hat in any actual oenution that he feels, because he ii always 
and neceuArily th« same self. What ia his intcrcar m one time is 
therefore equally l/it inlereHt at all other times. Thiri is taken for 
{vranted as a Belf-^videct proposition. Say he docs oot feel a particalnr 
tM-oelit or injury at this prcseni moment, yet it is he who is to ferl it, 
which comes to thtr same tliinj;- Where tliere is this continued 
identity of person, there must also be a correspondent idenuty of 
iotcrest. I have an abstract, unavoidahle interest in whatever can be- 
fall myself, which I can have or feel in no other person living, 
because I am always under every possible circumstance the self-same 
individual, and oot any other individual whatsoever. In short, this 
word u{f (so clo»ety do a number of usociatioos cling round it and 
cement it together) is supposed to represent as it were a given 
concrete sobsunce^ .m much one thing as any thing in nature can 
powibly be, and tlie centre or tuitirulum in which the differenl 
impresdoas and ramifications of my being meet and arc indissolubly 
kmt together. 

jf. And you propose then serioiialy to take *tliis one eoiire and 
perfect chrysolite,' this self, this 'precious jewel of the soul,' this 
rock on which mankind have built their faith for age*, and at one 
blow shatter it to pieces with the sledge-hammer, or displace it froiQ 
its hold in the imagination with the wrenching-irons of metaphysics i 

J9. I am willing to use my best ctKleavaurB for chat purpose. 

D. You really ought : for you have the prejudices of the whole 
world against you. 

S, I grant the prejudices are formidable ; and I should despair, 
did I not think the reasons even stronger. Besides, without altering 
the 0]MtiioDs of the whole world, T might be contented with the 
tuHVages of one or two intelligeat people. 

D. Nay, you will prevail by Battery, if not by argument. 

jf. ThJt is lomcthing newer than all the rest. 

B. • Plain iruUi,' dear A , ' needs do flowers of speech.' 

D. Let me rightly understand yon- Do you mean to say that 1 
ant oot C. D. and that you are not W. 15. or that we shall not both 
of ufi remain so to the end of the chapter, without a possibility of ever 
cbaoging places with each other? 

£, I am afraid, if you go to that, there Is very little chance that 

' / thall l>e (vcr mistakrn for_fs«.' 

But with all this precise individuality and inviolable identity that you 
speak of, let me ask. Are you not a little ch.'mged (Icsh so, it is troe, 
than most people) trom what you were twenty years ago^ Or do 

105 




SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



Wc know what wr are, 



you cx[}cct to appear Uie «aiiK that you are oow treaty yean 
liencc? 

D. ' No more of that if thou lovesi rnc.* 
but wc know not what wc shall be. 

B^ A truce then ; but be assured thai whenever you happen lo 
iliog up your part, there will be no other pcraon ivaaa. to attempt it 
after you. 

D. Pray, fafoor ub with your paradox widiout faither preface. 

B. I will then try to match my paradox against your prejudice, 
which as it n armed all in proof, to make any impression on it, I 
must, I suppose, uke aim at the rivets ; and if I can hit them, if I 
do not (round and smooth as it is) cut it imo three pieces and show 
that two pans in three are substaDcc and the third and principal part 
shadoW) never believe me again. Your real self ends exactly where 
your pretended self-inUTCBt beginH ; and in calculating upon Uiit 
principle aA a nolid, permanent, absolute, eelf-erideot truth, you an 
mocked with a name. 

D. How so ? I hear, but do not see. 

B, You must ulfow thai this identical, indivisible, ostensible aelf is 
at any rate diiiinj^uiihable into three parts, — the pait, the preteni, and 
fiiture } 

D. I see DO particuJar harm in that. 

B. It is nearly all I ask. Well then, I admit that you have a 
peculiar, emphatic, iticommunicable and exclusive interest or ^Ilow- 
feeling in the two first of these selves ; but I deny resolutely aitd 
unequivocally that you have any such natural, absolute, unavoidable, 
and mechanical interest in the last self, or is your future being, the 
interest you take in it being necessarily the offspring of understanding 
and imagination (aided by habit and circumstances), Hke that which 
you Uike in the welfare of others, and yet this last interest is the only 
one that is ever the object of rational and voluntary pursuit, or that 
ever comes into competition with the interests of others. 

/). I am Btill to seek for the connecting clue. 

B. I am almost ashamed to ask for your attention to a tcatemcDt 
so very plain that it seems to border on a truism. I have an imeresi 
of a peculiar and limited nature in my present self, inasmuch as I leel 
my actual sensations not simply in a degree, but in a way and by 
means of faculties which afford me not the smallest intimatioo of the 
•ensatioDs of others. 1 cannot possibly feel the sensations of any one 
else, nor conficquently take the slightest interest in them as such. I 
have no nerve* communicating with another's brain, and traosminiog 
to me citiier the glow of pleasure or the agony of pain which be may 
feel at the present moment by means of lus aeiiBcs. So far, therefore, 

106 



la 



k. 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



Dainely, so far m my present telf or immedute sentauoai are coq- 
cerned, I am cut off from all sympathy with othrrs. I itand alone 
in the v/ortd* a perfectly insulated iodividual, oeceiurtly and in the 
roost tinc|uatiGed sense indifTcrent lu all that passes around me, and 
that doet not in the (irn instance affect myseif, for ocbcrwiw I neither 
have DOT can have the remotest consciousDcts of it at a matter of 
organic fcnsation, any more than the mole has of light or the deaf 
adder of toundi. 

H. Spoken lilie an wade. 

B. Again, I have a similar peculiar, mechanical, ai>d untransferable 
toterrst in my past nclf, because I remember and can dwell upon ray 

E»t sensations (even after the objects are removed) also in a way and 
y means of faculties which do not give me the smallest ioKight into or 
sympathy with the past feelings of others. I may conjectarc and 
fancy what those feelinj^s have been ; and so I do. But I have no 
memcrj or continued consciousness of what cither of good or evil may 
have found a place in their bosoms, no secret spring that lotKhed 
vibrate* to the boprs and wishes that are no more, unlocks the 
chambers of the past with the same assurance of reality, or identifies 
my feelings with theirs in the same intimate manner as with those 
which 1 have already felt in my own person. Here again, then, 
there is a real, undoubted, original atKl positive foundation for the 
notion of self to rest upooi for in tclaiioo to my former self and past 
feelings, I do po6»eu a faculty which serves to unite me more 
especially to my own being, and at the same time draws a distinct 
and impassable line around that being, separating it from every other. 
A door of communication «unds always open between my present 
ccnsciousncEs and my past feelings, which is locked and l-):irred by 
the hand of Nature and the constitution of the human under standine 
against die intrusion of any straggling impressions from (hi- minds of 
others. 1 can only sec into rheir real history darkly and by reflection. 
To sympathise with their joys or sorrows, and place myself in their 
iitoation either now or formerly, I must proceed by guess-work, and 
borrow the use of the common faculty of imagbalion. I am ready 
to acknowledge, then, that in what regards the past as well as the 
present, there is a strict metaphysical tUstiDction between myself and 
ollters, and that my personal identity so far, or in the close, continued, 
inseparable connection between my past and preBent impressioos, is 
Crmly artd irrevocably established. 

D. Vou go on swimmingly. So far all is sulTicicntly clear. 
B. But now comes the rub : for beyond that point I deny that the 
doctrine of personal identity or selflntcrcst (as a conseqtience from 
it) hat any tbuiidation to rest upon but a coofusion of names and 

107 



BENEVOLENCE 



ideal!. It has none tn the oaiurc of tbings or of the bunun miuL 
Fur 1 bavc no faculty by which I can project myself into the fiitUK, 
or bold the tame son of palpable, ungibic, immediate, and cxcIuutc 
communicatioD with my future fMliogSr to the same 'Ptnrnr as I am 
made to fc«l the present moment by means of the •enaes, or the put 
momc&t by means of memory. Jf 1 bare any such faculty, expreiwiy 
set apart for the purpose, name it. If I have no such faculty, I can 
hare no such intereit. In order that L may possess a proper pcraoiul 
identity so as to live, breathe, and feel along the whole lioe of ny 
existence in the same interne and intimate mode, it is abiolately 
neceatary to hare some general medium or faculty by which my 
socceRsire impressions are blended and amalgamated rDgether« and to 
maintain and support this extraordinary iotcreat. But so far Grom 
there being any foundation tor tbia merging and incorporating of my 
future in my pres^'nt st-lf, there is no link of connection, no sympathy, 
DO reaction, no mutual consciousness between them, nor even a possi- 
bility of any thing of the kind, in a mrchanictl and peraooal sense. 
Up to the present point, the spot on which we stand, the doctrine of 
personal identity holds good ; hitherto the proud and exclusive pre- 
tensions of self 'come, but no farther.* The rest is air, is nothing, 
is a name, or but the common ground of reason and humanity. If I 
wish to pass beyond this point nnd look into my own future lot, or 
anticipate my future weal or woe before it has bad an existence, I can 
do HO by means uf the same faculties by which I enter into and 
identify myseU with the welfare, the being, and interests of otbcrs, 
but only by theae. As I have already Baid, I have no particolar 
organ or faculty of self-interest, in that case made and providetl. I 
hare no sensation of what is to faaj^n to niy&elf in future, : no 
preseatiment of it, no insttncttve sympathy with it, nor consequently 
any abstract and unavoidable self-interest io it. Now mark.. It ii 
only in regard to my past and present being, that a broad and i&- 
surmounuble barrier is placed between myself and others : as to 
future objects, there is no absolute and fundamental distinction what, 
crer. But it is only these last that are the objects of any rational or 
practical interest. The idea of self properly attaches to objects of 
sense or memory, but these can nerer be the objects of action or of 
roluntary pursuit, which must, by the supposition, have an eye to 
future events. But with respect to these the chain o( sel f-intercflt ii 
dissolved and falls in pieces by the rcry necessity of our nature, sod 
uur obligations to self as a blind, mechanical, unsociable principle atr 
lost in the general law which binds us to the pursuit of good as it 
comes within our reach and knowledge. 

/I. A most lame and tm|»tent conclusion, I must say. Do yoo 

to9 






SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



I 



I 



I 



mean to at^rm that yoi have really the tame interest in loother's 
welfare that you have in your own ? 

B. 1 do not wish to aincrt ar>y thing without proof. Will you tell 
me if you hare this particular interest in yourself what faculty is it 
that gives it you — to what conjuration and what mighty magic it is 
owing— or whether it is merely the name of self that is to he con- 
sidcr«l as a proof of all the ab»urdities and impos«ibilities that can be 
drawn from it I 

yl. I do not see that you have hitherto pointed out any. 

B. What! not the imjxiBBibility that you should be another being, 
with whom you have not a particle of fcflow-feeliDg? 

yi. Another being! YeS) I know it is always impossible for me to 
be another being. 

B. Ay, or yourself rithcr, without such a fellow-feeling, for it is 
that which constitutes self. If not, explain to me what you mean by 
■elf. But it is more convenient for you to let that magical sound lie 
involved in the obscurity of prejudice and language. Yuu will please 
to take notice that it is not I who comn>cnce these hairbreadth 
distinctions attd special-pleading. I take the old ground of common 
Knse and DBtural feeling, and maintain that though in a popular, 
practical «cnse mankind are strongly swayed by self-interest, yet in 
the same ordinary sense they arc also governed by motives of gtwd- 
nainre, compassion, friendship, virtue, honour, £cc. Now all this is 
deoird by your modern metaphysicians, who would reduce every thing 
to abstract self-interest, and exclude every other mixed motive or 
•Dcial tie in a strict, pliiloHjphical sense. They would drive me from 
my ground by ftcbolaiitic subtleties and newfangled phr:3m;s; nm I to 
blame then if 1 take them at their woid, and try to foil them at their 
own weapons? Iiither stick to the unpretending /£^-/ro/ notions on 
the subject, or if you arc determined to refine in analysing words and 
arguments, do not be angry if I follow the example set me, or oven 
go « little farther to arrive m the truth. Shall we proceed oo this 
understanding ? 

Jt. As yoD please. 

B, We have got so far tlieti (if I mistake not^ and if there is not 
Bonw flaw in Uie argument which I am unable to detect) that the 
past and present (which alone can appeal to our tdfiih faculties) are 
not tl>c objects of action, and tliat the future ( which can alone be the 
object of practical pursuit) has no parucular claim or hold upon t«lf. 
Alt actioUt all passion, all morality and telf-interettt, is prospccdvc. 

^. You have not made thnt point quite clcAr. What then is 
meant by a present interest, by the gratification of the present moment, 
as oppo»ed to a future one \ 

109 




SELF-LOVE ASB BENETOLENCB 



Of nOKF 



tbe 



oftfe 



anct day, tfae Sf 

f)f the flaae of a oodlr hvm. 



T«". 



Z>. (iagimg,) A. kid faccttr 



A Do|«o 



BOMD CpWCh. 
tfae Dcxt hour, 

Mtdbny haad ou 
of lauce cooiBijvraoei i 
■sddk vidi thtt 
thcR. ll ii Ui oU wkA &nMrtte UlMtnitaoa. 



fron 



,? 



A. No dnfat, I do. 

B. And it DM tfaii c 



71MB- lyad fl«K of tfae fin to procure 



to tbe act, zmi. tbe act itKlf to 
tke £trltiig of poia, vfaicb caond il ; 

A. It iBi; be ao : but the ioteml is ao slight that we arc not 
■ttifaleof iL 

& Nacare n tiicer in ber diadnctiaBt than ve. Tbna yoa cou 
DOC fift tbe food to yow nooth, bot apoci tbe lame principle. TW 

But 



mads axe tndcrd trmpta^ bat if it were tbc agbt or 
dofke tbat attncted 700* yov vovld tamn attiiBed with tber 



jroB we meaoa to eiidi, neitber of wliicb exitt till you employ 

prodaee tbem, and vhtcb would oerer exist if thi 

wbicfa foreaeet theiD did not nm do betbre the act 

porrey to upetitr. If you ny it is babit, it is portly ao ; bat thai 

habit woald oercr bare been fornted, were it not for tbe cootkectioa 

between caow and effect, which alwayi take* place in the order of 

time, or of what Hume calU smtecedenu and tmttquentt. 

A. [ confess t think thit a mighty microacopic way of looking it 
the nibiect. 

B. Yet you object equally to more fague aod sweeping generalities. 
Ln me, however, rndcaTour to draw the knot a little tighter, an it 
has a cotuiderablc weight to bear — no lest, in my opintoD^ than the 
whole world of moral scoUmentfi. All Toluntary action mtut reli 
to the foturc : but the future can only exist or influence the miixi 
an object of imagination and forethought ; therefore the motire to 
volnotary action, to all that we seek or shun, must be in all cues 
i^al and problematical. Tbe thing itself which is an object of 
pursuit can nerer co-exist with the motives which make it an object 
of pursuiu No one will say that the past can be an object either '" 
prevention or pursuit. It may be a subject of involtmtary regteis, 
may give rise to tbe staru and flaws of passion ; but we cannot 
about seriously recalling or altering it. Neither can that which 
present exists, or is an object of sensation, be at the same time ao 
object of action or of volition, since if it u, no volition or exertion of 
mine can for the iostant make it to be other than it is. I can make 

110 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



I 
I 



I 
I 



it etiut to be indeed, but thin relates to the future, to the aajtpcwed 
ooa^xiltcocc of tbc object^ ind uot to itt actual Irapreesion on me. 
For » thing to be wi'/W, it muBt necessarily not b&. Over my part 
uid preKot impretHOni my will has no control : they are placed, 
according lo the poet, beyond the reach of fate, much more of human 
meant. In order that I may take an effccinal and coniiiient interest 
in any thing, that it may be an object of hope or fear, of de»ire or 
dreadt it must be a thing still to come, a thing still in doubt, de))end- 
tog 00 circunutaoces and the means used to bring about or avert it. 
It is my will that delerminefi its existence or the contrary (otherwise 
there would be no use in troubling oneself about it) ; it does 
not itself lay its peremptor)', inexorable mandates on my will. For 
it is as yet (and must be in order to be the rational object of a 
moment's delibeiation} a non-cntity, a possibility merely and it is 
plain that nothing can be the cause of nothing. That which is not, 
cannot act, much less cad it act mechanically, pby«ically, all-powcr- 
fully. So far is it from being true tiiat a real and practical intercrst 
in any thing are conrertible terms, that a practical interest can never 
by any pcwtiblc chance be a real one, that is, excited by the prewoce 
of a real object or by mechanical sympathy. I cannot assuredly be 
uiduced by a present object to take means to make it exist — it can be 
DO more than present to me — or if it is pa^t, it is too late to think 
of recoreriog tfae occasion or preTcnting it now. But the future, 
the future is all our own ; or rather it belongs ei]ually to others. 
The world of action then, of business or pleasure, of self-lore or 
benerolence, is not made up of solid materials, morcd by downright, 
Botid springs; it ih essentially a roid, an unreal mockery, both in 
regard to ounekes and others, except as it is filled up, animated, 
aod let in motion by human thoughts aud purposes. The ingredients 
of paMiOD, action, aiKl properly of intercit are never positive, palpable 
matters of fact, concrete existences, but symbolical represenutions of 
events Itxlgcd in the bosom of ftiturity, and leacbiog us, by timely 
anticipation and watchful zeal, to build up the fabric of our own or 
others* future weal. 

^. Do we iwt sometimes plot their voe with at leau equal good- 
will ? 

B. Not much oftencr than wc arc accessory to our own. 

^. I roust say that savours more to me of .^n anlithetis than of an 
nuwer. 

B. For once, be it so. 

j1. But surely there is a di^rence between a real nod an imaginary 
interest? A history is not a romance. 

B. Yet; but in this sense the feelings aod interestb of others are 

III 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



"in the end as rral, u much matters of fact as nunc or youTB can Db 
The history of the world it not a ^omanc(^, though you and 1 haic 
bad only a unail share in it. You would turn every thiae into Mo- 
Inogniphy. The interests of others are no more chimcriMi, wimotaxj, 
faOMstic than my own, being founded in truth, and both arc brought 
home tD my bosom in the same w:iy by the force of imagination sod 
sympiithy. 

D. But in addition to all this sympathy that you make such a nwl 
about, it is / who am to feel a real, downright interest in my own 
future good, and I shall feel no such interest in aootttcr pcrsoo'i. 
Does not this make a wide, nay d tntal difference in the case i Am 1 
to have no more affcctioo For my own flcih and blood thaD for another's ! 

B. This would indeed make an entire dilference m the case, if 
your interest io your own good were founded in your affection for 
yourself, and not your affection for yourself in your attachment to 
your own good. If you were attached to your own good merely 
because it was yovn^ I do not see why you should not be e<]ualty 
attached to your own ill — both are equally yours ! Your own pertm 
or that of others would, I take it, be alike indtiferent to you, bat tor 
the degree of gym)utliy you have with the feelings of either. Take 
away the neose or apprehension of plcisurr and pain, .ind yna would 
c&ie 110 more about yourself than you do about the hair of your head 
or the paring of your nailis, the parting with which girrs yon no 
sensible uneasiness at the time or on aftcr-rcficction. 

D. But up to the prefient moment you allow that I haw a 
panicular interest in ray proper self, where then am I to atop, or 
how draw the line between my real and my imaginary identity ? 

H. The line is drawn for you by the nature of things. Or if the 
difference between reality and irtugination i« so small that you cannot 
perceire it, it only shows the strength of the Litter. Certain it u 
that we can no more anticipate our future being than we change 
places with another indit-idual, except io an idial and (igurativc imse. 
But it is juit as tmputsible that I should have xa anual bematioo <■( 
and interest in my future feelings as that I thould hare aa actml 
sensation of and interest in what another feels a: the presem instanu 
An essential and irreconcil cable ditference in our primary faculties 
forbids it. The future, were it the next moment, were it an ob)cct 
nearest and dearest to our hearts, is a dull blank, opaque, impcrvioui 
to lense as an object cluse to the eye of the blind, did not the ray of 
reason and reHcction enlighten it. We can never say to its fleeting, 
painted essence, 'Come, let me clutch tface !' it is a tiling of air, a 
phantom that flies before us, and we follow it, and with respect to .-til 
but our pan ^ind prcscDt Ktuations, which arc no longer any thing to 

IIZ 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



I 



I 



I 



I 



action, wc totter oo the brink of nothing. Thai self which wc 
project before u« into it, that wc make our proxy or representative, 
and empuu-rr to embody, aad traatmic back to us alt our real, nib- 
atamiil interests before they have bad an existence, except in our 
inuginations,ts but a shadow of oureelreft, a bundle of habits, pauiona, 
and prejodices, a body that falls in pieces at the touch of reason or 
the approach of inquiry. It is true, we do build up such an 
imaginary self, and a proportionable interest in it ; we clothe it 
with the associations of the past and present, we disguise i; tn 
the drapery of language, we add to it the strength of pastiion and 
the warmth of affection, till we at length come to class our whole 
existence under one head, and fancy our future bintory a solid, 
permanent, and actual continuation of our immediate beirg, but alt 
this only proves the force of imagination and habit to build up such a 
structure on a merely partial foundation, and does not alter the true 
nature and dtstinctioo of things. On the same foundation arc built 
up nearly as high natural affection, friendship, the love of country, of 
religion. Sec. Bat of this presently. What shows that the doctrine 
of self'tateresc, however high it may rear ita head, or however im- 
pregnable it may seem to attack, is a mere 'contradiction/ 

' In terms a fallacy, in fact a fiction,* 

is this single consideration, that we never know what is to happen to 
us before-baod, no, not even for 2 moment, and that we cannot so 
much as tell wliethcr we shall be alive a year, a month, or a day 
hence. Wc have no prcscDtimcDt of what awaits us, making us feel 
the future in the instant. Indeed such an insight into futurity would 
be inconsistent with itself, or we must become mere passive instru- 
ments in the hands of fate. A house may fall an my head as T go 
from this, I may be crushed to pieces by a carriage running over me, 
or 1 may receive a piece of news that is death to my hopes before 
another four-and-twenty hours are passed over, and yet I feel nothing 
of the blow that is thus to stagger and stun me. 1 laugh and am well. 
I have 00 warning given n»e either of the course or the consequence 
(in truth if I had, 1 should, if posssible, ivoid it). This continued 
sclf-iotcrest that watches over all my concerns alike, past, present, and 
future, and concentrates them all in one powerful and iavnriable 
principle of actioii, is useless here, leaves me ai a lost at my greatest 
need, is torpid, silent, dead, and I have no more consciousness of 
what >o nearly affects mc, and no more care about it, (till I find out 
my danger by other and natural means,) than if no such thing were 
ever to happen, or were to happen to the Man in the Mood> 
* And coming events cast their sliaduwk before.' 
VOL. xu. : H 1 1 J 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



Tliit beaocifnl tioe if oot veriicd in ibe ordiiMry prate of life, 
it a oot, u a O gg t rio g cooudentioa for your iioc, piactical, trntiac- 
li«c, •bKOOed, ooanrdxsaiTe, lunform prioctplc of tdf-toGerea. 
Doo't yoB Hmk w^ D i 

D. I shall not aonKr you. Am I to pvt up my rxuience {n 
an idle tophiMn ? Yo« bap hddle ttpoo riddle ; but 1 sm myitery- 
proof. I sdll fed my penooal identity m I do the chair I nt on, 
though 1 am enveloped to a clood of •moke and wotd*. Let oir 
have your antwcc to a plaio <}iiettioii.^-^ppOte I were actually to 
tec a ooacb coming along and I vat io d^ger of being nm oret, 
what 1 want to know is, »houid 1 not try to utc myaelf woacr than 
any other persoo ? 

It. No. you would tint try to btc a litter, if the were with yoo. 

//. Sorely thai would be a very rare instaoce of self, tbougb I do 
oot deny it. 

S. I do not think M. I believe tbere ii hardly any one wbo doe* 
nm prefer some one to themselTet. For example, let u look into 
Warerley. 

jf. Ay, that is the way that you take your ideas of pbtlotofdiy, 
from nOTcls and romaoce*, u if they were tound eridence. 

£. If my coDclutioD* are a> true to nature as my pfenuscs. I thai! 
be satisfied. Here is the passage I was going to quote : * I wa« only 
gao^g to lay, my lord,* said Hvan, in what be mcam to be in 
iotinoating manner, *that if your excellent hofKnir and the hooourablr 
court would let Vich Ian Vohr go free just this oocc and let him gae 
b»ck to France and not trouble King George's government agmn, 
that ray six o' the very best of his clan will be willing lo be justified 
in bn nead ; and if yoo '11 joit let me gie down to Clnnaqooich, I 'U 
finch them up to ye myself to bead or hang, and you may begin with 
me the very first man.' ' 

X But Huch instances as this are the effect of habit and strong 
prejudice. We can hardly argue from so barbarous a state of society. 

B. Excuse me there. I contend that our preference of ourselTCi 
is just as much the effect of habit, and very frequently a more un- 
accountable and uoreasooable one than any other. 

j1. I should like to hear how you can possibly make that ovt. 

£. If you will not condemn me before you hear what I have to 

say, I will try. You allow that D , Jn the case we have been 

talking of, would prrhap« run a little risk for you or me ; but if h 
were a perfect stranger, he would get out of the way as jut as bis 
legs wouJil carry him, and leave the ntranger to shift for himself. 

j1. Vci ; and docs not that overturn your whole theory? 
■ ffdvirJiy^ vol. iii. p. aoi. 

114 



I 
I 

I 



i 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



I 
I 



S. It would if my thniry wertr an devoid of common sense as yoa 
arc [>l«a»ed to mppose; that ii^ if because I deny an originAl and 
absofutr distinction in nature (where there is no such thing,} it 
foUoved that I must deny that circuraitancca, intimacy, h&bit, know* 
ledge, or a variety of inctdrntal causes cauld have any influence an 
our atiections and acttonft. My inference is jutt the contrary. For 

would you (K>t lay that D cared little about the atnuiger for tbii 

plain reason, that he knew nothing about hiraf 

jf. No doubt. 

B, And he would care rather more about you and me, because he 
knows more about us^ 

j1. Why yes, it would »ecm so. 

B. And he would care still more about n sister, (according to the 
same supposition] because he would be sttll better ac^juaiated with 
ber, and had been more consuitirly with her? 
I will not deny it. 

[ff. And it is on the same principle (generally speaking) that a 
man cares most of all about himself, because he knows more about 
himself than about any body else, that he iv more in the secret of his 
own most intim.-ite thoughts and feelings, and more in the habit of 
providing for his own wants and wishes, which he can anticipate with 
greater livelinesB and certainty than those of others, from being more 
nearly 'made and moulded of things past.* The poetical Fiction is 
rendered easier and asEisted by my acquaintance with myself, just as 
it i« by (he ties of kindred or habits of friendly intercourse. There 
i> DO farther approach made to the doctrines of self-love and personaJ 
identity. 

D. \i,t here is B, trying to persuade me 1 am not mywlf. 

£. Sometimes you arc not. 

D. But be says that T oever am. — Or is it only that 1 ani not to 
besof 

S. Nay, I hope * thou an lo continue, thou naughty varlct *— ^ 

' Here acd hertafter, if the la«t may be ! ' 

You have Ikeen yournelf (nobody like yon) for the last forty years of 
your life: you would not prematurely stuff the next twenty into the 
account, till you have had them fairly out i 

D. Not for the world, I have too great an affection for them. 

S. Yet I think you would hare less if you did not look forward to 
paai them among old hookii, old friends, old hauma. If you were cut 
off from all these, you would be lesa anxious about what was left of 
yourself. 

I). I would lather be the IVanderin^ Jew than not be at all. 

»'5 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

B. Or yoa vcmld not be tlie penoo I alvBjB took yon for. 

D. Doe« not tbU williogneM to be tb« Waaderiog icm nther dui 
oobody, vem to indicate tbjt there is an ifaiCiact atttchaeiK to tdC 
10 the bare idea of cxirtcocc, ladependeotty of circB BMrmcr* or hibil? 

B. It must be a very Iook and ttrag^g ooe. Yo« mix up BOoe 
of your old rrcollectioos aod farounte oodooi wttli voor Beu* elect, 
and indulge thein in your new character, or yoo woom trooble ■yom- 
»df very little about iL If yoo do not come to in Msne shape « 
other, it is merely uyinc that yoa woold be forry if tlie Wsadcno^ 
Jew were to ditappear from the earth, however stricUy fae nay hxn 
hitherto maintained his 'mcogmto. 

D. There is •omething in that ; and as veil aa I reineniber there 
is ft corioaa bat exceedingly mystical illustration of this ponnt in aa 
original Essay of yoors which I have read and spoken to yoe abooi. 

B. I believe there is; but A is tired of making objectioiu, 

and I of answering tbem to no purpose. 

D, I have the book in the closet, and if you like, we will tora to 
ibe place. Ii it afier that burst of enthotiastic recollection (the ooly 
one in the book) that Southey said at the time was something be- 
tween the manner of Milton's prose-works and Jeremy Taylor. 

B. Ah ! I as little thought then that I should ever be set down u 
a florid proM-writer as that he would become poet-laureat ! 

J. D. here look the volume from his brother, and read the fdlow- 
iog passage from it. 

'I do not think I ihoald illustrate the foregoing reaaoning so well 
by any thing I could add on the subject, as by relating the manner in 
which it first struck me. There are moments in the life of a solitaiy 
thinker wliich are to him what the evening of some great viaory it to 
the conqueror and hero — milder triumpliii loog remembered with 
truer and deeper delight. And though the shouts of multitudes do 
not hail his success — though gay trophies, though the sound* of 
music, the glittering of armour, and the neighing of steeds do not 
mingle with his joy, yet shall he not want monuments and witnesses 
of his glory — the deep forest, the willowy brook, the gatberittt 
clouds of winter, or the silent gloom of his own chamber, " faithful 
remembmnccrs of his high endeavour, and his glad success," that, as 
time passes by him with uoretuming wing, still awaken the conacious- 
ness of a spirit patient, indefatigable in the search of truth, and the 
hope of surviving in the thoughts and minds of other men. 1 
remember I had been reading a speech which Mirabaud (the author 
of tJit- "System of Nature") has put itlo the mouth of a supposed 
Atheist at the last judgment ; and was afterwards led on, by some 
means or other to consider the mitstion, wliethcr it could piuperly be 
il6 



SELF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 



» 
I 

I 



■xid lo be an set of rirtuc in any one to siicriftcc his own Sn.il 
happincBi to that of any other person or oumbrr of pcrBonR* if it were 

g>tvib(e for the one ever to be made the price of the other ? 
uppoae it were my own case — that it were in my power to save 
twenty other persons by voluntarily consenting to suffer for them: 
Why should I not do a generous thing, and never trouble myself 
about what might be the conse<]ucnce to myself the Lord knows 
when i 

* The rcasoo why a man should prefer his own future welfare to 
that of others is, that he has a necessary, absolute interest in the one, 
which he cannot have in the other — and tJiis, again, is a consequence 
of his being always tlie same individual, of his continued identity with 
bimsclf. The diffcrcocc, I thought, was this, that however insensible 
I may be to my own intercei at any future jvertod, yet when the time 
comes I (hall feet ditfercntly about it. I shall then judge of it from 
the actoal impressioo of the object, that is^ truly and certainly ; and 
ss I shall still be conscious of my past feelings, and shall bitterly 
regret my own folly and insensibility, [ ought, as a rational agr^nt, to 
be determined now by what I shall then wish I had done, when I 
shall feel the consequences of my actions most deeply and sensibly. 
It is this continued connciousneas of my own feelings which gives me 
an immediate interest in whatever relates to my ftiture wclfere, and 
m&kes me at all limes accountable to myself for ray own conduct. 
As, therefore, this consciousness will be renewed in me after death, 
if I exist again at all — But stop — as I must be conscious of my pa»t 
feelings to be myself, and as this conscious being will lie myself, how 
if that coDSciousDCSS should be transferred to some other being ? 
How am I to know that I am not imposed upon by a false claim of 
identity ? But that is ridiculous, because you will hate no other self 
than that which arises from this very consciousness. Why, then, 
ibis self may be multiplied in as many ditferent beings as the Deity 
may think proper to endue with the same consciousness ; which, if it 
can be renewed at will in any one instance, may clearly be so in a 
hundred others. Am I to regard all these as equally myself? Am 
I equally interested in the fate of all ? Or if I muiit fix upon some 
one of them in particular as my represemative and other self, how am 
I to be determined id my choice? Here, then, I saw an end put to 
my speculations about absolute sclfinterest .ind pe-monal identity, t 
saw plainly that the consciousness of my own teeltngs, which is made 
the foimdatian of my coatioued interest in them, could not extend to 
what had never been, and might never be; tliat my identity with 
mytdf must be confined to the connection between my past and 
prcMOC bdog i that with respect to my future feelings or ioteresu, 

117 



SEKF-LOVE AND BENEVOLENCE 

th«y could hiive no commuDicatioo with, or influence ovrr, mj 
frelingB and intcrcKs, merely because they were future i that 
be hereafter affected by the recollection of my |m« frchngi aai 
action*! ; and my rcmoric be equally heightened by redccting on my 
pMl folly and fate-camed wisdom, whether 1 am really the same 
being, or have only tiie sume conscious nesn renewed in mc; bot tfait 
to tuppoee that this remorse can rt-act in the rrrenr order on mj 
present feelings, or give me an immr<liate interest in my hiturr Irci- 
ings, before they exist, is an express coniradiction in lemu. It cis 
only aifect me as an imaginary idea, or 20 idea of truth. But n _ 
may the interests of others; and tlie ([uestion proposed was, whether | 
I huvc not some real, necessary, absolute interest in whatever rclaM T 
to my futufc being, in consequence of my immediate coonectton with 
myself — independently of the general impression which all positive 
ideas hare 00 my mind. How, then, can this pretended unity of 
conscioueness which is only teflectt-d from the pan — which raallcs me 
•o little acquainted with the future that 1 cannot even tell for 1 
moment how long it will be continued, whether it will be entirriy 
interriiptcd by or renewed 10 me after death, and which might be 
muhiplied in I don't know how many dlfTereot beings, and prolongni 
by complicated sutTerings, without my being any the wiser for it, — 
how, I eay, can a priiKiple of this sort identify my present with my 
iucure interests, and make me as much a participator 10 what does not 
at all aflTect me as if it were actually impressed on my sense* ^ It 
ii plain, as this conscious being may be decompounded, entirely 
destroyed, renewed again, or multiplied in a great number of beiagSt 
and as, whichever of these ukes place, it caooot produce the least 
aluration in my present being — that what t am does not depend on 
what I am to be, and that there is no communication bctwcm my 
future imercHts, and the motires by which my present conduct mut 
be governed. This can no more be infiuenced by what may be my 
hiture feelings with respect to it, than it will then be possible for mc 
to alter my pi.ut conduct by wishing that I bad acted diffrrently. I 
cannot, iliereCore, have a principle of acti\-c self-interrst ariding tnii of 
the immediate connection between my present and future self, for no 
such connection exists, or is possible. I am what I am in spite 
the future. My feelings, actions, and interests, must be determine 
by causes already existing and acting, and are absolutely iodepeodt 
of the future. Where there is not an intercommunity of trelir 
there c.in be no identity of interests. My personal interest in ; 
thing must refer either to the interest excited by the actual impresMOD 
of the object, which cannot be felt before it exist*, and can Uit du 
longer than while the impression, lasts ; or it may refer to the patti- 

lie 




THE FREE ADMISSION 



I 



calar manner in which I nm mcchaciLally aiTccted by the tdca of my 

owa imprnttonv in the absence of the object. 1 can, therefore, have 

DO proper perftooal interea: in my future itnpreE&ioos, since oeitbcr my 

ideas of future objects, nor my feelings with respect to them, can be 

excited either directly or indirectly by the imprcBeioDS thciaMivct, or 

by any ideas or feelingf. accompanying them, without .1 complete 

tranfjxMitioD of the order in which cauKS and effects follow one 

aoother in nature. The only reaMO for my preferring my future 

idtcren 10 tliat of others, must arise from my anticipating it with 

greater warmth of present imagioation. It is this greater liTelinets 

and force with which I can enter into my future fediogs, that in a 

mancrr idcotilics them with my prcacnt being; lod this notion of 

identity being once formed, the mind maiien use of it to strengthen 

its habitual propensity, by giving to personal motives a reality and 

absolute truth which they can never hive. Hence it has been 

inferred (hat my real, sulmantial iaterent in any tiling, must be 

derived in some indirect manner from the impression of the object 

itself, as if that could have any sort of communicatioo with my 

' present feelings, or excite any iotercrt in my mind but by means of 

■ the imagination, which is naturally alTected in a certain manner by the 

I prospect of future good or evil.' 

I J, D. * This is the strangest ulc that e'er I beard, 

H C. D. *\l\M the strangest fellow, brother John! ' 

F "p" 



I 

I 



THE FREE ADMISSION 



A ritrK Admission is the Uttu of the mind : the leaf in which your 
name is inscribed as having the privilege* of the tntrie for the scawn 
is of an oblivious tjuality — an antidote for half the ilia of life. I 
speak here not of a purcbaM-d but of a gifi-ticket, an emanation of tlie 
Kcceroiity of the ManaReri, a token of conscious desert. With the 
hrn you can hardly bring yauriclf to go to the theatre t with the last* 
ytux cannot keen away. If you have paid tive guineas for a free- 
admission for the season, this frec-aJmuiion turns to a mere slavery. 
You Kem to have done a foohsh thing, and to have committed an 
extravagance under the plea of economy. You are struck with 
remorse. You are impreucd with a conviction that pleasure is not to 
be bought. You have paid foryour privilege in the lump, and you 
receive the benefit in driblets. The five pounds you arc out of pocket 
docs not meet with an adetfuaie compensation the first night, or on 
any aiogle occasioo — you must come again^ and use double diligence 

119 



THE FREE ADMISSION 



'to itrike a balance to make up your laige arrrar* ; ioBtead of u 
obrious Mvin;^, it hangs as a dead-weight on four satisfacboD all the 
year; and the impro»idcnt price you have pjtid for them kill* creiy. 
cpheToeral enjoyment, and poisons the flattering illuiioos of the *C£MiJ 
Vou hiive incurred a debt, and muat go every night to redeem it ; 
as you do not like being tied to the oar, or makmg a toll of a pleasun^j 
you May away xliogethcr ; girc up the promised luxury as a 
speculation ; lit sullenly at home, or bend your loitering feet in aai 
other direction ; and putting up with the first loss, resolve never to ' 
guilty of the like foLly again. But it is not thus with the possestort 
a Free Admission, truly so called. His is a pure pleasure, a cleat 
gain. He feels none of the«e irksome (jualms and misgivings. He 
mirches lo the theatre like a favoured lover ; if he Is compcLled to 
abtent himself, he leeli all the impatience aitd compunction of a 
pmoDcr. The portal of the Temple of the MuM« suiids wide opcii 
to him, doting the vista of the day — when he turns his back upon ' 
at night with ileps gradual and slow, mingled witli the commoa crowd,* 
but conscious of a virtue which chey hnvc not, he says, * I sliall come 
again to-morrow ! ' In passing through the streets, he casts a side- 
long, carelecs glance at the playbills : he reads tlie papers chieBy with 
a view to see what is the play for the following day, or the ensuing 
week. If it is something new, be is glad ; if it is old, he ia rcrigDed 
— but he goes in either case. His steps bettd mechanically that way 
— pleasure becomes a habit, and babit a duty — be fulfils his destroy — 
he watks deliberately along Long-acre (you may tell a man going to 
the play, and whether he pays or has a free admission) — quickens hb 
pace as be turns the comer of Bow-street, and arrives breathleu and 
in haste at the welcome spot, where on presenting himself, he recerres 
a passport that is a release from care, Uiought, toil, for the evening, 
and wafts him into the regions of the blest! What is it to him haw 
the world turns round if the play goes on ; whether empires n»e 
fall, so that Covcnt-Garden stands its ground? Sh^l he plunge into] 
the void of politics, that volcano burnt«ut with the cold, sterile^] 
sightless lava, hardeaictg all around i or coo over the registers of tnrthlyj 
dctlbt, and marriages, when he may be present at Juliet's weddinj 
aod gaze oo Juliet'* tomb ? or shall he wonder at the throng of coacfat 
in Regent-street, when he can feast his eyes with the coach (the fait 
vision of his childhood) in which Cinderella rides to the ball? Here' 
(by the help of that Ofien Satamc! a Free Admiitton), coscooced in 
his £ivourite niche, looking from the * loop-holes of retreat * in the 
•econd circle, he views the pageant of the world played before bim; 
melts down years to moments ; sees human life, like a gaudy shadow,j 
glance actOM the suge ; and here tastes of all earth's bliss, the sweet] 



THE FREE ADMISSION 



- bittCT, the hoDry without the nUng, aod plucks ambrotial 
fniita aod amaranthine flowers (placed by the rachaotrcM Fancy 
witfaoi bu reach,) without haviDc to pay a tax for it at the time, or 
repenting of it aitcrwaidi. < He 16 all ear and eye, and drinks ia 
founds or Eights that might create a »oul under the ribt of death.' 

* The fly,' saji Gay, * that sips trcaLic, u lo«t in the sweets ' : so 
he that has a free-admissioa forgets every thing else. Why ootf It 
it th« chief and enviable transfer of his being from the real to the 
unreal world, and the changing half bis life into a dream. * Oh ! 
leave me to my repose,' in my beloved coraer at Covent Gardra 
Theatre ! This (and not * the aim-chair at an inn,' though that too, 
at other times, and under different circumxtances, is not without its 
charms.) is to me 'the throne of felicity.' If I have business that 
would detain me from this, I put it off till the morrow ; if I hare 
friends that call to just at the moment, lei them go away under pain 
of bearing my maledictions with them. What is there in ibeir con- 
Tersaiion lo atone to mc for the loss of one quaner of an hour at the 

* witching time of night ? ' If it is on irtditTerent subjects, it is Bat 
and insipid ; if it grows animated and interesting, it requires a painful 
effort, and begets a feverish excitement. But let me once reach, aod 
(atrly esublish myself in this favourite seat, and I can bid a gay 
defiance to mischance, and leave debts and duns, friends and foci, 
objections and aiguroentf, far behind mc. I would, if I could, have 
it surrounded with a baJustrade of gold, for it has been to mc a palace 
of delight. There golden thoughu unbidden betide roe, and golden 
visions come to me. There the dance, the laugh, the song, the scenic 
deception greet me ; there arc wafted Shakipcar's winged words, or 
Otway's plaintive lines i and there how often have I heard young 
Kemblc's voice, trembling at its own beauty, and prolonging its liquid 
tones, like the murmur of the billowy surge on sounding shores! 
There I no longer torture a sentence or strain a paradox : the mind 
is full without an effort, pleased without asking why. It inhales an 
atmosphere of joy, and is steeped in all the luxury of woe. To show 
how much sympathy has to do with the effect, let us suppose any one 
to bare a free Mmission to the rehearsals of a morning, what mortal 
would make use of it? One might as well be at the bottom of a 
well, or at the top of St. Paul's for any pleasure we shouEd derive 
from the finest tragedy or comedy. No, a play is nothing without 
an atKlieoce, it b a satisfaction too great aod too general not to be 
shared with others. But reverse this cold and comfortless picture- 
let the eager crowd beset the theatre-doors * like bees in spring-time, 
when the sun with Taurus rides' — let the boxes be bllcd with 
innocence and beauty Uke beds of lilies on the first night of Isabella 

131 




THE FREE ADMISSION 



or Bclvidcra, see the flutter, the uneasy delight of cxpectAUOO, Hc 
the big tear roll down the cheek of setiaibility as ihertory proceed*— 
let Ds listen to the deep thunder of the pit^ or catch the gxllery'* iboiK 
at some true nuster-stroke of passioo } aud we feel that a tbounod 
hearts are beating in our boaoma, and hail the sparkling iUnnoi 
rellcctcd in a thousand eyes. TTie «Uge has, therefore, been }iut]; 
styled 'a discipline of humanity'; for there la no place where the 
■octal pfiDctple i« called forth with such strength aad hannony, by i 
powerful interest in a commoti object. A crowd is everywhere else 
oppreMi?e ; but the fuller the play-house, the more intimately and 
cordially do we aympathise with every individual in it. Fmpt; i 
benches have as had an e#ect on the spectator as on the players. Tbii 
is one rcasoa why so many mistakes .ire made with reapect to pbp 
and players, ere they corac before the public. The taste is crude and 
uninformed till it is ripened by the blaze of lighted lamps attd die 
sunshine of happy faces : the cold, critical faculty, the judgment of 
Managers and Committees asks the glow of sympathy and the hut 
of approbation to prompt and guide it. We judge in a crowd with 
the sL-nae and feelings of others; and from the very strength of the 
iinpreaitOQ, fancy wc should have come to the same utuvoidable con- 
cluaioa had wc been left entirely to ourselves. Let any one try the 
experiment by reading a manuscript play, or seeing it acted^^or by 
hearing a candidate for the suge rehearse behirKi the scettes, or la^ 
his part after the orchestra have performed their fal-il prelude. Nor 
is the air of a play-house favourable only to social feeling — it aids the 
indulgence of solitary musing. The brimming cup of joy or sorrow 
is full; but it runs over to other thoughts and subjecta. We cas 
there (nowhere better) ' retire, the world shut out, our thoughts call 
home.' Wc hear the revelry and the shout, but *the still, stnati 
vmce' of other years and cherished recollections is not wantiog. It { 
is pleasant to hear Miss Ford repeat Low's Cateehumt or Mrs. 
Huniby 1 sing ' I cannot nurry Crout ' : but the ear is not therefore 
deaf to Mrs. Jordan's laugh in Nell; Mrs. Goodall's Kusaliad Mill 
haunts the glade* of Arden, and the echo of Amiens* song, * Blow, 
blow, thou winter's wind,' lingers through a lapne of thirty years. A 
pantomime (the Little Red Kiding-Hood) recalls rhe innocence of 
our childish thoughts: a dance (the Minuet de b Cour] throws us 
back to the gorgeous days of Louis xiv. and tells us that the age of 
chivalry is gone for ever. Who will be the Mrs. StddoDs of a 
distant age ? What future Kcan shall * stmt and fret his hour upon 
the stage,* fuU of genius and free from errors ? What favourite actor 
or actress will be taking their farewell beoefit a hundred years hence ^ 
' This lady ii apt, it is true, nt Covcnl Gsrdcn : 1 wiib *hc were I 
lit 



THE FREE ADMISSION 



I 



What playi and what pUyvrs wilt then amuw ihe towo i Oh, niacty- 
colourcd Bccnt-s of human life! where arc ye more truly reprrsented 
than m th« mirrot of the stage ? or where U that eteroil principle of 
viciuitude which rules oter ye, the painietl pageant and the sudden 
gloom, rnore strikingly exemplified than here ? Ac the entrance to 
our great theatrei, in large capitaU over Uie front of the stage, might 
be written Mutability ! Uoc« not tJie curtain that falls each night 
CD the pomp* aikd vanities it was withdrawn awhile to reveal (and the 
next moment all is dark) afford a fine moral ieGsoa f Here, in small 
room, i» crowded the map of human life ; the lengthened, varied scroll 
is unfolded like rich ta|)estry with its quaint and flaunting devices 
spread out ; whalpver can be Kived from the giddy whirl of erer- 
rolling time and of this round otb, which moves on and never stops,' 
atl that can strike the sense, can touch the heart, can stir up laughter 
or call tears from their secret source, is here treasured up and displayed 
osicotaiiously— here is Fancy's motley wardrobe, the masks of all the 
characters that were ever played — here is a glasa set up ciear and 
large eoough to show ui our own features and those of all mankind — 
faerp, in this enchanted mirror, are represented, not darkly, but in 
vivid hues and bold relieft the struggle of Life and Death, the 
momentary pause between thp cradle and the grave, with charming 
hopes and ^ars, terror and pity in a thousand modes (trangc and 
ghastly apparitions, the events of history, the fictions of poetry f warm 
from the bean} ; all tbete, and more than can be numbered in my 
feeble page, Gil that airy space where the green cuitaio rises, and 
hauot it with evanescent shapes and indescribable yearnings. 



'See o'er tlie »tage the gliosi of Hamlet stalks 
Othclk) raec». bctdcmona mourns. 
And poorMonimia pours her soul in love." 



^^^bVho can collect into one jiudibic puliation the thoughts and feeling* 

[^^^^ in the course of his life ^11 these togclhcT have iKCa).ioned [ of 

" what heart, if it could recall ifaem at once, and in their undiminished 

|X)wer and plenitude, would not burst with the load i Let not the 

style be deemed exaggerated, but tame and creeping, that attempts to 

do justice to this high and prc^aiinl theme, and let tears blot out the 

unet^ual lines (hat the pen traccn ! Quailing these delights, inhaling 

L this 3tmo«phcrc, brooding over these visions, tliis long trail of glory, 

H u die posBcuor of a Free Admisaon to be blamed if * be takes his 

" case' at the play; and turning theatrical rcclu*c, and forgetful of 

himself and his friends, devotes himself to the »udy of the drama, and. 

to dreams of the past? By constant habit (having nothing to do^ 

' ' Mai* voi* l» tBpMitc (k ccl aitrc ^ui vole cl oc I'lrrctc jatnsis.'^Tk'rai Eitiu. 

123 



THE FREE ADMISSION 

ebe to think of), be beeoaei a tipplrr of xhc dewi of Ca«taly — 
a dmn-drinker on MouDt PanuMH. He tjucn the present raomcsi, 
while a rich aca of pleasure prvun to his lip aod engalfs him rouad. 
The ootac, the glare, the wannth, the compaay, produce a sort of 
lisdess intoxication, and cluthr the pathos and the wit with a bodily 
tense. There is a weight, a closeoesc erco, in the aii, that nulcrs il 
dirticult to brctthe oat of it. The custom of going to the ptay Q^ht 
after night becomea a relief, a craring, a oecesncy — ooe cannot do 
without it. To sit alone it intolerable, to be in company is vone; 
we arc attraaed with plcaring force to the spot where 'all thai 
tnigbty heart is beating still.' It is not that perhaps there is aoj 
thing new or fine to see — if there is, we attend to it—hut at any timti 
it kills time and saves the trouble of thinking. O, CoTcnt Gardco ! 
* thy free Jvm haih made me effeminate ! ' Ti has hardly left me power 
to write this description of it. I ara become its slaTC, I have no other 
tense or interest len. There I sit and Jose the hours I live bcacatii 
the sky, without the power to stir, without any determination to stay. 
' Teddy the Tiler ' is become familiar to me, and, ai it were, a pan 
of my existence : * Robert the Drril ' has cast his spell over me. I 
bare seen both thirty times at least, (nootfeoce to the Maiugement ! } 
and ctnUd lit them out thirty times more. I am bed-rid in the lap ot 
luxttry ; am grown callous and inert with perpetoal cxcitemait* 

' What avails from iron chains 

Exempt, if ro»y fetters bind as (vA f ' 

I have my favourite box too, as Beau Biummell had his fiivouritt 
leg; one must decide on something, not to be always deciding. 
Perhaps I may have my reasons too — perhaps into the box next to 
mine a Grace cnteni ; perhaps from thence an air divioc breathes a 
glance (of heaven's own hrightnes!>), kindles contiigious fire ; — but let 
us turn all such thoughu into the lobbies. These may be coosideivd 
u ao Arabejgue border round the inclosed tablet of human life. 
If ibe Muses reign within, Venus sporta heedless, but not unheeded 
without. Here a bevy of fair damsela, richly clad, koit with the 
Graces and the Hours in dance, lead on * the frozen winter and the 
pleasant spring ! * Would 1 were allowed to attempt a list of some 
of them, and Cowley's Gallery would blush at mine! But this is a 
licence which only poetry, and not even a Free AdmissioD can give. 
1 can now imderBtaod the attachment to a player's life, and how 
impossible it ia for those who are once engaged in it ever to weao 
themselves from it. If the merely witnessing the bustle aixl the 
splendour of the scene as an idle spectator creates such a fascioationf 
and flings such a charm over it, how much more must this be the case 

«»4 



I 



THE SICK CHAMBER 

«mli thoK who hare gfvca all their time and attention to tt — who 
regard it as the sole mcaos of distinctton — with whom even the 
monotooy and morttil cations must pirate — and who» iniTead of being 
{unire, casual votaries, are the ditpcascrti of the bounty of the gods, 
and the htgh-priesta at the altar f 



I 



THE SICK CHAMBER 

Tie Ntvt MmtAfy Mtgmmt.} [-^'f""* 1830. 

Wm*t a' difference between this subject and my last — a * Free 
Admission ! ' Yet from the crowded theatre to the sick chamber, 
from the Qoiae, the glare, the keen delight, to the lonelincsB, the 
darkness, the dulne&s, and the pain, there is but one step. A breath 
of air, an orcrhanging cloud effecti it ; and though the tninaition is 
made in an instant, it seems as if it would last for ever. A sudden 
illness not only puts a stop to the career of our triumphs and agreeable 
sensations, but bloU out and c;tnceU all recollection of and desire for 
them. We lose the relish of enjoyment ; we are ctfectuftlly cured of 
our romance. Our bodice arc coniined to our beds; nor can our 
thoughts wantonly detach themBelves and lake the road to pleasure, 
but turn back with doubt and loathing at the faint, eraoescent phan- 
tom which has usurped its place. If the folding-doors of the 
imagination were thrown open or left a-Jar, so that from the disordenxl 
couch where we lay, we cuuld still hall the vista of the past or 
fnttire, and see the gay and gorgeous visions floating at a distance, 
howerer denied to our embrace, the contrast, though mortifying, 
might have something soothing in it, the mock-splendour might be 
the greater for the actual gloom : but the misery is that we cannot 
conceiTc any thing beyond or better than the present eril ; we are 
•but up and spell-bonnd in that, the curtains of the mind are drawn 
close, we caooot escape from 'the body of this death,* our souls are 
conquered, dinmayed, * cooped and cabined in,' and thrown with the 
lumber of our corporeal frames in one comer of a neglected and 
solitary room. We hate oarselres and every thing else ; nor does 
one ray of comfort 'peep through the blanket of the dark' to give us 
hope. How should we entcruin the image of grace and beauty, 
when our bodies writhe with pain ? To what purpose invoke the 
echo of some rich strain of music, when we ourscWes can scarcely 
breathe ? The »ery attempt is an impoMibility. We give up ibe 
vain task of linking delight to agony, of urging torpor into ecstasy, 
which makes the very hcan sick. Wc feel the present pain, and ao 
impatient longing to get rid of it. This were tiidecd * a cootummaiion 

125 




TH£ SICK CHAMBER 

devootly to be wished * : on this we are intcot, in eanictt, toexonble : 
all else is Impertinence and folly ; aod cuuld wxr but obtain eatt (tbit 
Goddets of the iniirm and Eulfering] at any price, ve think we could 
fonwear all other joy and all other torrows. Hoc trai in vo/ii, M 
other things hut our disorder and its cure seem less than nothing 201I 
ranity. It auutnes a palpable form : it becomes a demon, a spectn, 
an incubus hovering over and oppressing us : we grapple with ir : it 
Strikes its fangs into us, spreads it« amts round na, infects u» with iu 
breathy glares upon us with its hideous aspect : we feel it take posKs- 
sion of every fibre and of every faculty ; and we are at lefig;rb V 
absorbed and fascinated by it, that we cannot dirert our reflrctiooi 
from it fur an instant, for all other things but psin (and that which 
we suffer most acutely,) appear to have lost their pith and power to 
interest. They are turned to dust and stubble. This is the reason 
of the line resolutions we sometimes form in nich cases, and of the 
vast superiority of a sick bed to the pomps and thrones of the world. 
We easily renounce wine when we have nothing but the taste of 
physic in our mouths : the rich banquet tempts us not. when ' our rety 
gorge rises ' within us : Love and Beauty dy from a bed twisted into 
a thousand folds hy rp!itle«» lassitude and lormentJQg cares : the Derre 
of pleasure is killed by the pains that shoot through tlic head or t«ck 
the limbs : an indigestion seizes you with its leaden grasp and giam 
force (down, Ambition ! ) — you shiFer and uemble like a leaf in a fit 
of the ague (Ararice* let go your palsied hold !). We then are in 
the mood, without ghostly adrice, to betake ourselves to the life of 
' hermit poor, 

' In pensive place obseurc,* — 

aod should be glad to prevent the return of a fever ra^og in tlic 
blood l^ feeding on pul»e, and slaking our thirst at the limpid brook. 
These sudden resolutions, however, or ' vows made in pain ai Tioleot 
and void,' are generally of short duration ; the excess and the sorrow 
for it are alike selfish ; and those repentances which are the most 
loud and passionate are the surest to end speedily in a relapK ; for 
both originate in the eame cause, the being engrossed by the prevail- 
ing feeling (whatever it may be], and an utter incapacity to look 
bcyoad it. 

'The Devil was sick, the Dev-il a monk would be : 
The Devil gre^v well, the Devil a monk was het" 

It is amazing how little effect phyacal suffering or local circum- 
stances have upon the mind, except white we are subject to their 
immediate inftuence. While the impression lasts, they are every thing : 
when it is gone, they are nothing. We toss and tumble about in a 

126 



I 
I 



I 




THE SICK CHAMBER 



I 



rick bed ; we lie oo our right sitlc^ wc then change ta the left ; we 
stretch aurtelvea on our backs, ve turn on our faces ; wc wrap 
Durscires uji under the clothes to exclude the cold, we throw them on* 
to escape the heat and nifTocation ; we grasp the pillow in 3goay, 
wc fling ou/cclvcs out of bed, wc wMk. up and dowD the room with 
hasty or feeble steps ; we return into bed ; we are worn out with 
fatigue aod pain, y£i can get no repoK for the one, or intcrmissioD fot 
the other; wc Buraiaoo all our patience, or give Teat to passtoo and 
petty rage : nothing aoils ; wc leem wedded to our disease, * like 
life and death in diBpro]x>rtion met ; ' wc make new clforts, try new 
expedients, but nothing appears to shake it off, or promise rehef from 
our grim foe : it in£xes its sharp sting into us, or orcrpowcrt us by 
its sickly and stunnmg weight: every moment i& as much as we can 
bear, and yet there seems no end of our lengthening tortures ; wc are 
ready to faint with exhaustion, or work ourscJrrs up to frenzy: wc 
* trouble deaf Heaven with our bootless prayers : ' we think our last 
hour is come, or pecTishly wish it were, to put an end to the scene i 
we axk (questions as to tlie origin of evil and the necessily of pain i we 
> moralise our complaints into a thousand similes ' ; wc deny the use 
of medicine in toto, we have a full persuaftion that all doctors are 
mad or knavei, that our object it to gain relief, and theirs (out of the 
perversity of human nature, or to cecm wiser than we) to prevent it; 
wc catechise the apothecary, rail at the nurse, and cannot so much as 
cODCeire the possibility that this state of ihiogi should not last for 
ever ; we arc even angry at those who would give us encouragement, 
as if they woctd makedupes or children of us ; wc might seek a release 
by poison, a halter, or the sword, but we have not strength of mind 
enough — our nerves are too shaken — to attempt even this poor 
revenge — when lo ! a change comes, the spell fall* off, and the next 
moment we forget all that has happened to us. No sooner docs oar 
disorder turn its back upon us than wc laugh at it. The state we 
have been in, sounds Itke a dream, a fable ; health \s the order of the 
day, strength is ours dr jure and defatto ; and we discard all uncalled- 
for evidence to the contrary with a smile of contemptuous incredulity, 
just as we throw our phync-bottlci; out nf the wtrKJow ! I see (as \ 
awake from a short, uneasy doze) a golden light ahioe througli my 
white window-curtains on the opposite wall : — is it the dawn of anew 
day, or the departing light of evening? I do not well know, for the 
opum'they hare drugged my po«»ct with' has made strange havoc 
with my brain, and I am uncertain whether time has stood still, or 
advanced, or gone backward. By 'puirling o'er the doubt,' my 
attention is drawn a little out of myself to external objects ; and I COD- 
sidcr whether it would not administer some relief to my monotonous 

127 



THE SICK CHAMBER 



tf IcBrfd ol 



'JU 



1 fkxan ti IB cratiag ik; I 
dK vUlr icecy doadi, t^ zzsn 
«■<[, tke vodwi itlil Bd bakiy sir. In nin ! The vioji of 
faacy ffc&K c» aai^ fi«a ay bcd-wSe^ Tbe nr viUMoc bu bo- 
tkiag is amMoa vidi ilv doaoMM widna: the dpadi diu fpc a r. 
Ae ifcyii ■■rwily oacrcaa Md bbcL I «»lfc 9m n thig kcw 
■oa akr I re oo w ; lad wilk tkotr {■ to aiil e and well-kiiowa 
cao ao loafer rcoB ikc tMBbfad pillov. tbc julep 
or tW gpafcoliiBML daaftoa in «4id ! vu bcfbn 
Wkai B c aa Mi i y u oar prcaeac ■Mthim or aenkd 

tkcHc^ the «■«* ad canom have a narraver 
fvijr, nd adait bat oac gam ae a uac It ■ hardly to br vofldotd 
It tatf w dnsad pfayMcai sliMMiBa id mdc ocnniiaDQ : wc tfaaiE 
aaaaKof tWa the aaaeaaifiKrihey have iNffcwd. Omrm^t^gkt 
mi wf^td. TUi wiO pcAiif* cxfiaawlqr all actsil panwhmwit hv 
wbdecdlccl; ii ■ ■ Mate oMiary ta aome, aBen to tbe wilL If 
k doc* oat toadb iHaoar aad eoBtaemK {tnd wbcrc tbete are oot, 
bow OBit Wocbtb^?) kggaafiir aodng: and wbcrc tfaoe arc* h 
ratbcr mn lad fandem tbcM. The spo. tbe cell, tbe meagre 
hat, tbc hud hboar arc ab hoii tat to tbe ■aad of tlx culprit ob 
thejr are a npo wd , a^ carrie* tbc to>v of Sicny or iadulgnDe 
mA who tfarevi tbe th iia ght of them bebind bin 
be can eradc tbe penahy,) «itb aoora aad bughtcr, 



'Like: 



IBS gnm wythcSt ' 



So, to tnTcIIiog, we afetm meet ««b great fiiiigoe md tDcooTcmcBce 
from beat or caU, or rather ac ci d eaia , aad reaolve dctcf to go a 
joamey afiin ; bat «c are rewly to vet off on' a orw cxcnnioa 
lO-moROw. We remember die hadBcape, tbe change of acroe, ibc 
——**■*"' cxueitalioB, aod tfaak do aHirc of tbe hcxi, the ooiiCt aad 
dan. Tbc Dody focjeu its gncvaocea, till they recv ; bat imagbu- 
ttoo, poaooo, snde, hare a longer memory and quicker apprebeaooBa. 
To the 6m the pleawre or tbe |wo it Bochiog vfaen ooce orer ) to 
tbe Ian it i> only then that they begin to exitt. The Uoe in 
Metastaso, 

' The mnt of every e«il is the fiar,* ' 



1 



1 Tbc thoafbti of a ciftHc cm so morr get br]wa4 bb praoo-wslto ths Ui 
limU, uika* they an IwiM in phtaaiag « foft } «, on the cot rar y , what 
primacr, aAcr emctiflg Ui ocifc, ever nffm4 dm ta racnn then, or t*ok 
c»atiuNi fncartiaai l» prcrcaC itt own f Wc io*J>r ov tamcj toon ihaa we 
coatnb uu mtmtt. The kiuc of penoml Ucacity hai sIbmm m Unk taflwcsa 
h practice u it h«i tomaiMMa 'm theory. 
118 



THE SICK CHAMBER 



I 



» 



I 



is true only when applied to ihia latter sort. — It is curious that, on 
comJDg out of a sick-room, where ocm; has been pent tome time, and 
grown weak, and nervous, and louking at Nature tor the firut time, the 
objects that prciect themselves have a very questionable and spectral 
appearance^ the people in the street resemble t^ie« crawling about, aod 
>ecra scarce half-alirc. It is we who are jun riecn from a torpid and 
unwboletomc state, and who impart our imperfect fecliitge of exist- 
ence, health, ami motion to others. Or it may be that the violence 
aod cxcniOD of the pain we have gone through make common every- 
day objects seem unreal and unsubstaDtial. It is not till we liave 
established ourselves in form in the sitting-room, wheeled round the 
arm-chair to the lire (for this makes part of our re- introduction to the 
ordinary modes of being in all seasons,) felt our appetite return, and 
taken up a book, that we can be considered as at alt restored to 
ourselves. And even then our lirst sensations are rather empirical 
than positive; aft after sleep we stretch out our hands to know 
whether we arc awake. Ttii» is the rime for reading. Books are 
then indeed ' a world, both pure and good,' into which we enter 
with all our hean», after our revival from illness and respite from the 
lombf as with the freBhncsB and novelty of youth, They are not 
merely acceptable a* without too much exertion they pass the time 
and relieve eanai ; but from a certain suspension and deadening of 
the passions, and ahstrnction from worldly pursuits, they may be said 
to bring back and be friendly to the guileless and enthusiastic tone of 
feeling with which we formerly read them. Sickness has weaned ui 
fin temfMire from contest and cabal ; and we are fain to be docile and 
children again. All strong changes in our present pursuits throw us 
back upon the past. This it the shortest and most complete emanci- 
pation from our late discamfieurc. Wr wonder tliat any one w!io 
has read Tht H'utory of a FaundTuig should labour under an indiges- 
tion ; nor do we comprehend how a perusal of the Fuery Quern 
should not ensure the true believer an uninterrupted successian of 
halcyon days. Present objects bear a retrospective meaning, and 
point to *a foregone conclusion.* Kcturning back to life with 
half-strung nerves and shattered strength, we seem as when we lirst 
entered it with uncertain purposes and faltering aims. The machitK 
baa received a shock, and it moves on more tremulously than before, 
and not all at once in the beaten track. Startled at the approach of 
death, wc are willing to get as far from it as we can by making a 
proxy of our former selves ; and finding the precarious tenure by 
which we hold existence, and its last sands running out, we gather 
up aod make the moR of the fragmenu that memory* has stored up for 
us. Every thing is seen through a niediuin of tefleclioa and contrast. 
roL. xit. : t 1 19 



THE SICK CHAMBER 

We hear the tound of merry roiccs in the Ktrcct ; .ind thti carnMi 
bock, to the recoliectioos of tome country-town or village-groups- 

* We aee the children ^rting on the thore. 
And heu the mighty <vatcn roaring evermon.' 

A cricket chirpi oo the hearth, and we are reminded of Chrittniu 
gambols long ago. The very cricH in the street teem to be of a 
former date ; and the dry toast cats very much u it did — twenty yean 
ago. A rose smells doubly swtct, after being stifled with tinrturn 
and CMcnces; and we enjoy the idea of a journey and an inn the 
more for havJog been bed-rid. But a book is the secret and surt 
charm to bring all these implied association^ to a focut. I should 
prefer an old one, Mr. Lamb's favourite, the Journey to Lutes; Ot 
the Deeamrron^ if I could get it ; but if a new otic, let it be iW 
Cttfford^ That book has the singular adTaniagc of being written by i 
gentleman, and nut alx>ut bis own clau. The characters be anc- 
memorates are every moment at fault between life and death, hunjer 
and z forced loan on the [lublic ; and therefore the interest Uiey take 
in themBeEvcs, and which we take io them, has no cant or atfcctarioe 
in it, but is * lively, audible, and full of vent.' A »et of well-dreMcd 
genllemcn jiicking their teeth with a graceful air after dinnrr, 
eodesTotiring to keep their cravats from the slightest discomposure, 
and laying the most msipid things in the most insipid manner, do not 
make a iCtnr. Well, then, I have got the new paraphrase oo the 
Btggar'j Ofiera, am fairly embarked on it; and at the end of the lini 
volume, where I am galloping across the beath with the three high- 
waymen, while! the moon is ihining lull upon tbem, feel my nerves lO 
braced, and my upirits so eihiUr.tted, that, to »y truth, I am scarce 
sorry for the occasion that has thrown me upon the work and the 
author — have quite forgot my Sid Room, and am more ihan half 
ready to recant the doctrine that a Frte-jidmitsion to the theatre is 

— ■ The true pathos and sublime 
Of human tife": — 

for I feel as I read tbat if the stage shows ua the maska of men and 
the pageant of the world, books let m% into rheir souls and lay open to 
Qg the secretA of our own. They are the firn and last, the moM 
home-felt, the most heartfelt of all our cnjoymenu. 



*JO 



FOOTMEN 



FOOTMEN 



Tit ffen Um«hfy «#£«/»-] {Stf^tmhtr, tlyy. 

FooTMSK ue DO part of Christianity ; l>iit tJitry arc a rery necessary 

appendage w out happy Cowtitution in Church and State. What 

would the bishop's miire be without the*c grare »upportcr» to his 

dienity? H^ea the [dain pretbyter does not dispense with hi> decent 

■erTing-mM to stand behind hi* chair and load his duly emptied pUte 

with beefaod pudding, at which the genius of ITde turtu pale. What 

would become of the cotooci-colch iiUed with elegant and bnguid 

fomtst if it were ivoi for the liiple low o( powdered, faced, and 

Uveried footmcti, duKehog. flottering, and lounging behind it i What 

XD idea do we not cooccm of the faabionaMc leile who is malting the 

most of her titDC and tunbt)D(OTeT liltci and latias within at Sewcll 

and CroA's, or at the Buui ta Sobo-sqturc, from the tail lacquey 

in blue ai>d siIyct with gold-headed cane, cocltcd-hat, white thread 

rtoctings and Urge calve* to hiii le|i, who stand* ai her represcnutivc 

without! The sleek ibopuun appears at ilir door, at an understood 

lignul the li»cry-«ei"m ttaru from lui pMiiion, the coach-door flici 

open, the step* are let down, the young Udy enters the carriage at 

young bdie« arc taught to step iuio carriage*, the footman clows the 

the door, nioonw behind, and the glouy «hicle rolls otf, bearing its 

lovely burden and her gaudy altendaitt from tbe gaze of the gaping 

aowd ! Is there not a spell in beauty, a charm b rank aod fjuhion, 

ifaai ooc would almost wi*h to be ihi* fcUow-to obey itt Dodr to 

watch its look*, to breathe but by its pcrmiHiaa, and to lire but for 

iu use, iw scorn, oc pride? 

F wuncn arc in general loolted upon lu sort of rapemumcraries in 
wciety— they have no place asHgnedtheniatty Scotch Encyclopxdia 
_U,ey do not come under any o ihefcndsbMf. Mill*. Eletneot*. 
or Mr. Maculloch » Ptmc.plesof PobcaJ Economy; and they no- 



uu.M,.™ -'"'V' - ,' ■a~ .""""f » we civil order/ 



orld but by coatra«. a loii » wa«^ « ^ the pb,ne« truths 
If-evident. U is the very nwgBilit*. 4, .«^„/, - 

"the gentlemen of tlic cloth, CajT ,^°"'»^ " " *"' 
'^akc* then, an indi^pcasabl. fa««n?!^" "nporrance. and 



world but by cootraM 
self-evident. It ' 
of the gentlemen 

make* theni an inaikpensarae vxjot 'it, jfe ^^i „ . , 
Tff the pretension, of their .«peri« ,.VS T™' ^^ "Sf^ 
would he the good of having ^•^i^^ftl^'' "^^ 
about u* who are deprived of Ul^J^J**^ ^f ^ <*^ 

"• "^ o*n, and who w«« 1 




''OOTMEN 



l»dge to say * r serve ? * How can we »how that wc are the loi^ 



of 



election but by reducing othere 



condition of machtoei, 
•i/ho never mci»c hut at tlic beck ol our caprices? Is not the plain 
luit of the matter wonderfully relieved by the borrowed trappings sod 
mock-finery of his servant ? You see that man on horseback who 
keeps at tome distance behind another, who follow* him as hU thadov, 
turns M be (urns, and a» be parses or speak* to htm, lifts his hand to 
his hai and obeerves the most profound attention — -what is the ditfercBCc 
between these two men ? The one is as well mtmried, a* well fed, ii 
younger and seemingly in better health than (he other ; but between these 
two there arc perhapn sercQ or eight classes of society, each of whom ti 
dependent un cind Iremblee at the frown of the other — it is 3 DobktnaD 
and hi» Ucquey. Let any one take a stroll towards the Weft-eod of 
the lown, South Audley or Upjwr G rasvenor-sueet ; it Is then he will 
feel himself first entering into the ^au-idial of ciTilized life, a society 
composed entirely of lord* and fooiracn! Deliver me from the lilth 
and cellars of St. Giles's, from the shops of Holbotn and the Strand, 
From all chat appertains to middle and to low life ; and comracnd id? 
to the streets with the straw at the doors and hatchments overhead 
to tell us of those who are just horn or who are just dead, and with 
groups of footmen lounging on the steps and insulting the possengeti 
— it is then I feel the true dignity and imaginary pretensions of 
human nature realised ! There is here none of the soualidncss of 
poverty, none of the hardships of daily labour, none of (he anxiety 
and petty arttlice of trade; life's basiness is changed into a romance, 
a summer **-dream, and nothing painful, disgusting, or vulgar intrudes. 
All is on a liberal and handsome scaJc. The true ends and benefits 
of society ate here enjoyed and bountifully lavished, and all the 
trouble and misery btnishcd, and not even allowed so much as to exist 
in thought. Those who would ftnd the real Utopia, should look for 
it somewheie alxiuL Park.-hne or May Fair. It is there only anv 
feasible approach to ecjualily is made — -for it is lih mattrr tiir man. 
Here, as I look down Curzon-strect, or catch a glimpse of the taper 
spire of South Audley Chapel, or the family-arms on the gate of Chesiet- 
held-Housc, the vista of years opens to me, and I recall the period of 
the triumph of Mr. Burke's ' Reflections on the French Revolution,' 
and the ofenhrow of 'The Rights of Man!' You do not indeed 
peiielrate to the Interior of the mansion where sits the stately poscecsor, 
luxurious and refined ; but yuu draw your inference from the lizy, 
pampered, motley crew poured forth from his portals. This mealy- 
coated, moih-likc, butterfly-generation, seem to hare no canhly 
business but to enjoy themseWes. Their green liveries accord with 
the hudiiing leaves and spreading branches of the trees in Hyde Park 
>3« 



FOOTMEN 



I 
I 



— they seem ' like brothers of the groves ' — their red face* and 
powdered heads hurmonisc with the blosconis of the neighbouring 
almund-trccs, thai shoot their sprays over old -fashioned brick-walls. 
They come forth like grasshoppers m June, as numerous aod as noisy. 
They baak in the sun and laugh in your face. Not only dues the 
master enjoy an uninterrupted leisure and tranquiUity — thooe in his 
employment hare nothing to do. He wants drones, not drudges, about 
him, to share hia superfluity, and give a haughty pledge of his 
exemption from care. They grow sleek and wanton, saucy and 
supple. From being independent of the world, thry acquire the 
look oi gmtlemcn't gmilfmfn. There is a cast of the aristocracy, 
with a slight shade of distinction. The saying, ■ Tell me your com- 
pany, and 1*11 tell you your mannrrsi' may Iw applied tum graao talis 

to the servants in ^reai families. Mr. N knew an old butler 

who had lived with a nobU-man bo long, and had learned to imitate 
his walk, look, and way of speaking, so exactly that it was next to 
impossible to tell them apart. See (he porter in the great leather- 
chair in the hall — how big, and burly, and self-important he looks ; 
while my Lord's gentleman (the politician of the family) is reading 
the second edition of *Thc Courier ' (once more in re<]ueBt) at the 
vide window, and the footman is romping, or taking tea with the maids 
in the kitchen below. A match-girl mcsmwhilc plies her shrill trade 
at the railing; or a gipsey-woman p.-ist)es with her rustic wares through 
the street, avoiding the closer haunts of the city. What a pleasant 
farce is that of * High Life Beiow Stairs ! ' What a careless life do 
the domestics of liic Great lead ! For, not to speak of the reflected 
self-importance of their masterB and mistresses, and the contempt with 
which they look down on the herd of mankind, they have only to 
eat and drink their fill, talk the scandal of the neighbourhood, laugh 
at the follies, or assist the intrigue* of their betters, till they themselves 
&11 to lore, marry, set up a public house, (the only thing they are fit 
for,) and without habits of industry, resources in themselves, or self- 
respect, and drawing fruitless comparisons with the past, are, of all 
people, the most miserable! Service is no inheritance; and when ic 
fails, there is not a more helpless, or more worthless set of de\-ili in 

the world. Mr. C used lo nay he should like to be a footman to 

some elderly lady of quality, to carry her prayer-book to church, 
and place her cassock right for her. There can be no doubt that 
this would have been better, and quite as useful as the life he has led, 
dancing attendance on Prejudice, but flirting with Paradox in such a 
way as to cut liimaelf out of the old lady's will. For my pan, if I 
had to choose, I should prefer the lerrice of a young mistress, and 
might tbarc the fate of the footman recorded in heroic verse by 

m 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 

QOOlc* The infcTcocr is logics] enough. According to the authVtl 
rtefri there was no other difFerence between the reuioers of the cmnt* 
and the kitchen than the rank of the muter 1 

I remember hearing it luid thu *.ill men were equal but footmen.' 
Bat of all footmen the lowest class it literary footmfn. Thcie comiit 
of pcrsann who, without a single grain of knowledge, ustc, or feeling, 
put on the lircry of leamingt mimic its phrase* by rote, and irc 
retained in its service by dint of quackery and assurance alone. At 
they have none of the essence, they hare all the extemaU of men <jt" 
gravity and wisdom. They wear greco spectacles, walk with i 
peculiar strut, thrust themselves into the acquaintance of [lersoos thejf 
bear ulkcd of, get introduced into the clubs, arc seen reading boob 
they do not undrrst^ind at the Museum and public libraries diK 
(if they can) with lords or olTiccrs of the Guards, abuse any pany •* 
lov) to ahow what Une gentlemen they are, and the ttent week join 
the same party to raise their own credit and gain a little consequence, 
gire tbcmKlrcs out as wits, critics, and philofophere (and as they baft 
oeTer done any thing, no man can contradict them), and ban- a 
great knack of turning editors, and not paying their contributors. If 
you get fire pounds from one of them, lie nerer for^res 11 With 
the proceeds thus appropriated, the book-worm graduates a dandy, 
hires expensive apartments, spans a tandem, and it is inferred that be 
must be a great ;mthor who can support such an appearance with his 
pen, and a great genius who can conduct so maoy learned worb 
while his time is devoted to the gay, the fair, and the rich. This intro- 
duces him to new editorships, to new and more select friendships, and 
to more frequent and importunate demands from debts and duns. At 
length the bubble bursta and disappeiire, and you hear no more of ow 
classical adventurer, except from the invectives and self-reproscbcs 
of those who took him for a great scholar from his wearing grtea 
Bpcctactra and Wellington-boots. Such a candidate for literary 
honours bears the same relation to the man of tetters, that the valet 
with his second-hand finery and Eiervile airs does to his master. 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 

TJh Mtaiiilf MagasiM.] [/awiuity, 1817. 

It is hard to be without money. To get on without it is Uk 
travelling in a foreign country without a passport — you are stoppedt 
suspected, and made ridiculous at every turn, besides being subjected 
to the most serious inconveniences. The want of money I here 
allude to is not altogether that which ari&cs from absolute poverty— 
136 



'HE w. 



fONEY 



for where there it a downright Absence of the common ncceuarks of 
life, thii muM be remedied by incessant hard Inbour, and the least we 
can receive in return is a supcijr of our daily want& — but that uncenajn, 
canul, pfeciriou!) mode of existence, in which the temptiilion to 
upend remains after the means are exhausted, the want of money 
joined with the hope and poisibility of getting it, the intermediate 
stale of difficulty and suBpcnse betwn-n the hut guinea or shilling and 
the next that we may hare the good luck to encounter. This gap, 
this unwelcome tnteiral constantly recurring, however shabbily got 
over» is realty full nf many anxieties, misgivings, mortifications, 
meannesses, and deplorable cmbarr^ssmeDls of every description. I 
may attempt (thii essay is not a fanciful speculation] to enlarge upon 
a few of them. 

It is hard to go without one's dinner through sheer distress, but 
harder atill to go without one's brealcfa«. Upon the strength of that 
6rat and aboriginal meal, one may muster courage to face the 
diHicultJes before one, and to dare the worst: but to he rousrd out 
of one's warm bed, and perhaps a profound oblivion of care, with 
golden dreams (for poverty does not prevent golden dreams), and 
told there is nothing for breakfast, is cold comifort for which ooe's 
half-strung nerves are not prepared, and throws a damp upon the 
pruBpects of the day. It is a bad beginning. A rtian without a 
breaklait is a poor creature, unfit to go in search of one, to meet the 
frown of the world, or to borrow a shilling of a friend. He m;iy 
beg at the corner of a street — nothing is too mean for the tone of his 
feeling! — robbing on the highway is out of the question, as requiring 
too much courage, and some opinion of a man's self. It is, indeed, 
as old Fuller, or lome worthy of that age, exprescrs it, * the heaviest 
stone which melancholy can throw at a man,' to learn, the first thing 
after he rises in the morning, or even to be dunned with it tn bed, 
that there ii nu to;if, tea, ur butter in the house, nnd that the bnker, 
the grocer, and buttcrman have refused to give any farther credit. 
This it ukiog one sadly at a dlsiid vantage. It is striking at one's spirit 
and resolution in their very lource, — the stomach — it is attacking one on 
the tide of hunger and mortification at once ; it is casting one into the 
very mire of humility and Slough of Despond. The worst is, to know 
what face to put upon the matter, what excuse to make to the serrantt, 
what answer to send to the tradespeople; whether to laugh it off", or be 
grave, or angry, or indifferent; in short, to know how to parry off an 
evil which you cannot help. What a luxury, what a God's-scnd in 
such a dilemma, to find a half-crown which had slipped through a hole 
in the lining of your waistcoat^ a crumpled bank-note in your breeches- 
{>ocket, or a guinea clinking in the bottom of your trunk, which had 

137 




OH THE WANT OF MONEY 



heca thoughtlessly left there out of a fonner heap ! Vaio hopcT 
Unlbiunled illusion ! The experienced in «uch mawerB know l»eitei, 
and hagh in iheir sleevei at so improbable a wfigeukw. Not a 
corner, not a cranny, not a pocket, not a drawer has been left 
cnrummagcd, or bae not been subjected over and orer again to more 
than the 8tncmc6ii of a custom-house scrutiny. Not tlic stighten 
nistle of a piece of bank-paper* not the gentlest pressure of a piece of 
hard metaf, but would have given notice of tu hiding-place witb 
electrical rapidity, long before, in such circumstance*. All the 
Tarieiy of pecuniary resourccB which form a legal leader oa the 
current coin of the realm, are assuredly drained, exhausted to the last 
farthing before this time. But is there nothing id the houac that one 
can turn to account i Is there not an old family-watch, or piece of 
plate, or a ring, or some worthless trinket that one could part witbJ 
cothiag belonging to oneVself or a friend, that one conlcl raiae the 
wind upon, till something better turns up i At ibis moment an 
old clothes-man passes, and bis deep, harsh tones sound like an 
inlendcd Insull on one's distress, and banish the thought of applying 
for hit assistance, as one's eye glanced furtively at an old hat or a 
great coat, bung up behind a closet-door. Humiliating contemplations! 
Miserable uncertainty ! One hesitates, and the op]>ortunity is gone 
by ; for without one's breakfast, one has not the rcfolution to do 
any thing ! — The late Mr. Sheridan was often reduced to this 
tmplcasant predicament. Fo*sibIy be had little appetite for breakfiut 
himself; but the servants complained bitterly on this head, and «^ 
that Mrs. Sheridan was sometinica kept waiting for a couple of houni 
while they had to hunt through the neighbourhood, and beat up for 
coffee, eggs, and French rolls. The same perplexity in this instance 
appears to have extended to the providing for the dinner ; for » 
iharp-set were they, that to cut short a debate with a butcher's 
apprentice about leaving a leg of mutton without the money, the 
cook clapped it inio the pot : the butcher's boy, probably used to 
such encounters, with equal coolness took it out again, and marched 
off with it in bis tray in triumph. It required a man to be tbc 
author of The School rox Scandal, to run the gauntlet of such 
disagreeable occurrences rverr hour of the day. There was one 
comfort, however, th.u poor »Sheridan bad : be did not foresee that 
Mr. Moore would write his Life '. ' 



I 



' Taylor, of th« Open-Honsp, Dsrd tn uyor SheriitsB, that be couM not poll off 
hit tiut to hini in the itteet M-ilhotit iti <oiting him dfty pn-jndi ; and if hr ttoppcl 
In ipeak. la him. il wai a humlreil. No an« could be a itrun^-ei inilaiit;c [ihaii bt 
wsB of whit It calleii liviwffrpm kgnii le mBnii, He wi> atirayi in warn of aiomtf, 
iboath he reccivcii vast luma which he mail have disbancil ; and yei cMiboily i 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



Th« going withoDt a dinner is another of the miwrirs of wanting 
loncjr, though oo< cui bear Dp agaliut this calamity better thao the 

whit bcntae of them, for be paid oobody. He >pcnt hii wife'* fortune 
'{•izteni hundred pouniti) in a six we«kt' janni to Bath, and returned to town u 
|']poot »i ■ r*l. Whenever be and bi« *an were invited out iota the country, ihey 
slway* went in two pMt-cbaite« and foar ; he to one, ind hia ton Tom following 
in another. Thia it the lecret of ihoic who live tn a rnunil of etiravagince, tad 
ue at the tanK lime jiwjp in debt and ditficulcy — tbey throw away all the 
ready nwney ihcy efI upon any new-faoElcd whim or project ttinl catne« in thctf 
wiy, and (mvct think of paying off old •carta, which of courae accnmuLalc to a 
4(eadful acDOvnt. 'Such gain (Ik cap of him who makei iheni fine, ytt keepi bit 
book uncfoneil.' Sheridan once wanted to take Mrt. Shfridan a very han'lwmc 
drcaa down into the country, •»'! went to Baibrt and Nuiin't to oidn il, *aying he 
mnit ba*T il by *uch a rlaji, but proniiatnij they ihauld lure ready money. 
Mn. Barber (I think it wai) made anawvr ihit the titne wat abort, b«i thai ready 
motwy waa ■ very charming thing, and that he ahonH bav« it. Accoftiingly, at 
tike tine apfoialcd the brought the drtta, which came to live -and -twenty povntli, 
aitd it wai sent in to Mr. fvhcridan : who aent oat a Mr. Grimm (nne of hit 
JMckaila) to tiy he admired it rxceeilingly, and that he w*« «ure Mr*. Sheridan 
would be rielightcd with it, but he waa aorry to have nothing nniier a hunitred 
pound hoak-aotc in the bouie. She uid ahe had come prnvided for tuch an 
actidcat, and could give change for a hiuiijfcit, two buadre<i, or 6vc buadrtd pound 
note, if it were ncceaaary. GrimRi then went back to hb principal for farther 
inttmctiofu ; who made an excuse that he had no tiamped receipt by him. For 
thil. Mr*. B. »aid, the wx alto provi'lcd ; aha had brought one in her pocket. At 
each iBceNge, the could hear thrm laughing heartily in the next room at the idea 
of having i»et writh their match for once ; and preaenliy ^fler, Sherilan came oot 
hi high good-bumovr, «■<) paid her the amount of her bill, in ten, Ave, and 
ane pound*. Once when a creditor brought htm a Ull for payment, which had 
often been prctcnted before, an<l the man CMnplaioed of it* toiled an4 tattered 
nate, and laid he wat tjuilc atbamed to lee it, * I 'It tell you what I 'd ad vile yoH to 
do with if, my friend,' taid 5hCTidan,*take it home, and write it upon p^ekmntl* 
He once mounted a hor»e which a horae.dealeT wai thewing off near a coffee- 
bonae at the bottom of Si. JiueiVtirevt, rode it to TaitetvaU'a, and told it, and 
wolked quietly back to the ipot from which he art out. The owner waa furioua, 
ffwore be would be the rieath of him ; and, in t]uarter of an ho«r afterward* they 
were Men fitting together over a bottle of wine in the cofiee-baiitc, the horae- 
jockey with the teare running tlown hi* face at Sheridan't jokea, and almoit ready 
to bug him at an honcit fellow, Shcndao'f home and lobby were bcKt with dunt 
every inomir^, who were lotrf thit Mr. ShrriiJan wat not yet up, and ahewn into 
the teveral looma on each tide of the entrance. A* •von la he had bre>kf»tcd, 
be saked, * Are tboae door* all ahut, John i ' and, bein^ aitorcd they were, marched 
out very deliberately between thrm, to the attonithmcnt of hi* aelf-invitccl guett*. 
who toon found the biril wat flown. I have heard one of hii oM City friend* 
declare, that such wa* the effect of hi* frank, cordial manner, and iiiiinuating 
eloquence, that he wot always afraid to go in aik him for ■ debt of UMig atanding, 
iett he ihould borrow twice •* much. A play bad been put off one night, or a 
ffiToaetlc utor did not appear, anil ibe audience demanded to have their money 
btA again : bnt when ihcy came to the door, ihey were told by the check-taker* 
there wat none for iheni, for that Mr. Sheridan had been in the mean time, and 
had carried off all the money in the lilL He uaed often lo get the old cobbler who 
kept a tiall under the roina o( Drvrjr Lane to broil * beef-*lcak for fain, and take 

<99 




i 



THE WANT 



rONEY 



former, wliich really * blights the tender blossom and promiae of thf 
day.' With one good niral, one may hold a parley with liunger and 
moralize upon temperance. One has lime to turn ODcVself oA 
look about one — to < screw one's courage to the sticking- placet' to 
graduate the Rcale of di«appointment, and auve off appetite till luppet- 
time. You gain time, and time in this weather-cock world it 
ererj-thinj;. You may dine at two, or at six, or serea — aa mat 
convenient. You nuy in the meanwhile rcceire an inviution to 
dinner, or Konir one (not kouwing liow you aic ciicumstanced) inay 
send you a [vrcRcnc of a hannch of venison or a brace of pheMants from 
the country, or a distant relatJOD nuy die and leave you a legacy, or 
a patroQ may call and overwhelm you with bis smiles and bounty, 

< Aft Icind as kings upon their coronation-day { * 

or there is no saying what may happen. One may wait for dinner — 
brrakfusi admits of no delay, of no interval interposed between diil 
aad ouc lirst wakitig thought*.^ Besides, there are shifts and devices, 
shabby aod monifying enough, but still available in case of ttced. 

their dioncT together. On die nJ^ht that Dmry L>n« mi burnt down, Sbcriilu 
was in the Home or Cotnmont, making a iixcch, though be could bardljr *tui4 
wi(h«uC kanint hit hand ■ on lh< liblc, and it wa* with some diflicvUy b« wm 
forced away, urginfi the plea, * Wh^l tigniticij the concems of a private tiuliviAuil, 
compared to the goad af the ttnte t ' Whe« he got to Co vent- Garden, h* wkM 
into the l*iaua Coi&«-houic, ta itcady hicnidf with Baothcr l>otlle, and then 
•tro^lled out to the end of the Piasu to loolc at the ftvptu of the fire. Here he 
was accMted by Chsrlc* Kemble and Fawcctt, who complimentcil him oo the 
calmncM trhh whicK lie leemeci to rc(st<l lo frcxt a 1ms. He <JecltDcd ihi* ptii«i 
and laid^' Gcnilctnen, there arc but three ihinga in hiitnai) life that in my opinUn 
ought lu diilurb ■ wiie tnin't pjticnce. The first of these ii bo'iily pato, anJ thai 
(whatever the ancient iloics may have said to the contrary) U too mnch for any 
man to bear without fliatKing : ihji I h«i« felt severely, and I know it to be the 
caw. The Mcond is the lot* of a friend whom you have dearly lovetl { that, 
patlemen, is > (real evJl : ihii I have also (clt, and I know it to be too nncfa 
for any maa'i fortitude. And the third ii the cotucionineu of having done an mninit 
action. Thit, Kcntlemcn, ii a ^cat evil, a very {^at evrl, tov much for any man to 
endure the refleciion of \ bnllbit '(Inyine hi* hand up^n hit hcatt,) 'but that, thank 
God, I harr nevrr frit 1' I have brrn told that ihne wrre nearly the very 
words, except that be appeale>l to the mtns ttnicia rttli very emphatically three or 
four times over, by an excellent authority, Mr. Mntbews the player, who was oa 
the «pot at the time, a gentleman whnm thr public »lmitc dneivcdly, bnt with 
whriR real talenta ind nice diKriiiiiiuiiiun uf character hi* frieada only an 
acquainted. Sheridan'* reply lo tlie watchmnn who hart picked him up in ihr 
street, anil who wanted to know who he wa*, 'I am Mr. Wilbcfforte 1'^.ts weU 
known, and shews that, however fre^nentiy he might be at ■ lots for moaey, be 
never wanted wii ! 

' In Sco(lan>l, it teemi, the rintituht of ;ile or whiskey with which yon com- 
mence the day, is emphalicaUy called 't^kmo your vsrainf.' 
140 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



> nuny expcdienu axe there in this ^reat city (London), time 
out of mind and times without number* rc8orte<l to by the dilapidated 
and thrifty speculator, to get through this grand difficulty without 
utter failure! One may dive into a cellar, and dine on boiled beef 
and C3TT0U for teopencc, with tlie knives and tork.» chaiDcd to the 
ubie, and jostled by greasy elbows tliat seem to make such a precau- 
tioo not unnecessary (hunger ii proof against indignity!) — or odc 
may contrive to part with a HUpcrlluous article of wenrinj; apparel, 
and cari^ home a mutton-chop and cook it in a garret ; or one may 
drop in at a friend's at the dinocr-hour, and be asked to stay or not; 
or one may walk out and cake a turn in the Park, about the time, and 
return home to tea, so as at least to avoid the sting of the en! — the 
appearance of not having dined. You then have the lau^h on your 
«ide* having deceived the gossips, and can submit to the want of a sump- 
tuous repast without murmuring, having saved your pride, and made a 
virtue of necessity. I say all this may be dont- by a man without a 
family (for what business has a man without money with one? — See 
Jingluh MaJthtu and Scotch MiutuSoch) — and it is only my intention 
here to bring forward such instances of the want of money it are 
tolerable both in theory and practice. I once lived on coffee (as an 
experiment) for a fortnight together, while I was finishing the copy 
of a half-length portrait of a Manchester manufacturer, who had died 
worth a plum. 1 rather slurred over the coat, which was a reddish 
brown, ' of formal cut,' to receive my five gniacae, with which I 
went to market myself, and dinrd on tausnges and mathed poUtoes, 
aiKl while they were getting ready, and I could hear them hiwing in 
the pan, read a volume of Gil Hlas, containing the account of the 
fair Aurora. This was in the days of my youth. Gentle reader, 
do not smile! Neither Monsieur dc Very, nor Louis sviii., over an 
©yirtcr-patc, nor Aptciui himself, ever understood the meaning of the 
word luxury^ better than I did at that moment ! If the want of 
inoney has its drawbacks and disadvantages, it is not without its 
COntTUti and coumerbalanctng effects, for which I fear nothing else 
Can makeus ameada. Amelia's iiuif(//nu//cn is immortal ; and there 
iJB something amusing, though carried to excess and caricature 
(which is very unusual with the author) in the contrivances of old 
Caleb, in 'The Dride of Lammermuir,' for raising the wind at 
breakfast, dinner, and supper-time. 1 recollect a ludicrous instance of 
I disappointment in a dinner which happened to a person of my 
ccjuaiotance some years ago. He was not only poor but a very poor 
cre;iiure, as will be imagined. His wife had laid by foorpence (their 
whole remaining stuck) to pay for the baking of a shoulder of mutton 
and potatoes, which they had in the house, and on her return home 

1*1 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 

from fomc rmnd, she tbtind he had expended it in purcfaanng a am 
string foe a guitar. Oo this occasion a witty fxicad quoted tbe linn 
t'roni Milton : 

* And em igatnut tetiag caret, 
Wrap nic m soft Lfdiui airs I ' 

Defoe, to his Life of Colonel Jtul, gives a striking picture of nu 
jpouog beggarly hero sitting with his companion for the firn time in 
bis life at a thrce-pcDny ordinary* and the deh'ght with which he 
reli&hed the hot smoking soup, and the airs with which he called 
about liim — ' and eveiy time,' he says, * we called for bread, or beer, 
or whatever it might be, the waiter answered, "cumiog, gemlemeai 
coming ; " and this delighted mc more than all the rest ! ' It wa* 
about this time, as the same pithy author exprciscs it, * the Colonel 
took upon him to wear a shin ! * Nothing can be finer than the 
whole of the feeling conveyed in the commencement of tliis novel, 
about wealth and linery from the immediate contrast of privation and 
poverty. One would think it a labour, like the Tower of Babel, to 
build up a beau and a &nc gentleman about town. The little vaga- 
bond's stdmiration of the old man at the banking-house, who iita 
surrounded by heaps of gold as tf it were a dream or |K>etic visioo, 
and his own eager anxious ristis, day by day, to the hoard he had 
de)H>sited in the hollow tree, arc in the very foremost style of truth 
and nature. Sec the same intense feeling expressed in Luke's 
addceae to his riches in the City Madam^ and in the extraordinary 
raptures of the * Spanish Rogue * in contemplating and hugging his 
ingots of pure gold and Spanish pieces of eight : to which Mr. Lamb 
has referred in excuse foi the rhapsodiesof somcof our elder poets on 
this subject, which to our present more refined and tamer apprehen- 
sions sound like blasphemy.' In earlier times, before the dinusioQ of 
luxury, of knowledge, and other sources of enjoyment had beoome 
common, and acted as a diversion to the cravings of avarice, the 
passionate aiJmicatioD, the idulauy, the hunger nnd thirst of wc^ih 
and all its precious symbols, was a kind of madness or hallucioatioo, 
and Mammon wu truly wortihip[)ed as a god ! 

It is among the miseries of the want of money, not to be able to 
{lay your reckoning at an inn — or, if you have just enough to do that, 
to have nothing left for the waiter ; — to be stopped at a turnpike 
gate, and forced to turn back ; — Dot to venture to call a hackney- 
coach in a shower of raiu — (when you have only one stiitling left 
yourself, it is a i&re to have it takcD out of your packet by a friend, 

' Shylock's lantentatkto over the losiof *hii dsflshtci sad his ducats,* is suitlMr 
CMC in point. 
14a 




ON THE WANT OF MONEY 






who comcfl into your house eating peaches in n hot summer's dayi 

aod dcstriag you to pay for the coach in which he vtiiu you) ; — not 

to be able to purcHiue a lottery-ticket, by which you might make 

your fortune, and get oat of all your ditticuUies; — or to liiid a letter 

lyiDg for yoa at a country poit-olBce, and qoi to have money ia your 

pocket to free it, nnd be obliged to return for it the next day. The 

letter so unaeasonabiy withheld may be iupi>Dsed to coouio moocy. 

aod irt thi» case there is a foretaste, a sort of actual iKusenion taken 

through the thin folds ol' the paper and the wax, which in some 

ntCACurc indemnifies us for the delay : the Uuik-tWEe, the |>0£t-bill 

seems to htnite upon us, and shake, hands through its priaon bars ; — 

or it may be a love-letter, and then the taoulization it at Its height : 

to be depriveil in this manner of the only con»olatiun that can make 

us aoKnds for the want of money, by this very want — to fancy you 

can see the name— to try to get a peep at the hand-writing — to touch 

tlie seal, and yet not dare to bnrak it open— is provoking indeed — the 

climax of amorous and gentlemanly disucsi. Players arc domctimes 

reduced to great extremity, by the t-eizuie of their scenes and dresaesi 

or (what is called] the properly of ihe thealrt, which hinders them 

from acting ; an .-lulhors are prevcnceij from linishing a work, for 

want of money to buy the books necessary to be consulted on some 

nuicrial point or circuniMance, in the progress of it. There is a set 

of poor derilB, who live upon a printed pnuprrttu of a work that never 

will be written, for which they solicit your name and half-a-crawtu 

Decayed actreose* take an annual benefit at one of the theatres; 

there arc patriots who live upon periodical subscriptiom, nod critic* 

who go about the country lecturing on poetry. T confcaa I envy none 

of these i but there are persons who, provided they can live, care not 

how they lire — who arc fond of di&play, even when it implies 

expoRure : who court notoriety under eveiv shape, and embrace the 

public with demongtrations of wantonness. There are genteel beggars, 

who send up ,i well-penned cpiitle requesting the loan of a shilling. 

Your snug bachelors and retired old-maids pretend they can distinguiEh 

the knoclt of one of these at their door. I scarce know which I 

dislike the most — the patronage that affects to bring premature genius 

into notice, or thai extends its piecemeal, formal charity towards it 

in itA decline. I hate your Literary Funds, and Funds fur Decayed 

Artist&^they are corporation! for the encouragement of meanness, 

pretence, and in»oIcnce. Of all people, I cannot tell how it is, but 

players appear to me the best able tu du without money. They are 

a priviJegcd class. If not exempt t>om the common calls of necessity 

and butioesft, they ^irr enabled * by their so [wtent art ' to soar above 

them. As they make imagtoary ills their own, real ones become 

■43 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



imaginary, ut 
little trouble. 



li^ht ujxHi thrm, and arr thrown off with comparattrdy 
'I'hnr life is theatrical — its varioui acddrnts arc ihc 
shifting scenes of a play — rags attd finery, tears and laughter, i 
mock-dinner or a real one, a crown of jewels or ofbtraw, are to ihcm 
ix'arly the same. 1 am sorry I cannot carry on ihit neuooiog to 
actoie who are past thrir prime. The gilding of their profesnoo ii 
then worn off, and shews the false metal bcocatb; viuiity aixl hope 
(the props of ihcir existence) have had their day ; their former gaiety 
and carelessness serve a» a foil to their present discouragements; ind 
want and infirmities press upon them at ooce. < We know what we 
arr,* as Ophelia says, 'but we know not what we shaJI be.' A 
workbouM seems the list remrt of povcny and diKtrcsi — jiparvb- 
paaper is another name for .ill that is mean and to be deprecated in 
human existence. But that name is but an abstraction, an avenge 
term—* within that lowettdeep, a lower deep may open to rcceire ut.' 
I heard not long ago of a poor man, who had been fur many years a 
rcspccublc uadesman in London, and who was compelled to take 
shelter in one of tho^e receptacles of age and wretchedness ^nd who 
said he could be contented with it — he had his regular meats, a nook 
in the chimney, and a coat to his back — but he was forced to lie 
three in a bed, and one of the three was out of his mind and cnzy, 
and his great delight was, when the others fell asleep, to tweak their 
Quses, and flourish his night-cap over their heads, so that they were 
obliged to lie awake, and hold him down between tbem. One shoutil 
be quite mad to bear this. To what a point of iosigpiiicance may 
not human life dwindle! To what line, agonizing thr^s will it Dot 
cling ! Yet this man h-id been .1 lover tn his youth, in a humble way, 
and still begins bis letters 10 an old-maid (hit former flame), who 
sometimes comforts him by listening to his complaints, and ueating 
him to a dish of weak tea, ' My dlar. Miss Nancy ! ' 

Another of the greatest miseries of a want of money, is the up of 
a dun at your door, or the previous silence when you expect it — ibr 
uneasy sense of shame at the approach of your tormentor ; the wish to 
meet, and yet to shun the encounter ; the disposition to bully ; the 
fiear of irritating ; the real and the sham excuses ; the submiHsion to 
impertinence ; the assurances of a speedy supply ; the disiogenuoumeMi 
you practise on him and on yourself; the degradation in the eyesi 
others and your own. Oh ! ti is wretched to hare to confront 
just and oft-repeated demand, and to be without the means to satis 
it ; to deceive the confidence that has been placed in you ; to forfeit 
your credit [ to be placed at the power of another, to be indebted to 
his lenity ; to stand convicted of having played the knave or the fbol|. 
and to have no way left to escape contempt, but by incurring pity*^ 

>44 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



The fuddeoly meetiDg a creditor on turning die corner of 2 strerl» 
whom ycm have bern trying 10 avoid for niontli»i and had pcTMadcd 
you were sCTcral hundred milei otf, diicompo«e« the features and 
shatters the ncrret for some time. It is -it&o a ferioutt annoyance to 
be unaUc to repay a loan to a friend, who is in win: of it — oor is it 
very plcaaant to be m> hard-run, as to be iiuiuced to reijuest the 
repayment. It is dilHcult to decide the preference between debts of 
boooor and legal denunds ; both are bad enough, and almost a fair 
excuse for driving any one into the hands of money'tefldera — to whom 
an applicatioQ, if successful, is accompanied with a sense of being in 
the vulture's gripc^a rellcctioa akin to that of thoRe who formerly 
sold themwWes (u ihe devil — art if unsucccesful, is rendered doubly 
galling by the smooth, civil leer of cool contempt with which you are 
dismissed, as if they had escaped front your clutches — not you fruin 
their's. If any thing can be added to the mortification and distress 
arising from straitened circumstances, it is when vanity comes in to 
bou"b the dart of poverty — when you have a |)iciurc on which you had 
calculated, rejeaed from an Exhibition, or a manuscript returned on 
your hands, or a tragedy damned, at the very instant when your cash 
and credit are at the lowest ebb. This forlorn and helpless feeling 
has reached its aanr in the prison-scene in Hogarth's Rake's 
FuxiREss, where his unfortunate hero has just dropped the Manager's 
letter from his hands, with the laconic answer written in it : — * Your 
play has been read, and won't do.* ' To feel poverty is bod ; but to 
feel it with the additional sense of our incapacity to shake it off, and 
thai we have nut merit enough to retrieve our circumstances — and, 
instead of being held up to admiration, are exposed to pcrtecuiioo and 
insult — is the last stage of human infirmity. My friend, Mr. Leigh 
Hunt (no one is better quiliiied than he to judge) thinks, chat the 
moAt pathetic story in the world is that of Smollett's fine gentleman 
and lady in gaol, who have been roughly handled by the mob for 
•orae paluy attempt at raising the wind, and she exclaims in extenua- 
tion of the pitiful figure he cut«, * Ah ! he was a fine fellow once * ' 

It is justly remarked by the poet, that poverty has no greater 
incopvenience attached to it than that of making men ridiculous. It 
not only has this disadvantage with respect to ourselves, hut it often 
shews us others in a very contemptible point of view. People are not 
soured by misfortune, but by the reception they meet with in it. 
When we do not want assistaQce, every one is ready to obtrude it oa 
as if it were advice. If we do, they shun us instantly. They 



■ ^ tl is [orovokiDi; rnoagh, and miltr* one look likr a fool, tn receive » prmled 

B tutia ni ■ Usnk in the lait lattery, with a pottKiipt hoping fof yout fatiita 

L 



us 



fswiNirs. 
vot» ni. 



«+S 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



aniicipatp the iocreated dcmaod on tlidr tympathy or houmj 
cKipe from it u from s BJling hooK. It U a misukc, however, thai 
we cnun the tociely of the rich and prosperous, merely with a view 
to what wc can get from them. We do to, because there ia son»- 
thing in external raolc and tplcndour that gratifies and iraposet on tin 
imagination ; just as we pre^ the company of those who are tn good 
health aad spirits to chat of the sickly and hypochondriacal, or as vt 
would rather converse with a beautiful woniiin than with an ugly one. 
I never knew but one man who would lend his money freely and 
fearlessly in splic of circuniRUoces (if you were likely to pay him, lie 
grew peevish, and would pick a quarrel with you). 1 can onlj' 
account for this from a certain sanguine buoyancy and magnificence 
of spirit, not deterred by distant conaecjuenires, or damped by o- 
toward appearances. 1 have been told by those, who shared of (he 
same bounty, that It was not owing to gcneroHlEy, but oaeoution— 
if so, he kept his ostentation a secret from me, for I ne?er rrceived 
a hint or a look from which I could infer that I was rtot the 
limder, aixi he the person obligrd. Neither was I expected to 
keep in the background or play an under-pan. On the cootnry. 
I was encouraged to do my Dest i my dormant faculties ronsed^ the 
ease of my circomstanccs was on coitdicion of the freedom and 
independence of my mind, my lucky hits were applauded, arwl I wu 
paid to shine. I am not ashamed of such patronage as this, nor ilo I 
regret any circumstance relating to it but Its termination. FcojJc 
endure existence even in Paris : the rows of chairs on the Boulevards 
are gay with smiles and dress: the saloons, they say, are brilliaet; 
at the theatre there is Mademoiselle Mais — what is all this to me? 
After a certain period, wc Hve only in the past. Give me back ooe 
single evening at BoxhitI, after a stroll in the deep-empurpled woods, 
before Buonapnrte was yet beaten, 'with wine of attic taste,* whra 
wit, beauty, friendship presided at the board ! Oh no ! Neither 
the lime nor friends that are fled, can be recalled! — Poverty It 
the test of sincerity, the touchnone of civility. Even abroad, they 
treat you scurrily if your remittances do not arrive regularly, and 
though you hare hitherto lived like a MUord jli^laii. The want of 
moi»ey loses us friends not worth the keeping, mistresses who sre 
naturally jilts or coquets; it cuts us out of society, to which dress 
and equipage are the only introduction ; and deprives us of « number 
of luxuries and advantages of which the only good is, that they can 
only belong to the possessors of a large fonune. Many people are 
wretched because they have not money to buy a fine horse, or to hire 
a fine house, or to keep a carriage, or to purchase a diamond neck- 
lace, or to go to a race-ball, or to give their scmots new liveries. 
146 




ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



I 

I 



I 
I 



I 



t CSDDOt mysflf cntrr iota all this. If I cnn /hv to thinl, anil think 
10 rivt, I am sadtned. Some waoc to po«KN pictures, others to 
collect librarie*. All I wisb is, lometinieA, to see ihe one and read 
the ochcr. Gray was mortilicd because he had oot a hundred [M>\iQdt 
to bid for .1 curioua library t and the Duchets of has immor- 
talized herself by licr tiberaltty on thut occaaton, and by the haodBomc 
coRiplimcDt ^e addrenaed to the poet, that * if it afforded him any 
tattsiactioD, she had been more than paid, by her pleamiic iq reading 
the £^tsy in ct Cmtntrj Chtmb^ivJ.'' 

Literally and truly, one cannot ^et on well in the world without 
money. To be in want of money, is to pss through life wiih little 
credit or pleasure ; it is to live out of the world, or to be despised if you 
come into it ; il is nut tu be sent fur to court, or anked out to dinner, 
or QOticcd ia the ureet : it is not to have your opioioo consulted or 
else rejected with contem[>t, to have your acquirements carped at and 
doubted, your good things disparaged, and ar last to iooc the wit 
and the spirit to say them j It is to be scrutinized by strangers, and 
neglected by friends ; it is to Ix- a thrall to circumstance!, an exile 
in a foreign land ; to forego leisure, freedom, ease of body and mind, 
tu be dependent on the good-will and caprice of others, or earn 
a precarious and irksome IJTclihood by tome laborious employment : 
it IS to be comi>elled to stand behind a counter, or to sit at a desk in 
Mime public omce, or to marry your landlady, or not the person you 
would wish ; or to go out to the Kast or West-Indies, or to get a 
situation as judge abroad, and return home with a liver-complaint ; 
ot to be a law-cutioner, or a scrivener or scavenger, or newspaper 
reporter ; or to read law and sit in court without a brief, or be 
deprived of the use of your fingers by tranicribing Greek manuscripts, 
or to be a seal engraver and pore yourself blind t or to go ujion the 
■tAge, or try some of the Fine Arts; with nil your pains, anxiety, 
and hopes, most probably to fail, or, if you succeed, after the 
exertions of years, and undergoing constant distress of mind and 
fortune, to be assailed on every side with envy, back-biting, and false- 
hood, or to be a favourite with the public for awhile, and then thrown 
into the back-ground — or a jail, by the fickleness of taste and some 
Dcrw iavourite ; to be fiill of enthusiasm and extravagance in youth, 
of chagrin and disappointment in after-life ; to be jostled by the 
rabble because you do not ride in your coach, or avoided by those 
wbo know your worth and shrink from it as a claim on their respect 
or their purse ; to be a burden to your relations, or unable to do any 
thing for tliem ; to be ashamed to venture into crowds ; to have cold 
comfort at home ; to Iom.- by degrees your contidcnce and any talent 
you might possess ; to grow crabbed, morose, lod <}Ucfutous, dis- 

U7 




ON THE WANT OF MONEY 



Batiaflcd with every ooc, but most so with yourself; and plagued 
of your life, to look about for a place to die ia, and quit the void 



wtthoul : 



II. The 



wUI 



^ one B askjDg atter your will. I be ruueacrrj ■ 
however, crowd rocnd your coIBd, aod ratac a moaumeot at a ccb- _ 
eiderable ex[>en«e, and after a lapse of timci to commemorale ^m ■ 
genius and your misfortunes ! ™ 

The only reason why I am disposed to envy the profeuioM of tbe 
church or army ia, that men can afford to be poor in them wiihotd 
being subjected to insult. A girl with a haiidftome fonune in i 
country town may marry a poor lieutenant without degrading heitelf. 
An ofhcer is always a gentleman ; a clergyman is something nuir;. 
Echard'a book On tU Contempt of the C^rgy in unfounded. It i* 
surely suflicient for any set of individuals, raised above actual wani, 
that their characters are not merely respectable, but sacred. Porerty, 
when it is voluntary, is never despicable, but takes an hcroical atpeci. 
What .arc the begging friars? Have they not put their base 6*t 
upon the necks of princes? Money as a luxury is valuable only as a 
passport to respect. It is one inatruntcnt of power. Where there are 
other admitted and ostensible claims tu this, il becomes superfluoiu, 
and tbe neglect of it is even admired and. looked up to aa a mark oS 
BUpehority over tt. Even a strolling beggar is a poptilar character, 
who makes an D|)cn profession of his craft and calling, and who it 
neither wofth a doic nor in want of one. The Scotch are provetb> 
tally poor cind proud: we know ibey can remedy tlieir pOTCrly 
when they set about it. No one is sorry for them. The Freodi 
emigrants were formerly peculiarly situated to Hoglaad. The priests 
were obnoxious to the common people on account of tbcir religion; 
both th«r and the nobles, for their politics. Their poverty and dirt 
subjected tbera to many rebun*s; but their privations being voluntarily 
incurred, and also borne with the characteristic parience and good- 
humour of the nation, screened them from contempt. I little thought, 
when I used lo meet them walking out m the siunmer's-cvecings at 
Somers' Town, in cbeir long great-coats, their beards covered with 
muff, and theii eyes gleaming with mingled hope arid regret in the 
rays of the setting sun, and regarded them with pity bordering ob 
respect, as the last ftlmy vestige of tbe ancient regime, as ihadows of 
loyalty and aupcrstttian still Hitting about the earth aiul ahordy to 
disappear from it for ever, that they would one day return over the 
bleeding corpse of their country, aod sit like harpies, a potlutrd 
triumph, over the tomb of human liberty ! To be a lord, a papiR, 
and poor, is ]>erhaps to some temperaments a consummation dcvooUy 
to be wished. There is all the subdued splendour of external rank, 
the pride of sclf-apimoa, irritated and goaded on by petty privations 
148 



ON THE WANT OF MONEY 

and vulgar obloquy to a degree of morbid acutcQcss. Prirate and 
public aonoyaoccs muit perpetually remind Kim of what be is, of what 
his ancestors were (a circumstance which might otherwiie be forgot- 
ten); most oarrow the circle of conscious dignity more and more, 
and the sense of personal worth and pretension must be exalted by 
habit and contrast into a reRord abstraction — 'pure in the last recesses 
of the mind '—unmixed u-ith, or unalloyed by ' baser matter I' — It 
was an hj-pochesis of the late Mr. Thomas Wedgewood, that there is 
a principle of compensation in the human mind which equalizes all 
sttuations, and by which the absence of any thing only gives us a 
more intense and intimate perception of the reality ; that insult adds 
to pride, that pain loolci fnrwnrd to case with delight, thai hunger 
already enjoys the unsavoury morsel that is to save it from perishing ; 
that want is surrounded with imaginary riches, like the potH* poet in 
Hogarth, who has a map of the mines of Peru hasgiog on his garret 
walls ; in short, that ' we can hold a fire in our hand by thinking on 
the frosty Caucasus' — but this hypothesis, though ingenious and to a 
certain point true, is to be admitted only in a limited and qualified 
■rose. 

There are two clasaca of people that 1 have observed who arc not 
iw> distinct as might be imagined — those who cannot keep their own 
money in their hands, and those who cannot keep their hands from 
other people's. The firtt arc always in want of money, though they 
do not know what they do with it. They muAJle it away, without 
method or object, and without having any thing to show for it. 
They have not, for insiancr, a line house, but they hire two houses 
at a time ; they have not a hot-house in their garden, but a shrubbery 
within doors ; they do not gamble, but they purchase a library, and 
dispose of it when they move house. A princely benefactor provides 
them with lodgings, where, for a time, you are sure to find them at 
home : aod they furnish them in a handsome style for those who 
arc to come after them. With all this sieve-like economy, they can 
only afTbrd a leg of mutton and a bottle of wine, and arc glad lo 
get a lift in a common stage ; whereas with a little management and 
the same disbursements, they might entertain a round of company 
and drive a smart tilbury. But they set no value upon money, and 
throw it away oo any object or in any manner that first presents 
itself, merely to have it otl their hands, so that you wonder what has 
become of il. The second class above spoken of not only make 
away with what belongs to tbrntsclTCE, but you cannot keep any 
thing you have from their rapacious grasp. If you refuse lo lend 
them what you want, they insist that you mutt: if you let them have 
any thing to uke charge of for a time (a priai or a bust) they swear 

»49 



ON THE FEELING OF 

that you have given it them, and that tbcy have too great a regard (bf 
ibe donor ever to pan with it. You expreu nirpriac at their hsviBg 
run so Ufj^rly in debt ; but where \s the sinf>ularil7 while other* coo- 
tioue CO lend? And hov is thii to be helped, when the manner of 
tbes« sturdy heggare amounts to dragooning you out of your mooey, 
and they will not gu away without your purse, any mure than if they 
came with a futtol in their hand? If a person hai no delicacj. be 
hai you in hia power, for you necessarily feel sonic towards him; 
aad «DCc he wiU uke no deniil. ytni must comply with lu» 
peremptory demands, or (tend for a constahic, which out of respett 
for his character you will not do. These persons are also poor— 
^ht ccfflf, lig&t ;o~and the bubble bursu at last. Yet if they bad 
employed the same time and pains in any laudable art or study that 
they have in ralBing a surrepiitioua livelihood, they would have been 
retpecUthie, if not rich. It is their facility in borrowing money thil 
has ruined them. No one will set heartily to work, who has the 
face to enter a strange ItouK, ask the master of it for a contidcrahle 
loatif on some pUvisihIc and pompous pretext, and walk off with it in 
bit pocket. You might as well luspect a highway-roan of addicting 
himDelf to hard study in the intervals of his profession. 

There is only one other class of persona I can think of, io con- 
nexion with the subject of this Hssay — those who are always in wut 
of money from the want of spirit to make use of it. Such persoiM 
ate perhaps more to be pitied than all the rest. They live in wutt 
ID the midst of plenty— dare not touch what belongs to them, art 
afraid to say that their soul is their own, have their wealth locked up 
from them by fear and meanness as effectually as by holtjt artd ban, 
scnrcely allow thcmselvcH a coat to their backs or a morsel to eat, are 
in dread of coming to the [urish all their lives, and are not sorry 
when they die, to think that they shall no lunger be an expeote to 
themselves — according to the old epigram : 
' Here lies Father Ciarges, 
Who died to save charges < ' 



re 

'4 



ON THE FEELING OF IMMORTALITY IN YOUTH 

'Life is a purr flame, atkd we live by an iiiviBibic Kun within us.' 

— SiK Thomas Browk. 

No young man believes he shall ever die. It was a saying of tny 
brother's, and a fine one. There is a feeling of Eternity in yonth, 
which makes ua anieadi> for every thing. To be young is to be as 
150 



IMMORTALITY IN YOUTH 

onr of the Immoiul Gods. One half of timr indeed is flown — -the 
othrr faalf remains in nore for us with all iu coundcu trcaiurei ; for 
there ii do line drawn, and we ftee no limit to our hope* and wishes. 
We nuke the comiog age our own. 

'The vast, the unbouniled prospect lies befoR us.' 

Death, old age, arc words without a mcaoing, that pass by us like the 
idle air which we regard not. Others may have undergone, or may 
•till be liable to them — wc • bear a charmed life,' which laughn to 
•com ail loch sickly fancies. As in cettiog out on a delightful jour- 
ney, we strain our eager gaze forward 

* Bidding the lovely iceaei at distance bail,'— 

and see no end to the landscape, new objects presenting themselves as 
we advance ; so, in the commencement of life, wc set oo bounds to 
our incticuiions, nor to the unrestricted opportunities of gradfying 
them. We have as yet found do obstacle, do diiposicion to flag ; and 
it scemi that we can go oo so for ever. We loolc round in a new 
world, full of life, aod ftioooa, and ceaseless progress ; and feel in 
OQtKlvei all the vigoor aod spirit to keep pace with it, and do not 
foresee from any present symptoms how we shall be left behind in the 
satttral course of things, decline into old age, and drop into the grave. 
It is the simplicity, anid as it were abitnuteehun of our feelings in 
yottth, that ^M to speak) identifies us with nature, and (our experi- 
ence being slight ami our iiaSHions strong) deludes us into a belief of 
being immortal like it. Our short-lived connection with existeocei 
Wc fondly 6atter ourKlves, is an indissoluble and laatiag union — a 
oneymoon that knows neither coldness, jar, oar separation. As 
fants smile and sleep, wc are rocked in the cradle of our wayward 
cies, and lulled into security by the roar of the universe .iround us 
we (juaiT the cup of life with eager haste without draining it, 
[instead of which it only overflows the more^objccts press around 
filling the mind with their magnitude and with the throng of 
[jdcsires that wait upon them, so that wc hare no room for the 
loughta of death. From that plenitude of our lieing, we cannot 
ige all at once to dun and ashes, we canrKit imagine *thiB sen- 
ifible, warm motion, to become a Itneaded clod ' — wc arc too much 
dazzled by the brightness of the waiting dream around us to look 
into the darkiKSs of the tomb. We no more sec our end than oar 
beginning: the one is lost in oblivion aod vacancy, as tiic other b 
hid from us by tlje crowd and hurry of approaching events. Or the 
grim shadow is seen lingering in the Iiorizon, which wc are doomed 
ocTcr to overtake, or whose hut, faint, glimmering outline touches 



ON THE FEELING OF 



upon HcBTcn aod tranilutc* us to tbc sktcs ! Nor would the hold 
that lift has taken ol' us pcnnit tu to detach our thoughti (nm 
prrsent objecw and pur5uit8, eren if wc would. What is ihrre more 
oppoicd to health, than tickDCM ; to ttreogtb and beauty, than decay 
and dissolution ; to the active search of knowledge than mere ob- 
livion ? Or is there none of the umal advantage to bar the approtcfa 
of Death, and mock his idle threats ; Hope supplies their place, ud 
draws a veil over the abrupt termination of Jl our cherished *ch«Bci. 
While the spirh of youth remains unimpaired, ere the * ¥rine of lift 
is drank up,' we are like people intoxicated or in a ferer, who arc 
hurried away by the violence of their own ieDRatioos : it is onlf » 
present objects begin to pall upon the eense, as we have beco 
disappointed in oijr favourite pursuits, cut off from our closest ii«, 
that passioQ looseni its hold upon the breast, ifaat we by drgren 
become weaned from the worki, and allow outaelves to contemplate, 
' as in » glass, darkly,' the possibility of parting with it for good. The 
example of others, Uie voice of experience, has no effect upon oi 
whatever. Casualties we must avoid : the slow and deliberate ad- 
vaoces of age we can play at huie-anj-jttk witli. We think outielve* 
too lusty and too nimble for that blear-eyed decrepid old gentleman 
to catch us. Like the foolish fat scullion, in Sterne, when she hears 
that Master Bobby is dead, our only reflection is — * So atn not 1 1 ' 
The idea of death, instead of staggering our confidence, rather •ccrai 
to streogthen and enhance our possession and our eojoymcnt of life. 
Others may fall around us like leaves, or be mowed down like 
Bowers by the scythe of Time ; these are but tropes and 6gnrei 
to the unreflecting ears and overweening presumption of youth. It 
is not till we sec the Bowers of Love, Hope, and Joy, withering 
around ue, and our own pleasures cut up by the roots, that we bring 
the mora! home to ourselves, that we abate something of the wanton 
extravagance of our pretensions, or that the eroptineu and drearinen 
of the prospect before u& reconciles us to the stillness of the grave! 

* Life ' ihou fctnmgc thing, that hast a pwcr to feel 
Thou art, and to peneive that otiirrs are.' ' 

Well might the poet begin his indignant torective against an 
whose professed object is its deHiruction, with this animated apos- 
trophe to lite. Lite is indeed a strange gift, and its privileges are 
most miraculous. Nor is it singular that when the splendid boon w 
first granted us, our gratitude, our admiration, und our delight should 
prevent us from reflecting on our own nothingness, or from thinking 
It will ever be recalled. Our first and strongest impresnons are taken 
' Fawcett'* Ait or Wak, a poem, 1794. 



I 

I 



!1 



\ 




IMMORTALITY IN YOUTH 



I 

I 



\ 



from ihe mighty scene that is opened to u», aad we very innocfnily 
tranefcT its durability as well as magnificence to oursclres. So newly 
found, we cannot make up our minds to parting with it yet and at 
least put off that coosidcratian to an indefinite term. Like a clown 
at a 5ur, we are full of amazement and rapture, and have no thoughts 
of going home, or that it will toon be night. We know our exig- 
ence only from external objects, and we meaHure it by them. We 
can never be satisfied with gazing; and nature will still want us to 
look on and applaud. Otherwise, the sumptuous cntcriainnient, ' the 
feast of reaion and the (low of auul,* to which they were invited, 
Mems little better than a mockery and a cruel insulc. We do not go 
from a play till the scene is ended, and the lighu are ready to be 
extinguished. But the fair face of things still shines on ; shall we 
be called away, before the curt.itn falls, or ere wr have scarce had a 
glimpse of what is going on ? Like children, our »ttj>-moiher Nature 
holds US up CO Ke the raree-show of the uoirerie; and then, as if 
life were a burthen to support, lets us instantly down a^ain. Yet in 
that short interval, what * brave sublunary things' docs not the 
spectacle unfold ; like a bubble, at one minute reflecting the universe, 
and the next, *hook to air ! — To sec the golden sun and the azure 
sky, the outttrctched ocean, to walk upon tlic green earth, and to be 
lord of a thousand creatures, to look down giddy precipices or over 
distant flowery valea, to sec the world spread out under one's finger 
in a map, to bring the stars near, to view the smallest insects in a 
Ttiicnwcope, to read history, and witness the revolutions of empires 
and the succes&ion of generations, to hear of the glory of Sidon and 
Tyre, of Babylon and Susa, as of a faded pageant, and to say all 
these were, and are now nothing, to think tiiat we exist in such a 
]X)iat of time, and in such a corner of space, to be at once 8]>ecutors 
and a pan of the moving scene, to watch the return of the seasons, of 
spring and autumn, to hear 

'The stockdove plain amid the forest deep, 

That rimwsy r\itt1e« to the lighing gale ' — ■ 

to traverse deKft wildernesses, to listen to the midnight choir, to visit 
lighted balls, or plunge into the dungron's gloom, or sit in crowded 
theatres and sec life itself mocked, to feel heat and cold, pleasure and 
pain, right and wrong, uutb and falsehood, to study the works of art 
and refine the srn»e of beauty to agony, to worship fame and to dream 
of immortality, to Lave read Sh^ktpeare and belong to tlic same 
tjiccies as Sir Isa-ic Newlon ; * to be and to do nil ihi^, and then in a 

' Lilly WtMttcv MonUgur uya, in one ot her letter*, I hit 'ihc wnulil much 
rstbcr be ■ rich effmJi, with all hii igoorsnce, than Sir boac Ncwioa, with >U Kit 

»53 




ON THE FEELING OF 



monieot to be nothing, to have it all matched from one Jike* a juggWi 
ball or a phaotacroagorta ; there ii Bomethiiig rcToltiog and iocredible 
to sense in the transition, and no wonder that, aided by f oioh aed 
warm blood, and the ^ueh of cnchumum, the mind conirire* for a Img 
time to reject it with disdain and loathing as a monstioiu and impfob- 
able fiction, like a monkey on a hoiue-lop, that is loath, amidn its fine 
diicorerice and tpcciouG antics, to be tumbled hcad-Iung into the 
street, and orush'ed to atoms, the s]Kirt and laughter of the multinuk! 
The change, from the commencement to the close of life, appean 
like a fable, after it has t:iken place ; how should we treat it othn- 
wisc than as a chimera before it hsa come to passf There are some 
things that happened bo long ago, places or persons we have fontmlj 

kii0wle>l||r.* Thi* wii Dot pcthflp* an impolitic choice, u ihe bi>l ■ belter cbua 
of becoming one thin the other, ttinc being miay rieli eflfeixlb to one Sr bax 
N'ewtMi. The wiah wm cot * <ttry inuUectuAl one. The ume penilin« of rank 
and MI brtalu ooc every where in iheie ** L<irr/i." She ii conttintlj- redaciaf 
the pDcti or philoMpbcTt who have the miiforiune of bcr acqaaUitsncc, to dx 
li^re thty might mike at her Ladyihip*i Icvcc or toilrae, nai conitdertng thtt 
the public mind doci not aympatliife wiUi thii procei* of a fattufiosi imaginatia*. 
In the umc spirit, *he dccUrci of Pope an-l Swift, thit * had it oei been for ike 
/rooJ-waiiirr of niniiklnil, thetc two lupciior being* were entitkd, by their birth 
and Eieredilary fartnae, to be oaly a couple of link-boy*.* GuUiver't Travel*, uJ 
the Rape of the T.oek, gn for nothing in thi< critical ettimaie, and ihc waii 
raited the author! to the rank of luperioi being*, in *pitc of their diaadVaBtAget af 
birth and fmtunr, em 'ffri paJ-tunirt '. So, again, the taya of Richardwa, ikat 
h« had n«vrr ;ot hcyonri the iet%-int«' hall, and wai utterly nnfit to ilntribr the 
manner* of people of quality ; till in the capricion* working* of het vanity, (b* 
pemudet heraeK that Clariiaa it very like what the wai at her age. and that S« 
Thotnat an<l Luiy Crandiaon itrongly retcmbled what the had h«ar4 o^ bcr 
mother and remembered of her father. It ia one u( the bcaulici and adeantagM 
of literalure, thai it it the meana of ahalraciing the mind from the narrowneit 
of local and ptrtonal prejudice*, and of enabling u*1o jui^K^ of tnith and txceUence 
by tbcii iahereni merit* alone. Woe be to the pen that would uttdo thia tat 
illutinn (ihe nnly reality], and Irach V* lo r«f;ulalr cur notions of geniua and nttsc 
by the eircvmitancrt in which they happen In be pljced | Yoti would not upMt 
a peifun whom you taw in a lervantt' hall, or behind a counter, to write CUtiiai ) 
but after he had written the work, to f>rt-fud{t it from the lilnation of the writer, 
i* an unpari{.on:ibk piece of iiijuitice arid folly, lit* merit could only be (be 
greater from the contrail. If literature it an elegant accompliahmeoi, which none 
but pertotu of birth and fathion *tv(iul-t be allowed to excel in, or to ezercite whh 
advantaxc lo the public, let them by all meant lake upon them the task sf 
enlightening and refining mankind i if they tlccline thh letpomibitity at too hciiy 
for their thonldert, let thoic who do the ■ln:dgery in their ttead, howevet \akti- 
qaalely. Tor want of their polite eaampLc, receive the meed that it iheir doe, an<l 
iM>t be treated aa low prelenden who have encroached on ittc province of ibek 
bctteri. Suppoie RIchardaon to have been acigitainted with the great man'* ttewatit, 
or valet, initead of the grcit man himiclf, 1 will vrature to tay that there waa 
(nore difference between him who liveH in an iAiMi vi9rlJ, and had the gcoin sbJ 
fclidty to open that world to otbct*, Mai hit frieml the itewird, ibaa bet<««cn libs 



t 



• 



Ji 



IMMORTALITY IN YOUTH 



I 



I 



seen, of which such dim traces remain, we hardly ktww whether it 
was deeping or waking they occurred ; they arc Uke dreams withia 
the dreim of life, a mitt, a nim before the eye o( memory, which* as 
we try to recall them more distinctly, elude our notice altogether. 
It it but iMtural that the lone interval that we thus look back upon, 
should hare appeared long and endless in prospect. There are others 
to dittioct and fresh, they seem but of yesterday — their very vivid- 
ness might be deemed a pledge o( their permanence. Then, however 
far back our impressions may go, we find others still older (for our 
years are multiplied in youth); deecttptionH of BCenes that we had 
read, ajid people before our lime, Priam and the Trojan war ; and 
ereo then, Nestor was old and dwelt delighted on his youth, and 

tuiiury and the mete Uirit, m between tliutr who livcii ia difTcrcnl ruom* uf ihc 
umc hoiMc, who tiiocU un the time luxuri«« at dtAeteot tablet, •fho rude uuttide 
ar imide of the ume coach, and were pronri of wearing or of bellowing the Mme 
tawilry liverf, If the lord it diitinj^iihed from hi* vatet bjr any thtn|c rUt, it ia 
hj edncatiua and tatcni, which be hit ]a comman with o«t author. But if the 
latter ihewi theae in the hijjheti degree, it it sikcd what are hit [treteniions ? 
Not bifth or fortBor, for neither of thete wouJH enable him to wiite a Cliriiu. 
Oae tata it bom with a title anil eilaie, another with ^niu*. That i* luffident { 
and we have no right to quettion the geniui for want of the gniiti^, unlets the 
fotrncT ran in familict, o: cotild be beqiiealhed with a fortune, which it not the 
CMC. Were it to, the Aowcri of literature, like jeweli and cnibruidery, would be 
eonfiiMd to the faihionable circlet ; >n<l there wouUl be no pretendcia to tatic or 
elegance but Ihoac wbote namn were fottnil to the count litt. No otnc objecti to 
Claudc'i Landicapet it the work at i paiirycook, or witlthril'ii frum Raphael the 
^ithet a( ifr«»r, becauK hit pirentt wrre not rich. Thii impertinence it conhneit 
Id tncn of Icttert | the evidence uf the lenici bjHIei the envy Bn<J foppery of man- 
kind. No ^uirtcr oosht to be given to thii arhnfraric tone of criticitm whenever 
it appeart. People of quality are not contented w'rth carrying all the eiternal 
■liraiitagei for their own thitrc, but wouKI pcTiaa<lc ywi that all the inlellectiul 
MH* are packed up in the tame bnniilc. Lord Byron wai a later initance of thii 
doable and Dnwimolable ilylc of pretention — timtfaai 'igtm, i'farmt. He couM 
not endure a lord whu W3t not ■ wii, nor a poet who wai not a lord. Nobodji 
bat himielf latwered to hit own ttaniiird of perfection. Mr. Moore carrict a 
proxy in hit podtet from tome noble pertoni to ettimate literary merit by the 
lame rule. Lady Mary calU Fielding namea, but the afterwardt makea atonement 
by doing jottice to hit frank, free, hearty nanire, where the uyt 'hi* tplrita pve 
faim rapivret with hit cnvk-maid, and cbcerfulnett when he wm tiarving in • 
garret, ind hit happy conttitution made him forget every ihin^ when he wat placcl 
before a veniion-ptity m over a fljik of champagne.* She does not want 
threwdneti ind tpitit when bcr petulance and conceit do not gel the bettci of hrf^ 
tail she has done ample and mrrited eaecntian on l.ord Rolingbriike. She it, 
however, iKTy angry at the frrcdumi taken with the Crett ; imtHi a rjiia thia 
iadiacriminate acribblinp. and the familiarity of wtitertwltb the tcadlns public ; 
and inipired by her Titrkiih cottame, foretclli a French or En|;tiih revolution as 
the cooirqucncc of tianifcrf in): the patronage ol letter* from the quality 10 the 
mob, and of tuppoaiof that oidinaiy writeri or rcadcrt can have any ooiiona in 
comnoD with tltdr superit»i. 

>5S 




ON THE FEELING OF 



qnlte ofUic rjcc, of heroes that were do more; — what wonder tld^ 
■ering this long line of being pictured in our minds, and rrrtTings 
it were in us, we should give oursclvc& inrolantary credit for u 
iodeterminatc period of exiBtence ? lo the Cathedral at Petrrboroi^k 
there is a monument to Mary, Queen of Scot*, at which I used «> 
gue when a boy, while the eTimts of the period, all that had happenol 
eince, passed in reriew before me. If ail this mass of feeling *ai 
imagination could be crowded into a moment's compuM, what miglit 
not the whole of life be supposed lo contain ^ We are bars of the 
past ; wc count upon the future a* oar natural reversion. Bcvidrs, 
there are tome of our early impressions so exquisitely tempered, il 
appears thnt they must alway* last — nothing can add to or take >«iy 
from their twectneta and purity — the firit breath of spring, the 
hyacinth dipped in the dew, the mild lustre of the GV«iing'Star» the 
rainbow after a storm — while we ha»e the full enjoyment of these, wr 
must be young ; and what can ever altci us in this respect i Trutbi 
friendship, love, books, anc also proof against the canker of time ; and 
while we live, but for them, we can never grow old. Wc take out i 
new lease of existence from the object* on which wc net onr ifte- 
tions, and become abstracted, impassive, immortal in them. Wc 
cannot concare how certain sentiments should ever decay or grow 
cold in our breast*; and, conseouently, to maintain them in their first 
youthful glow and vigour, the flame of life must coattnuc to bom v 
bright as ever, or rather, they are the fuel that feed the sacred lamp, 
that kindle 'the purple light of love,' and spread a golden cloud 
around our hrads ! Again, we not only flourish and survive in a* 
affections (in which we will not listen to the possibility of a change, 
any more than we foresee tlie wrinkles on the brow of a mistress), 
but we have a farther guarantee against the thoughts of death in oor 
favourite studies and pursuits, and in their coottnoaJ vlvance. Ait 
we know is long ; life, we feel, should be so too. Wc see no end of 
the difficulties we have to encounter : perfection is slow of atuinmcat, 
and we must hare time to accomplish it in. Rubens complained thai 
when he bad just learnt his art, he was snatched away from it: we 
trust we shall dc more fortunate ! A wrinkle in ao old bead take* 
whole days to finish it properly : but to catch ' tite Raphael grace, 
the Guido air,* no limit should be put to our endeavours. What a 
pro-spect for the future ! What a task we have entered upon I sod 
shall wc be arrested in the miiidle of it? We do not reckon o«r 
time thus employed loct, or our pains thrown away, or our prngreu 
slow — wc do not droop or grow tired, but 'g&in new vigour at our 
cndlcM tuk I * — and ilull Time grudge us the opportunity to fint^ 
what we have «ai|Mioa«ly begun, and have formed a von of compact 
156 




IMMORTALITY IN YOUTH 



'Hmh nature to achieve ? The fame of ihe great Dantea wc look up to 
is also imperishable 1 and sbill not we* who contemplaie it with such 
intenic ytaroiDgi, imbibe a portion of ethereal hre, the dt^'irm parikula 
aur^j which nothing can extingtushf I remember lo hnve looked at 
B print of RenibraDdt for houm together, without being conicioQS of 
the ^ight of time, tiyiog to revolTc it into its component parts, to con- 
nect its etiong and tharp gradations, to learn the secret of its reflected 
lights, and foond nctthrr laiiecy nor pause in the prosecution of ray 
atudieji. The print orer which I was poring would last long enough } 
why should the idea in my mind, which was fioer, more impalpable, 
perish before it? At this, 1 redoubled the ardour of my pursuit, and 
by the rery subtlety and relinemcnt of my iritjuirieE, seemed to bespeak 
for them an exemption from corruption and the rude gracp of Death.* 

Objects, on our dist actjuaintance with them, hiivc that singleness 
ind integrity of imprcBsion that it seems a* if ooihbg could destroy 
or obliterate them, so firmly are they stamped and riveaed on the 
brain. We repose on them with a Dori of voluptuous indolence, in 
full faith and bouodlesK confidetice. We are absorbed in the present 
inomcnt, or return to tlie same point — idling away a great deal of 
ttme in youth, thinking we hare enough and to spare. There is often 
A local feeling in the air, which is as fixed .t.i if it were of marble ; 
we loiter in dim cloisters, losing ourselves tn thought and in their 
glimnteriog arches; a winding road before us teems as long as the 
journey of life, and as full of erenits. Time nnd experience distipate 
this illusion; and by reducing them to detail, circumscribe the limits 
«f our expecuiionn. It is only ae the pageant of life passes by and 
the masqacB turn their backs upon us, that we see through the decep- 
tion, or believe that the train will have an end. In many cases, the 
•low progress and monotonous texture of our lives, before wc minple 
with the world and are embroiled in its affairs, has a tendency to .-kid 
the same feeling. We h.ive a difficulty, when left to ourselves, and 
without the resource of books or some more lively pursuit, to ' beguile 
ithe slow and creeping hours of time,' and argne that if it moves on 
lalways at this tedious snail Vpace, it can never come to an end. We 
ftre willing to skip over certain portions of it that separate us from 
ifcwmrite objects, that irritate ourselves at the unnecessary delay. 
The young are prodigal of life from a superabuodaace of it ; the old 
■re tenacious on the same score, because tliey have little left* and 
catuiot enjoy even what remains of it. 

For my part, I set otit in life with the French Revolution, and 

* ti il nnt this thai rrequently kvtpt aruttt stive lo Ian|, vn. the contiast 
OCoipatioa of ibetr miaAi with vivid images, with Itltle of (bt vtar'unJ.mr of tlw 

i 

«J7 



ON THE FEELING OF 

that rvent had considerablr influence on my early reelings, u ot 
those ofothere. Youth was then doubly luch. h was the davDsf 
a new era, a new impulse had been giren to men's mindi, and the 
tun of Liberty rose upon the trun of Life in the same day, aod boili 
were proud to run clieir race together. Little did I dream, wbile 
ray first hopes and wishes went hand in hsnd with those of the bnnuii 
race, that long before my eyes should close, that dawn would be 
overcast, and set once more in the night of deBpotism — * total eclipse! ' 
Happy that 1 did not. I Kelt for years, and during the best pvt of 
my existence, heart'<u/hoU in that cause, and triumphed in the triumphs 
orcr the enemies of man 1 At that time, while the fairest asptratioDs 
of the human mind seemed about to be realized, ere the image of niaa 
was defaced and liii> hreast mangled in scorn, philtHophy toolc a highrr, 
poetry could a^ord a deeper range. At that time, to read the 
' RnnBERs,* was. indeed delicious, and to hear 

'From the dungeon of the tower time-rent, 
That fearful voice, a famiUtM father** cry,* 

could be borne only amidst the fulneM of hope, tlie crash of the bll 
of the strong holds nf power, and the exulting sounds of the march of 
human freedom. What feelings the death-sceiK in Don Carlos leot 
into the soul ! In that headlong career of lofty enthusiasm, and the 
joyous opening of the prospects of the world and our own, the thought 
of death crossing it, smote doubly cold upon the mind ; there was a 
stifling sense of oppression and confinement, an impaticQce of our 
present knowledge, a desire to grasp the whole of our existence in 
one strong embrace, to uound the mystery of life and death, and in 
order to put an cad to the agotiiy of doubt and dread, to burst through 
our prison-house, and ctmfront the King of Terrors in his grisly 
palace 1 ... As I was writing out this passage, my mioiature-picturt 
when a child lay on the mantle-piece, and I took it out of the case to 
look at it. I could perceive few traces of myself in it ; bat there 
was the same placid brow, the dimpled mouth, the same timid, 
inqulftitivc glance as ever. But its carcle&s smile did not seem to 
reproach me with having become a recreant to the sentiments that 
were then sown in my mind, or with having written a sentence that 
could call up a blu«>h in this image of ingenuous youth I 

*That lime is past with all its giddy raptures.' Since the future 
was barred to my progress, I have turitcd for consolation to the p«i, 
gathering up the fragments of my early recollections, and puitiag 
them into a form that might live. It is thus, that when we find our 
personal and substantial identity vanishing from us, we suivc to gain 
a reflected and lubstituted one in our thoughts : we do not like to 

'58 




IMMORTALITY 




YOUTH 



I 

I 



ptriih wholly, and with to bc^jocath our namci u Icait to posterity. 
As long as wc can keep alive our ctieriGhed choughts and neare«t 
imrmts in the miods of others, we do not appear to have retired 
altogether from the •tage, wc ttill occupy a place in the estimatioa of 
mankind, exercise a powerful influence over (hem, and it ia only our 
bodies that arc trampled into dust or dispersed to air. Our darling 
speculations still find favour and encouragement, and we make a« 
good a 6gurc in the eyes a( our descendants, nay, perhaps, a better 
than wc did in our life-time. This is one point gained ; the demands 
of our self-tove are so far satislicd. BeHidcs, if by the proofn of 
inteltectual superiority we survive ourselves in this world, by exem- 
plary virtue or unhtemiahed faith, we are taught to enwre an interett 
in atvother and a higher state of being, and to anticipate at the same 
time the applauses uf men and angels. 

' Even from the tomb the voice of nature criesj 
Even in our ashes live their wonted tim,' 

As wc advance in life, we acquire a kcertcr sense of the value of time. 
Nothing else, indeed, seems of any consequence j and we become 
misers in this respect. Wc try to arrest its few last tottering steps, 
and to make it linger on the brink of the grave. Wc can never leave 
off wondering how that which haii ever been should cease to be, and 
would still live on, that we may wonder at our own shadow, and 
when * all the life of life is flown,' dwell on the retrospect of the past. 
This is accompanied by a aicchanical leiuciousnc«a of wlutcver we 
possess, by a distrutt and a Bense of fallaclouB hollownesa in all we 
sec. Inttead of the Full, pulpy feeling of youth, every thing is Sat 
and insipid. The world is a painted witch, that puts us otf with 
false shews and tempting appearances. The ease, the jocund gaiety, 
the unsuspecting security of youth are fled ; nor can wc, withcnit 
flying in the face of common sense, 

< From the last dregs of life, hope to receive 
What its finx sprightly runnings couM not give.* 

If we can slip out of the world without notice or miKhance, can 
tamper with bodily intirmity, and frame our minds to the becoming 
campoaure vf j/U//i/r, before we sink into total insensibility, it is as 
much a* we ought to expect. We do not in the regular course of 
nature die all at once: we have mouldered away gradtully long 
before ; faculty after faculty, attachment after atiachmcot, wc are 
torn from ourselves piece-meal while living; year alter year takes 
something from us ; and death only consigns the last remnant of what 
we were to the grave. I'he revulsion is not bo great, and a quiet 

IS9 



FEELING OF IMMORTALITY IN YOUTH 

eHthanam h a winding-up of the ploc, that U ooc oat of reuoo w 
oacore. 

Thai we should thus in a maancr outlive oursclrei, and dwindle 
ini perceptibly into oothiDg, is cot surprisiog, when rven in our prime 
the strongest iropresaions leave so tittte traces of theroselves behind, 
and the laat object is driven out by the succeeding one. How linle 
effect is produced on us at any time by the boolct wc hare read, thr 
scenes wc have witnessed, the soffeHngs we have gone throng! 
Thinlt only of the variety of feelings we experience in re.idii(g ao 
interesting romance, or being present at a line play — what beantj, 
what subfiniity, what soothing, what heart-rending cntotions \ Yob 
would fluppoac these would last fur evtr, or at least subdue the nuod 
to a correspondem tone and hamiony — while we turn over the pi^, 
while the scene h passing before ut, it seems as if nothing could ever 
after shake our resolution, that * treason domestic, foreign lery, nofhttig 
could loach UK fartticr ! * The first splash of mod we gel, on eoterinj 
the street, [he lirst pettifogging shop-keeper that cheats us out of two- 
pence, and the whole vanishes clean out of our remembtaace, and we 
become the idle prey of the most petty and annoying circumstances. 
The mind soars by an effort to the grand and lofty : it is at hocie, 
in the grovelling, the disagreeable, and the little. This happens in 
the height and hey-day of our existence, when novelty gires a scroBgrr 
impulse to tlie blood and ukes a faster hold of the braio, (I have 
known the impression on conning out of a gallery of pictures then )ui 
half a day) — as «x grow old, we become more feeble and {fuerolooi, 
every object 'reverbs its own hollowness,' and both worlds are not 
enough to satisfy the peevish importunity and extravagant presump- 
tion of our desires! There are a few superior, happy beings, who 
arc born with a temper exempt from every trifling annoyance. This 
ipirit sits serene and smiling as io its native skies, ^d a divine 
harmony (whether heard ur not) plays around them. This is to be 
at peace. Without this, it is in vain to fly into deseru, or to build a 
hermitage on the top of rocki, if regret and ill-humour follow us there: 
and with this, it is needless to malce the experitncoi. The only tme 
retirement is that of the heart i the only true leisure ts iJte repose of 
the p;issions. To such persons it makes Utile difference whether 
they are young or old ; and they die as they have lived, with graceful 
resignation. 



160 



ON READING NEW BOOKS 



ON READING NEW BOOKS 



Th* Manthly MagawM.] 



[Jwff, 1817. 



I 



t 



* Anii what at (hit new book, that the whole worlil make luch a raiU about f— 
SnaNi. 

I CLNHOT anderEtand the rage macifcitcd by the greater pan of the 
world for reading New Books. If the pulilic had rc^ alf those that 
hare gooe before, I can conceive bow they should doc wish to read 
the same work twice over ; but when I consider the CDuoileBs volumes 
that lie unopened, unregarded, nnread, and unihought-of, I cannot 
eotei into the pathetic complaints that I bear made, thit Sir Walter 
writes no more — that the preu is idle — th^t Lord Byron ts dead. 
If I have CMt read a book before, it is, to all intents and parpoacs, 
new to me, whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years 
ago. If it be urged that it has no modern, passing incidents, and is 
out of dace and old-fashioned, then it is ao much the newer ; it is 
farther removed from other works that I have lately read, from the 
familiar routine of ordinary life, and makes so much more addition to 
my knowledge. But many people would as soon think of putting on 
old armour, as of taking up a book not published within the last 
month, or year at the utmost. There is a fathioo in reading as well 
as in dress, which lasts only for the season. One would imagine 
that books were, like women, the worse for being old ; ^ that they 
hare a pleasure in being read for the first time; that they open their 
leave* more cordially ; that the spirit of enjoyment wears out with the 
spirii of novelty ; and that, after a certain age, it is high time to put 
them on the shelf. This conceit seems to be followed up in practice. 
What is it to me that another — that hundreds or thousands have in 
all ages read a work ? Is it on this account the less likely to give me 
pleasure, because it has delighted so many others ? Or can I taste 
this pleasure by proxy ? Ot am I in any degree the wiser for their 
knowledge ? Yet this might appear to be the inference. Thetr 
having read the wurk may be said to act upon us by sympathy, and 
the koowledge which so many other persons have of its contents 
deadens our curio«ity and interest altogether. Wc set aside the 
subject as one on which others have made up their minds for us 
(as if we really could have ideas in their heads), and are quite 00 the 
alen for the next new work, teeming hot from the press, which we 
shall be the first to read, criticise, and pass an opinion on, Ob, 

' ' Lawi are WA like women, Oic wiorM for bting olil.* — Tit D»kt tf Butiimg;- 
iMi't SftttM M tit f/oMM «/* Lardt, in CiarJti lit Stttmfi timt. 

VDu XII. : L 161 




ON READING NEW BOOKS 



delightful ! To cut opfMi ihc leave*, to inhale the fragrance of die 
scarcely dry paper, tu cxanunc the type, to sec who ii the prtsUt 
(which i> some clue to thr value that is Bet upon the work), to lauDcb 
out into regtooi of thought and iiivcQtton aerer trod till now, ud to 
explore characters that never met a human eye before — chit ii a 
luxury worth »acrificmg a dinDcr-party, or a few houra of a nut 
motning to. Who, indeed, when the work is critical and fuU of 
expectation, would venture to dioe out, or to face a coterie of blue- 
Ktockiingt in the evening, without having gone through this Ordea), Or 
at least without hatiity turning over a few of the firtr pages, vhtle 
dresaiog. to be able to lay that the beginning doc« not promiie much, 
or to tell the name of the heroine? 

A new work is something in our power : wc mount the bench, and 
sit in judgmL-nt on it : we can damn or recommend it U> othert at 
pleasure, can decry or extol it to the skies, and can give an answer to 
those who have not yet read it and expect an account of it ; aod that 
shew our shrewdness and the independence of our taste before the 
world have had time to form an opinion. If we cannot write our- 
selves, wc become, by busying ourselves about it, a kind of auaiarin 
after the fact. Thtwgh not the jiarent of ihe bantling that ' has jM 
come into this breathing world, scarce half made up,' without the aid 
of criticism and pufling, yet wc are the gossips and foster-aurses od 
the occasion, with all the mysterious significance and self-importaKf 
of tlie tribe. If wc wait, we must take our report from otberai if 
we make haste, wc may dictate our's to them. It is not a nee, 
ihcn, for priority of information, but for precedence in tattling and 
dogmatising. The work laat out is the first that people talk and 
inquire about. It is the subjea on the t(^t — the cauM that u 
pending. It is the last candidate for success (other clnims have been 
dlflpoced of], and appeals for this success to us, and us alooe. Our 
])tedeces&or6 can have nothing to say to this question, however thry 
may have anticipated us on others ; future ages, in all probabihiy, 
will not trouble their heads about it ; we are the panel. How hard, 
then, not to avail ourselves of our immediate privilege to give sentence 
of life or death — to seem in ignorance of what every one else ii full 
of — to he behind-hand with the police, the knowing, aruj fashionable 
part of matikind — to be at a toss and dumb-founded, when all around 
us are in their glory, and figuring away, on no other ground than tint 
of having read a work that we have not! Books chat are to be 
written hereafter cannot be criticised by us ; those that were writtes 
formerly have been criticised long ngo : but a new book is the 
property, the prey of ephemeral criticism, which it darts triumphantly 
upon ) there is a raw thin air of ignorance aod uncertaioty about tt, 
i6j 



I 



I 



ON READING NEW BOOKS 



I 



Dot HUed up by any recorded opioian ; aod curiotiiy, iniperiiaeoce. 
and vAEUty nuh eagerly into the vacuum. A dcw bouk is the fair 
field for petulance and coxcombry to gather laxjrels in — the but set up 
for roTiQg opinion to aim at. Can we wonder, ihca, that tKe circu- 
Utiog libtaneii are bc»eigcd by literary duw;iger6 and their grand- 
daugliteri, when a nev novel is announced ? That Mail-Coacb copies 
of the Edinburgh Review are or were coveted ? That the Manuscript 
of the Waverley tomaocca is (ent abroad in time for the French, 
Gemuo, or even Italian tranilatioo to appear on the same day as the 
original work, so that the longing Continental public may nut be kept 
wBttiDg an innatit longer than their fellow- readers in the English 
metropolis, which would be a£ tantalising .ind insupportable as a little 
girl being kept without her new frock, when her liiter't is just come 
iume and is the talk and admiration of every one in the house ? To 
be sure, there is something in the taste of the times ; a modern work 
is expressly adapted to modern readers. It appeals to our direct 
experience, and to well-known subjects ; it is part and parcel of the 
world around us, and is drawn from the same sources as otu daily 
ihoughtB. There is, therefore, so far, a natural or halMtual sympathy 
between uh and the literature of the day, though this is a ditferent 
consideration from the mere circumstance of novelty. An author 
now alive has a right to calculate upon the living public : be cannot 
oouDt upon the dcjd, oor look forward with much confidence to those 
ilui are unborn. Neither, however, in it true that we are eager to 
read all Dew books alike : we turn from them with a certain feeling of 
diflaste and dittrost, unless they are recommended to us by some 
peeuliar feature or obrtoua distinction. Only young ladies from the 
boarding-tcbool, or milliaera' giris, read all the new novels that come 
out. It must be spoken of or againt^t; the writer** name must be 
well known or a great secret ; it must be a topic of discourse and a 
mark for criticism — that is, it mu&l be likely to bring us into notice 
in some way— or we take no notice of it. There is a mutual and 
tacit uoderstanding on this bead. Wc can no more rend all the new 
bookB that appear* than wc can read alt the old ones that bare dis- 
appeared from time to time. A quention may be started here, and 
pursued au far as needful, whether, if an old and worm-eaten Manu- 
script were discovered at the present moment, it would be Bought after 
with the same avidity as a new and hot-preased poem, or other popular 
work f Not generally, certainly, though by a few with perhaps 
greater xeal. For it would not affect present interesu, or amuse 
present fiancicBt or touch on present manners, or fall in with the public 
tgotitm in any way : it would be the work either of some obscure 
author — b which case it would want tRe principle ot' excitement; or 

.63 




ON READING NEW BOOKS 



of »oroe illuitriouR name, who»c nylc and nuooer wouM be 
familiar to tbote most versed la the lubject, aod bti &iDe 
— «o that, as a matter of comment and controversjr, it would ooly gn 
to accotmc od the old Kore : there would be bo room for Inntd 
feuds aod hcan-bumings. Wu there not a Maaoscripc of Ocero'i 
talked of as having been diKovercd about a year ago i Bu «t han 
heard no more of it. There have betrn sereral other case*, more of 
lets in point, in our time or near it. A Noble Lord (which suf 
lerve to theur at least the interest uken id booki na/ Jvr trimg ««) 
some time ago gave 300o/. for a copy of the first editioo of ibt 
Decameron : but did he read it? It has beco a fashioo also of Utt 
for nolile and weahhy persona to go to a considerable expefue in 
ordering reprints of the old Chronicles arvd black-letter works. Doti 
not this rather prove that the books did not circulate very rapsdly cr 
extensively, or such extraordinary patronage and liberality would not 
have been necessary? Mr. Thomas laylor, at the iruRancr, I 
believe, of the old Duke of Norfolk, printed fifty copie* in qoarto of 
a irenslation of the works of Plato and AriKotle. He did sot choose 
that a larger impresaiun should be struck ofT, lest the«c authors ibonld 
get into the hands of the vulgar. There was oo danger of a roa in 
that way. I tried to read some of the Dialogues in the traoalation of 
Plato, but, I confess, could make nothing of it: *the logic Wis w 
difTcrent from ours ! ' ' A stanling cxpcrimeDC was made so tbii 
Hon of retrospective curiosity, in the case of Ireland's celebraud 
Shakspeare forgery. The public there certainly manfested no back- 
wardnRSN nor lukewarnineHS : the enthusiasm was ei^ual to the folly. 
But then the spirit exhibited on this occasion was partly critical and 
polemical, and it is a problem whetiier an actual and undoubted pbv 
of .Shakspenre's would have excited the same ferment ; aod. oo the 
other band, Shakspearc is an essential modem. People read and go 
to see his real plays, as well as his pretended ones. The/u// made 

' An eipreuion biirroweil from ■ voluble Germin ichoUr, who gave this at la 
eicuK for not tfaniUtin( the * Critique of Part R«a»oQ ' into Eogluh. He mi|h 
■s welt hive i*M tcrioudy, tluc Uie Rult e^ TArt* ia German wu different frain 
our**, Mr. TnyLot (the Plaionlir, ■• he was oiled) wat a (inguUt iiutaacc c>l 
a pervon in our lirnr bclirviai in Itir hrilhcn mythology. Ht hsd a very bcauliftl 
wife. An inpuOcnt FtenchaiaD, who came over to Londoo, and lodged in ttit 
Mmc houM, mS'le love la her, hy pretrndin^ to worship her at Vcoui, and k 
ihuutht lu turn the libici on out philoiophtr. I odcc iptnt an evening with ihii 
lentlemin at Mr. G. D.'a chambtri, in CliffordVinn, (where there wta no t«la- 
sioD of pcrtoiu nr opinicni), and where we had pipe* and tobacco, porter, and hmA 
and chctte for aupptr. Mc. Taylor never iniokcd, never drank porter, and had tn 
avCTvIon to chtete. I rtntcmber he ahrrwcd with aomc irinmpli two of tiii fioftn, 
which hi<ll been brnt to thai he had lait the uie of them, in copying out the muni' 
•cripti of Proclui and Plotinni in a fine Greek band. Such arc the trophies 
164 




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* 



t 



about Ouiao is another test to refer to. It was Its being the luppoted 
rrriwi of an old work {known only by ncattered fragmeun or lingering 
tradittoo) which garc it its chief intereat, tiiough there wai also it 
good deal of mystery and quackery concerned along with the din and 
stir of lutional jealousy and preteasion. Who reads Ossian now ? 
It rs one of the rejiroachcs brought against Buonaparte that he was 
food of it when young. I cannot for myiclt sec the objection. 
There is no doubt aa antiquarian spirit always at woilc^ and opposed 
to the spirit of noTelty-hunting; but, though oppo«ed, it is scarcely 
a nutch for it in a general and popular point of view. It is not long 
ago that I happened to be suggenting a new traniilation of Don 
Quixote to an enterprising bookseller; and his answer was, — •We 
want new Don Quixotes.' I believe I deprived the same aclivt- 
miodcd person of a night's rest, by telling him there was the beginning 
of another novel by Goldsmith in cxlBtrncc. Thie, if it could be 
procured, would satisfy both tastes for the new and the old at once. 
I fear it is but a fragment, and that we must wait till a new Gold- 
smith appearn. We may observe of lace .t strong craving after 
Alein«irt and JLtvet cf tor Dead. Hut these, it may be remarked, 
saTour so much of the real and familiar, that the persons described 
ditfer from us only in being dead, which is a reflection to our 
advantage : or, if remote and romantic in their interest and adventures, 
they require to be bolstered up in some measure by the emhelliBhments 
of modeio style and criticism. The accounts of Petrarch and Laura, 
of Abelard and Eloise, have a lusciousness and warmth in the subject 
vhich coQtraat quaintly and pointedly with the coldness of the grave ; 
and, after all, we prefer Pope's Elolse and Abelard with the modern 
dress and Hourishes, to the (niblimc and affecting simpiicit)' of the 
original Letters. 

In some very juil and agreeable rcflectioos on the story of Abelard 

bunun pride ! It would be well if our deep itudie* often prodaced no other 
crookcdneu snd deformity ! I endeaTOured (but in vain) to leiro lomethiRS from the 
httthED philosnphrr ts to PLito't doctrine of abttraci idcii being ihc foundsiion of 
partjoilar one», *hieh I tuipcct hii mofe irmh in it thin we mo'lemi are wiUing 
to admit. Anotber friend of mint once bmkfaitcd with Mr. D. (the mo*t 
■miakle and absenl of bom), when there wsi no butler, no knife lo cut ihe losf 
with, and ihe tea-pot wai without a ipout. Mf friend after a few immaterial 
ccrerooaie*, adjounicil to Pecl'i eoffee-houae, cioie by, whete he repaleJ hiniaelf on 
bettered loatt, eofTee, aad the newspaper of tKc day (a newspaper poaseued aonte 
interest when we were young) ; and the only tnterruptiou to hi> latiifaction wa* the 
fear that hia hott might luddenly enter, and be ihockcd at hiaimperleci huijiitalit]'. 
He would probably forget the cireumaiaacr altogether. I am afraid ihii veteran 
of tlie old achool hai not received many proofs of the trtiaitm of the prevailin| 
taile ; and that Ibe correctiona in hii Hiitory of the Univeraity of Cambridp, have 
coit htm more than the public will ever repay him for. 

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ox READING NEW BOOKS 

and Eloisc, in a tatc number of a contemporary publkauoo, tbere ir 
a quoucioo of some tines from Lucan, which bloi*e ia said to bnc 
repeated in brokca accent! a* she was advaocing to tbcalur to rcccm 
the veil : 

' maximc ccmjux T 
O thalamis iitdigiw m«is t Hoc juris habcbat 
In tantum fortuna caput * Car impia nupaa. 
Si mLKrum faciura fui i Nunc acciue poenaa^ 
SctI cfuas spoate liiam.' PAarioJUt, lib. I. 

Thli speech, quoted by another person, on such an occaiion, 
seem cold and pedantic ; but from the mouth of the paaaionale 
unaffected Hloice it cannot bear that interpreution. What aoDndtDg 
lines ! What a pomp, and yet what a familiar boldoeu in theil 
application — 'proud as when blue Iria bends!* The reading this 
account brought forcibly to mind what has itntck mc often before— 
the anreaaonablencBs o{ the complaint we conatanily hear of tbe 
ignorance ant) barbarism of former ages, and the folly of rettrictio|aII 
refinement and literary elegance to our own. Wc are indeed, indebted 
to the agea that have gone before us, and could not well do withoal 
them. But in all ages there will be fouod atill others that have gone 
before with nearly equal lustre and udrantage, though by distance aad 
the intervention of multiplied excellence, this lustre may be dinunol 
or forgutten. Had it then no existence? We might, with the laoie 
reason, suppose that the horixon is the last boundary and verge of the 
round earth. Stilt, as we advance, il recedes from us ; and so time 
from its store-house pours out an endlesa Buccession of the prodaction* 
of an and genius ; and the farther we explore the obscurity, othei 
trophies and other land-marks rise up. It is only our ignorance that 
iixes a Eimit — as the mist gathered round the nuouQUia'a brow mabs 
us fancy we arc treading the edge of the universe ! Here was 
Heloise Jiving at a period when monkish indolence and saperatitioD 
were at their height — in one of those that are emphatically called the 
dari aget ; and yet, at she is led to the altar to make her lait fatal 
vow, expressing her feelings in language quite natural to her, but 
from which the most accomplished and heroic of our modem female 
would shrink back with pretty and affected wonder and affright. The 
glowing and impetuous linra which she murmured, as atie passed oo, 
whh apootaneous and rising enthusiasm, were engraven oo her hean, 
familiar to her as her daily thoughts ; her mii>d must have been full 
of them to overflowing, arul at the same time enriched with Dtbn 
stores and sources of knowledge equally elegant aixl impressive ; and 
wc persist, notwithstaading this and a thousand similar circumstances, 
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how people could exMt, and tee, aod reel. 



I 
I 



\ 



in indulging our aurpriAc how people coukl exitt, and ttt, aod leel, in 
those day*, without haring acceaa to our Dpponunities and icqoire- 
meou, aod how Shakipeare wrote lon^ after, in a harharcvi age ! The 
myatcry in this cue ia of our own making. Wc arc struck with 
utotuohroent at ttodiag a lioe moral sentiment or a noble iinage 
DcTTOUsly expressed in an author of the age of Queen Elizabeth ; not 
considering that, independently of nature and ^ling, which are the 
■ane in all periods, the writers of that day, who were generally men 
of education and learning, had such models before them as the one 
that has been jost referred to — were thoroughly acquainted with those 
masters of classic thought and language, compared with whom, la all 
that relates to the artificial graces of composition, the most studied of 
Ute moderns are little better than Goths and Vandali. It is true, wc 
ha*e loM light of, and neglected the former, because the latter hare, 
in ft great degree, supcrneded them, as the cIcTatioos nearest to us 
intercept those farthest off; but our not availing aursclres of this 
Tantagc-groufxi is no reason why our forefathers should not {who had 
not our iupcriluity of choice), and most aasurcdly they did study and 
cherish the precious fragments of antiquity, collected together in their 
time, ' like sunken wreck and sumleso ireaiurtcs ; ' and while they did 
this, we need be at no lout to Account for any examples of grace, of 
force, or dignity in their writings, if these must always be traced 
back to a previous source. One age cannot understand how another 
could subsist without its lightt, as one country thinks every other 
must be poor for want of its physical productions. This is a narrow 
and superficial view of the subject ; we lihould by all means rise above 
it. I am not for devoting the whole of our time to the study of the 
classics, or of any other set of writers, to the exclusion and neglect 
of nature; bat I think we should cum our thought! enough that way 
to convince ua of the existence of genius and learning before our time, 
and to cure us of an overweening conceit of ourselves, and of a con- 
tcmptuout opinion of the world at large. Every civilised age and 
country (and of these th^re is not one, but a hundred) has its litera- 
ture, its arts, iu comforts, large and ample, though we may know 
nothing of them; noi ii it (except for our own sakea) important that 
we ihould. 

BtMks have been «o multiplied in our days (tike the Vanity Fair 
of knowledge), and we have made such progress beyond ourselves in 
•Dme poiou, thai it seems at first glance as if we had monopolised 
every poesihte advantage, and the rest of the world must ot left 
destitute a[>d in darkness. This is the eoeiwyum (with leave be it 
spoken) of the nineteenth century. There is a tone of smartness and 
pi<^uancy in modern writing, to which former examples may, in one 

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KOK, appear flat and pedantic Our alliuioDi are more pobied and 
personal: the ancieots are, in this respect} formal and prMak fa- 
»onagM. Some onei not long ago, in this rulgar, shallow spirit of 
criticttm (which sees crery thing from its own poiat of view], sud 
that the tragrdies of Sophoclea and j^chylus were about as good u 
the pieccfl brought out at Sadler's Wells oi the Adelphi Tlicaire. 
An oration of Demosthenes is thought dry and meagre, because it U 
not 'full of wise saws und modern instances:' one of Cicero's b 
objected to as ftimsy jind extravagant, for the same reaaoo. Then 
is a style in one age which does not fall in with the taste of the public 
io another, as it re<]uires greater cffemiDacy and aoftness, greaiet 
severity or siniplicily, greater force or rednement. Guido vu 
more admired than Raphael in his day, because the maoners were 
grown softer without the strength : Sit Peter Leiy was tliuughi b 
his to have eclipeed Vandyke — an opinion that no one holds at 
ureaeot: Holbein's faces must be allowed to be very ditferent from 
Sir Thomas Lawrence's — yet the one was the faAfouritc painter of 
Henry nu., as the other is of George i«. What should we say in 
our time to the eupbmtm of the age of Elizabeth, when style vai 
made a riddle, and the court talked in conundrums? This, as a 
novelty and a trial of the wits, might take for a while : afteTwards, it 
cotUd only seem absurd. We must always make some allowance for 
a change of style, which those who are accustomed to read none bat 
works written within the last twenty years neither can nor will make. 
When a whole generation read, they will read none but cootemporary 
productions. The taste for literature becomes superficial, as it 
becomes universal and is spread over a larger space. When tec 
thousand boarding-school girls, who have learnt to play on the harpii- 
chord, are brought out in the same season, Ro«sini will be preferred 
to Mozart, as the last new composer. I remember a very genleel 
young couple in the boxes at Drury Lane being very much acan- 
d&lised some years ago at the phrase in j1 Ntvu Way to Pay OU 
Dtlti — 'an insulem piece of paper* — applied to the contents of a 
letter — it wanted the modern lightness and indifference. Let an old 
book be ever so good, it Ueals (generally speaking) of topics that are 
stale in a style that has grown 'somewhat musty; ' of manners that 
are exploded, probably by the very ridicule thus cast upon them ; of 
persons that no longer tigurc on the Etagc; and of interests that have 
long since given place to others in the infinite fluctuations of human 
affairs. Longinus cumplains of the want of interest io the Odyssey, 
because it does not, like the Iliad, treat of war. The very complaint 
we make against the latter is that it treau of nothing else { or that, 
as Fuseli expresses it, everything is seen * through the blaze of war.* 
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'Bookl of devotion are no longer read (if we read Irving'* OratiotUt 
it is merely that we may go a« a hungt to see the man): even atuckt 
on religion are out of date and insipid. Voltaire's jnts, and the Jnv'i 
Ltetterj in oniwer (equal in wit, and more than equal in learning), 
repose quietly on the shelf together. We want lomething in England 
about Rent and the Poor>Lawt, and something in France about the 
Charter — or Lord Byron. With the attcmpu, however, to revive 
Bupemition and tniolrrance, a spirit of opposition has been excited, and 
Pascall't Prvmnctal Lrittrs have Been once more enlisted into the Krvice. 
In France you meet with no ooe who has read the New HekMi : the 
ProKtu of Cievet U not even mentioned in these degeoerate days. Is 
it not provoking with oa to see the Beggar'/ Opera cut down to two 
acts, because some of the allusions are too broad, attd others not uoder- 
stood ? And in America — that Van Diemen's Land of letters — this 
alerting satire ii hooted off the stage, because fortunately they have no 
such stale of manners aa it describes before their eyes ; and because, 
uofortunately, they have no conception of any thing but what they &ee. 
America is liogularly and awkwardly situated in this respect. It is 
a new country with an old Uncage ; and while every thing about 
them is of a day's growth, they are constantly applying to us to know 
what to think of it, and taking their opinions from our books and 
newspapers with a strange mixture of servility and of the spirit of 
cootradiction. They are ao indepeadeoc state in politicB : in literalare 
they are still a colony from us — not out of thnr leading strings, and 
strangely puzzled how to determine between the Edinburgh and 
Quarterly Reviews. We have oaturaliEted some of their writers, who 
had formed themselves upon us. This is at oocr a compliment to 
them and to ourselves. Amidst the scramble and lottery for fame in 
the present day, besides puffing, which may be regarded as the hot- 
bed of reputation, another mode has been attempted by trantplanting 
it { and writers who are set down as drivellers at home, shoot up ^reat 
aotbora on the other side of the water; pack up their all — a ciclc-page 
and nifficient impudence; and a work, of which \.\»t JUi£clnauti-mhUi- 
fiS^ation, in Shenstonc's phrase, !$ well known to every competent 
judge, is platarded into eminence, and ' flames in the forehead of the 
rooming sky ' on the walls of Paris or St. Petersburgh. I dare not 
mention the instances, but so it is. Some reputations last only while 
the postessors live, from which one might suppose that they gave 
themselves a character for genius : others are cried up by their 
gossiping acqoainunces, as long as they give dinners, and make their 
houses places of polite resort ; and, in general, in our time, a book 
may be coniiderea to have paued the ordeal that ii mentioned at all 
three months after it is printed. Immortality is not even a dream — 

169 



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w 



id pouhi: 



rcgirded byttir 



ronccit ; and pouhumout fame is do r 
author than by hi* book»elIer.* 

This idle, dissipatrd turn iiectnB to be a aet-off lo, or the obTio* 
reaction of, the exclaiivc admiration of the ancicnta. which wu 
formrrly ihr fashion: as if the sun of human intellect rose and setae 
Rome and Athens, and the mind of man had nerer exerted itielf to 
any purpose lince. The ignorant, at well aa the adept, were chamtei 
only with what wa« obsolete and far-fetched, wrapped ap in cechoica) 
terms and in a learned loogoe. Thote who ipoke and wrote i 
language which hardly any one at present even understood, mun ei 
course be wiser than vc. Time, that brings ao many repatadom to 
decay, had crobalmed others and rendered them ucred. From aa 
implicit faith and overstrained homage paid to anticjuity, we of the 
modern school bare taken too strong a bias to what is oew ; aai 
divide all wisdom and wonh between ourselves and posterity, — not i 
very formidable rival to our aelf-iove, as we attribute all its ftdraotagct 
to ourselves, though we pretend to owe little or nothing to our pre- 
decessors. About the time of the French Revolution, it was agmd 
that the world had hitherto been in its douge ot its infancy ; and thit 
Mr. Godwin, Condotcet, and others were in begin a new race of nwa 
— a new epoch in society. livery thing up to that period was to be 
set aside as puerile or barbarous ; or, if there were any uace* of 
thought and manliness now and then discoverable, they were to be 
regarded with wonder as prodigies — as irregular and litfiil suns ia 
that long sleep of reason and night of philosophy. In this liberal 
spirit Mr. Godwin composed an Essay, to prove that, till the pubtia- 
tion of The Enqmry cimreming PoiilKal Jattife, no one knew bow to 
write a word of common grammar, or a style that was not atterlf 
uncouth, incongruous, and feeble. Addison, Swift, and .lanius were 
included in this censure. The Fnglish language itself might be nip- 
posed to owe its stability and consistency, its roundness and polish, to 
the whirling motion of the French Revolution. Those who had 
gone before us were, like our grandfathers and grandmothers, decrepit, 
superannuated people, blind and dull ; poor creatuies, like fite* tn 
winter, without pith or marrow in them. The past wai bancn of 
interest — had neither thought nor object worthy to arrest our atten- 
tion; and the future would be equally a senseless void, except u we 
projected ourselves and our theories into it. There is nothing I hate 
more than I do this exclusive, upstart spirit. 

^ When a crrtiin poet wis aikcif if hrthau£lit Lord BfTon's name wouU live thrtc 

vttra after be wa* dead, he aniwcrc<i,'N«t three dajn. Sir !' This wai premaCnit t 

It hat Unci above ■ yt»t. Hi» work* have been Irantlated into French, anrf that 

ia* Csfff Byrtn art iht Boviievtrit. Thitik af 9 Caff/ IferAnatrri on thu Bovlevfrtt* 

170 



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BOOKS 



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' By Heaveni', 1 'tl rathrr be 
A pagan tucklcd in a crecil outworn, 
So might I, standing on lomc picauni lea. 
Catch glimptci that raight make me leu ft^rlom, 
Have tight of Proteus coming from the wa, 
Or hear old Tritoti blow his wreathed horn.' 

Wordsworth's Sonnets. 

Neither do I sec the good of it rvm in a persooal and interested 
point of Tiew. By deipiBing all that tiai preceded us, we teach other* 
to despite ourselves. Where there U no eatabHahed scale not rooted 
Taith in excellence, all superiority — our own as well as that of others 
— sooD cofiKs to the ground. By applying the wroDg end of the 
magot^ng-glass to all objects indiscriminaxly, the most respectable 
dwindle into insignificance, and the best are confounded with the 
worst. Learning, no longer supported by opinion, or genius by fame, 
ta cut mto the mire, and 'trampled under the hoofs of a swinish 
multitude.' I would rather eoJurc the most blind and bicotted respect 
for great and illustrious names, than thiii pitiful, groTelling bumour 
which has no pride in iotcllcctual excelleace, and no pleasure but in 
decrying those who have given proofs of It, and reducing them lo ita 
own level. If, with the diffusion of knowledge, we do not gain an 
eolargemeot and elevation of views, where is the benefit f If, by 
teaiiQg asunder names from things, we do not leave even the name or 
dudow of excellence, it is better to let them remain as they were ; 
for it is better to have •omething to admire than nothing — names, if 
not thiaga — the shadow, if Dot the substance — the tiasel. if not the 
gold. AH can now read and write equally ; and, it is therefore pre 
niinedt equally well. Any thing short of this sweeping conclusion U 
aD inyidious distinction ; and those who claim it tor themselTes or 
Others are exchitionittt in letters. Ever)' one at least can call names 
— caa invent a falsehood, or repeat a story agaiDit those who have 
galled their pragmatical pretensions by really adding to the stock of 
geoert! amusement or instruction, hvcry one in a crowd fans the 
power to throw dirt: nine out of ten have the inclination. It is 
curious that, in an age when the most universally-admitted ckim to 
public distinction is literary merit, the attaining this distinction is 
almost a sure title to public contempt and obloquy.* They cry you 
up, because you are unknown, and do not excite their jealousy ; and 
ran you down, when they have thus distinguished you, out of envy 
and spleen at the rcry idol they have set up. A public favourite is 
* kept like an apple in due jaw of an ape- -first mouthed, to be after- 

' It nat this partly owing to the dw^|Mintincnt of ihe puhlic at AndJnj anjr 
defvct tp ihcii iilalf 

in 



UNG 



BOOKS 



wards swallowed. When they Deed what you hire gleuml, !t tabol 
tu^ueezing you, and spunge, you shall l>e dry again. Al HtU they 



think only of the pi' 



hot, OD reflec 



-icanire or advantage they receire: boi, on 
tioti« they arc mortified at the lupenority implied in this inroIuDliry 
conceuioo, and are determined to be even with you the rery fim 
oppomnity. What is the prevailing spirit of modern literature? Td 
defame men of letters. What are the publicattoas that lucoecd? 
ThoK that pretend to teach the public that the penont they hare 
been accuatomed unwittingly to look up to as the hghu of the earth 
are no better than thcmselrea, or a tet of vagnbonds or miscreanu tfatt 
should be hunted out of society. ^ Hence meo of letters, lostog tfaeir 
self-respect, become governraent-tools, and prostitute their talents to 
the most infamous purposes, or turo ilan<ly itribbler-it and set 19 for 
geoilemeo authors in their own defence. I like the Order of t^ 
Jenuts better than this : they made chcmKlres respected by the liityr 
kept their own secret, and did not prey on ooe another. ResunK 
then, oh ! Learning, thy robe pootijical ; clothe thyself in pride and 
purple; join the sacred to the profane; wieM both worlds; iadeaii 
of twopenny trash and mechanics' magazines, issue bulls and decretals; 
say not, let there be light, but darkoeu visible ; draw a bandage ovei 
the eyes of the ignorant and unlettered ; bang the terrors of supct- 
•tidoti and despotism over them ; — and for thy pains they will blrn 
thee : children wilt pull olf their caps as thou dost pass ; women will 
courtesy; the old will wipe their beards; and thou wilt rule oner 
more OTer the base serriog people, clowtu, and nobles, with a rod of 
iron! 

* An oM friend of mine, when be md ibe abuse and billtng«c*ie poanil en) ti 
nttain Tory publications, used to congratnUle himself upon il &» ■ favouribl* sip 
oC the timc*,anO of the piQfrrwivc improvement of osr muincrs. Where wv dk* 
ciUcd Bimea, we fornvrrljr burnt each other it a atake ; and all the molke of tbc 
heart fl«w to the tongue and vented itself in acolding, inttead of crusades and aaiK 
i/tf^/i— the nobln revenge of our oDcnTon for s difference of opiaiao. An autbar 
now libelt a prince ; and, if he caket the Uw of him or throwi hitn into pnl, ii 
i) ItrokeH ijpon ai t hRnb and ungenikmanly proceeding. He, therefore, letti 
dirty Sccrettry to employ a Hirty bookseller, to hire s Kt of dirty icribblert, to prll 
him with dirt in'l cover him with bUckfuird cpitbert — till be ii hardly in s coq- 
ditton to walk the ilrcctt. Thii i* hari) meaaurci 00 doub4, and bate iogratitii^e 
on the part of ihe public, according to the inaitiniry di|nity and natoral precedence 
which authon take of kia|t ; bnt ibe litter are men, and will have their rename 
where (hey can get it. They have ov longer ihcir olit •ummary appeal— i he ii wiQ 
may itill be eooH — in the dunftun and (he dagger. Thoae who 'ipeak evil 
of dignities* may, therefore, think themiclvei well oS m bcmg merely uwt »* 
C^vmity • and, beiidei, if (bey have plutt. (hey can make a Parthiaa re tr e a t, sod 
shoot poisoned arrewa behind ibem. Tbe ifxA people of TloreBcc lift np their 
handi when they wt shewn (be caricitore* in the Queen's MatTimoDial>Laddcr, 
lod aik if they are mlly a likeoco* of the King i 
t73 



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I 

I 

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ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 

Tkt MmiUf MmgniHf.] [-^'t^tt iSa?. 

Those people who are uQconifortable in ihemaelves are diugrteable to 
others. I do not here mean to sprak of per&otis who offend inten- 
tionally, or are obnoxious to diililce from some palpable defect of 
miod or body, ugltncu, pride, ill-humour. Sec, — but of those who are 
dUtgreeable in s[Htc ot thcmsclvet, and, ai it might appear, with 
almoat every qualification to recommend them to others. This want 
of BucccBS is owing chiefly to something in what is called their manitfr ; 
and this again baa ila foundation In a cenain croti-graiaed and 
unsociable state of feeling on their pan, which tntluences us, perhaps, 
without our dtiunctly adverting to it. The mind is a finer initrumeDt 
than we sometimes suppose it, and is not only swayed by overt acu and 
taogtble proofs, but has an instinctive feeling of the air of truth. We 
find inaay iodtvidualt in whose company we pais our time, and have 
BO particular fault to find with their understandings or character, and 
yet we arc oever thoroughly satisfied with them : the reason will turn 
out to be, upon examtnatiun, that they are never thoroughly satisfied 
with thcmKlvec, but uneasy and out of torts all the time ; and this 
makes as uneasy with them, without our reflecting aa, or being able 
to discover the cause. 

Thus, for instance, we meet with persons who do us a number of 
kindne&ses, who shew us every mark of respect and good-will, who 
are friendly and serviceable, — and yet wc do not feel grateful to them, 
slider all. We reproach ourselves with this aa caprice or insensibilily, 
and try to get the better of it ; but there is somethire in their wty 
of doing things that prevents us from feeling cordial or sincerely 
obliged to them. We think them very worthy people, and would 
be glad of an opportunity to do them a good turn if it were in 
our power j but we cannot get beyond this : the utmost we can do is 
to save appearances, and not come to an open rupture with them. 
The truth is, in all such cases, we Jo nut sympathise (as we ought) 
with them, because they do not sympathise (as they ought) with na. 
They have done what they did from a sense of duty in a cold dry 
manner, or from a meddlesome busybody humour; or to shew their 
superiority over us, or to patronise our infirmity ; or they have 
dropped Eome hint by the way, or bEundercd upon some topic they 
fthouid not, and have shewn, by one means' or other, that they were 
occupied with any thing but the pleasure they were affording us, or a 
delicate attention to our feelings. Such persons may be styled y>-rfii(//r 
gritvamcet. They are commonly people of low spirits and disappointed 

'73 



^REEABLE PEOPLE 



TicWR, who sec the diKouragiDg tide of human life, and, with tbe 
best intc-Dttonti in the world, contrive to make ercry tlung they hire 
to do with uncontfonable. They are aliv« to your diniMa, and take 
{laias to remove it ; but they have do Kabsfaction in tbe gaiety ami 
ease they have communicated . and are on the hoi-out for aome oev 
occaaion of tlgnalizing thtir zeal) nor are they backward to toitniute 
that you will bood have n«d of their asnBtance, to guard you agiimt 
runniog into fr«sh difficulties, or to extricate you from them, rros 
large bcDevolcnce of soul and ' discourse of resaon, looking befon 
and after,' they are continually reminding you of aomcthing that lai 
gooe wrong in time past, or that may do eo in that which ia to ctnte, 
and are surpriiied that their awkward hints, sly inuendos, bknt 
questions, and solema features do not excite all the complaceocy and 
mutual good understanding in you which it is tnteoded that they 
should. When they make tbemiclres miserable on your accouu, it 
ia hard that you will not lend them your coanteoancc and aumut. 
This deplorable humour of theirs does not hit any ooe else. Tbry 
are useful, but not agreeable people ; they may assist you tn yosr 
affairs, but they depress and tyrariniae orer your feeling*. When they 
have made you happy, they will not let you be »o— hare do eojoy- 
ment of the good they have done — will on no account [sirt with thai 
melancholy and desponding tone — and, by their mawkish inscnsibiltty 
and doleful grimacei, throw a. damp over the triumph they arc called 
upon to celebrate. They would keep you in hot water, that they 
may help you out of it. They will nurse you in a fit of sicknea 
(congemil sufferers !) ^arbitrate a law-suit lor you, and embroil you 
deeper — procure you a loan of money ; — but all the while they art 
only delighted with rubbing the sore place, and casting the coloor of 
your mental or other disorders. ' The whole need notja physidaa ; ' 
and, being once placed at ease and comfort, they have no farther use 
for you as subjects for their singular beneficence, and you are lux 
sorry to be quit of their tiresome interference. The old proverb, J 
frifiiA m need u a friend indetd^ i* not verified in them. The class of 
|)crsooH here spokeo of are the very reverse of ivmrtur-frimdit who 
court you in proaperity, Hatter your vanity, are the humble eervaQCaof 
your follies, never sec or allude to any thing wrong, minister to your 
gaiety, smooth over every difficulty, and, with the slightest approach 
of misfortune or of any thing unpleasant, take French leave: — 

' At «vhen, in prime of June, a bumi&lied fly. 
Sprung from the meads, o'er which he iw«ps along, 
Cheered by the breaching bloom and vital sVy, 
Tunes lip amid these airj" hall* his King, 
SuotJiing at tirkt (he gay icpuuitg tlimngi 

»74 



ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



I 



I 



And oft he uipi iheir bowl, or nurljr drowned. 
He thence rerovenng driv» ihcir beds among, 
And tcarvs tbcii under sleep with trump prdTound j 
Then out agiiu he fliei to wing his lanzy round.' 

Ti(OMsoM*9 Castle of IsDOLEliCE. 

However we nuy desptK such trifleri, yet we regret tJiem more than 
those weiKmcaning friendi on whom a dull melincholy Txpour hnngi, 
that drag! them and every one about them to the ground. 

Again, there are tboec whu might be very agreeable people, if they 
had but «ptrit to be >o ; but there i^ a narrow, UBa«piriog, under-bfed 
tuoe in all they lay or do. They have great ■ciise and iDfonnaiioo — 
abound in a knowie<lge of character — have a fund of anecdote — are 
unexceptionable in manoecs and appearaace^aod yet we cannot make 
up our minds to like them : we are not glad to see them, nor sorry 
when they go away. Our familiarity with them, however great* 
wanta the principle of cement, which is a certain appearance of frank 
cordiality and KKrial enjoymeot. They have no pleasure in tbe 
ittbjectt of their own thought*, and therefore can communicate ooite 
to others. There is a dry, hutky, grating manner — a pettineu of 
detail — a tenaciousne«s of pariiculai*, however trifling or UDpleaual — 
a dia|iosittoo to cavil— an aversiun to enljirged and liberal views of 
thiagB — ID ihon, a bard, painful, unbending matttrof-faclntst, itova 
which the tuirit and effect are banibhcd, and the letter only is attended 
to, which makes it impouible to sympathiie with their discourse. 
To make conversation interesting or aj^ieeable, tliere is rec|uircd either 
the habitual tone of good company, which gives n favourable colouring 
to every thing — or the warmth and eaihuEiaBm of genius, which* 
though it may occasiuoally olfciul or be thrown off iiu guard, makes 
unendB by its rapturous fligbls, and flings a glancing light upcn all 
things. The literal aod deggtJ style of conversation resembles that 
of a French picture, or its mechanical fidelity is like eridcDce given 
in a court of justice, or a police report. 

From the literal to the plain-spoken, the transition is easy. The 
nuist efficient weapon of offence is truth. Those who deal in dry and 
reptilsive matters- of-fact, tjre out their friends; those who blurt out 
hard and home truths, maketbemsclTcs mortal enemies wherever they 
come. There are your blunt, honest creatures, who omit no oppor- 
tunity of letting you know their minds, and are lure to tell you all the 
ill, and conceal aXi the good they bear of you. They would not 
6aiter you for the world, and to caution you against the malice of 
otbcTT, they think the province of a friend. This is not candour, but 
impudence ; and yet they thick it odd yau arc not charmed witli their 
unrescrtTd communicativeness of disposition. Gossips and ule-bcarer*, 

'75 




ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



on the coatmry, who tnpply the tittU-laitle of the nrtghboutbood, 
flatter you to your face, and laugh at you behind your back, tie 
welcome and agrce^le guests io all compotes. Though you kno* 
it will br your turo next, yet for the sake of the immediate gratiiita- 
tioD, you are contented lo pay youi share of the public tax upoo 
character, and are better pleased with the falsehoodB that aerer reach 
your ears, than with the truths that others (less complaiiaot and more 
sincere) utter to your face — so shurt-sighted and witling to be 
imposed upon is our self-love ! There is a man, who has the ait of 
not being convinced without an argument: you avoid him sa if ke 
were a lion in your path. There ia another, who asks you fifty 
que«tioo( as to the commonest things you adrance : you would toooer 
pardon a fellow who held a pistol to your breast and demanded roar 
money. No one regards a turn pike-keeper, or a cunom-house officer, 
with a friendly eye: he who stop ytiu in an cxcutbioo of fancy, or 
ransacks the articles of your belief obstinately and chortiahly, to 
distinguish the spurious Irom the genuine, ts still more your foe. 
These inquititors and cross-exam in ers upon synem make ten enenies 
for every coniroTerey in which they engage. The world dread DOthtut 
ao much as being convinced of their errors. In doing them this piece 
of scrrice, you make war equally on their prejudices, their intereiu, 
their pride, and indolence. You not only aet up for a superioniy of 
andemaading over them, which they hate, but you deprive them of 
their ordinary grounds of action, their topics of disconrse, of ibrir 
confidence in themselres, and those to whom they have been 
accustomed to look up for instruction and advice. It is making 
children of them. You unhinge all their established opinions ami 
trains of thought ; and after leaving them in this listless, vacaat, 
unsettled state — dissatisfied with their own Dotions and shocked at 
vours — you expect them to court and be delighted with your compaoyi 
Decauae, foraooth, you have only expressed your ainccfe and con- 
scientious conviction*. Mankind are not deceived by profestsons, 
unless they choose. They think that this pill of true doctnoe, 
however it may be gilded over, is full of gall and bitteroeu to them ; 
and, again, it is a maxim of which the vulgar are Grmly persuaded, 
th.it jjain-speak tng (as it is called) is, nine parts in ten, spleen and 
•elf-opinion ; and the other part, perhaps, honesty. Those who will 
not abate an inch in argument, and are always seeking to recover the 
wind of you, are, in the eye of the world, disagreeable, unconscionable 
people, who ought to be /cni to Covtntryf or left to wrangle by 
themselves. No persons, however, are more averse to contradiction 
than these same dogmatists. What thews our susceptibility on thti 
point isi, there is no flattery so adroit or effectual as that of implicit 
176 



ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



I 



)U8c«. Any OK, how^rer mean hU capacity or tll-quaMed to judge, 
who gim way to all our senUmenU, and nerer letniB to think buL a* 
wc do, it indeed an aiter iJem — ntiothcr >elf; and we admit him 
without scrapie into our entire confidence, * yea, into our heart of 
hearts.* 

It i> tbc same in books. Thotc which, under the diteuiK of 
plaia-tpeaking, rent paradoxeH, and set their faces agaioet tbc 
coanion*KnK of mankind, are neither * the volumes 

'Thai enrich the shops. 

That pan with approbation througn the land ^ * 

oor, I (car, can it be added — 

'That bring their authors an immortal fame.* 

They excite a clamour and oppofitkin at Jirst, and are in general 
»ooo consigned to oblivion. Even if tbc opinions are in the end 
adoj^trd, the authors gain little by it, and their oames remain in their 
original obloquy; for the public will own no obligations to such 
ungracious benefiactots. In tike manner, there are many books 
written in a TCty delightful vein, though with Httlc in them, and that 
are accordingly popular. Their principle is to please, and not to 
offend ; and they succeed in both object*. We arc contented with 
the deference shown to our feelings for the time, and grant a truce 
both to wit and wisdom. The ' courteous reader ' and tlie good- 
natured author are well matched in this instance, and find their account 
in mutual ter>derneu and forbearance to each other's Infirmities. I 
am not sure that Walton's Angler is not a book of this last description — 

' That dallies with the innocence of thought, 
Like The old age.' 

Hobbcs and Mandenlle are in the opposite extreme, and hare met 
with a correspondent fate. The Tatfer and the Spectator are io the 
golden mean, carry instruction as far as it can go without shocking, 
attd give the most exquisite plcisurc without one particle of pain. 
• Dti'ire Io pleate, and you w'df infallibly fileate,* u a maxira equally 
applicable to the study or the drawing-room. Thus also we see 
actors of very small pretensions, and who have scarce any other merit 
than that of being on good terms with themselves, and in high good 
humour with their part* (though they hardly undcisund a word of 
them), who are universal favourites with the audience. Others, 
who are masters of their art, and in whom no slip or flaw can be 
detected, you hare no pleasure in seeing, from something dry, 
repulsive, and uoconciliating in their manner ; and you almost hate the 
roL. Jii.: M 177 



J. 



ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



very mcDtion of their names, u an unavailing appnl to your caadid 
decinioa in ihcir ravour,and as taxing yau with is justice (bi lefiinng iL 
We may observe persons who seem to take a peculiar delight m 
the cUja^rttalU. They catch %U sorts of uncouth tones aod ge«turet, 
the manners and dialect of clowns and hoydens, and aim at Tulgahii 
as desperately as others ape gentility. [This ifr what is often uodcr- 
Btood by a Ivve of loti/ lift.] They say the moet unwairamable things, 
withoQt menning or feeling what they say. What startles or thocit 
other peoplir, is to them a sport — an amusing excitement — a fillip to 
their coostitutioQs; and from the bluotoess of their perceptions, and 
a certain wilfulness of s|»rit, not being able to enter into tbe refined 
and agreeable, they nuke .1 merit of despising every thing of the kiod. 
Masculine women, for example, are those who. not being distinguiibed 
by the charms and delicacy of the sex, alTect a superiority over it bf 
throwing aside all decorum. We also find another class, who 
continually do and say what they ought not, and what they do not 
intend, and who are governed almost entirely by an iDFttoct of 
absurdity. Owing to a perreriity of imagination or irritability of 
oerve, the idea that a thing is improper .icu as a provocation to it: 
the fear of committing a blunder is so strong, that in their agitation 
they heh out whatever is uppermost in their minds, before they are 
aware of the conftequence. The dread of something wrong hanati 
and rivets their attention to it ; and an tmeaiy, morbid apprehensiTc- 
OCM of temper takes away ihcir self-posMssion, and hurries them into 
the very mistakes they are most anxious to avoid. 

If we look about us, and ask who are the agreeable and disagree- 
able people in the world, wc shall lee that it does not depend on their 
virtucK or vices — their understanding or stupidity — but as much 00 
the degree of pleasure or pain they seem to feel in ordinary Mdal 
iDiercouTKC. What signify all the good qualities any orte po aws e s , if 
he is none the better for tliem himurlf ? If the cause is so delightAil, 
the effect ought to be so too. We enjoy a friend's society only in 
proportion at be is satisfied with ours, hven wit, however it may 
startle, is only agreeable as it is sheathed in good-bumoor. There are 
a kind of iateUeclual tiammerert, who are delivered of their good 
things with pain and effort ; and cooce«]uently what costs them <iiich 
evident uneasiness does not impart untnixed delight to the bysianden. 
There arc those, on the contrary, whose sallies cost them no*hing — 
who abound in a flow of pleasantry and goodhumour; and who fioit 
down the stream with ihcm carelessly and triumphantly, — 

* Wit at the helm, and Pleasure st the prow.' 

Perhaps it may be uid of English wit in general, that it too mach 
178 



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ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



iCEcmblrB pointed lead : after all, thrre is Bomething heavy and dull 
in it ! The race of imall wits are Dot the least agreeable people iD 
the world. They have their little joke to themBelvea, enjoy it, and 
do DOE (ct up any prepoeteroui preteoiions to thwart the current of 
our (elT-lave. Toad-eating in accounted a. duiviog profeeaion ; and a 
hiti, according to the Spectator, is a highly o«efai member of society 
— as one who takes whatever is said of him in good part, aod as 
necessary to condoct off the spleen and saperflucnis petuLince of the 
company. Opposed to these are the swaggering bullies — the licensed 
wita — the free-thinkers — the loud talkers, who, in the jockey phrase, 
have ktt lieir moulhtt and cannot be reined in by any regard to 
decency or common-sense. The more obnoxious the subject, the 
more are they charmed with it, convening their tt-ant of feeling into 
a proof of superiority to vulgar prejudice aod squeamish affectation. 
Bui there is an unseemly exposure of the mind, as well .is of the 
body. There are some objects that shock the sense, 3i>d cannot with 
propriety be mentioned : there are naked truths that ofTend the mitid, 
and Ought to be kept out of sight as much as po«sib1e. For human 
nature cannot bear to be too hardly pressed upon. One of these 
cynical truisms, when brought forward to the world, may be forgiven 
u a slip of the pen : a succession of them, denoting a deliberate 
purpose aitd maliet prepftttr^ must ruin any writer. Lord Byron had 
got into an irregular course of these a little bclbre his death — seemed 
desirous, in imitation of Mr. Shelley, to run the gauntlet oi public 
obloquy — and, at the same lime, wishing to screen himself from the 
censure he defied, dedicated his Cain to Sir WaJtcr Scott — a pretty 
god&tbcr to such a bantling .' 

Some persons are of so teazing and fidgetty a turn of miod, that 
they do not give you a moment's rest. Every thing goes wrong with 
them. They complain of a headache or the weather. They ukc up 
8 book, and lay it down again — venture an opinion, and retract it 
before they have halt done— offer to serve you, and prevent some one 
else from doing it. If you dine with them at a tavern, in order to be 
more at your ease, the fish is too little done — the sauce is not the 
right one ; they ask for a sort of wine which they think is not to be 
had, or if it is, after some trouble, procured, do not touch it ; they 
give the waiter fifty contradictory orders, and are rcBtJcss and sit on 
thorns the whole of dinner-time. All thii is owing to a want of 
robust health, and of a strong spirit of enjoyment ; it is a fastidious 
habit of mind, producnl by a valetudinary habit of body : they are 
out of hoixt. with every thing, and of course their ill-humour and 
captiousocH communicate!) iuelf to you, who are a« little delighted 
witii them as they arc with other things. Another sort of people^ 

t79 



ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 

equally objcctiunabic with this helpless clas£, who art disoooccrtdl 
by a tbowcr of rain or stopped by ao insect's wing, are choM whov in 
Uw oppoftite spirit, will have every tiling their owo way, and carry a!) 
before them — who cnnnot brook the alightett shadow of crppocitkw— 
who are alwayt lo the heat of ao aigumeot — who knit their brow* and 
cteocb their teeth id some speculative discussion, as if tbej vat 
engaged in a pereonal quarrel — and who, though succeisful ma 
a]inoM eiery competitor, srem ittU to resent the very offer of resi*- 
aoce to their suf^sed authority, aod are as angry as if they hail 
suttaioed some ptetneditated injury. There i* an impatience of 
temper and an intolerance nf opinion in this that conciliates ociiher 
oar affection nor esteem. To such persons nothing appcaiE of an; 
moment but the indulgence of a dominecriD^ intellectual superiority to 
the disregard and discom6ture of their own and every body eise'i 
comfort. Mounted on an abstract proposition, they trample oo every 
courtescy and decency of behariour ; and though, perbapa, tbcy w 
not intend the gro» personalities they are guilty of, yet they caoaot 
be acquitted of^ a want of doe consideration for others, and of » 
intolerable egotism in the rapport of truth aod justice. You may hear 
one of these Quixotic dcclaimers pleading the cause of homanity io a 
voice of thunder, or expatiating on the beauty of a Guido witb 
features diBtortcd with rage and scora. This is not a very amiable ot 
edifying spectacle. 

There are persons who cannot raoke (rieods. Who are they? 
Those who cannot be friends. It is not the want of understandiiiE 
or good-nature, of ectrnaining or useful qualities, that you complais 
of: <in the contrary, they have probably many points trf attntciioa; 
but they have one that neutralises all these — ihey care ncdung about 
you, and are neither the better nor worse for what yon think ofxhem. 
They manifest no joy at your approach ; and when you leave them, it 
is with a feeling that they can do jujt as well without you. Thia u 
not solleoneHfl, nor indinerence, nor absence of mind ; but they arr 
intent solely on their own thought*, and you are merely one of the 
subjects they exercise them upon. They live in society as in a 
solitude; and, however their brain works, their pulse beats nettber 
faster nor slower for the comnioa accidents of Ufe. There it, 
therefore, something cold and repulsive in the air that is about them 
— like that of marble. In a word, they are modern phUot^thert : aod 
the modern philosopher is what the pedant was of old — a beiog who 
lives in a world of his own, and has no correspondence with this. It 
is not that such persons have not done you services— you ackoowlrdgf 
it ; it is not that they have said severe things of you^ — you submit to 
it as a neccKsary evil: but it is the cool manner in which the wbolc 

180 



1 



ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



I 



I 
I 



ti done tKat annoys you — ihc ipecuUtiag upoo you, u if you were 
nobody — the regarding you, wilh a riew to experiment in corfore viS — 
the principle of ditiection — the determination to ipare do blemishei 
— to cut you down to your real standard ; — in short, the utter abaence 
of the partiality of friendship, the blind enthusiasm of afFeciioo^ or the 
delicacy of common decency, that whether they ' hew you as a carcase 
fit for houndif or carve you as a dish fit for the gods,' the operation 
on your feelings and your sense of obligation is just the same; and, 
whether they are demons or angeU in themReWeB, you wish them 
cqoally at the Jtwl ! 

Other persons of worth and seose give way to mere riolence of 
temperament (with which the undersunding has nothing to do) — are 
barm up with a perpetual fury — repel »nd throw you to a distance by 
their rertless, whirling motion — bo that you dare not go near them» or 
feel as uneasy in their company ai if you stood on the edge ofa 
rolcaoo. They have tlieir lemfora moffia fanJi ; but then what a stir 
may you not expect the next moment • Nothing is less inviting or 
lets comfortable than this state of uncertainty and apprehension. 
Then there are those who never Approach you without the most 
alarming advice or ioformaiioQ, telling you thstt you are in a dying 
way, or that your affairs are on the point of ruin, by way of dis< 
burtheniog their consciences ; and others, who give you to understand 
much the Earae thing as a good joke, out of sheet impertinence, 
constitutional vivacity, aitd want of something to say. All these, it 
mu8t be confciised, are disagreeable people ; and you repy their over- 
anxiety or total furgetfulnew of you, by a determination to cut them 
as speedily as possible. We meet with in>tance« of perMnu who 
overpower you by a sort of boisterous minh and rude animal spirits, 
with whose ordinary sute of excitement it ii as impossible to keep up 
as with that of any one really intoxicated ; and with othera who seem 
■carce alive — who take i»o pleasure or interest in any thing — who are 
bom to exemplify the maxim, 

' Not to admire !i all the art I know 
To make men happy, or to keep them so/ — 

and whose mawkish tnsennbility or sullen scorn are cqtially aniwying. 
In gctteral, all peopk- brought up in remote country places, where life 
is crude and harsh — all sectaries — all partisans of a losing cause, are 
discontented and disagreeable. Commend me ahove all to the 
Wettmincter School of Reform, whose blood runs as cold In their 
veins aa the torpedo's, and whose touch Jari like it. Catholics are, 
npon the whole, more amiable than Protestants — foreigners than 
Hajlisb pe<^c. Among oarselves, the Scotch, as a nation, are 

i8i 



ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



particularly disagreeable. Th«y hate erery appcannce of cc 
themtelvcBi and refuse it to others. Tlieir climate, their rebgioot 
and their habitt are equally averK to pleaiure. Their ouQnen an 
cither dititnguiHhed by a fawniog sycophancy (to gain tkcit owd cndi, 
and conceal their natural defects), that nukes ooe «ic)t; or by i 
morose unbending callousness, that makes one shudder. I had 
forgot to mention two other descripdoDs of pcraoni who £dl oodn 
the scope of this essay : — those who uke up a subject, and nm on 
with it interminably, without knowing whether their hearers care ont 
word about it, or in the least minding what receptioo their ontoiy 
mecu with — these arc pretty generally voted hrrt (mostly Genna 
ones); — and otheri, who may be designated as practical paradox- 
moDgers — who discird the ' mitk of human kindness,' and an attencioB 
to common observances, from all their actions, as effeminate and 
puling — who wear a white hat as a mark of superior underktaodtig, 
and carry home a h^odltcrchief-full of masbrooms in the top of itai 
an original discoTcry — who give you craw>fiah for supper instead of 
lobaters; seek their company in a garret, and over a ^o-botlJe, 
to avoid the imputation of affecting genteel society ; and diicud 
them after a term of years, and warn others against tbentt as bciqg 
ionen /ei&fvjf which is thought a vulgar prejudice. This is carryiia 
the harsh and repuliire even beyond Uie disagreeable — to the batem. 
Such persons are generally people of common-place understandmgt, 
obtijsc feelings, and inordinate viinity. They are formidable if they 
get you in their power — otherwise, they are only to be laughed at. 

There are a rast number who are disagreeable from meanness of 
spirit, from downright ii]«otence, from slovenliness of dress or di^usting 
trickE, from folly or ignorance : but these causes are positive moral Of 
physical defects, and I only meant to speak of that repulsiveneu uT 
manners which arises from want of uct and ajrmpathy with othen. 
So far of friendship : a word, if I durst, of love. Gallaotry to 
women (the sure ruad to their favour) is nothing but the appearanoe 
of extreme devotion to all their wants and wishes — a delight io tbcir 
satisfaction, and a confidence in yourself, as being able to contribute 
towards it. The slightest indifference with regard to them, or 
distrust of yourself, are equally fatal. The amiable is the voluptuous 
in looks, manner, or words. No face that exhibits this kind of 
expression — whether lively or serious, obvious or suppressed, will be 
thought ugly — no address, awkward — 'Oo lover who apprDaches every 
woman he meets as his mistress, will be uniuccessfut. Diffidence ud 
awkwardness are the two antidotes to love. 

To please universally, we must be pleased with ourselves and others. 
There should be a tiage of the coxcomb, an oil of self-complaoesc] 

i8a 




ON DISAGREEABLE PEOPLE 



I 

I 

\ 



t 



I 



an aaucipuioD of lucccss— Uiere should be no gloonit no raorowoess 
no ihyneM — -in ihon, there thould be very little of an Engltshnuo, 
and a good deal of a Frcochman, But though, I believe, this is the 
receipt, ve are none the nearer making u*e of it. It is impoiuble 
for those who are aacorally dteagtccablc ever to become otherwise. 
This is ■ome contolatioo, as it roay sare a world of useless pains and 
anxiety. ^Desire lo pleaie, aaJ you vifil/ infalfthly pltatty ia a true 
m»xim ; but it does not follow that it it in the power of all to practive 
it. A Tain man, who tfainlct he it endeavouring to pleaae, ia only 
eodearouring to shine, and is still farther from the mark. An 
irritable man, who puts a check upon himself, only grows dull, and 
loses spirit to be any thing. Cfood temper and a happy spirit 
(which arc the indispensable requisites) can no more be commanded 
than good healili or good looks ; and though the plain and sickly 
need not distort their features, and may abstain from lucceni, this is all 
they can do. The utmMt a disagreeable person can do is to hope to 
be lesB disagreeable than with care and study he might become, and 
to past unnoticed in society. With this negative character he should 
be contented, and may build his fame and bapfnness on other things. 

I will conclude with a character of men who neither please nor 
aspire to please anybody, and who can come in nowhere so properly 
as at the fag-end of an essay: — I mean that class of discontenied but 
amusing persons, who are infatuated with their own ill tuccesa, and 
reduced to despair by a lucky turn in their favour. While all goes 
well, they arc hkt fjih out of vtattr. They have no reliance on or 
sympathy with thirtr good fortune, and look upon it as a momentary 
delusion. Let a doubt be thrown on the question, and they begin to 
be full of lively apprehensions again : let all their hopes vanish, and 
they feet themselves on firm ground once more. From want of spirit 
or of habit, their imagitvations cannot riie above the low ground of 
humility — cannot reflect the gay, flaunting tines of the fancy — Dag 
and droop into despondency — and can neither indulge the expectation, 
nor employ the means of nicccss. Even when it is within their reach, 
they dare not lay hands upon it ; and shrink from unlooked-for bursts 
of prtMperity, as •omething of which they are both ashamed and 
uawonhy. The class of croaierj here spoken of are less delighted at 
other people's misfortunes than their own. Their neighbour* may 
have some pretensions — they have none. Querulous complaints and 
anticipations of discomfort are the food on which they live ; and they 
St last acquire i passion for that which Is the favourite theme of their 
thoughts, and can no more do without it than without the pinch of 
•nw^with which they season their conversation, and eoliven the 
paoaes of their daily prognostics. 

183 



INMEANS AND ENDS 



ON MEANS AND ENDS 



Tit Mmafy M^gsmint.] 



[Stpumitr, iti;. 



* Wc work by wit, iml nol by witchef«n.' — Ltco. 

It U im|MSnbIe to have tbioge dooe without doing them, inui 
•eeniB a truism ; and yet what is more common thao to tomow dm 
we ihall frnd tbiogt done, merely by wishing it i To fiut toe mB Jtt 
the dttd is aft uaual in practice as it is contrary to comatoo sciim. 
There is, in fact, do absurdity, no contradiction, of which the mifid 
is not capable. This weakness is, I think, more remarkable is the 
Hnglifih than lo any other people, in whom (to judge by what I dis- 
cover io myself) the will bears great and disproportioned sway. We 
desire a thing: we contemplate the end intently, and think it done, 
neglecting the necessary means to accomptith it. The suoog tendency 
of the mind towards it, tlie internal etfort it makes to give birth to the 
object of iu idolatry, seems an adequate cause to produce the wiibed- 
for effect, and is in a manner identified with it. This is more par- 
ticularly the case in what rclaira to the Ftnt ArU, and wilt accooOt 
for tome phenomena in the national character. 

The Cngtish style is diBtinguithed by what are called ibauebet ' — rude 
sketches, or triolent attempts at effect, with a total inattcotioD to tbe 
deuils or delicacy uf (intsbing. Now this, I apprehend, proceeds BOt 
exactly from groisnesa of perception, but from the wilfulness of ottf 
characters, our determination to have every thing our own way widunl 
any trouble, or delay, or distraction of mind. An object etrtkct u: 
we see and feel the whole effect at once. We wish to produce a like- 
ness of it ; but we wish to transfer the impression to the canras is it il 
conveyed to us, simultaneously and intuitively— that is, to stamp b thoc 
at a blow — or, otherwise, we turn away with impatience and disgust, 
as if the means were an obstacle to the end, and every attention to the 
mechanical process were a deviation from our original purpose. We 
thus degenerate, by repeated failures, into a slovenly style of ait; and 
that which was at lirct an undisciplined and irregular impulse, bccooxs 
a habit, and then a theory. It Beems a little Rtrange that the z«tloas 
devotion to the end should produce avcr&ioD to the means ; but so ii 
is : neither is it, however irrational, altogether unnatural. That which 
we are struck with, which we arc enamotired of, is the general appear- 
ance or result ; and it would certainly be moat desirable to prciduce 
the effect we aim at by a word or wish, if it were pos«blc, witbon 

• Piopf rljr, lisi^*. 
184 



ON MEANS AND ENDS 



I 



> 



» 



bring taken up with the mechanical drudgery ui pirttmess ofUFUil, or 
dexterity of executioD, which, though they are essential and com- 
ponent parts of the work, do not enler Sato our thoughts, or form aoy 
part of our contemplation. In a word, the hand doe* not keep pace 
with the eye; aod it i« the desire that it ahoold, tbit caueea all the 
coatradictioo and coafinion. We would hare a face to start out from 
the canvas at ooce — not feature by feature, or touch by touch ; we 
would be glad to conrey an attitude or a divine exprenion to the 
■peccator by a stroke of the pencil, ai it is conveyed by a glaiKC of 
the eye, or by the magic of feeling, independently of nieasurenients, 
and dicunces, and foreshortening, and numberless minute particulars^ 
and all the instrumentality of the an. We may find it necessary, on 
a cool calculation, to go through and make ourselves masters of these ; 
but, in so doing, we submit only to necessity, and they are still a 
diversion to, and a suapenuun of, our favourite purpose for the time — 
at least unless nracticc has given that facility which almost identifiet 
the two together, and makes the process an unconscious ooe. The 
end thus devours up the means ; or our e.igemesB for the one, where 
h is itrong and unchecked, reixleri us in proportioQ impatieot of the 
other. So we view an object at a distance, which excttea in us an 
tQcUnatioo to visit it : this, after many tedious steps and intricate 
windings, we do ; but, if we could 0y, we should never consent to go 
on foot. The mind, however, has wings, though the body has not ; 
and, wherever the imagination can come into pUy, our desires outrun 
their accompli«hment. Persons of this extravagant humour should 
addict themselves to eloquence or poetry, where &e thought 'leaps at 
once to its effect,' and is wafted, in a metaphor or an apOBtrophe, 
* from Indus to the Pole; ' though even there we should find enough, 
in the preparatory and mechanical parts of those arts, to try our 
patience and mortify our vanity ! The first and strongest impulse of 
the mind is to achieve any object, on which it is set, at ooce, and by 
the shortest and most decisive menns; but, as this cannot always be 
done, we ought not to neglect other more indirect and tubardinate 
aids; nor should we be tempted to do so, but that the delusions of 
the will interfere with the convictions of the understanding, and what 
we ardently wish, we fancy to be both possible and true. Let us 
take the instance of copying a fine picture. We are full of the effect 
we intend to produce; and so powerfully does this prepossession 
■fleet OR, that we imagine we have produced it, in aptte of the evidence 
of our KttMa and the suggestions of friends. In truth, after a number 
of violent and anxious efforts to strike off a rc»emblance which we 
passionately long for, it seems an tnJDstice not to have succeeded ; it 
too late to retrace our steps, and begin over again in a different 

18; 




ON MEANS AND ENDS 



method I we prefer even failure to vriTing at our rod by 
nwchantcal tricks and rules ; we hare copied Ttiian or Rtibesi in ifae' 
spirit in which they ought to be copied ; though the UIlccwm najr oot 
be perfect, tlicre is a look, a tooc, a jamething, which we chiefly utaed 
at, and which we persuade ourtelvet, seeing the copy only thio^ii 
tlie dazzled, hectic flush of fererish imaginatioo, ve hare toUt 
giren ; and thus we pemist, and make fifty excuses, woner than ovt 
our error, which wotJd imply iu abandonmeot ; or, if the light bftiki 
in upon us, through all the disguises of sophistry and setf-lovr, it ii u 
painful that wc shut our eyes to it. The more evident oor fiulatt, 
the more desperate the struggles we make to conceal it (rota ourselTn, 
to stick to our original determination, and end where we began. 

What makes itk think that this is the real ctumbling-block in our wiy, 
and not mere rusticity or want of discrimination, is that you wilt sec 
an English artitc admiring aad tlirowo into downright raptures by the 
tucker of Titian's Mijlm/t made up of an infinite number of iuik 
delicate folds ; and, if he attempts to copy it, he proceeds deltberatelt 
to omit all these details, and dash it off by a tingle ariiear of his bniih. 
Thic is not ignorance, or even laziness, I conceive, so much as what 
is called jump'aig at a concluiion. It Is, in a word, an overwecuDg 
presumption. 'A wilful man mu3i have his way,' He sees the 
details, the raricties, and their effect : he sees and is charmed viiib 
all this ; but he would reproduce it with the same rapidity and uaeni- 
barrasKd freedom that he aect it — or not at all. He acorns the slow 
but Gure method, to which others conform, as tedious and inanimate 
The mixing his colours, the laying in the ground, the giving all hii 
auealion to a minute break or nice gradattoo io the aereral lights and 
shades, is a mechanical and endless operation, very ditfeient I'rom the 
delight he feels in studying the effect of all these, when properly aad 
ably executed. Quam nibi/ ad laum, Papaaane, ingenium .' Such 
fooleries are foreign to his refined uste aocl lofty enthusiasm ; aad s 
doubt crosses hii mind, in the midst of his warmest raptures, bo« 
Titian could resolve upon the drudgery of going through them, or 
whether it was not rather owing to extreme facility of band, and ■ 
sort of trick in laying on the colours, abridging the raechaDical lafaoor I 
No one wrote or talked more eloqucDtly about Titian's harmony and 
clearness of colouring than the late Mr. Barry— discoursing of his 
greens, his bluci, his yellows, 'the little red ioA white of which he 
composed his flesh -colour,* coa amort i yet hii own colouring wu 
dead and dingy, and, if he had copied a Titian, he would have made 
it a mere daub, leaving out all that caused hia wonder or admiratioot 
or that induced him to copy it after ihr F.nglish or Irish ratbioo. 
Wr not only grudge ihc labour of begimuDg. but we stop abort, fw 

1 86 




ON MEANS AND ENDS 



• 



I 

I 



I 



I 



le ftame reason, when wc are near touching tbc go^i of BucceBs, and, 
10 save a few last toucheii, leave a work uofintihcd and an object 
uQattaioed. Tfae immedme steps, the daily gr^ual improremeot, 
the luccescivc completion of parts, give us no pleasure ; we strain at 
the fioiJ result ; we wish to have the whole done, and, in our anxiety 
to get it ofT our hands, tay U wUi Jot and lose the benefit of all our 
pai[» by Hinting a Htdc more, aod being unable to command a Jiitlc 
patience. In a day or two, we will suppose, a copy of a Sue Titian 
would be as like as we could make it : the prospect of this so enchants 
us, that we skip the intervening space, se« no great ute in going on 
with it, fancy that we may spoil it, and, in order to put an end to the 
qocicion, take it home with us, where wc immediately lec our error, 
aod spend the rest of our lives in regretting that we did not (Ini&h it 
properly when wc were about it. We can execute only a part ; wc 
wc the whole of tvature or of a picture at once. Nine ilU larbrymtt. 
The English grasp at this whole — nothing less interests or contents 
them ; and, in aiming at too much, they mita their object altogether. 
A French artist, on the contrary, has none of this uneasy, anxious 
feeling — of this desire to master the whole of his subject, and antici- 
patr his good fonune at a blow — of this majjtng and coacentrating 
principle. He takes the thing more easy and rationally. He has 
none of the menul qualms, the oervous agitation, the wild, desperate 
plunges and conTulsive throes of the English antst. He does not set 
olT headlong without knowing where he is going, and find himself up 
to the neck in all aorta of difHcullies and absurdities, from impatience 
to begin and have the matter off his mind (as if it were an evil con> 
science) ; but lakes time to conuider, arranges his plans, gets in his 
outline and hia distances, and Uyx a foundation before he .ittempcs a 
uiperstructwe which he may have to pull in pieces again, or let it 
remain — a monument of his folly. He looti before he leaps^ which is 
contrary to the true blindfold English rule ; and I should think t!ut 
we bad invented this provrFh from seeing so many fatal examples of 
the violation of it. Suppose be undertakes to make 3 copy of a 
picture : he first looks at it, and sees what it is. He does not make 
his sketch all black or all white, because one pare of it is so, and 
because be cannot alter an idea he has once got into his head aod 
must always run into extremes, but varies his tints (strange as it may 
seem] from green to red, from orange-tawoey to yellow, from grey 
to brown, according as they vary In the original. He scee no incon- 
sistency, no forfeiture of a principle, in this (any more than Mr. 
Southey in (he change of ibe colours of his coat), but a great deal of 
right reason, and indeed an ahsoltatc necessity for it, if he wishes to 
succeed in what he Is about. This is the last thing in sm Eogliahman's 

187 




ON MEANS AND ENDS 



thoughts : he only withes to havr hu own w^, ihn^h k i 
defeat and ruin — itrivct hard to do what he b KmMe he cbmi 
—or, if he finds he cin, gives over and leavr* the aHner •ban «f t 
trhuBphaDt conclu>ioa, which ii too flsneriog an idea for his K 
iikdittge io. The French artist proceedt with due <feBienliao» lai 
bit by bit. He taket tome one part — a hand, an eye* a piecr d 
drapery, an object ia the background — and finiahea it careftilly ; iha 
aoothrr, and ao oo to the end. When he has gooc throagb rmj 
ptrt, bit pictorc ii done : there U nothing more that he can add to a-. 
it ia a numerical calculation, and there are only ao maa^ iieina ta tAr 
account. An Engliahtnan may go on tlMaimg hia over for ife 
hundredth time, .iiid be no nearer than when he began. As he tiia 
to fioiih the whole at once, aod as this is not potsible, be ahu^ 
leavei his work io an imperfect Ntate, or a> if he had begun oo a on 
caoTii — 'likr a man who in determined to leap to the top of « towtr, 
initead of scaling it step by step, and who ta oeceasarily thrown oa 
his hack every time he repeat* the experiment. Again, the Fmcfc 
student does not, from a childish impatience, when he is near the nd, 
destroy the efiect of the whole, by leaving tome one part emtaatij 
deficient, an eye-sore to the rest ; nor does he fly from what he ii 
about, to any thing else that happens to catch hti eye, neglecting the 
one and spoiling the other. He ii, io our old poet's phrase, *ooo- 
strained by mastery,' by the mastery of common sense nnd pkasunblc 
feeling. He is in no hurry to ^ to the end ; for he has a satit&e- 
tion in the work, and louchei and retouches perhaps i single beai 
day after day and week after week, without repining, uneaatncss, U 
apparent progress. The very lightness and buoyancy of hia feeliat 
renders him (where the necessity of this is pointed out) paiieot aod 
laborious. An Englishman, whatever he undertakes, is as if he wis 
carrying a heavy toad that oppresK* both his body and mind, aad 
that he is anxious to throw down at soon at possible. The Freoch- 
mao'a hopes and fears are not excited to a pitch of intolerable agoof. 
ao that be is compelled, tn mere compaisioa to himself, to bring the 
queation to a spc«dy issue, even to the loss of bis object. He is 
nlm, easy, cotiected, and takes his time and improves bis adns- 
tages as they occur, with vigilance and alacrity. Pleased with 
himself, he u pleased with whatever occupies his attention neatly 
alike. He is never taken at a disadvantage. Whether he paiaU 
an angel or a joint-stool, it is much the same to him : whether it ii 
landscape or history, still it is he who paints it. Nothing putt hjm 
out of his way, for nothing puu him oat of conceit with himself. 
This self complacency Ibrmi ao admirable groundwork for roodera- 
tiun snd docility in certain particuian, though not in others. 
1»8 




ON MEANS AND ENDS 

remember an abnurd insuncc rtuiugh uf thU drlibcratc mode 

[of eming to work in a young French artift, who was copying the 

itiaa'a Mutren in the Louvre, some twenty years ago. After 

ig in bis chalk -outlioe, one would thick he might have been 

Utrscted to the face — that heaven of beauty (ai it appears to aomc), 

iear, tranaparent, open, breathiog frcshneiii, that *makei a guiuhiiK 

~ the shady place ; or to the lustre of the golden hair t or aonw 

of the poetry of the picture (for, with all its materialtcy, thii 

pictore has a poetry about it) : instead of which he began to finish 

. tqoare he had marked out in the right-hand corner of the picture, 

3tDg a piece of board and a bottle of some kind of ointment. 

le Kt to work like a cabinet-maker or an engrarer, and appeared to 

have no sympathy with the soul of the picture. On a Frenchman 

(gefwrally speaking), the distinction between the great and the little, 

the exquisite and the indifferent, is in a greiit measure lost : hia self* 

utisfied egotism snpplirs whatever is wanting up to a certain point, 

and neutralize!! whatever goe« beyond it. Anotlier young man, at 

hbe time I speak of, was for eleven weeks daily employed in making 

4 black-lead pencil drawing of a nmall Leonardo: he sat with his 

legs balanced across a rail to do it, kept his hat on, every now and then 

coosulted with hit friends about his progress, rose up, went to the fire 

to warm himself, talked of the styles of the ditferent masters — praising 

^Iciao few /?/ co/orit, Raphael fioar rexbrttiion, Poussin pour la torn- 

^ ws fl 'm — all being alike to him, provided they had each something to 

Dclp him on in his harangue (for that was all he thought about), — and 

then returned \.Q ptrfettionaie (as he called it) his copy. This would 

drive an Englishman out of his senaeK, supposing him to be ever so 

nupid. The pereeveraoce and the imerruptions, the labour without 

impulae, the attention to the parts in luccrssion, and disregard of the 

whole together, are to him utterly incomprehensible. He wants to 

Jo something striking, and bends all his thoughts and energies to one 

mighty effort. A Frenchman has no notion of this summary 

proceeding, exist* mostly in his present sensations, and, if he is left 

at liberty to enjoy or trifle with these, carrs about nothing farther, 

looking neither backwards nor forwards. They forgot the reign of 

trror under Robespierre in a month ; they forgot that they had ever 

called the ^f at nation under Buonaparte in a week. They lat 

chairs on the Boulevards (just as they do at other times), when 

it shots were firing into the next street, and were only persuaded to 

'^inttfaem when their own soldiers were seen pouring down all the 

aventiee from the heights of Montmarire, crying ' Sauve qui pan I ' 

They then went home and dressed themselves to see the y^lliet enter 

Par ts, as a fioe sight, just as they would witness a procession at a 

«89 



ON MEANS AND ENDS 



theatre. This is carrying the instinct of lemy as far ai it will go. 
With all their lifeaation and want of sincerity, there is. oo tbc 
principle here sUted, a kind oreimplicity and nature about them aha 
all. They lend theTtisetvea to the impressioa of the moment villi 
good humour and good will, making it not much beuei nor irane 
than it ts: the English constantly orcr-do or ander-do crery thiag, 
and are either mad with emhusiasm or in despair. The exvent 
■lowoess and regularity of the Freocb school havt then arisen, si ■ 
natural congequencc, out of their rery 6ckleoess and frirolity (tbdi 
severally 8uj)[ioi>«d national characteristics) i for, owing to the laM, 
their studious c-xaccness cosu them nothing ; and, again, they ha*e 
no headstrong impulses or ardent longing* that urge them oo to the 
violation of rules, or hurry them away with a subject or with ttie 
interest belonging to it. All ia foreseen and settled before-hand, so u 
to assist the fluttering and feeble bold they have of things. Whes 
they venture beyortd the literal and forntal, and (mistaking pedantry 
and bombast for genius) attempt the grand and the inipresairc style, 
as in David's and Girodet's pictures, the Lord deliver as from 
sublimity engrafted on insipidity and petit-maUrt^m ! Yoa see a 
solitary French artist in the Louvre copying a Raphael or a Rubeot, 
standing on one leg, not quite sure of what he is about : you see then 
collected in groujKs about David's, elbowing each other, thtokisg 
them even finer than Raphael, more truly themselves, a more pcHen 
combination of all that can be taught by the Greek, sculptor and the 
French posture, ma iter ! Is this patriotism, or wast of tane ? If the 
former, it is excuuble, and why not, if the latter? 

EvrD should a French artist fail, he is not discnncened.«diere 
ia something else be excels in : * for one unkind and cruel fair, 
another still consoles liim.' He studies in a more graceful poftve, 
or pays greater attention to bis dress; or he has a friend, who hit 
teaucouft du lulenl, and conceit enough for them both. His srlMon 
has always a salro, and comes upon its legs again, like a cat at 
a monkey. Not so with Bruio the Bear. If an Englisfamu 
(God help the mark!) fails in one thing, it is all over with bim; 
he is enraged at the mention of any thing else he can do, and ii 
every coasolation offered him on that score ; he banishes all other 
thoughts, but of his diaappointmeot and discomfiture, fnnn hti 
breast — neither eats nor sleeps (it is well if he does not swallow 
down double ' poiations, pottle.deep,' to drown remembrance ) — will 
not own, even to himself, any other thing in which he takes an in> 
tcrest or feels .1 pride ; and is in the horrors till be recovers his gooJ 
opinion of himself in the only point on which he now sett a value, 
and for which hia anxiety and diwrder of mind incapacitate him at 

190 



ON MEANS AND ENDS 



I 



efTcctiully as if he were drunk with strong )ic{uor initead of »pleen 
aod j>atf!tQn. 1 have here drawn the character of an Hnglbhtnan, I 
am sore; for it is a portrait of myself, aad, I am aorry to add, an 
iinexaggerzted oac. I inteod these HBuys as studies of humao 
nature; aod as, in the proB>ecQcioo of this design, 1 do not spare 
others, 1 ace no reasoo why I should spare myself. I lately tried to 
make i copy of a portrait by Titun (after sereral years' want of 
practice), with a view to give a frieni in Euglaod some notion of the 
picture, which is equally remarkable and fine. I failed, and floundered 
oa for some days, as might be expected. I must say the effect on rae 
was painful ami cxceuive. My sky was suddenly overcast. Every 
thiog seemed of the colour of the paints I used. Nature in my eyes 
became dark and gloomy. I had no sense or feeling left, but of the 
tmforeseen want of power, and of the tormenting struggle to do what 
I could not. I was ashamed crer to have written or spokeo oq art: 
it seemed a piece of vanity and affectation in me to do so — ail whose 
reasonings and refinements on the subject ended in an execrable daub. 
Why did I think of attempting sucn a thing without weighing the 
coDSCfjuences of expt»8tng my preiumpuoD aod incapacity so un- 
oecessarity ? It was blotting from my mind, covering with a thick 
veil all that I remembered of these pictures formerly — my hopes when 
young, my regrets since, one of the few consolations of nay life and 
of my declining years. I was even afraid to walk out of an evening 
by the barrier of Neuilly, or to recal the yearnings and associacions 
that once hung upon the brattnga of my heart. AJI was turned to 
bitterness and gall. To feel any thing but the consciousness of my 
own helplessness and folly, appeared a want of sincerity, a mockery, 
aod an insult to my mortified pride ! The only relief I had was in 
the excess of pain I felt : this was at least some distinction. I waa 
not insensible on that Mdc. No French artist, I thought, would 
regret not copying a Titian so much as I did, nor so fu shew the 
same value for it, however he might have the advantage of me in 
drawing or mechanical dexterity. Besides, I had copied this very 
picture very well formerly. If ever I got out of my present scrape, 
I bad at any rate received a lesson not lo run the same risk of vexa- 
tion, or commit myself gratuitously again upon any occasion whatever. 
Oh ! happy ought they to be, I said, who can do any thing, when I 
feel the misery, the agony, the dull, gnawing pain of being unable to 
do what I wish in this single instance! When I copied this picture 
before, I had no other resource, no other language. My tongue 
then stuck to the roof of my mouth : now it is unjocked, and I have 
done what I then despaired of doing in another way. Ought I not 
to be grateful and contented i Oh, yes ! — aod think how many there 

(91 



ON MEANS AND ENDS 

«e sbo have aadu^y to wlucb tber can mm tbcnudTCf, and UA ■ 
every object tbey —dertite. Wdl, tbea, Z^/ ^mt/ it lygmmi {u 
ikr Scotch ffp wri i bm it) t gtrT op ihr anrmpi, 2nd think 00 mocc 
vCrkmm, or of ifcc poruit o? 1 Mao m bljck ia the Lounc. Tbii 
woald be ftrj wwS fat say one cUc ; but for me, who had orati; 
exlMHied dw wbjcct oa paper* thai I tbodd uke it iato toy head to 
plMCaGbel«f wlwtl hw coiiifOMd ao aaaj utd nich fine puMgyria 
■poo — k waa a fstalhj* a JKlgomu vpoo me for my vapoartog wd 
coooeiL. I BBA be ai ahy of tbe lobject for the liittue as a dunicd 
aacbor uof tbetitleof Imphjor thcDur.' ofbia hero ever after. Yet 
the pktBTC «o«ld look the nioe u ever. I ooold bartUy bear to 
tUok n : it woald be hod tx de&ced to me aa ■ in a phaaca«nia or a 
bideoat dreaa.' I ■me tarn my thoughts from it, or thejr mold 
ind to madocaa ! Tbe copy went 00 better afterwards, and the adair 
coded )em ir^ically thaa I apprehended. [ did not cm a bole to 
ibr caovaSy or ooaunit any other extraragance : it a dow banj>tDg op 
wj ijoietly Btdmg me j aod I have considerable Kaiasfactxn in 
orcamooally looki^ ai it* aa I wmc this paiagraph. 

Sadi arc the ag oaae a ialo which we throw ouraelTcs about trifle* — our 
rife and dtnpporacaem ai vaot of ncocm in any faTourite pumtii, 
aod, oar oej^cct oTtW meaaa to coave it. A FreDchman, noder tkc 
peaahy of lulf the chagrin at Culure, woald uke juat twice tbe paim 
aad ooondcratioa to irud it : bai oar morbid eagerncii and bluadrfiog 
i w pwa o ii ty, togetfaer with a certain nmcrrttmejt of tmaginatioa wbich 
prmmi otir diriding any operation into (tepi aitd lugea, defeat the 
very end wc ban io view. The woru of these wilful mischirf* of 
ovr own makiog ict that tbcy admit of do relief or intermiuioa. 
Natoral cabmicie* or great gncft, as we do not brbg tbem npoa 
onri^e*, K> they hod a leaaoriable re«pite 10 tears or retigoazicnii 
or in loiDe aJleriadng couratt or reflection : but pride acornt all 
alliance with oataral frailty or ioduIgeDce ; our wilfal purpoaes regard 
every retaxadoo or moment's case as a comproroiie of their very 
easence, which contisu in violence and e0brt : they turn away froai 
whatever might atford divTrsion or solace, and goad ns 00 to exeitioDi 
as painful as they are uoaraiUble, and with do other companion than 
remorae, — the most intolerable of all inmate* of the breast; for it it 
coDsuntly urging us to retricre oar peace of mind by an impoadbtliiy 
— the undoing of what 11 past. One of the chief tnut« of st^tUmity ia 
Milton's character of Satan is this dreadful display of iiareleotiQj 
pride and self-will — the letue of suffering joined with the ttoat « 
power and * courage nerer to submit or yield '^^aod tbe agpaeadoo 
of the original porpOM of lofty ambition and opposition to die 
Almighty, with the total overthrow aod signal punuhment, — vrhu:h 
I9> 




ON MEANS AND ENDS 



I 
I 



I 



ought to Be reasons for ltd relinquishment. ' Hib thoughts burn like 
a hell witbio him ! ' but he giTCi them *oeither truce nor re«t,' 2od 
will not CTCo sue for mercy. This Iclad ot sublimity mu&t hr thrown 
away upon the French critic, who would only think Satan a rery 
ridiculou* old gcntlenun for adhering so obstinately to his original 
preiensiona, and not making the moRt of ctrcumatances, and giving in 
his revignaiion to the ruling party ! When Buonaparte fell, an 
English editor (of virutrnt memory) exhausted a great number of the 
fmnt pasMgw to Paradhe Lut^ in applying them to hit ill-fated 
ambition. This was an equal cotnplimeni to the poet and the con- 
queror : to the last, for having realized a conception o/ himself io the 
mind of hi* cnemic« on a par with the most stupendou* creationi of 
imagination ; to the first, for haring entbodicd in fiction what bore so 
suoog a rt«emblancc to, and was con«ant!y broughi to mind by, the 
fearfol and imputing reality ! But to return tu our lubjcct. 

Tt is the same with us in love and literature. An Englishman 
mattes love without thinking of the chances of success, his own disad- 
vantage!!, or the character of his mistress — th.it is, without the adapta< 
tion of means to ends, coiuultiog only hii own humour or faDcy \ ' and 
he writrc a book of history or trarels, without acquainting himself with 
geography,or appealing to documents or dates ; substituting his own will 
or opinion in the room of these technical helps or biudrances, at he 
connders them. It is not right. In business it is nm by any means 
the same ; which looks as if, where iatcreat was the moving principte, 
and acted aa a counterpoise to caprice and will, our headstrong pro- 
peoiity gave way, though it sometimes leads us into extravagant and 
ruinous speculations. Nor it it a disadvantage to us io war ; for there 
the s|)irii of contradiction does every thing, and an Lvnglishman will 
go to the devil sooner tlian yield to any odds. Courage is nothing 
but will, defying conaec|uence8i and this the English have in per- 
fectioD. Burns somewhere calls out lustily, inspired by rhyme and 
K/ qurbaughf — 

* Dr. Joknson ha* observed, ttut **tn>a| p»iion dtftrivet the lov^r of thsi 
csniKM of sddtcM, which it to fTcal > rcconiBKodition to dimI women.' I* then 
mAlfkrma or coldncM the turat pauport to the fefn<ic beari i A niiit who i« 
much in li>v« Kit not hit wit* prapcf ly aboai him i he can think only of her wboie 
insge ii cnpaven an hii heart -, he c«n talk only ftf her ; be cm only repeat the 
urae vowii, aad proietiationt, and eitpTettioat of rapture or lieipsir. He may, by 
ihi* meani, beeomc importnnate aoi* troublnomc — but lioet he deierve Io loie kit 
miatma for the only outc that (ivet him a title to her— the *ineerity of hii 
pataioa ? We may perhap* antwrr thit i^ucttiun by another — It a woman to accept 
of a midman, merely been uic he happen* to fall in love with hrrf 'The lunatic, 
the latm uid iht poet,' bi Shakipeate hat taid, * are oT ima|taattoa all compact,' 
tnd mnat. In raoM caiet, be conirnird with iTnaginniion sa iheir rcwsed. Retlitk* 
arc out of their reach, m\ well ti beneath thrir notiw. 

VOL. XII, : K 193 




ON MEANS AND ENDS 



' Set but 1 Sc«t*m»n on a hill ; 
Say such is tojrjil Grorge'i will. 

Anil thtrr » the foe :— 
Hi* only [hougbt i* how to kill 

Twi It a blow,* 

I apprrhrnd, with his ovn couotrymcD or ouri, all the lorr mi 
loyalty would come to little, but for Uidr hatred of tbc irmy oppowd 
to them. It is the resistance, *the two to kill at a blow,* that ii tk 
charm, atKl makes our Itngcrs'-ends tingle. The Greek cause tniLa 
no progress with us for this rraaoa : it is ooe of pure sympathy, be 
our sympathies must arise out of our antipathies ; thry were dctond 
to the Queen to tpitc the King. We had a wonderful atfcctkiti (a 
the Spaniards — the secret of which was that we detected the Fmch. 
Our love mutt begin with hate. It is so hr well that the Freticb in 
opposed to us in almost every w»y ; for the spirit of cootradictiai 
alone to foreign fopperies and absurdities keeps us within sonte hmatit 
of decency and order. When an English lady of quality tntrodaca 
a favourite by saying, ' This is his lordship s physician, and Of 
atheist,* the humour mi^ht become endemic ; but we can stop it t 
once by saying, * That is bo like a rrcochwoman! ' — The EogU 
excel in the practical and mechanic aru, where mere plodding sal 
industry are expected and required ; but tbey do not 
burinCM and pleastire well together. Thus, in the Fine Axta,< 
unite the mechanical with the sentimental, they will probably ontr 
succeed ; for the one spoils and diveru them from the other. Aa 
Englishman can auend but to one thing at a lime. He hates 
.u dinner. He can gt> through any labour or pain with prodi 
fortitude; but he canrot make a pleasure of it, or persuade hi 
he is doing a jinr thing, when he is not. Again, tbey aic 
original discoveries, which come upon them by surprise, and wbidi 
they leave to others to perfect. It is a <)aetdoa whether, if the; 
foresaw they were about to make the discovery, at the very point a 

f>rojcctton as it were, they would not turn their hacks upon it, asd 
cave it to shift for itself; or obstinately refuse to take the last Bep, 
or give up the pursuit, in mere dread and nervous apprehensioD lest 
they should not succeed. Poetry it alio their undeniable element; 
for the essence of poetry is will and pasuoo, 'and it alone is hlgbl; 
fantastical.' French poetry is vtrbiagt or dry detail, 

I have thus endeavoured to shew why it is the English fail as a people 
in the Fine Arts, because the idea of the end absorbs thai of th< 
means. Hogarth was an exception to this rule ; but then every suokc 
of bis pencil was inttlnci with genius. As it has been well said, tbtf 
'We read hit works,' »o it might be said he wrott there. Barry it U 
IV4 



ENDS 



lutaacc more to my purpose. No one could argue better about guilo 
in paiatiiig, unii yet du udt ever painted with less. His fucturet 
rwerc dry, coarse, and wanted all that lu> detcrtptiona of those of 
others indicate. For example, he speaks of 'the dull, dead, watery 
look ' of the Medoa't head of Leonardo, in a maoocr that conveys 
in abaolate idea of ibe character : had he copied it, you would nerer 
Hve niapected any thing of the kind. Hih pen grows almost watiioo 
in praiGC of Titian's aymph-like icgurca. What Jr<Uti he baa made 
of his own sea-nymphs, tloatiiig in the Thames, with Dr. Burney at 
Iheir head, with his wig on ! He i» like a person admiring tbt grace 
of an accomplished rope-dancer ; place him on the rope himself, and 
hi* head turns; — or he it like Luther's comparison of Reason to a 
drunken man on horseback — ' set him up on one side, and lie tumbles 
over an the other.' Why is this ? His mind was essentially ardent 
■od diKuriive, i>ot sensitive or obserraot ; and though the immediate 
object acted as a stimulus to his imaginatioct, it waa only as it does to 
lie poet's — that is, as a Hnk in the chain of aBsociation, as implying 
Hber itroDg feelings and ideas, and not for its intrinsic beauty or 
Ddividaal details. He had not the painter's eye, though he had the 
ainter's general knowledge. There is as great a diifereace in this 
rspect between our views of things as between the telescope and micro- 
Kope. People in general »ee objects only to di*tingui»h them in practice 
ind by name — to know that a hat is black, that a chair is not a table, 
that .lohn is oot -latiKs ; and there are painters, particularly of history 
it) liogtand, who look very little farther. They cannot finish any 
thing, or go over a head twice : the first nup-tCail is all they ever 
irrive at, nor can they refine on their impreiiioni, soften them down, 
or reduce them to their compoocot parts, without losing their spirit. 
The ioentablc result of this is grounesi, and also want of force and 
Rtlidity } for, tn reality, the parts cannot be separ;ited without injury 
rom the whole. Such people have no pleasure in the art as such : it 
U merely to astonish or to thrive that they follow tt ; or, if thrown 
pot of it by accident, they regret it only as a bankrupt tradesman does 
■ buiine«i which was a handsome subsistence to him. Barry did not 
live, like Titian, on the taste of colours (there was here, perhaps — 
lod I will not disguise it — in Knglish painters in general, a defect of 
Organic susceptibility} : they were not a ^t^lum to his tenses ; he did 
not hold green, blue, red, and yellow for 'the darlings of bis precious 
eye,' They did not, therefore, sink into his mind with all their 
hidden harmonies, nor nourish and enrich it with material beauty, 
though he knew enough of them to furnish hints for other ideas atid 
suggest topics of discourse. If he had had the most enchanting 
ijcct in nature before htm in bis painting-room at the Adelphi, he 

<9S 



ON MEANS A1 



would have turned from it, after a moment's burn of adminrioB, to 
talk of the (ubjcct of h» next compoiittOD, and to scrawl in wok an 
and vast design, illustiating a series of great rYents in history, «t 
tome vague moral theory. The art itaclf was Dotfaing to him, thoc^ 
be made it the stalking-horse to hit ambition and display of in^ 
lectual power in general ; and, therefore, he oeglected iu ecKRiiil 
qulitiea to daub in huge allegoriei, or carry oa cabaU with ibt 
Academy, in which the violence of hU will and the extent of Iw 
▼icwi found proper food aod icope. Ai a painter, he was tolerahb 
merely as adrsitsmnn, or in that part of the art which may be be* 
reduced to rules and precepts, or to positive me .inure ment». Tbert 
is neither colouring, nor expreuion, nor delicacy, nor »uiking elTec 
in his pictures at the Adelphi. The group of youths and horfet,B 
the repreKMacion of the Olympic Games, is the best pan of tbea, 



1 



and hat more of the grace and spirit of a Greek bas-relief than 
thing of the s.ime kind in the French school of painting. Barry 
all his life, a thorn in the side of Sir Joshua, who was irritated by 
temper and diacuncertcd by the powers of the man ; and who.coaiciMi 
of his own superiority in the exercise of bis profession, yet lodtc^ 
askance at Barry's loftier pretensioos and more gigantic scale of in 
But he had no more occasion to be really jealous of him than of u 
Irish porter or orator. It was like Imogen s mistaking the dead bodj 
of Cloien for her lord's — * the jovial thigh, the brawns of Hercules': 
the head, which would have detected the cheat, was missing! 

1 might have gone more into the subject of our appaieat n- 
difference to the pleasure of mere imiutioo, if I had had to run t 
parallel between English and Italian or even Flemish an ; but reailyt 
though I tind a great deal of what is finical, I find nothing of the 
pleasurable in the details of French more than of English art. Tbe 
Kngiiiih artist, it is an old and just complaint, can with dilBculty be 
prevailed upon to finish any part of a picture but the face, even if be 
does that any tolerable justice : tJie French artist bestows equal and 
elaborate pains on every part of his picture — the dress, the carpel, 
&c. ; and il has been objected to the latter method, that it has the 
cfiect of m.iking the face look unfinished ; for as this is variable aod 
in molioa, it can never admit of the same minuteness of imitadoo is 
objects of iti/J A/r, and must suffer ia the comparison, if these bivc 
the utmost p03^«ible degree of attention bestowed on them, and do not 
fall into their relative place in the composition from their natural 
insignificance. Bat docs not this distinction shew generally that the 
English have no pleasure in art, unless there is an additional interest 
beyond what is borrowed from the eye, aod that the French havethr 
same pleasure in it, provided the mechanical operation is the same — 

196 



ON MEANS AND ENDS 



liVe ihe fly ihai sntlet equally on the face or dress, and rung orer the 
whole rarfacc with the same lightness and indifTcfcoce ? The collar 
of a coat ii out of drawing ; this may be and ia wrong. But I can- 
ttot ay that it givM me the same ditturhaace as if the note was awry, 
A Frrnchnuin think* that both are equally out of drawing, and seta 
about correcting them both with equal gravity and pcrKverance. A 
part of the back-^rouiKl of a picture is left in an unlir.ishrd state: ihii 
ii a aad eye-«>rc to the Freoch artist or connoisseur. We Fnglish 
care little about it: if the head aod character are well given, we pats 
it orer as of small consequence ; and if they are failures, it is of even 
lest. A Freoch paioter, after having made you look like a baboon, 
would go on finishing the cravat or the bucrons of your coat with all 
the nicety of a man milliner or button-maker, and the moat perfe« 
aatitfaction with himself and his art. This with us would be quite 
imponible. 'They are careful after many ihingt: with us, there is 
one thing needful ' — which is effect. We certainly throw our im- 
pressions more Into masses (they are not taken off by pattern, every 
part alike): there may be a ilowneif and repugnance at first; but, 
aJtCTwards, there is an impulse, a monvntum acquired — one interest 
absorbing and being strengthened by several others ; and if we gain 
our principal object, wc can overtook the real, or at least c:inQ0t find 
time to attend to them till we have secured thie. Wc have notliing 
of the ptlil-matirt^ of the martinet style about ui : we run into the 
opposite fault. If we had time, if we had power, there could be no 
objection to giving every part with the utmost perfection, as it is given 
in a looking-gUss. Rut if we hare only a month to do a portrait in, 
is it not better to give three weeks to the face ai»d one to the dress, 
ihao ooe week to the face and three to the dresa. How often do 
we look at the face compared to the drew ? * On a good foundation,* 
says Sancho Paoza, 'a good house may be built ' ; to a good picture 
should hare a good hack-ground, and be finished in every part. It is 
entitled to this mark of respect, which it like providing a frame for 
it, and banging it in a good light. I can easily understand how 
Rubens or Vandyke finished the back grounds and drapery o( their 
pictnret : — they were worth the trouble ; and, besides, it cost them 
nothing. It was to them no more than blowing a bubble in the ait. 
One would no doubt have every thing right — a feather in a cap, or a 
plant in the fore-ground — if a thought or a touch would do it. But 
to labour on for ever, and labour to no purpose, it beyond mortal or 
Engliih patience. Ooi clumsiness is one cause of our ncgligCDCe. 
Depend upon it, people do with readiness what they can do well, I 
rather wonder, therefore, that Raphael took such pains in finishing 
his draperies aiwl back-grouods, wtucb he did so indiffemtly. The 

»97 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

«x{>r«tsioD is tilcc an emanation of the soul, or Ukc a lamp 
wilhin ami illuminating the whole face and body ; and every pai^ 
charged with so »acred a tnist ai the conveying of this expreitioB 
[even to the hands and feet), would be wrought up to the higbea 
perfection. But hii inanimate ohjecu musi have cost him toor 
trouble ; and yet he laboured ihem too. In what he cooltl oot ds 
well, he was fitill determined to do his best; and thai nothing clunU 
be wanting in decorum and respect to an art that he had conKcraia) 
to virtue, and lu th^t geniua that burnt like a flame upon iu altatsl 
We have nothing that for myself I can compare with thia high aod 
heroic pursuit of art for its own sake. The French faocy theit on 
pedantic abwtions equal to ii, thrum them into the Louvre, 'and with 
their darkness dare affront that light ! '—thus proving themteiTci 
without the germ or the possibility of excellence — the feeling of tt ia 
others. We at least claim some interest in art, by looking up to in 
loflievt monuments — retire to a distance, and reverence the sanctuuyi 
if we cannot enter it, 

* 'Hiey alto serve who only stare and wait ' t 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

TJki Mtatily Magat)iiK.\ IJsma^, iSlS. 

' Ha ! here be three of us sophisticated.* — LEAR. 

* If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogeoca ! ' said the Mace 
donian bero; and the cynic might have retorted the compliment upon 

' Zoffani, 3 roreign artwt, bul who, by LoDg coitlcacc in EngUail, h*A |ot •« 
hibitt of indolence anil diUtofineu, ivii emplojreil hy the late Kinf , who wu (Ml 
of low comeily, tv paint ■ acme for Rrynolda't ^pmuCd/AMi f in whitb Qv^dt, 
Mundcn, anil Miis Wallii were intn>iluccil. The King calted to aec it in iD 
progres* ; 'n^ at laai it waa lione — ^a/l bur the toM.' The picture, however, tna 
not *rnt } anil the King repcatcil hi* viail to the aitiat. ZoFfani with aoae 
cmbarMtmeat aaid, ' It wai done all but the fM/.* — * Don't tell me/ aaid tix im- 
patient monarch ; *thia it atvraya the way: you said it wai (loae all but the eoU 
ihc liit lime I wai hctc.'^' I uiii the ^ m(, sa4 pleaK jrovr Majesty.' — 'A]fc' 
replied the Kine, ' chi? geai or the ea^i, 1 care n«l which you call it ; I say I will 
not have the picture,' — anil wnt going to leave the rootn, when ZoA^ant, in an 
*e^ny< rcpntcti, 'It if the g^ti thit i* not Itniahcd,'— poiatini; to a picivrv of i 
goat that was hung up in a frame aa an croamcnt to the iccne at the theatre. Tl^ 
Kmi [auchcil heartily at the biun4er, am! wiilc>l paticnily liti the goat wai finuhel 
ZoHjiii, like uihcr idle people, was careleia aod extravagant. He nuJe a fortsnc 
wehn he tint came ovet here, which he soon spent ; he then went out to Indit^ 
whets he msile another, with which be returned to Englan<l, and spent siso. M* 
wa( an czcalleni theatrical portrait -pa inter, and bat left dclincatioos of celebiiied 
SCIoct and totereatinj aituaiiooi, which revive the dnd, and bring the scene before nfc 
198 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 



I 



I 



I 



the prince by sajriag, that, * were he not Diogcnt-s, he would be 
Alexander !' This ta the univerail exccpttOD, ttic invariable rcecrra- 
tion that our self-loTc makt-s, the utmost point at which our admiration 
or enry ever arrives — to wiih, if we were not ourseivei, to be aomc 
other iodiTidual. No one ever wishes to be »nDther, iasttad of hintBelf. 
We may feel a desire to change placet with othcrii— to hiTe one man's 
fornioc — another's health or strength— his wit or learning, or acconi- 
plishniertta of various kinds — 

•Wishing to be like one more rich in hope, 
Featured like him, like him with fricndi poiseued, 
Dairtng this inan't art, and [hat man's Kope:' 

bot we would Btill be our selves, to possets and enjoy all thcsCi or wc 
would not give a doit for them. But, on this fiuppoBitian, what in truth 
should we be the better for them ? It is tiot we, but another, that 
would reap the benefit ; and what do we care about that other ? Id that 
case, the preient owner might as well continue to enjoy them. IVe 
should not be gainers by the change. I fthc meanest be^ar who croochet 
at a palacegatc, and Looks up with awe and suppliant fear to the proud 
inmate as he paHscs, could be put in possession oi all the (incry, the pomp, 
the luxury, and wealth that he Bees and envirii on the sole condition 
of getting rid, together with his rags and misery, of all recollection that 
there ever was such a wretch as himitelf, he would reject the proffered 
boon with scorn. He might be glad to change situations ; but he would 
iosiit on keeping his own thouchu, to compare nout^ and point the tran- 
sition by the force of contrast. He would not, on any account, forego his 
self-congratulation on the unexpected accession of good fortune, and his 
escape from past suBcring. All that excites his cupidity, his enry, his 
repining or despair, is the alternative of some great good to himself; and 
ii^ )□ order to attain that object, he is to part with his own cxittcnce to 
take that of another, he can feel no farther interest in it. This is the 
language both of pa»sion and reason. 

Here lies 'the rub that makes calamity of so long life:* for it is 
not barely the apprehension of the ills that * in that steep of death may 
ctxne,' twt also our ignorance and indifference to the promised good, 
that produces our repugnance and hnckwardness to quit the present 
scene. No man, if he had his choice, would be the anjjel Gabriel 
to-morrow ! What is the angcl Gabriel to him but a splendid 
▼ition ? He might as well have an ambition to be turned into a 
bright cloud, or a particular star. The interpretation of which is, he can 
have no sympathy with the angel Gabriel. Before he can be trans. 
formed into so bright and ethereal ao essence, be must necessarily * put 
otT this mortal coil — be divested of all his old habits, paasionB,thoaghu, 




ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

and feeHngn — to be endowed wilh other lofty and beatific attrilMiMi, 
of which be has no notion; aod» therefore, he would rather remjja • 
little longer in this mansion of clay, which, with all its Saws, inconven- 
ienceft, and perplexities, conuiDH all that he has any real knowlcdje 
of, or any afrectioD for. When, indeed, he is about to tjuit it in tpnr 
of himielf, and bai no other chance left to escape the darkoeM of tbt 
tomb, he may then hare no objection (making a virtue of oecessiij} 
to put on angels' wiogft, to have radiant locks, to wear a wroth of 
amaranth, and thus to masquerade it in the skies. 

It is an instance of the truth and beauty of the aaciem mythology, 
that the various trannmutationii it recounts are nercr Toluntary, or of 
favourable omen, but are interposed as a timely release to tho«c wtio, 
driven on by fate, and urged to the laat extremity of fear or anguish, ur 
turned into a flower, a plant, an aninul, a star, a precious stooe, or 
into some object that may inspire pity or mitigate our regret for their 
mitfortunet. Narcissus was transformed into a flower ; Daphne into 
a lauiel ; Arethusa into a fountain (by the favour of the gods) — but 
not till no other remedy was left for their despair. It is a sort of 
smiling cheat upon death, and graceful compromise with annihilatioii. 
It is better to exist by proxy, in tome softened type and soothiDg 
allegory, than not at all — to breathe in a flower or shme in a cotutel- 
tation, than to be utterly forgot; but do one would change his natnrtl 
condition (if he could help it) for that of a bird, an inMct^ a besit, 
or a fish, however delightful their mode of existence, or howewr 
enviable he might deem their lot compared to his owd. Tfacir 
thougbu are not our thoughts — their happineu it not our hapraocss; 
nor can we enter into it except with a passing smile of approbation, 
or as a rclinemcat of fancy. As the poet sings : — 

* What more felicity can f^l to creature 

Than to cojoy dtlight wth liberty, 
And to be lord of all the vrotki oi nature * 

To leign in the aii from earth to faighnt sky ; 
To feed on Hower* and weed* of glorioui feature { 

Tg taste whatever thing doth pleite the eye f— 
Who rcs't not plea&cd with such liappinevi, 
Well wurthy he to ta»lc of ^letcbediteia ! * 



This is gorgeous description and fine declamation : yet who vooU be 
found to act upon it, even in the forming of a wish ; or would n« 
rather be the thrall of wretchedness, than launch out (by the aid of 
some magic spell} into all the delights of such a bultrrfly state of 
existence? 1 he French (if any pcnple can] may be said to enjoy 
this airy, heedless gaiety and unalloyed exuberance of salJc£ictioD : yet 
200 



ON PERSONAL IDENTTfT 

Tshai Englishman would deliberately change with them ? We 
would «ooDcr be mi»cniblc after oar own fashion than happy after 
tbctr's. It U not happiness* then, m the abttract, which wc seek, that 
can be addressed as 

' That (omrthing still that prompts th' eternal ligh. 
For which we wi»h to live or dare to die, — ' 

bat a hapjMoess auiled to our taste and faculties — that has become a 
part of our&elTea, by habit ami enjoyment — that is endeared to iw by 
a thousand recollcctiont, privation?, and sufferings. No one, then, 
would williogly change his country or bis kind for the most plausible 
pretences held out to him. The most humiliating punishment 
inflicted in aocient fable is the change of lex : not that it was any 
degradation in itself — but chat it must occasion a total derangement 
of tlie moral ccoQomy and confusion of the seme of personal propriety. 
The thing is said to have happened, au lem lantraire, in our Lime. 

The story is to be met with in 'very choice Italian *; and Lord D 

tells it in very plain English I 

We may often find ourselves enrying the posaessions of others, aiul 
sometimes inadvertently indulging a wish to change places with them 
altogether ; but our self-love soon discovers some excuse to be off the 
bargain we were ready to strike, aod retracts * vows made in haste* 
as violent and void.* Wc might make up our minds lo the aJteratioQ 
in every other particular ; but, when it comes to the point, there is sore to 
be some trut or feature of character in the oliject of our admiration 
to which we cannot reconcile ourselves — some favourite quality or 
darling foible of our own, with which we can by no means resolve to 
part. The more enviable the situation of another, the more entirely 
to our taste, the more reluctant wc are to leave any part of ouriclves 
behind that would be so fully capable uf appreciating all the exquisite- 
oese of its new situation, or not to enter into the possession of such an 
unaginary reversion of good fortune with all our previous inclinations 
tod senuments. The outward circumstances were fine : they only 
wanted a jouI to en}oy them, and that soul is our's (as the costly 
ring wants the peerless jewel to perfect and set It ofH. The humble 
prayer and petition to sneak into visionary felicity by personal 
adoption, or the surrender of our own personal pretensions, always 
endA in a daring project of uiturp-ition, aud a determination to expel 
the actual proprietor, and supply his place so much more worthily 
with out own idcniliy^not bating a single jot of it. Thus, in passing 
through a fine collection of pictures, who has not envied tbc 
privilege of visiting it every nay, and wished to be the owner I 
But the rising sigh is soon checked, and 'the native hue of emulation 

301 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

w ncUkd o^tr with the {ale can of thought,' when wt cgmt it m 
oattcUn oot merely wbetber tbe owner his any taice al iB fiu ba 
•cleiidid vorkc, and does not looli upon them ss so madt exfOM 
rarnitore, like his chun i&d ublei — but whether he h» tbe im 
precise (and only irae) taoe tlut wr have — whether he has the «et 
same faTOorhc* tJut we biTV — irbether be majr not be lo Uttdsa 
prefer a Vandyke to a Titian, a Ruysdael to a Clasdc;— fl^ 
whether he nuy not bare other pomtu and arocations that dm ■ 
hi) attentioD from the wle objecit of our idolatry, and whtdb ttm» 
111 mere impeninencet ancl waseof time: In that ciae, weatOBCiIlK 
all patience, and exclaim indi^tUDtlvt ' Give us back out taae mi 
keep your pictures ! ' It is not we who should envy them the p*^ 
sioQ of the treasure, bat they who should envy us the true and rxdanc 
enioymcQt of it. A timilai traio of feeling »eem» to bare <£a^^ 
Wanon'e spirited Socnet oo rUittng Wiltoa-Hoose:— 

* From IVmbtofee'* princtlv dome, where mimic art 
Deck* irith a magir hand the daxiling bowerv, 
la livini; him where the «rann pencil pours, 
Aim! brraihing forms from the nidc marble &Cait, 
How to lifr't humbler tccnc can I depart * 
My breast all glowing from those gorgeous towen, 
In my \of cell hovr cheat the fullnt iKnjr^ ? 
Vain the complaint ! For Fancy cio impart 
(Tf> fate funerior and to t'ortinjc i power) 
Whate'er sitom* the stately (totied-hal) : 
She, mid ihe dungeon's solitary gloom. 
Can drcu the Graces in their attic palt i 
Bid the green land*kip*s vrmal beauty bloom t 
And in &>ght trophies cltMhe the twilight walh* 

One sometimes yxan by a gentlemao'i park, an old f»mtly-tcal, 
its moss-grown ruinous paling, its * glades mtld-opeomg to the 
day,' or embrowned with forest-trees. Here one would be gbd to 
Bpeod one's life, 'shut up in mcasorelcsB cooteat,' aixl to grow oU 
beneath ancestiat oaks, instead of gaining a precarious, irksome, sod 
despised livelihood, by iiKlulgiDg romantic sentiments, and writing 
disjointed desciiptions of ibcni. The thought has scarcely risen to 
the lips, when we learn that the owner of so blissful a seclusion it I 
thorough'bred fox-hunter, a preserver of the game, a brawling 
clcctioneercr, a Tory member of parliament, a * no- Popery * man! — 
'I'd sooner be a dog, and bay the moon!' Who would be Sii 
ThciJTiaa Lcihbridgc for his title and estate? asks one man. B<s 
would not almost any one wish to be Sir Francis Burdett, tbe man of 
the people, the idol of the electors of Westminster f says another. 
202 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

csn only answer for myfielf. Respectable and honest as he is, there is 
■omcttiing io hh white boots, and white breeches, and while coat, and 
white hair, and red face, and white hat, that I cannot, by any effort 
of candour, confound ray personal identity with ! If Mr. Hobhouse 
no prevail od Sir Francis to exchange, let him do so by all means. 
Perhaps they might contrive to club a soul between them ! Could I 
have had my wiil, I shoitid have been bom a lord : but one would not 
be a booby lord neither, I am haunted by an odd fancy of driving 
down the Great North Road in a chaise and four, about tifty years ago* 
aod coming to the inn at Ferry-bridge, with out-riden, white favours, 
and a coronet on the pancU; and then I choose my companion in the 
coach. Really there is a witchcraft in all this that makes it necessary 
to turn away from it, lc«t, in the conflict lietween imagination and 
imjioMibility, I should grow feverish and light-headed ! But, on the 
other hand, if one was barn a lord, should one have the same idea 

ithat every one i^tse has) of a ptrreit in her j^an right? la Dot 
ittancc, giddy elevation, mysterious awe, an impassable gulf, oeccsufy 
to form this idea in the mind, that line ligament of 'ethere.-il braid, 
sky-worcn,' that lets down hcarcn upon canh, fair as enchantment, 
soft as Berenice's hair, bright and garlanded like Ariadne's crown ; 
and is it not better xo have had this idea all through life — to hare 
oraght but glimpses of it, to have known it but io a dream — than to 
have been born a lord ten times over, with twenty pampered menials at 
one's back, and twenty descents to boast of? It is the envy of certain 
privileges, the nharp privfitions we have undergone, the cutting 
neglect we have met wtih trom the want of birth or title, that gives its 
zc«t to the distinction : the thing itself may be indit&rcnt or contemptible 
enough. It is the kcom'tng a lord that is lo be desired ; but he who 
becomes a lord in reality is an upstart — a mere pretettdcr, without 
the itierling essence ; so thai all thai is of any worth in this supposed 
traniiiion is purely imaginary and impossible. Had I been a lord, I 

■hoold have married Miu , and my life would not have been one 

long-drawn sigh, made up of sweet and bitter regret ! ' Had 1 been 
^ lord, I would have been a Popish lord, and then I might also have 
been an honest man :■ — poor) and then 1 might have been proud and 
not vulgar ! Kingn arc so accustomed to look down on all the re«t of 
the world, that tliey consider the condition of morulity as vile and 
intolerable, if stripped of royal state, and cry out in the bitterne«B 

' When Lord Ryrnn wai cat by the great, on sceounl of hii qnarrcl with hit 
wife, be *toi»l Iciiniug on a maiblc *Ub at the entrance o(a room, while troops of 
dncbettci anil couDlesac* |>araed out. One little, pen, reil-haiTcit girl itaiii ■ few 

CMS behind the re«i ; and, aa ibe paiaed him, aaiil tviih a nod, ' Aye, jav ihoald 
vc nuuricd me, uiil then all tbi* wouldn't have bsppcoeii to you I ' 

203 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

of their dnpair, 'Givr mca crovn, or xtomb!* It should aerm fromthii 
as if all maokind would change with the first crowned head that coild 
propose the alternative, or that it would be only the preiuiDpcioQ of the 
nipposttioa, or a sense of their own un worthiness, that would deter 
them. Perhapi there it not a atngle throne that, if it wai to be filled 
by this son, of Toluotary meterupsychosiB, would oot rnnaio empty. 
Maay would> no doubt, be glad to * tnonarchise, be feared, and kill 
with looks ' in their own pcrsoas and after their own faahioD : bot who 

would be the dauiU o( , or of thoae shadows of s shade^tboie 

'tenth transmitters of a foolish face' — Charles x. and Ferdinaod 
vit. ? If monarchs hare little sympathy with RiaBkindt miokind 
have cTen less with monarchs. They are merely to us a sort of Mstc- 
puppcts or royal waxwork, which we may gaze at with mperstiilow 
wonder, but have do wish to become ; aod he who sbootd meditare rach 
a change must not only feel by anticipation an utter coDtcnipt for the 
tkugh of humanity which he is prepared to cast, but must fcri an 
absolute Toid and want of attraction in those loftr and iocomprehco- 
siblc BcniimentR which are to supply its place. With respect to actual 
royalty, the spell i& in a great raeaHure broken. But, among aodeot 
monarchs, there is no one, I think, who envies Darius or Xerxes. 
One has a different feeling with respect to Alexander or Pyrrhui { 
but thia is because they were great men aa well as great kings, and 
the soul is up in arms at the mention of their names as at the sound 
of a tmmpct. But as to all the rest — those ' in the catalogue who go 
A)r kings — the praying, eating, drinking, dressing monarchs of the 
earth, in time past or present — one would a* soon think of wiihingto 
personate the Golden Calf, or to turn out with Nebuchadnezzar to 
graze, as to be transformed into one of that 'swinish multitude.' 
There is no point of aifinity. The extrinsic circumsuncei ire 
impodng : but, within, there is nothing but morbid humours and 
proud flesh! Some persons might rote for Charlemagne; and there 
are others who would have no objection to be the modern Charlemagne, 
with all he inflicted and suffered, even after the necromantic field of 
Waterloo, and the bloody wreath on the vacant brow of hia cor>quenir, 
and that fell jailer set over him by a craven foe, that 'glared round his 
soul, and mocked his closing eyelids !' 

It has been remarked, that could we at pleasure change our 
situation in life, more personti would be found anxioun to descend than 
to ascend in the scale of society. One rcuon may be, that we have it 
more in our power to do so ; and this encourages the thought, and 
makes it familiar to us. A second is, that we naturally wish to 
throw off* the cares of state, of fortune or business, thai oppress as, and 
to ficck repose before we find it in the grave. A third reason is. 

ao4 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 



I 



I 



I 



ust, is we descend to commoa life, the pleasures are simple, natural, 
&uch 09 zil cao enter into, and therefofe excite a geoeral interest, 
and combine all mffnget. Of the ditfcrent occupatiotw of life^ Done 
i« beheld witli » more pleasing emotion, or leu aversion to a change of 
our owD, tbiin that of a shepherd tending his flock : the pastoral ages 
have been the envy and the theme of all succeeding oneii ; and a 
beggar with his crutch ia more closely allied ihao the monarch and 
his crown to the sswciations of mirth and heart 's-easc. On the other 
haod* it must be admitted that our pride is too ape to prefer grandeur 
CO happiaest ; and that our pauioDi roslte m envy great ricei ofc«ocr 
than great virtues. 

The world shew their sense in notliing more than in a distrust (ii>d 
aversion to those cbaoges of situation which only tend to make the 
successful candiljate^ ridiculous, and which do not cJirry alon^ with 
them a mii>d adequate to the circumsunccs. The common people, in 
this respect, are more ahrewd and judicious than their superiors, from 
feeling their own awkwardness and incapacity, and often decline, with 
an tOBtinctire modesty, the troubleiome honours intended for them. 
They do not overlook their original defects so readily as others over- 
look their acquired advanuges. It is wonderEuI, therefore, that 
opcra-singera and dancers refuse, or only eondeicmJ as it were, to 
accept lords, though the latter are so often fascinated by them. The 
fair performer knows (better than her unsuspecting admirer) how 
link conncccioa there is between the dazzJlog figure she makes on the 
ftage and that which she may make io prirate life, and is in no hurry 
to convert 'the drawing-rooni into a Green-room.' The nobleman 
(suppocioc him not to be rery wise) is astonished at the miraculous 
powers of art in 

* The fiur, the chaste, the inexpressive tAt ; * 

and thinks such a paragon must easily conform to the routine of 
manoers and society which cvcr^ trilling woman of quality of bis 
acquaintance, from sixteen to sixty, goes through witlioui effort. 
This is a hasty or a wilful conclunon. Things of hahit only come 
by habit, and inspiration here avails nothing. A man of fortune who 
marries an actress for her line j^ierformance of tragedy, has been 
well compared to the person who bought Punch. The lady ii not 
unfrequently aware of the inconsequcntiality, and unwilling to be put 
cm the shelf, and hid in the nursery of some musty coud try-mansion. 
Servant girls, of any sense and spirit, treat their matters (who make 
serious love to them) with suitable cooiempt. What is it but a 
proposal to drag an unmeaning trollop at his heels through life, to 
her own annoyance and the ridicule of all his friends? No woman, 

30$ 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 



I suspect, ever forgave a man who raised her from a low cooditiai 
io life (it is a perpetual obligattOQ and reproach) ; though. I brlinr, 
meo often feel thir most dinioterestcd regard for women ander mck 
circamiuocc*. Sancho Faaza discovered no less folly Id his cagH- 
ncM to enter u|X)n his new goverament, than wisdom in quitting it ai 
fant as posnible. Why will Mr. Cobbett penisc in settiog bun 
Partiamcitt i He would find himtelf no longer tbe samtr raaii. 
What member of Parliament, I should like to know, could write lu'i 
Register ? As a popular partis4n, he tnay (for aught I c:in tay) be 
a match for the whole Honourable House; but, by obtaining a aeit 
in St. Stephen')) Chapel, he would only be equal to a ;76th pan of 
it. It waf surely .1 purrilr ambition in Mr. Addingtoo to succeed 
Mr. Pitt as prime- minister. The situation was tmly a foil to ha 
imbecility. Gipsies have a fine faculty of evasion : catch them vfae 
can in the flame place or story twice ! Take them ; teach them tbe 
comforts of civilization ; confine tbeni in warm rooms, with thick 
carpets and down beds; and thry will Hy out of the wiiKtow — like 
the bird, described by Chaucer, out of its golden cage. I maintlin 
that there is no common language or medium of understaodipg 
between people of education and without it — between those wlia 
judge of things from books or from their teiucs. Ignorance has so 
far the advantage over learning ; for it can make an appeal to you 
from what you know; but you cannot re-act upon it through thai 
which it is a perfect stranger to. Ignoraoce is, therefore, power. 
This is what foiled Buonaparte tn Spain and Russia. The people 
can only be gmned over by iBforniiog them, though they may be 
enslaved by fraud or force. You say there ii a common language in 
nature. They sec nature through their wants, while you took at it 
for your pleasure. Ask a counir)- lad if he does not like to hear tbe 
birds sing in the spring? And he will laugh in your face. • Wha 
is it, then, he does like ? ' — ' Good victual* and drink ! ' Aa if yog 
had not cheac too ; but bccauite he han them not, he thinks of nothioft 
elae, and laughs at you and your refinements, supposing you to live 
upon air. To those who arc deprived of c^vcry other advumge, 
even nature is a iooi lealeti. I have made this capiul mistake all ny 
life, in imagining that those objects which lay open to all, and excited 
in interest merely from the Idea of them, spoke a common langotge 
to all I and that nature was a kind of universal home, where all aget, 
sexes, cinsfica met. Not so. The vital air, the sky, the wtxxlii 
the streams — all these go for nothing, except with a favoured few. 
The poor are taken up with their bodily wants- — ^thc rich, with 
external acquisitions : the one, with the sense of propeny — the other. 
of its privation. Both have the same distaste for lenianeni, Tbe 
206 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 



I 



gtnttti ire the slaTM of appearances — the vulgar, of necesiity j and 
neither has the smallest regard to true worth, rcrmcmcnt, generosity. 
AJI savagM arc irreclaimable. 1 can under&taod the Irish character 
beUer than tlie Scotch. I bate the furmal criut uf circumuances 
and! the mechaniim of society. I have been recommended, indeed, 
to settle down into some respectable proretiion for life: — 

* Ah \ why to «>on the blossom tear i ' 

I am *in no haste to be renerabte ! ' 

Id thinking of those one might wiiih to have been, many jteople 
will excbim, 'Surely, you would like to hare been Shakapcare?* 
Would Garrick have consented to the change ? No, nor should he ; 
for tlie applause which he received, and on which he lived, was more 
adapted to hia genius and taste. If Garrick had agreed to be 
Shak&pearc, he would have m:ide it 3 previous cotidition that he 
was to be a better player. He would have insisted on taking some 
higher part than rohniui or the Gravr-tft^tr, Ben Jonson and his 
conipaaions at the Mermaid would not have koowu their old friend 
Will in his new disguise. The modern Rnscius would have scouted 
the hailing player. He would have shrunk from the paits of the 
inspired poet. If others were unlike us, wc feel it as a premmption 
ana an impertioencc to usurp their place ; if they were like ua, it seems 
a work oi supererogation. We are not to tie cozened out of our 
existence for nothing. It has been ingeniously urged, as an objec- 
tioo to having been Milton, that 'then we should not have had the 
pleasure of reading PaMdisc Lost.' Perhaps I should iodine to 
draw lots with Pope, but that he was defornted, and did not 
miilidently relish Milton and Shakspeare. As it is, wc can enjoy 
his verses and their's too. Why, having these, need we ever be 
dissatisfied with ourselves? Goldsmith is a person whom I consider- 
ably affect, notwithwanding hi» blunders and his misfortunes. The 
author of tlie l^uar vf Wakefieliiy and of R^fa/iatwn^ is one whose 
teittper must have had something eminently amiable, delightful, gay, 
and happy b it. 

* A certain tender bloom hi*^ fame o'crspreads.' 

But then I could never make up my mind to his preferring Rowe 
and Dryden to the worthies of the Elizabethan age ; nor could I, in 
like manner, forgive Sir Joshua — -whom I number among those 
whose existence was marked with a fvliie ttone, and on whose tomb 
might be inscribed * Thrice Fortunate 1 * — his treating Nicholas 
Poussin with contempt. DifTtrcDces in matters of taste and opinion 

207 



ON PERSONAL IDENTITY 

are potoU of honour — ' stuff* o' the cooacieoce * — BtumbBng-l 
not to be got over. Others, we easily gram, may have more 
Icvnicg, imagtaatioQ, riches, ■trcngth, beauty, which we ihouki be 
glad to borrow of ihcm ; but that they have •ouodcr or better vievt 
of throga, or thai we shodd act wiKly iq change id thi« rc^KCt, ii 
what we can by no means perauade ourselves. We may not be tht 
lucky poueuors of what is best or moit derirable ; but our ootiooof 
wlut ts best and most desirable wc will gire up to tio man by choise 
or computnon ; and unless others (the greatest wiu or brij^ttc 
geniusei] can come into our way of thiDking, we must bnmbljr beg 
leafe to remain as we are. A Gilvinistic preacher would d« 
relinquish a single point of faith to be the Pope of Rotne; aoi 
would a strict Unitarian acknowledge the mystery of the Hot} 
Trinity to hare painted Raphael's y4itemhiy of tbe Jutt. Id tbt 
range of rdW excellence, we arc distracted by variety and repelled bj 
difference*: the imagination is tickle and (^ttidioas, and rcquiret i 
combination of alt possible qualifications, which never met. Hatw 
alone is blind and tenaciaui of the most homely advantages; and lias 
running the tempting round of nature, fame, and fortuoe, we wnf 
ourselves up in our familiar recollections and humble pretfosiont — ai 
the lark, after long fluttering on simny wing, sinks into its lovh 
bed! 

We can have no very importunate craving, nor very great coot- 
dei]ce, in wishing to change characters, except wtlh thoK viUi 
whom we are intimateiv acquainted by their works; and haviw 
these by as (which is all we know or covet in them), what would 
we have more ? Wc can have no mart of a cat than hfr jini; act 
of an author than his brains. By becoming Shakspeare id reality, 
we cut outselvet out of readiug Milton, Pope, Dryden, and i 
thousand more— all of whom we have in oar possession, enjoy, sod 
artf by turrni, in the best t»rt of them, their thoughts, without aoj 
metamoqihosifi or miracle at all. What a microcosm it our's ! What 
a Proteus is the human mind! All that we know, think of, oroD 
admire, in a manner becomes ourselves. We are not (the iDeaoeR 
of us) a volume, but a whole library! In this calculation of pro- 
blematical contingencies, the lapse of time makes no difference. One 
would ai soon have been Raphael as any modern artist. Twenty, 
thirty, or forty years oi elegant enjoyment and lofty feeling were is 
great a luxury in the fifteenth as la the nlQCteentb century. BtU 
Raphael did not live to see Claude, nor Titian Rembrandt. Those 
who found aru aod sciences are not witnesKs of their accumulated 
retuICK and benefits; nor in general do they reap the meed of praw 
which is their due. We who come after in some * Uggard age,' 

208 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



have more enjoymeDt of their faiTie than they had. Who would 
liavc raitsrd the sight of the Louvre in all its gtarjr to hare been one 
of those whose works enriched it i Would it not have been giviog 
certain guud fur an unCL-rtain advantage? No: I am as sure (if it 
U not preiumptton to aay so) of what paMcd through Raphael'i mind 
of what pacse« through my own ; and I know the ditfcrrnce 
between teeing (though even that is a rare privilege) and producing 
•uch perfection. At one time I waa ao devoted to Rembrandt, that 
I think, if the Prince of Darkness had made me the offer in some 
rash mood, I should have been templed to clo<c with it, and should 
karc become (in happy hourt and in downright earoett) the gteat 
natter of light and shade ! 

I have run myself out of my materials for this Essay, and want 
well-turned iiemencc or two to conclude with ; like Ilcnvenuto 
Cellini, who complains that, with all the brass, tin, iron, and lead he 
icould muster in the house, his statue of Perseus was left impcriectt 
ivith a dent in the heel of it. Once more then — I believe there is 
one character that all the world wouEd be glad to change with — 
hich tR that of a favoured rival. Even hatred gives way to envy. 
We would be any thing — a toad in a dungeon — to live upon her 
smile, which is our all of earthly hope and hap[MnesB; nor can we, in 
Dur iofatuatioa, conceive that there is any difference of feeling on 
the subject, or that the pressure of her hand is not in iturlf divine, 
jnoking those to whom such bliss is deigned like the Immortal Gods 1 



Tit Mwilj Mpil^m,.} 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



[Orttl^r, i8]o — Jnu, 1 931. 



I 



StxriuTY is a sort of bastard envy. We heap our whole stock of 
involuntary adulation on a single prominent figure, to have an excuse 
fbr withdrawing our notice from all other claims [perhaps justcr and 
more galling ones), and in die hD]ie of sharing a part of the applause 
as traiii-bearers. 

n 

Admiration is catching by a certain sympathy. The vain admire 
Uie vain ; the morose are pleased with the morose ; nay, the selfish 
and cunning are charnied with the tiicks and meanness of which they 
■re witueucfi, and may be io turn the dupes. 

VOL. III. : o 109 



APHORISMS 
III 

Vaoity is no proof of conceit. A vaio man often accepu of praiii 
u a cheap substitute for his own good opinion. He may think mon 
highly of another, though he would be wounded to the quick ifldi 
own circle thought so. He knows the worthlessneiis and hollovDW 
of the £.ittery to which ite is accunonied, but his car it tickled wiA 
the sound ; and the efTcmiaate in this way can no more live wiitioiK 
the incense of applause, than the etTeminiite in another can live vhhOM 
pcifumcB or any other customary indulgence of the scqms. Sodk 
people would rather have the applause of foots than the approbaboDDf 
the viK. It is a low and thatlow ambitioo. 

IV 

It was said of some otte who had cODtrtved to make himself 
popular abtoad by getting into hot tvatrrp but who provnl my 
troubtcsome and ungrateful when he came home — ' Wr thought bua 
a very persecuted man in India '—the pfoper answer to which it, dnt 
there are Bome people who ore good (or nothing else bai to be 
persecuted. They want some check to keep them in order. 



It » a lort of gratuitous error in high life, that the poor m 
naturally thie«'es and beggart, just as the latter cooceiTe tliat the rid 
are nAiurally proud and hard-neancd. GJre a man who it stirri^ 
a thousand a-year, and he will be do longer under a temptation tojti 
himself hanged by stealing a leg of mutton for his dinner; he rut 
Btill spend it in gaming, drinking, aod the odier vices of a gentlcnun, 
and Do( io tharilj, about wtiicb he before made such an outcry. 

VI 

Do not confer benelitt in the expectation of meeting with gratitude; 
and do nut cease to confer them because you ttnd those wfaon yoc 
Kave served ungrateful. Do what you think lit aod right to please 
yourself; the generosity is not the less real, because it does not meet 
with a corretpondent return. A man should study to get throu^ tbt 
world as he gets through St. Giles's — with as little aoooyance and 
interruption as possible from the shabbine» around him. 

VII 

Ct m rn m^ Kt tAnatn snd men of the world, are always pe«eriD( 
yoo to CDiminn to their maximit and modes, just like the iarien a 
Moamouthstrect, who stop the pastcogers by eureatiog them to ur* 
in and rrfit at their secood-hand repostlortH. 

3IO 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



t 



VIII 

Tbe word gmsHilt is coostaotljr in the mouths of vulgarpcoplc ; as 
quacks aod pretenders are always talking of gen'mi. Those who 
pouefti aoy real exceUcocc think and say the least about it. 

IX 

Taste is often envy in disgaise : it turns into the art of reducing 
excellence within the emallest possttite comjiau, or of finding out the 
tmaimum of pleasure. Some people admire only what is new and 
faahiooable — Uie work of the day, of sonic popular author — ihc last 
and frothiest bubble that gUtters on the surface of fashion. All the 
rest is gone by, * in the deep bosom of Oic ocean buried ; ' to allude 
to it is Gothic, to insist upon it odious. Wc have only to wait a 
week to be relieved of the hot'prcssed page, of the rignette-tiile ; aod 
ID the interim can look with Bovereign cooiempt on the wide longe of 
science, learning, art, ami on those musty old writeis who lircd before 
tbe present age of novels. Peace be with their man€j ! There arc 
others, on the contrary, to whom all the modern publications are 
aaathema, a by-word — they get rid of this idle literature 'at one fell 
■woop' — disqualify the present race from all pretensions whaterert 
get into a corner with an obscure writer, and devour the cobwebs 
and the page together, and pick out in the quaintest production, the 
quainten pa»«.-igesi, the merest choke-ptar, which they think nobody 
cao swallow but theniselTes. 



Tbe source of the love of nature or of tbe country has never been 
explained so well as it might. The truth is this. Natural or 
inanimate objects picaar merely 3b objects of HttiH.' or contemplation, 
and wc ask no return of the passion or admiration from them, so that 
^ we cannot be disappointed or distracted in uui choice. If we are 
■ delighted with a flower or a tree, we are pleased with it ^or its otvn 
I tait ; nothing more is required to make our satisfaction complete ; 
we do not sak the flower or tree whether it likes us again ; and, 
therefore, wherever wc can meet with the same or a similar ohject, 
wc may reckon upon a recurrence of the same soothing emotion. 
Nature is tbe only mistress that smiles on us still the same ; and does 
not re5>ay admiration with scorn, love with hatred. She is faithful to 
us, as long as we are faithful to ourselves. Whereas, in regard to the 
human species, we have not so much to consider our own dispotitioni 
towards others, aH theirs towards as ; w thousand caprices, interests, 

tions, may intervene before the good uoderetanding can be 
: 



APHORISMS ON MAJ 

nramal; we not only canoor infer of one individiul from anotbet.ltt 
the ume individun) may clungc to-morrow : ao that tn otu iDlFrtavnc 
with the world, there is nothing but littlenesa, uncertainty', sofpicioe, 
and mortification, iouead of the graodeur and repose of oature. 

XI 

It has been objected to the toothing power of Nature* that r 
cannot take away the Hharp pang of vehement diBtress, but rather bub 
the dart, and Beems to smilr in mockery of our anguish. But Utt 
sime might be said of mtuic, poetry, and friendkhip, which oal; 
tantalixe and torment us by offcnog to dirert our grief in its krtnet 
paroxysm* ; but yet cionot be denied to be enviable rrcourcct uij 
consoUtionii of the human mind, when the bitterness nf (he m 
ba« pasaed over. 

XII 

Ercry one ia a hero, the circumstances being giren. AH that ti 
iiec«Bnry la, that the outward impression should be so Btiong at to 
make a man forget himtclf. A woman ruihei into the flamet to me 
her child, not from duty or reason — but because the diAtracting terrix 
for another banitheRall recollection of, and fear for, herself. Fortbr 
same reason, a pct»OD throws himself from a precipice, bccsuse the 
apprehension of danger gets the better of and confounds the watett 
Miif-preaervanon. The doctrioc of self-loTc, as an infallible iwa- 
physical principle of action, is nonsense. 



loiac^ 



XIU 

The hcroical ages were thoae in which there waa a 
question between life and death, and men ate their acanty meal wiUi 
their swords in their hands. 

XIV 

The hero acu from outward impulse ; the martyr from intefwl 
faith, nod so far is the greater character of the two. And ycl i 

may be doubted whether the latter ia properly a voluntary agent, or 
whether, if he could do it unjierceived, he would not abftma hinueir 
from the scene, instead of becoming a sacrilJce and a witness lo ^ 
truth. 

XV 

What thews that persecution and danger act as inceDtivet ntber 
than impedimenu to the will, is that zeal generally goes out with the 
(ires that kindle it ; and wc become indillcreot to a cause, whcD life, 

212 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



I 

t 
I 



I 
I 



property, and limb are no longer codangfiwi. He is the real philo- 
sopher who lores tnitli for iu own sake, not id rhe spirit of 
coQiradiction : he the genuine friend of freedom and ju&tice, who 
bates oppression and wrong after they have ceased, and as long u the 
rcry name of them remains, sa well as while it is a booc of contention 
between infuriated sects and parties. 

XVI 

If reform were to gain the day, reform would become as vulgar u 
cant of any other kind. We only shew a spirit of independence and 
reaistarKe to power, as long as power \s against ua. As »oon as the 
cause of opposition prevails, iu essence and character are gone out of 
it ; 2dJ the most flagrant raSctJism degcnrratra into ibc tamest 
servility. We then lay as others say ; sail with the stream ; no 
longer sacritice interest to principle, but arc in a pitiful majority. 
Had events taken a difTercnt turn in I7y4, who can predict what the 
popular cry would have been ? This nuy point out how little chance 
there is ofany great improvement in the affairs of the world. Vinve 
ceases with difficulty ; honesty is mi^tant. The mass of mankind, 
who Me governed by indolence and habit, fall in with existing events 
and interesw ; the imaginative and reasoning part fall out with facts 
and reality t but could they have their way, and model the world at 
their pleasure, their occuparioo would lie gone ; or if all governments 
were wise and good, the character of the patriot would become 
obeoletr, and a sinecure. At present there is a very convenient 
division of labour ; and each class fulfils its vocation. It u esKntial 
to the triumph of reform that it should never succeed. 

XVII 

We talk about the cant of politics or religion, as if there were do 
cant but thai which ia common to the multitude. But whenever any 
two individuals agree about any one thing, they begin to cant about it, 
and take the echo of oik another's voices for the verdict of truth. 
Half-a-dozcn peraons will always make a juarum of credulity and 
rnlgarity. 

XVIII 

When people have done quarrelling about one set of questions they 
■lan another. Motion is necessary to mind as much an lo mntter ; 
atid for 'an ultimate end,' Hobbea denies that there is any such thing. 
Hence the tendency to all Ultra opinions and measures '. Man ia 
seldom contented to go as far as others, unless he can go beyond them, 
and mike a caricature and a paradox even of tlie moit vulgar prejudice. 

213 




APHORISMS ON MAN 

It !r ncccMary to aim at some kiod of dittinctioD — to create MM 
dttEculty, -were it oaly for the ake of ovcrcuming it. Thiu wcU 
that O'Connell, having oirned his cause, would not let the * sgiUliOG' 
subside witl-.out tuTDing it mto a persooal quanel : the way wa 
opened to him into the House, aod he wanted to force his way tbcR 
by an exfiott/ncto inference; the bantu of marriage were publithod 
between him and parliament, and be woidd fain, with the pettiUoceof 
opposition, tfizf a scat there. 

xrx 

Truth itself becomes but a ^sbion. When all the world acL&ov- 
ledge it, it seems trite and stale. It is tiaged by the aNir«c nedhia 
through which it passes. 

XX 

Erasmus, in his * Remains,* tells a story of two thipres, who were 
recommended by their mother to rob every one ihey met with ; bo 
warned, on peril of their Utcs, to avoid one Biaei-trttchet ( Hercolt*). 
Meeting him, however, without knowing him, they set upon him. Slid 
were sluos across his shoulder, — where Hercules heard them muaa- 
ing behind bis back, a long -waj off^ ' This must surely be be that am 
mother warned us of.' In contempt and pily be let tbem cicapc* 
What modern wit can come up to the grotesque graodcur of tlus 



iDvennon 



XXI 



People addicted to lecresy are so withoot kitowing why ; they arc 
•0 not ' for cause,* but for secresy's sake. It is a mixture of 
cowardice and conceit. They think, if ihey tdl you any thing, yoa 
may uAderstand it better than they do, or turn it in sotite way against 
them ; but that while they chut up their mouths they are wiser thu 
you, just as Itarii think by telling you a falsehood they have so 
advaouge over you. "Hicre are others who deal ia significaoi nods, 
iniiles, and half-sentences, so that you ncvrr can get at their meaning 
and indeed they lutre none, but leave it to you to put what interpreta- 
tion you please on their embryo hints and conceptions. They are 
glad to Bad ifroxj for their want of understandiag. 

XXII 

It it the force and violence of the English mind that has ptit it into 

the safe custody of the law, atid it ia every man's dispoeition to act 

upon his own judgment and presumption, without regard to othersi 

that has made it absolutely necessary to esublish equal claims to curl) 

»»4 



APHOKISMS ON MAN 



I 



I 



them. We ire too much in a state of nature to iobmit to what Burke 
calU '■the iolt collar of social esteem,' and require *thc iron rod, the 
tortuitng hour/ to tame a%. £ut though the foundations of liberty, 
life, aod property, are formally tecurnl id thi» way frum the ebullitions 
of national character, yet the spirit breaks out upon the surface of 
manners, and it often spurted in our face. Lord Ca^Uereagh wat 
wrong in saying that ' liberty was merely a custom of England; ' it 
18 the indigenous growth of our temper and our clime ; and woe to 
him vbo deprives us of the only amends lor so many disadraotages 
and failings! The wild bcail roaming his natire forests is respectable 
though formidable — shut up io Exeter 'Change, be is equally odioiM 
and wretched. 

XXIII 

It was a long time made an argiunent for not throwing open the 
galleries of noblemen and othcra to the public, that if permission were 
given they would be tilled with the lowed of the rabble, and with 
M^ualid wretches, who would run up agninst well-dressed people, and 
damage the works of art. Nothing could be more false than this 
theory, aa experience has shown. It was in vain to quote the 
example of foreign countries, as it was said the common people there 
were Kept more in subjection ; but if they are tamer, ours are prouder 
for that very reason. The National Gallery in Pall-Mall is now open 
to all the world ; and, except a shabby artiit or two, wbo erer saw a 
aoul there who was not, if not welUdressed, yet dressed in his best, 
and behaving with decency, instead of trying to turn the place into a 
bear-garden, as had been predicted.' People will not go out of their 
way to see pictures unlesN they have an interest in tlicmj which gi^es 
the title, and is a security against Ul coniequenccs i much less will 
aay class of people obtrude themselves where they are pointed at as 
ioterior to the rest of the company, or subject themselves to looks of 
scorn and disgujii, to sec any sights in the world. There ik no man 
•o poor or low but he loves himself better than pictures or statues; 
and if he must get snubbed and treated with contempt to indulge hu 
admiration of celebrated works, he will forego the Salter. Camjuiriiom 
art oJioiui and we avoid them. The first object of every human 
bring (high or low, great or small) is to stand well with liimaelf, and 
CO appear to the best advantage to others. A man is not very fond of 
passing along the streets in a thread-bare co.it, and shoes with holes 
in them. Will be go in this trim into a group of welMressed people 

> U it wtn a show of wild-bniii, qt a boxins-nutch, Ibe rMtoniof might be 
•omcwhai dilfcreiil j though I do not know that il woald. No people behsvf 
hetlct ihtn the g^i *liet the pUy once begins. 

215 





APHORISMS ON MAN 

to make htmBcir ridiculous ? Th« mind, to far from being dull or 
caltoun on this point, is but too sensitive ; our jeatoDSjr of puliJic 
optnton it the ruling pssioti^ a mortHd disease. Doci not the cob- 
aciouBOfts of nny lin^uIaTity or tmnropriety of appearance immediitdj 
take off &om our pleasure at a play? How seldom we obserrr is 
interloper in the drcsE circle ; arid how eure lie ic to pay for it \ U 
a man has any defirct or infcriorityi tliU is ccnain, he wilt keep it ia 
the baclc-ground. If a chimney-sweeper or scavenger had a ticket to 
a ball, would he go ? Oh ! tw ; it is enough to bear the seOEe of oat 
own intirmity and disgrace in silence, and unnoticed, without harag 
tt wrought to ngony by the glare uf contratt aitd ostentation of tnaill! 
What lincndraper or grocer's son would dine with a prince erery day 
though he might, to be crushed Into insignificance, and stifled villi 
ironical civility ? Do we not observe the difficulty there i< in maka 
scrranu and mechanics sit down, or keep on th«r hats io aj 
their hettert^ for fear of being thought to encroach, and made 
to a rebuff in consc(|uence? Aituredly, then, the great may throw 
open their palace-doois and galleries of art without having to dread 
the inroad or outrages of the mob, or ^ncying that any one will go 
who is not qualified to appear, or will not come away with his mind 
and manners improved. The wooden shoes and mob caps in ihr 
Uouvre or the Vattcao do no harm to the pictures on the walli : hot 
add a new interest to them, and throw a pleasing tight on hnmaa 
nature. If we are behind other nations in politeness and civiliiatioD. 
the best way to overtake them is to tread in their steps. 

XXIV 

It it at the same time troe that /ami/iariij breedj conicm^ ; or that 
the vulgar, if admiaed to an intimacy and footing of c<)ua[ity, uy to 
make you feel all your defects, and to pay for the superiority yoo 
have no long usuqird over them. The same pride that before kejs 
them at a distance makes ihem ready to throw down any buricrof 
deference or distinction the moment they can do so with impuniv. 
No one willingly admits a superiority in another ; or does not secretly 
prefer himself to the whole universe beside. The slave would kill the 
tyrant, whose feet he kisses ; and there is no Turk so loyal that hr 
would not cut off the head of the best of Suttans, if he was sun of 
putting the diadem upon his own. 

XXV 

The strongest minds arc goreroed more by appearances than by a 
regard lo consequences. Those who pretend to be the greatest cal- 
culators of their own interest, or the main chaate, are the Tcry liavB 

ai6 




APHORISMS ON MAN 



I 



I 



of opinioD, and dupes of tlialluw pretcnuon.. Tliey are often to mad 
in thU rffpect, that They think neither better nor worse of the olden 
friend they have ia the world than the first perion they happen to be 
in company with does, or the last rumour chey heard gives him out. 
Their circumipeelion amounts to looking; three wayi at oDCe, and 
niitsing the right point of view at last. They would rather speak (o 
a well-dre«ied foot in the street ihao to the wisest man in a thread- 
bare tuit. I know an author who cuccetrds with a set of second-hand 
tboaghts by having a coat of the neweHt cut ; and an editor, who 
flouriUies about the town in virtue of a \mi of green speccacleE. Lay 
out all you arc worth in decking out the person of a vulgar woman, 
and she will cut you in the very finery you have given her ; lay tt out 
on yuur own back, and she will be ambitious of your least notice. 
People judge of you not from what they know, but from the impression 
you make on otherst which deiieads chietly on profeuions, and on 
outward bearing and braveryi De hob apparmtibui el non fxinentilrui 
Miiem itt ratio. If a man has do opinion of himself, how the deuce 
should any one else ? It is like electing a person member of parliament 
who refuses to come forward as a candidate. On the other hand, let 
a man have impudence in lieu of all other i]ualt6cationH, and he needs 
not despair. The part of quack or coxcomb is a favourite ore with 
the town. The only character that ii likely to get on by pasting for 
a poor creatun is the legacy -hunter. Nothing can be too low or 
insignificant for that. A man it only grateful to you in the other 
world fur having been a foil to him in this. A miser (if he could} 
would leave his fortune to his dog, that no human being might be the 
better for it. or no one that he could envy in the poucsaion of it, or 
think raited to an ecjuafiiy with himself. 

XXVI 

We complain of old friends who have made their fortunes in the 
world and slighted ui in their prosperity, without coniidering those 
who have been unsuccessful* and whom we have neglected in our 
torn. When our friends betray or desert ui. we cling the clow-r to 
those that remain. Our coniidencv is strengthened by being circum- 
scribed ; we do not wish to give up a forlorn hope. With the 
crumbling aiKl decayed fragments of friendship around us, we main- 
tain our point in the last ; like the cobbler, who kept bin stall and 
cooked hit beef-steak in the ruins of Drury-lane. Buonpartc used to 
speak of old generals and favourttcs who would not have abandoned 
him in his misfortunes if they bad lived ; it was perhaps well for them 
that tbey were di-ad. The list of traitors and the ungrateful is too 
moch swelled without any probable additions to it. 

«i7 




4 



APHORISMS ON MAN 

XXVII 

Wlien wc hear of uy base or shockiDg action or character, wt 
think the bettrr of ourwlve*; instrid of which, wr oofht to ihink 
the worse. It ctrikei at the grounds of our faith in htmun oatyir. 
The reflection of the old divine was wiser on fiering a r^obMe— 
• There gpc» my wicked self! ' 

XXVIII 

Over-civility geoerilly ends in im|)eninence ; for a» it procenli 
from deaigD, aod oot irom aay kiadccss or respect, it ecasea wttb ia 
object. 

XXIX 

1 am accjuatnied with but one person, of whom f feel qoitr 
that if he were to meet an old and tried friend in the street, be 
go ap aod speak to him ia the same maoQer, whether in the 
he had become a lord or a beggar. Upon reflection, I DUy 
a second to the list. Such is my citimatc of the permaDeiice tad 
•iocerily of our most boasted virturt. * To be honest as this worU 
goes, i* to be one man picked out of im thotuaiKl.' 

XXX 

It has been said that family atuchments are the only ones ttut 
Mand the test of adversity, because the disgrace or misfortune is then 
in some mcaiiure retlected upon ourselves. A friend in no lon^ i 
friend, provided we choose to pick a quarrel with him ; but wc cat- 
not so easily cut the link of relationship asunder. We ihcreferc 
relieve the diHtreases of our near relatione, or get them out of the 
way, leit they should shame us. Bat the sentiment is unnatural, and 
therefore must be untrue. 

XXXI 

L tald of some monkeys at a fair, that wc were ashamed of 

their resembfance to ourselves on the sinie principle that wc avoided 
poor rtlalioat. 

XXXII 

Servants and others who consult only their ease and conrenieiicr, 
give a great deal of trouble by their caretessneiic aod profligacy ; thosr 
who take a pride in their work often carry it to exceu, and pl^at 
you witli coDSt^int advice and interference. Thcit duty gets so 
much a-head in their imagination, that it becomes their nmtci, n) 
your's too. 

218 




APHORISMS ON MAN 



^ 



! 

I 
I 



XXXIII 

There are jwrtoos who are neter CMy unleu they are |iutting your 
books or papers in order, that is, according to their notions of the 
matter; and hide things lest they should be lost, where neither the 
owner nor any body else can find them. This is a sort of magpie 
faeuily. If any thiag is left where you want It, it is called making a 
litter. There is a pedantry in housewifery as in the graTCst concerns. 
^U>rah3tn Tucker complained that whcncrer his maid-scrrant had 
been in hit library, he could not set comfortably to work a^in for 
several diys. 

XXXIV 

True misanthropy consists not in pointing out the faults and follies 
of men, but in encouraging them in the pursuit. They who wish 
well to their fellow.creature3 are -ingry at their Ticet and sore at their 
mishaps ; be who flatters their errors and smiles at their ruin is thetr 
worst enemy. But men Like the sycophant better than the plain- 
dealer, because chey prcter their passions to their reason, actd cren to 
their interest. 

XXXV 

I am not very patriotic in my notions, nor prejudiced in favour of 
my own countrymen ; and one reason is, I wish to have as good an 
opinion as I can of human nature in general. If we are the patagooii 
that some people would make us out, what muat the rest of the world 
be ? If we monopolize all the icdk and virtue oo the face of the 
globe, we ' leave others pour indeed,' without having a very great 

Zrabundance falling co our own share. l>et them have a few 
ntages that we have not — grapes and the sun ! 

XXXVI 

When the Persian ambassador was at Edinburgh, an old Presby- 
terian lady, more fid] of zeal than discretion, fell upon him for his 
idolatrous belief, and said * I hear you worship the sun ! ' — * In faith. 
Madam,' he replied, * and to wotdd you too if you had ever seen 
him!' 

XXXVII 

* To be £rect and honest ts not safe,' says lago. Shakapeare baa 
here defined the nature of honc«y, which teems to conait in the 
absence of any m£rect or sinister bi,is. The honest man looks at and 
decides uiwn an object as it is in itself, without a view to consequrnces, 
and as iJ he himself were cotircly out of the question ; the prudent 

119 




APHORISMS ON MAN 



man contidcn only what others will think of it ; the knave, bow hr 
can turn it to hi« own advantage or another's detrimeat, which W 
likes better. His itraigbt- forward Bimplicity of character b tht 
reveiae of what is understood by the phrase, a man of the vnrU: an 
honctt man ii independent of and abHtracted from material ties. TUi 
character is owing chie% to strong natural freling and a love of right, 
partly to pride and obstinacy, and awant of discumiveneu of imagiu- 
tion. It is not weM to be too witty or too wise. In many circki 
(not including the mgh^cdIar or a meu-table) a clever fellow mcani 
a rogue. According to the French piOYerb, * Tout ttamme nfiteiiat 
mechant* Your honett nun often ii, and is always act down u H 
better than an asa. 

XXXVIII 

A person who does not tell lies will not bclitve that others teD 
them. From old habit, he cannot break the conncctioo be t w te a 
words and things. This is to labour under a great dijiadranu^ b 
his transactions with men of the v>or/Ji it is pbying against abarpcn 
with loaded dice. The secret of pUuiibility and luccess i»poini4itm 
h'aig. TJie advantage which men of business have over the drramcn 
and aleep-walkerii \* not in knowing the exact state of a caar, but ia 
telling you with a grave face what it is not, to suit their own porpoKl. 
This is one obvious reason why students and book-worras are so ofieo 
reduced to their last legs, education (which ia a study and dtsd- 
pline of abstract truth) is a diversion to the instinct of lying and i bar 
to fortune. 



XXXIX 

ThoK who get their money as wits, apend it Itke fools. 

XL 



m 



It is not true that authors, artists^ &c.| are uniformly ill-paid i dify 
are often improvident, and look upon an income as an estate. A 
literary man who has made even five or six hundred a-ycar for a 
length of time has only himself to blame if he has none of it left (i 
tradvaman with the same annual pro6u would have been rich ot 
independent); an artist who breaks for ten thouaand pounds caonoi 
surely lament tlie want of patronage. A sieve might as well petition 
against a dry season. Personii of talent and reputation do not makr 
money, bccausi? they do not keep it ; and they do not keep it, becatue 
they do not care about it till they Feel the want of it — and then thi 
tubik Hop paymtni. The pntdcnt nod careful, eren among f\v.ycn% 
lay by fortunes. 

Z20 



XLI 

Id gcacral, however, it t> cot to be expccied that those nhould 
grow rich by a special Providence, whow nrM and last object ia by 
errry means and at every sacrifice to grow femoun. Vanity and 
•Taricc have differeat goals aod travel diiTcreni roadi. The man of 
genius produces that which others admire : the man of business that 
which they will buy. If the poet is delighted with the ideas of 
certain thingK, the reader is equally utislied with the idea of tbcm 
too. The man of gCQiu» does th;ii which no ooe else but himself can 
do : the man of business gets his wealth from the joint mechanical 
drudgery of all whom he ha» the means to employ. Trade is the 
Sriarctu that works with a hundred hands. A popular author grew 
rich, because he seemed tu have a hundred hands to write with : but 
he wanted another hand to say to his well-got gains, ' Come, let me 
clutch thee.* Nollekctis made a fortune (how he saved it we know) 
by having blocks of marble to turn into tharp-looking busts (which 
required a capital), and by hiring a number of people to hack and 
hew them into thape. Sir Joshua made more money than West or 
Barry, partly because he was a better painter, partly because gentle- 
men like their own ponraits better than thoHr of prophet or apostle, 
saint or hero. What the individual wants, he will pay the highest 
price for : what is done for the public the Sutc must pay for. How 
if they will not .' The historical painter cannot make ihem ; and if 
be persists in the attempt, muat be contented to fall a martyr to It. 
It ia some glory to fail in great designs ; and some punishirtcot is due 
to harug rashly or presumptuously embarked ia tfactn. 

XLII 

It is tome comfort to starve on a name : it is something to be a 
poor jitHtlemaa ; and your man of letters * writes himself armtgiro^ in 
any bond, warrant, or quittance.' In tixing on a profession for a 
child, it is a consideration not to place him in one in which he may 
not be thought good enough to sit down in any company. Miserable 
moruli that we arc ! If you make a lawyer of him, he may become 
Lord Chancellor ; and then all his posterity arc lords. How cheap 
and yet acceptable -a thing is nobility in this country ! It does not 
dace from Adam or the cantjuest. We need not laugh at Buona- 
parte's muihroom perr^, who were something like Charlemagne's or 
the knights of King Arthur's round ubie. 

XLIII 
Wc ulk of the march of intellect, as if it only unfolded the 
knowledge of good : the inowlftfgr of evil, which communicates with 

III 



APHORISMS ON MAN 

twenty timcft the rapidity, is Dcvcr oacc hinted at. Eve's apple, the 
torch of Proinctheui, and Paodan'i box, arc discarded ai childiih 
bblei by our wive tnoderni. 

XLIV 

As I write this, I hear out of the window a man beating hi* viJt 
and catting her names. Is this what is meant by gaod>natiirr an) 
dotneitic comfort ? Or is it that we hare so littJe of these, ordinirih' 
■pealcing, thai wr are astonished at the unallcM instances of then; 
and have never done UttJaig ourtelves for the exclusive pomentOB of 
them? 

XLV 

A nun should never marry beneath bis own rank in life— ysr/nK. 
It shews goo<lnefi8 of heart, due want of cootidcTatioa ; and the my 
generosity of purpose will defeat itself. She nuy ptea^e him anJ be 
every way cjualitied Co maVv him happy : hue what wilt others think J 
Can he with cquaS certainty of the isauc introduce her to his frieodi 
and family^ If not, nothing is done; for marriage is an artificial 
institution, and a wife 3 part of the machinery of society. We arc 
not in a state of nature, to be quite free and unshackled to follow out 
fljKjncaneous impulses. Nothing can reconcile the dilficulty but i 
woman's being a paragon of wit or beauty ; but every man fajidet 
hifl Dulcinea a paragon of wit or beauty. Without this, he will only 
(with the beat intcntioos in the world) have entailed chagrin and 
mortificmion both on himself and her ; and she will be as mncb 
excluded Irom society as if he had made her his mistress instead of 
his wife. She must cither mope at home, or tic him to her apron- 
Btring ; and he will drag a clog and a load through life, if he be oot 
•addled witli a scold aod a tyrant to boot. 

XL VI 

I bclicrc in the theoretical bct>eTolence, and practical malignity of 
man. 

XLVII 

Wc pity tlioK who lived three hundred years ago, as if the world 
was hardly then awake, and they were condemned to lieel their way 
and drag out an inanimate existence in the obscure dawo of manoen 
and civilization : vvr forsooth are at the meridian, and the age* that 
are to follow are dark night. But if there were any truth in our 
theory, we should be as much behiud^hand and objects of scorn to 
thoiic who are to come after us^ .1$ we have a fancied advantage over 

222 



I 



aiORISMS ON MAN 

thoKT that have preceded us. Supposing it to be a miafortune to have 
lived in the age of Raphael or Virgil, it would be desirable (if it were 
pouiblel still to poetpam: the period of our exisvcQce line Jt^z for the 
value of time muat mount up, aa it proceeds, through the poiitive, 
comparative, and superlative degrees. Common Knee with a litde 
refiectioD will teach us, that ooe age ii as good as aooiher ; that io 
familiar phrase wr cannot have our cake and tat it ; and that there in 
IK> time like the time present, whether in the first, the tenth or the 
twentieth ccatury. 

XLvin 

The world does not start fair in the race of dine : one country 
hat run its coarse before another has set out or even been heard of. 
Riche*, luxury, and the arts, reach their utmost height in oitc place, while 
the rest of the globe is in a crude simI barbarous state ; decline thence- 
forward, and can no more be rcsuacitated than the dead. The twelve 
old Etruscan cities are stone walla, surrounded with heaps of cinders : 
Rome is but the tomb of its ancient greatness. Venice, Gcikm, are 
extinct ; and there are those who think that England has had her 
day. She may exclaim in the words ot Gray's Bard — * To trium}^ 
and to die arc mine.' America is just setting out in the path of 
history, on the model of England, without a L-knguage of its owOf and 
with a coDtioeot instead of an island to run its career in — like a novice 
in the art. who geta a larger canvau than his master erer had to cover 
with bis second-hand designs. 

XLTX 

It was shrewdly obKnred that the ruin of states commences with 
the accumulation of people in great cities, which conceal and focter 
vice and pfofiigacy. 

L 

The world, said a sensible man, does not on the whole grow much 
worse, nor abandon itself to abaolute licentiousnes«, because as people 
have children growing up, tbey do not wish them to be reprobates; 
but give them good advice and conceal their faitings from them. 
This in each succcsEive generation brings morality on its legs again, 
howerer sceptical in vinue or hardened in vice the old nuy become 
through habit or bad example. 

LI 

A« children puzzle you by asking explanations of what they do not 
andcrstand, many grown people shine in company and triumph over 
their anugonists by dint of ignorance aikI concciu 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



LII 

A certain bookseller wanted Northcote to write a history oF an it 
all age« aod countries, and in all iu ramification* tod colUurd 
bearings. It woulil have taken a life to execute it ; bat the prajector 
thought it was at easy to nuke the book as to draw up the titJe-pigc. 
Some minds are as sanguiae from a want of imagination* as othen an 
from an excess of it ; they see no difficulty or abjection in the wiy of 
what they undertake, and arc blind to every thing bot their on 
interest and wishes. 

LIII 

An outcry is raited against the distresses of literature as a ux opM 
the public, and against the sums of money and unrepaid loans whidh 
authors borrow of strangers or friends. It is not cotuidered that but 
for authors we should still have been in the hands of tyraoUf wbo 
rioted in the spoil of widows and orphans, and swept the fbrtunei of 
individuaU and the wealth of provinces into their pouch. It wilt be 
time enough to be alarmed when tlie Literary Fund has laid its ttoti 
gra^ on fat abljcy UndH and portly monasteries for the poor brethrni 
of the Muses, has establishments like those of the Fraociscao and 
Dominican Friars for its hoary veterans or tender nonces, and hn 
laid half the property of the country under contribution. Authors 
arc tlie r<Ird/ class of the present day, who supply the brains of tlie 
community with * fancies and good-nigbta,* as the priesti did of old ; 
aiHl who cultivating uo guudly vineyard of their own to saris^ the 
wanu of the body, are sometimes entitled, besides their pittance, to 
ask the protection of uste or liberality. After all, the fees of 
Parnassus are trilling in comparison with the toll of Purgatory. 

LIV 

There are but few authors who should many : they are already 
wedded to their studies and speculations. Those who are accostomed 
to the airy re^ons of poetry aod roinaacc, have a fanciful and pecnlUr 
standard of perfection of their own, to which realities can wldoni 
come up ; and disappointment, inditfcrcncc, or disgust, is too often the 
result. Besides, their ideas and their intercourse with society mike 
Uircm fit for the highest matches. If an author, baulked of the goddess 
of his iduLatry, ruarriei an ignorant and narrow-minded person, they 
have no language in common : if she is a Mtie-iiociingt they do nothiiif 
but wrangle. Neither have mo«t writers tlie means to maintain i 
wife and family without difficulty. They have chosen ibeir part, the 
pursuit of the intellectual and absiriictcd ; and should not attempt to 
force the world of reality into a union with it, like mixing gold with 

«4 



i 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



I 



I 



clay. In this respect, the Romish priests were perhaps wiser. 
* Ffom everjr work they challenged t/soin lor comemplatioa'a take.' 
Yet their celibacy was but a compromise with their ilolh and sainHMed 
saQctity. We mutt not contradict the course of nature, after all. 

LV 

There i« sometimes teen more aatiiral ease aod grace io a common 
gipsy-girl thati in an English court -circle. To demand a reason why, 
is to ask why the siroUiag fortuoe-tctlcr't hair and eyes are black, or 
ber face oval. 

LVI 

The greatest proof of pride is its being able to extinguish envy and 
jealousy. Vanity produces the latter effect on the continent. 

LVII 

When you speak of the popular effect and enthusiasm produced by 
the ceremonies of the Catholic church, it is presently objected that 
all this iaith and zeal is excited by mummery and superstition. I 
am ready to allow that ; and when I lind that truth ana reason hare 
the same homage aod reverence paid to them as absurdity and false- 
hood, I shall think all the advantages are clearly on the side of the 
former. The procesKs of reason do not commonly afford the clc- 
mcDts of passion as their result i and the object of strong and even 
lofty feeling seems to appeal rather to the grossocsi and incongruity of 
the senses and imagination, than to the clear and dry deductions of 
the understanding. Man has been truly detlned a retigiouj animat; 
but his faith and heavenward aspirations cease if you reduce him lo a 
mere mathematical machine. The glory and the power of the true 
religion are id its cniiiting the affections of man along with the 
understanding. 

LVllI 

We are impoacd upon by the affectation of grace and gcndlity only 
till we see the reality ; and then we laugh at the counterfeit, and are 
surprised that we did not see through it before. 

LIX 

English women, ereii of the highest rank, look like tUwi&et in 
Paris 1 or exactly an country-women do in London. It is a ru/e-of- 
thret proportion. A French milliner or servant maid laughs (not 
without reason) at an English Duchess. The more our &ir country 
women drets a ia Franfoijff the more unlucky they seem ; and the 

Tou III. : P 225 




APHORISMS ON MAN 



more foreign graces rhcy give chcmaclves the isore avfcwmd diq 
gruw. Tbey want the toumure Fran^oiac. Ok 1 Wmt w b* 
'melted, tluweU, and disHolvrd iato a dev.* to mm a baidia^ ut- 
faced, barc-oeckcd Engliab Dacheis or banker** wife, amt iw i 
box at the French tbeatre^ bedizened and bedaubed! My Lid]- 

mayoreis or the Right Honourable the Coquivm Dowager of 1 

before the vcouires on the word vulgar, or Konu her oatitled mi 
tintutored nctghboiin a> beneath her ootioe* afaoold go to lee Ai 

At^imttj pour rirt ! That is the looUng-gliu jbr apatait watt o^ 

infixted ari&locracy. 

l.X 

The advantage of our DobiUty over the ptebeUo cljatca il Hid a) 
be in the blood and in the breed — the Nonnaa breed, wc wppow 
the high noset aod arched cycbrowa date from the CootjurK. Wc 
plead guthy to the iosinuation conveyed in the expretnoo — 'tfa 
coronet face ' — and bow with some sort of pride to the pride of 
birth. But this hypothcBis is hardly compatible with the enicol 
itnprovcmcot in the present geoeration of ooblemco aod gentlemen bj 
the intcmurriages with rich heiresses, or the beautiful Pamelas of in 
humbler stock. CratAag the hretd has done much good \ for thr 
actual race of Bood-ctrect loungers would make a very mpccuUe 
regiment of grenadiers; and the satire on Beau Didapper, ta 
Fielding's Jowph Andrews, has lost iu force. 

LXI 

The tone of sociely in Paris is very far from John Bullish. Tbcy 
do not af>k what a man is worth, or whether his father is owoer of i 
tin-minenr a borough — but what he has to say, whether be is amishk 
lad tpiriluti. In the case (unless a marriage it on the fafuj oooiif 
iniiuircs whether his account at bis banker's is high or low; v 
whether he has come in his carriage or on foot. An English tciixt 
of fortuQc, or a great traveller, is listened to with some attention u> 
marifJ tharaettr ; while a booby lord is tw more regarded than ha 
own footman in livery. The blank after a man's name is cxpectei 
to be filled up with talent or advcotures, or he pasaes for what be 
really is, a cypher. 

LXII 

Our young Eoglishraeo in Paris do not make much figure ia the 
•ociety of FreochmeD of education and sjnrit. They stumble ji tke 
tlireshold in point of manners, dress, and convemtioo. They h*^ 
nut only to learn the laoguage, but to unlearn almost every thing cl« 

is6 ~ 



I 

I 

I 

r 



I 



APHORISMS ON MAN 

Both words and things are dtiferent ia France ; our raw recniiu 
havr to get rid of a hcHl of prejudiccfi, ;incl thei^ do it awkwardly and 
reiucuDtly, and if they attempt to make a regular stiod, are presently 
outvoted. The terms goikU .tnd larharout are laltBman to strike 
them dumb. There is, moreOTcr, a clumainess in both their wit and 
advances to familiarity, that the spiteful bruneliej on the other Bide of 
the watet do not comprehend, and that bubjectB ihein to constant 
loecrt ; and every ^se step adds eo their cooftuion and want of 
confidence. But their lively anugoni»Iii are so fluihed with victory 
and victims to their loquacity and charms, that they arc not contcotcd 
to lecture them on morals, meuphysics, sauces, and taVfu, but proceed 
to teach them the true pronunciation and idiom of the Bngliah tongue. 
Thiu a smart French widow having blundered by uying* *I have 
never madt » child;* and perceiving that it excited a smile, main- 
tained, for three whole days, against a large compny, that it wai 
better than saying, 'I never ^Wa child.' 

LXIII 

The Parisian tr^ (say what they will) is not grace. It is the 
motion of a puppet, and may be mimicked, which grace ^annal. It 
may be different from the high, heavy-hceled walk of the Iinglish- 
woman. Is it not equally remote from the step (if step it may be 
called) of an AndaluMin girl ? 

LXIV 

]t has been often made a subject of dispute. What is the dntioguish- 
iag characteristic of man .' And the answer may, perhaps, be given 
that ht it tht only animal that tirtiift. He is the only being who is 
coxcomb crnough not to go out of the world naked as he came into it; 
that is ashamed of what he really iti, and proud of what he is not ; 
ami that tries to pass off an artificial disguise as himself. Wc may 
safiEly extend the old maxim, and nay that it is the uilor that makes 
both the gentleman and iheman. Fint/talhtrimake^ntbirdt — this lie 
is the motto of the human mind. Dresc a fellow in sheepskin, and he 
is a clown— dress him in scarlet, and he is a gentleman. It is then 
the clothes that makes all the difference ; and the moral agent is 
limply the lay-figure to hang them on. Man, in short, is the only 
creature ia the known world, with whom appearances pass for realities, 
words for thin(;s{ or that has the wit to tind out his nwn defects, 
aad the impodeoce and hypocrisy, by merely concealing them, to 
persuade himself and others that he hat them not. Teoiers's monkeys, 
bilntcd like monks, may be thought a satire on bumac nature — alai ! 

2'7 




APHORISMS ON MAN 



it is I piece of DKtural history. The monks are the larger utd man 
salemo tpectci, lo be aure. Swift hat taken a good bird'i-eye vies of 
man's nature, by abstracting the habitual notions of aize* and lookiai 
at it ia great or id Hu/ei would that tome odc had the boldoeti ana 
the art to do a similar eervice, by stripping off the coat from his buk, 
the vizor from hii thoughti, or by dresiiog up tome otfaer creatun 
in simiUr mummery ! It is not his body alone thai be tampcn witbt 
aitd metamorphoses so successfully ; he tricks out hit mind aikd mmI 
in borrowed finery, and in the admired costume of gravity and 
imposture. U he h&» a desire to commit a base or cnid action 
without remorie and uath the applause of the ipeaators, he has uoly 
to throw the cloaJc of religion over it, and invoke Heaven to set iu 
seal OD a massacre or a robbery. At oik time dirt, at aootfaet 
indecency, at another rapine, at a fourth rancorous malignity, b 
decked out and accredited in the garb of sanctity. The inctaat there 
is a flaw, a * damned spot * to be concealed, it is glossed orer with a 
doubtful name. Again, we dress up our enemies in nicknames, rnd 
they march to the sukc as assuredly as ia jan Btniioi. The wordt 
Heretic or Papist, Jew or Infidel, labelled on those who differ froa 
us, sued us in lieu of sease or decency. If a man be raean, he im 
up for economy; if selfish, he pretends to be prudent; if harsh, 
firm ; and so on. What enormities, what follies are not underukea 
for the love of glory ? — and the worst of all, are said to be for the 
glory of God ! Strange, that a reptile should wish to be thought aa 
angel ; or that he should not be content to writhe and grovel in his 
native earth, without aspiring to the skies ! It is from the love of 
dress and finery. He it the Chimney-sweeper on May-day all the 
year round : the soot [>eeps through ibe rags and tinsel, aod all tbr 
flowers of sentiment ! 

LXV 

The meaning of all which is, that man is the only hypocrite ia the 
creation ; or that he is composed of two futures, the iJeal and tlu 
ptyjita/f the one of which he is always trybg to keep a secret (itm 
the other. He la the Centaur not /abtikiis. 



LXVI 

A person who ii full of secrets is a koare or a fool, or both. 



LXVII 

The error of Mandcville, as well as of tho«e opposed to him, isio 
concluding that man is a simple and! not a cofflpouod being. Thr 
BchoolnirD and divinefi endeavour to prove that the gross and material 

236 



i 



APHORISMS ON MAN 



I 



I 



I 



part of h!« nature is a foreign admixture, diitinct from and unworthy 
of the maD himself. The misaothropeti and scepticB, on the other 
hand, maiotaiD the/ahhy of all human wnutt, and that aJI that is not 
sensual and wifish ■• a mere theairicnl deception. Rut in order that 
man should be a wholly and incorrigibly Kifish being, he ihou£d be 
vhut up like an oyslcr in its shell, without any possible conception of 
what MMe« beyond the wall of ht< senses ; and ihtfeelrrj of his miod 
ffaoola not extend their ramiiicationR under any circunisunce or ia 
any manoer, to the thoughts and iieotinienta of other*. Shakspeare 
bu expreiKd the matter better than the pedants on either side, who 
wiab unreasonably to exalt or degrade human nature. — ' The web of 
Our Irves is as of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our vtrtues 
would be proud, if our faults whipjwd them not, and our Wees would 
despir, if they were not cherished by our vinuea.* 

LXVIII 

People cry out against the preposterous abturditr of such represent 
tations as the German inventions of the DeviTt Elixir and the Bottle 
Imfi. Is it then a fiction that we see ? Or is it not rather a palpable 
reality that takes place every day and hour i Who is there that U 
not haunted by some heated phantom of hit brain, some wizard spell, 
thai clings to him in spite of his will, and hurries him on to absuidity 
or mto ? There is no machirery or phamasmagoria of a melo-drnme, 
more extravagant than the workings of the passions. Mr. Farley may 
da hifl worn with scaly forms, with flames, nnd dragon's wings: but 
after all, the true demon ia withio us. How many, whose seases are 
shocked at the outward 8{>cctac9e, and who turn away startled or 
disgusted might say, pointing to their bosoms, * Tht moral is hert I ' 



Mr. L. 



LXIX 

asked Sir Thomas 



who had been intimate with 



the Prince, if it was true that he was lo Goc a geotleman as he was 

generally represented ? Sir Thomas made answer, that it was 

certainly tnie that the Prince was a very fine gentleman indeed ; • but,' 
added be, < if I am to speak my mind, the Snctit gcntlcroao I ever 
saw, was Sadt Baba, the ambassador to Constantinople, from the 
Usbek Tartars.' 

LXX 

*Man is in no haste to be venerable.* At present, it seems as if 
there were no occasion to become so. People aie as usual ; but it is 
□ot the (ashioa bo grow old. Formerly, men subsided and settled 
into a respectable old age at forty, as they did into a bob-wig, 

229 



A CHAPTER ON EDITORS 

aod s brown coat and waictcow of a certain cut. The father ot t 
family DO looger pretended to put for a gay youog fellow, after tx 
had children grown op; and women dwindled, by regular and wiUnq 
gtadatioDa, into moihcrt utd graiidfnothcr*, tranuerriog cbeir durau 
aixl preteruioni to a blooming poBterity ; but these things arc never 
thought of now-i-dayi. A nutroD ot sixty Haunts it in * La Bclk 
As*enibl£c'i drc»ae« for May : ' asd certaialy M. Stnltz nem 
iiu]uires iDto the gnod cltmaaenc of hit customers. Dmt InA, 
all agd u well aa all ranks. 



A CHAPTER ON EDITORS 

*Ottr witlxn m saiming.* 

Editoxs art (to UK an approred Scotch phraac — for what thai b 
Scotch is not approved?) a 'sort of iiult^aitU* — dtlHculi to deal 
with, dangerous to discuss. ' A capital subject for ao article, gml 
scope, complete oovelty, and groood oever touched upoo ! ' Very 
true ; for what Editor would insert an article against htmartf? 
Certaiidy none tliat did not feel hioiielf free from and superior to ibe 
common fcublcs of his tribe. What might, therefore, be taken lot 
1 satire in manuscript, turns to a compliment in prim — the exceptioo 
in this, as in other caaes, proves the role — an iofereoct we ban 
endeaTourcd to express in our motto. 

With one exception, then. Editors in general partake of the hibbI 
infirmity of human nature, and of persons placed in high and honorary 
sttuattooB. Like other imlividualt raited to authority, they are cboKfl 
lo fill 3 cenain ]x»: for qualities useful or omatnental to the rtaAg 
p»t&c : but they soon fancy that the situation has been inrcnted lor 
their own honour and pra^t, and sink the use in the abuse. Kings 
are not the only servants of the public who imagine that they arc the 
itaU. Editors arc but men, and easily ' lay the flattering unction tn 
their souls * that they are the Magazine, the Newspaper, or the Review 
they conduct. They have got a little power in their hands, and they 
wish to employ that power (as all power is employed) to increaaelbe 
sense of self-importance: they borrow a certain dignity from tb»r 
situation as arbiters and judges of uste and elegance, and they art 
determined to ke*p it to the detriment of their employers and of ertry 
otK else. They are dreadiiilly a&aid there ahoold be any tlunj 
behind the Hdttor's chair, greater than the EditcH^s chair. That ■ 
a scandal to be prerented at all risks. The pabltcation they nt 
entrusted with for the amusement and edification of the town, tbi7 



A CHAPTER ON EDITORS 

cooven, io theory and practice, into a utalking horsr of Ihrtr own 
vanit)', whimi, and prejudice*. They cannot WTi» a whole work 
themseWea, but they uke care that tlie whole is iucb it they might 
have writteii : it is to have the Editor's mark, like the broad K, on 
erery I>Bg«, or the N. K. at the Tuillcries ; it i* to bear the same 
image and super«criptioit— every line is to be upon oath : nothing is 
to be difTercmly conceived or better expre«*rd than the Hditor could 
have done it. The whole begini in vanity, and endi too often io 
diilDCM and insipidity. 

It ii uuerly impoMible to persuade ao Editor that he ii oobody. 
As Mr. Home Tooke uid, aa his trial for a libel before Lord 
KeoyoD, * There are two partie« in this caute — myself and tbe jnry ; 
the }udge aod the ciicr of the court attend in their respective places:' 
■o io every periodical mbccllany, there are two essential parties— the 
writers and the public ; the Editor and the printer* MJevil are merely 
the mechanical instrument* to bring them together. There is a secret 
coDBciouinets of this on the part of the Conductor of the Literary 
Diligence, that his place ts one for shew and form rather than use; 
aod as he cannot maintain his pretended superiority by what he does 
himself, he thinks to airive at the same end by hiadering others froin 
doing their best. The 'dog-in-the-manger ' principle come» into tuit 
pUy. If an article has nothing to recommend it, is ooe of no mark 
or likelihood, it goes in ; there is no olfencc in it. If it is likely to 
iirike, to draw attetidoa, to make n noiM, then every syltablc ii 
■canoed, every objection is weighed; if grave, it is too grave; if 
witty, it is too witty. One way or other, it might be better ; acd 
white this nice paint is pending, it gives place, as a nutter of course, 
to something that there is no quntion about. 

The responntnlity, the delicacy, the nervous apfM'ehennoa of the 
Bditor, naturally increase with the probable elTcct and popularity of 
the cootribations on which he has to pass jadgment; and the nearer 
ao efliuton approaches to perfection, the mote fatal is a siogle flaw, or 
its falling short of that superhuman sundard by a hair Vbreadth difter- 
eocc, to iu final reception. If people are likely to ask, * Who wrote 

a certain paper in the last number of i ' the Hditor is bound, as 

M point of honour, to baulk that impertinent curiosity on the part of 
the public. He would have it understood that all the articles arc 
equally good, aiid may be equaily his own. If he inserts a paper of 
more than the allowed average merit, his next care is to spoil by 
revisiDg it. The sting, with the honey, is sure to be left out. If 
there is any thing that pleased yoo in the writing, you look io vain 
for it in the proof. What might electrify the trader, startles the 
Editor. With a paternal regard for the interests of the public, he 

a3> 



1 



A CHAPTER ON EDITORS 

ukc* care tbst thdr uttet shouJd not be pampered, uid tfadr notct^ 
lions raised too high, by a SLCceasion of tioc paMsge&r ofwlucn itii 
impoasible to continue a supply. He ioterposea between tbe ton 
■od their vicioui appetite for tbe piquant and hi^b-teaiOQcd, at ve 
forbid children to indulge in tweetmeats. The trite aod vaperficM 
are always to be had lo order, aod preacDt a beautiful anifomitf rf 
appearance. There is no unexpected relief, no unwclcontc inequality 
of (tyle, to disorder the oerrcs or perplex tbe undcrstaoding: tbe 
reader may read, and unUe, and sleep, without meeting a lioglc idea 
to break his repoae ! 

Some Editor*, moreorcr, hare a way of aitenng the first parampli: 
they have then exercised their privileges, aiMl let you aJonc for tke 
Kit of the chapter. This ia Ukc paying ' a pcppcr-com rent,* « 
nuking one's bow on entering a room : it is being let off cheap. 
Others add a pointleti conctusioo of their own : it ia like signing tbor 
Damet to the article. Some have a patakro for sticking io tbe vod 
kamaever at every opportunity, in order to impede the march of the 
•trie; aod others arc contented and take great paint (with Liodky 
Murray's Grammar lying opeo before them) to alter > if it u ' into ' v 
it beJ* An Editor aUiors an ellipsii. If you Ding your tbooghtt tiito 
continued passages, they set to work to cut tbcm up into abort para- 
graphs : if you make frequent breaks, they turn the tables on you thu 
way, and throw the whole composition into maatea. Aoy thug to 
prccerre the form and appearance of power, lo make ifac work ifaeir 
own by mental stratagem, to stamp it by some fiction of criticiun with 
tbctr pcraooal identity, to enable ibem to run away with the credit, 
aod Itmk upon therascires ai the maiter-ipiriti of the work and of the 
age I If there in any point they do not understand, they arc sure to 
meddle with it, and mar the sense; for it piques their self-love, aod 
tbey think they are bouod ec-ojuia to know better than tbe writer. 
That they substitute (at a venture, aod merely for the sake of altering) 
ODC epttbet for another, when perhapi the same word bat occttrred 
just before, and produces a cruel uutology, oever considering tbt 
trouble you have uken to compare the context lod vary tbe 
phraseology. 

Editors have no misplaced confidence in tbe powers of their COB- 
tributors : they think by the suppodtioo they muit be in the rigbi 
from a single supercilious glance, — aod you in the wrong, after poniig 
oter a subject for a month. There are Editors who, if you insert ibr 
name of a popular actor or artist, strike it out, and, in virtue of tbeir 
authority, insert a favourite of their own, — as a dexterous atiorDcy 
sutMiiiutei the name of a friend in a will. Some Editors will let yea 
praise nobody ( others will let you blame nobody. The first cxcitn 

»3« 



A CHAPTER ON EDITORS 



ibeiT jealousy of contemporary merit ; the last excitcE their fearSf and 
ihey do not like to make enemies. Some insitt upon giving no 
optoioD at all, aad obscpre an unarmtd iuvira£ly ai to all partio aod 
pemns ; — it ia no wonder the world think very littte of thrm in return. 
Some Edttorf suod upon their character) for this ; others for that. 
Some pique thrmseKcb upon being genteel and well-dreascd ; others 
on being moral and immaculate, and do not perceive that the public 
ntver trouble their heada about the matter. We only know one 
Editor who openly diicard* all regard to character and decency, sad 
who thrirca by the diuolution of partnership, if indeed the articles 
were ever drawn up. We shall not mcntior names, as we would not 
advertise a work that 'ought to tie on no geDtlcman's table.* Some 
Editors drink tea with a set of Hue tloekitigi and literary ladies : not 
a whisper, not a breath that might blow away those fine cobwebs of 
the brab — 



ll 



'More lubtte web Arachne cannot »pmj 
Nor thoae line threads which oft we woven sec 
Of scorched dew, do not in the air more lightly flee ! * 



I 



'thers dine with Lords aod Academicians— for God's sake, take 
care what you say! Would you strip the Editor's mantel-piece of 
Uie cards of invitation that adorn it to select parties for the next six 
months? Ao Editor takes a turn in St. James' s-strcet, and is cor>- 
gratulaied by the successive literary or political groups on all he doei 
mot write ; and when the mistake it fouod out, the true Simon Pure 
il dismissed. We have heard thai it was well said by the proprietor 
of a leading journal, that he would take good care never to write a 
line ID his own paper, as be had conllictiog interetu enough to managCi 
without adding literary jealousies to the number. On the other hand, 
a very good-natured and warm-hearted individual declared, * he would 
never have another man of ulente for an Editor' (the Editor, in this 
case, i« to the proprietor as the author to the Editor), * for he waa 
drcd of having their good things thrust in his teeth/ Sonic Editora 
arc scrubs, mere drudges, newspaper puffs : others are bullies or 
quacks : others are nothing at all — they hare the name, and receive 
a salary far it I A literary sinecure is at once lucrative and highly 
respectable. At Lord's-Ground there are some old hands that are 
famous for ' blactlng out and liay'mg In i ' it would seem that some of 
our literary veterans had taken a lesson from their youthful exercises 
at Harrow or Eton. 

All this is bod enough ; hut the worst is, that Editors, besides their 
own failings, bare 7Wfn<// who aggravate and take advantage of them. 
These self-styled mends arc the night-shade and hemlock clinging to 

'33 



A CHAPTER ON EDITORS 



the work, prevcntiag iu growth and ctrcoUcion, ssd droppug ■ 
•tomberoDs poi&on from its jaandiced leaves. They form a rvrJm, 
an opake nuu round the Editor, and pcriuadc him that they ur tkt 
■upport, the prop, and pillar of hix reputation. Tbcy get bctwcxa 
him aod the public, aod ^ot oat the light, aod Mt aside cocdbnb- 
■eoae. They pretend anxiety for the intereil of some eifaMiArf 
organ of opinioo, while alt they want it to make it the orgio of then 
ddgnuit prejudices, or party. I'hey vaot to be the MagaiiDe or die 
Review — to wield that power covertly, to varp that influcoce to thrtr 
om ponoKi. If they caaoot do thit, they care not if it inifcs or 
swinuk They prejudge erery quertion— fly-blow crery writer wbob 
not of their own let. A frieod of theirt has three anicle« in the Uk 

onmbcT of ; they atnun every oerrc aad make pressing istfiiKC* 

to throw a dur oa a jwpnlar contribution by another hand, in order 
tlut he may write a fourth in the oext auniher. The short arsdet 
which are read by the vulgar, atc cut down to make room for tlir 
loag ones, which are read by nobody but the writers and their fnendi. 
If an opinioo is expressed contrary to the shibboleth of the party, i 
ia tepmented is an outrage on decency and public opinion, when is 
tnith the public arc delighted with the candour and boldneM displayed 
They would convert the mo*: valuable and apiritcd journal into a daR 
pamphleteer, »tn(Fed with their own lucubratiotw on certaio bcavr 
topics. The Belfimportance of these people te io proportion to their 
insigaificance ; and what they caooot do by an app^ to arpumeol W 
sound policy, they eilect by importunity aod insinnadon. They kef|i 
the Editor to continual alann as to what will be said of him by xht 
ptUilJc, when in fact the public will think (in nine cases out of tea] 
joit what he tellt them. 

These people create much of the nutchief. An Editor iboeU 
have no frieods — his only prompter should be the number of copa 
of the work that sell. It tc tuperfliMus to strike off a large im^ 
of a work for those few squeamish persons who prefer lead to _ 
Priodole and good manners are iMrriers that are, in our eitiiDjRi 
inviobUe : the rest is open to popular suffrage, aod is not to be p(^ 
judged by a rsfcrir with ckMed doors. Another difficulty lies here. 
An Editor should, in ooe sense, be a respectable man — a distiagdskcd 
character ; otherwise, be cannot lend hu oame and sanction to tht 
work. The condactor of a periodical publication which is to circn- 
Ut* widely and give the tone to taste aod opinion, ought to be of btgk 
standing, thould have coniiectioo* with society, should belong to tmn* 
hterary iastitutiotH should be courted by the great, be run after by the 
obscorc. But * here 's the rub * — that one so graced and gifted cas 
neither Hstt hi) time nor his thoughts to himself. Our obligatioM 

»34 



THK LKTTER-BFLL 



I 



ar« mutoal ; and thome who owe much to others, become the slaves of 
their good opioioo aod good word. He who dines out loses his free 
agency. He may improve in politeness ; he fallii off in the pith aod 
pungeocy of bit stvle. A poem ie dedicated to the aoo of the Musci: 
— can the critic do otherwise than praise it? A tragedy tt brought 
out by a noble friend and patron : — the tevere rale* erf the drama 
must yield in some measure to the amcaitica of private life. On tbe 

conuary, Mr. is a garrcttcer — » person that nobody knows ; hia 

work hat oothing but the eonitntt to recommend it; it sinks into 
obscurity, or addresses iuelfto the camtillr. An fLditor, then, should 
be an abstraction — a beiog in the clouds — a mtod without a body — 
reason without passion. But where liad such a one? 



I 



I 



THE LETTER-BELL 

TIU Alwiilji M^gniae.] [Afiwci, iSji. 

Com plaints are frequently made of tlie vanity and shortness of human 
life, when, if we examine its smallest details, they present a world by 
thcmKlTes. The most trifling objects, retraced witli the eye of 
memory, assume the vividness, the delicacy, and importance of 
insects seen through a magnifying glass. There is no end of the 
brilliancy or the variety. The habitual feeling of tbc love of life 
may \» compared to *0Qe entire nad perfect chrysolite,' which, if 
analysed, breaks into a thousand shining fragments. Ask the 
■um-lotal of the value of human life, and we are puzzled with the 
IcDgth of the account, and the multiplicity of items Id tt : take any 
OOe of them apart, and it is wonderful whiit matter for retlection will 
be found in it ! As 1 write tbi», the Leiitr-Bell passet : it hat a 
lively, pleasant sound with it, and not only tills the street with ita 
importunate clamour, but rings clear through the length of many 
faalf'forgotteo years. It strikes upon tbc car, it vibrates to the brain, 
it wakes me from the dream of time, it flings me back upon my first 
eotiaoce into life, the period of my first coming up to town, when 
a]] axoaod was strange, uncertain, adverse — a hubbub oi confused 
noises, a chaos of shifting objects — aod when this sound alone, 
startling me with the recollection of a letter I had to tend to the 
friends I had lately left, brought me as it were to myself, made me 
feci that I had links still connecting me with the universe, and gave 
tne hope and patience to persevere. At that loud-tinkling, inter- 
rtipied sound (now aod then), the long line of blue hilU near the 
place where I was brought up waves in the horizon, a golden sunset 
hovers over them, the dwarf-oaki rustle their red Icai-es in the evening- 



THE LETTER-BELl, 

tvreze, and the road from to , by which I fim let imhii 

my jcnuney (hiough life, ttam me id the face a< plaia, but froffl dM 
aod changr not ku vukmaiy sod mysterious^ tiian tbe pictoret n 
the Piigrim't Pngmt. I sbould notice, that at thU time the lijk 
of the French Revotution circled my head like a glory, tbocik 
dabbled with drope of critnioo gore : i walked comfortibte aad 
cheerful by iu nde — 

' Aod bjr the vitioa tplendid 
Wu on my way attended.' 

It roce theo in tbe ea<t : it has again risen in the west. Two MOi 
in one day, two triumphi of liberty in one age, ta a miracle iriiidi I 
hope the Laureate will hail in appropriate verse. Or may ooc Mr. 
Wordsworth give a diifcrcot turn to tbe fine passage, beginniog — 

< What, though the radiance which was once so bright, 
Be now for ever ranithed from my ught i 
Though nothing can bring bark the hour 
Of glorj' in tbe grass, of splendour in the flower ? ' 

For it it not brought back, * like morn riaeo on mid-night ' ; ud mi; 
be not yet greet the yellow light shining on the eveoiog bank widi 
eyes of yooth, of genius, and freedom, as of yore? No, nererl 
But what would not these peraoni give for the unbroken btegrtty o^ 
their early opinions — for one unshackled, uocontaminaied strain n« 
/o fimoM to Liberty — one burst of indigiution against tyrants lad 
sycophants, who subject other countries to slavery by force, lai 
prepare their own for it by servile tophisuy, as we see the kup 
•erpent lick over its trembling, helpless victim with its slime aad 
poiton, before it devours it ! On every stanza so penned should be 
written the word Rkcreakt! Every taunt, every reproach, cterj 
note of exultation at restored light and freedom, would rccal to then 
how their hearts failed them in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. 
And what shall we say to Ann — the sleep-walker, the drramcr. the 
sophist, the word-huQter, the craver after sympathy, but still vbIoct- 
able to truth, accessible to opnion, because not sordid or mechanic^f 
The Bourbons being no longer tied about hit neck, he may perfaaf* 
recover his original liberty of speculating; so that we may apply te 
him the lines about his own jfntimt Maritirr — 

' And from his neck m free 
The Albatross fell off, and sank 
Like lead into the sea.* 

This is the reason I can write an article on the Ltttir BdJ, and other 
tuch subjects ; I have never given the lie to my owti wtil. If I 

2%^ 



Mk 



THE LETTER-BELL 



I 

I 



I 



I 



hav« felt any impression once, I frel it more strongly a second time; 
and 1 have no wish to revile or discard my best thooghtt. There 
is at least a thorough ieefiiag in what I write — not a line that betrays 
a principle or disguices a feeling. If my wraith is small, it all goes 
to eoricb the tame heap; and tnlles in this way acctmiulate to a 
tolerahle sum. Or if the Leiier-Bell does not lead me a dance into 
the country, it fixe* mc in the thick of my town recollections, I 
know not how long ago. It wa« a kind of alarm to break off from 
my work when there happened to be company to dinner or whrn 1 
was going to the play. Tl/at was going to the play, indeed, when 
I went twice a year, and had not been more than half a dozen times 
in my life. Even the idea that any one else In the house was going, 
was a sort of reflected enjoyment, and conjured up a tively anticipa- 

ttoo of the scene. I remember a Miss D , a maiden lady from 

Wales (who in her youth waa to have been married to an earl), 
tantalised me greatly in this way. by talking all day of going to see 
Mrs. Siddons* * airK and graces at night in some farouritc part; and 
when the Letter-Bell announced that the time was approaching, and 
its last receding sound lingered on the ear, or was lost in silence, how 
anxious and uneasy I became, test she and her com^ianion should 
not be in time to get good places — lest the curtain should draw up 
before they arrived — and lest I should lose one tine or look in the 
inicHigent report which I should hear the next morotng! The 
punctuating of time at that early period — every thing that gives it an 
articulate voice — seems of the utmoiit con»equeocei for wc do not 
know what scenes in the idea/ world may run out of them : a world 
of ioierest may hang upon every instant, and we can hardly sustain 
the weight of fuiore years which are contained in embryo in the most 
minute and inconsiderable passing events. How often have I put olf 
writing a letter till it was too late ! How often had to run after the 
postman with it — now misting, now recovering the sound of his bell 
— breathless, angry with myself — then hearing the welcome soond 
come full ronnd a comer — and seeing the scarlet costume which set 
all my fears and self-reproaches at rest t I do not recollect having 
ever repented giving a letter to the postman, or wishing to retrieve tt 
a/ter he had once deposited it in his bag. What I have once set 
my hand to, I take the consequences of, and have been always 
pretty much of the same humour in this respect. I am not like the 
person who, having sent off a letter to his mistress, who resided a 
hundred and twenty miles in the country, and disapproving^ on 
second thoughts, of some expressions contained In it, look a post* 
chaise and four to follow and intercept tt the next morning. At 
other times, I have sal and watched the decaying embers in a little 

237 




ER BELL 



batt painting-room (jutt at the wintry day declined), lod broodol 
over the half-tmithed copy of a Rembrandt, ur a Undicape bf 
Vangoycn, placing it where it mighi catch a dim gleam of 1^ 
frum the fire; while the Lettcr-Bcll was the only sound that drc* 
my thoughts to the world wrifhout, and reminded me tliat I had i 
usk to perform in it. At to that landtcape, mctbinke I see il do«— 

' The ilow canal, the yellow- bloisomcd vale. 
The willow-tulted bank, the gtiding niL* 

There was a windmill, too, with a poor low clay-built cottagt 
betide it : — liow deli^iited I was when I had made the trcmukwi, 
uaduUtipg reflection in the water, and saw the dull caovas becane 
a lucid mirror of the commonest features of nature ! Cenainly, 
painting gives one a strong interest in nature and bumaoity (it is oot 
the J^^/f'^/ of morals or sentiment) — 



' While with an eye made quiet by the power 
Of harmony and the deep power of ioy, 
We »cc into the life of things.' 



Perhaps there in no part of a painter's life (if we muR tell *tbr 
iccrett of the prison-house') in which he ha> more eojoymeot of 
hiniHeir and his art, than that in which after his work is over, uul 
with furtive, liddong glancea at what he his dooc, be is employed la 
washing his bntshcs and cleaning his pallet for the day. Anervinls, 
when he gets a servant in livery to do this for him, he may haie 
other and more ostensible sources of satisfaction — greater splcndoor. 
wealth, or fame ; but he will not be bo wholly in bis art, oor wiD 
bit an hare such a hold on bim ai when be was too poor to traoafer 
its meanest drudgery to others — too humble to de^rise aught that had 
to do with the object of his glory and his pride, with that oo whidi 
all his pro}ccls of ambition or pleasure were founded. * Entire 
affection scoriteth nicer hands.* When the professor ta above this 
mechanical part of his busineu, it may have become a ttaJiimj-itrn 
to other worldly schemes, but is DO longer his bahhy-horte aod the 
delight of hii inmoot thoughts — 

* His shame in crowdi, his soGtaiy pride * ' 

T used sometimes to hurry through this part of my occupation, whik 
the Letter-Bell (which was my dinoer-bcU) summoned me to the 
fraternal board, where youth and hope 



■ 



»38 



* Made good digcftion wwt on appetite 
And health on both — ' 



THE LETTER-BELL 



I 



I 
I 



or oftencr t put it off nil after dinner, that 1 might loit«r lodger and 
with more luxuriouB indtilcncc oTcr it, and coanect it with the 
thought* of my next day's labours. 

The du&tm;ia'i-bcll, with its heavy, monotonous noiae, and the 
brisk, lively tinkle ol" the niufrin-bell, have something in them, but 
not much. They will beir dilatiog upon with the utmost licence of 
inventive prose. All things are not alike foudufiort to the imagitia- 
tton. A learned Scotch professor found tault with an ingenious 
frieod and arch-critic foi cultivating a rookery on his grounds; the 
MDliiMsor declared • he would as »oon think of encouraging ifroggrry' 
This was barbarous as it was •eoseless. Strange, that a countty that 
has produced the Scotch novels and Gertrude of Wyoming should 
want sentiment ! 

The postman's double knock at the door the next morning ts 
* more germain to the matter.' How that knock often goes to the 
heart ! We distinguish to a nicety the arrival of the Two-penny or 
the General Post. The summons ol the latter ii louder and heavier, 
as bringing news from a greater distance, and as, the longer !t has 
been delayed, fraught with a deeper interest. We catch the sound 
of what is to be paid^-dght-pencc. niac-pence, a shUling — and our 
hopes generally rise with the postage. How we are provoked nt the 
delay in getting change — at the servant who docs not hear the door ! 
Then if the postman passes, and we do not hear the expected knock, 
what a [lang is there! It is like the silence of death — of hope! We 
think he does it on purpotc, and enjoys all the miiery of our 
sQEpense. I have sometimes walked out to see the Mail-Cusch pass, 
by which I had stmt a letter, or to meet it whco I expected one. 
I never see a Mait-Coach, for this reason, but I look at It as the 
bearer of glad tidingi — the messenger of fate. I have reason to lay 
fto. The finest tight in the metropolis is that of the Mail-Coachcs 
setting off" from Piccadilly. The horses paw the ground, and are 
impatient to be gone, as if conscious of the precious burden they 
convey. There is a peculiar secresy ud de«ptch, significant and 
fiiil of meaning, in all the proceedings concerning tbeoi. Even the 
outude passengers have an erect and supercilious air, aa if proof 
against the accidents of the journey. In fact, it seems tndinerent 
whether they arc to eacouoter the summer's heat or winter's cold, 
since they are borne on through the air in a winged chariot. The 
Mail-Caru drive up; the transfer of packages is made ; and, at a 
signal given, they start off, bearing the irrevocable scrolls that give 
wings to thought, and that bitid or sever heans for ever. How we 
bate the Putney and Brentford suges that draw up in a line after 
they are gone ! Some jierKons think the suUimen object in oatDre is 

»19 




THE LETTER-BELL 

I ihip launched od the boiotn of the ocean : but gire m«, foe my 
priratc tatitfaction, the Mail-Coichet thai pour down Piccadiliy of 
an eTcniog, tear up the paTement, and devour the way before them 
to the LaodVEiDd.' 

In Cowper'i litne, Mail-Coachea were hardly set upt bat he hai 
beautifully described the comiog in of the Post- Boy : — 

' Haik I 'tis the twanging hora o'er yonder bridge. 
That with it* wearitomc but needful length 
Beitridei the wintry fiood, in which ihe moon 
Sfci her unwtinkkd face reflected bright: — 
He comes, the herald of a noisy worldj 
With spattered boots, swapped waist, and froien locfct; 
New« from all nationn lumbertng at his biclc. 
True to his charge, the close-packed load bebiod. 
Vet careless what be Ixingi, hts one concent 
Is to conduct it to the destined inn; 
And having dropped the eK)>ectrd bag, pan on. 
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch ! 
Cold and yet cheerful ) metsengei of grief 
Perhapi to thouundx, and of joy to some; 
To him indifferent whether grief or )oy. 
Houses in ashes and the fall of stocks, 
Births, deaths, and marriaget, epiitlet wei 
With teara that trickled down the writer's cheeks 
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill, 
Or charged with amorous sighs of absent swaini 
Or nymplis fefuonsive^ et^ually affect 
His horse and ntm, uncoQscious of them all.* 

And yet, ootwithtunding thti, aitd to many other pauage* that 
like the very marrow of our being, Lord Byron denies that Co« 
was a poet ! — The Mail-Coach Is an improvement on the Pon-Boy| 
but I fear it will hardly bear to poetical a description. The pictureMur 
and dramatic do not keep pace with the useful and Tnechaoical. The 
telegraphs that lately communicated the intelligence of the oew revoli- 
tion to all France within a few hours, ate a wonderful contrivance [ 
but they are lest striking and appalling than the beacon-tires (inn- 
tioned by .£«cbylus), which, lighted from hill-top to bill-top, 
announced the taking of Troy, and the return of Agamemnoo. 



X40 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 



I 



I 



ON THK SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 

Ti/L,A»r#/.] [18,3. 

' Strip it of ill »te^l■l^ ind what la it but ajtBt * ' 

Ck^aJt en tit tptrit Majmty. 

*Ai for politics,! think poeU arc 7«rwc by nature, Hippaams them ttf be bf 
naturt pocU. The love of id iadividuil pction or family, tbat hai tvora 1 crowa 
far DUny ittcceulDOi, u aa inclination pcaily adaptcii to the fandful tribe. On 
ibe other h>n<f, maihrmaticiaaa, ilutrsct rFuooeii, of no manoer of alladinictil la 
pcnon*, il leui to the viiiblc part ot them, but pfo^Jgouily t1cvole>' to th« ideii 
of virtue, libertjr, and (o forth, are fcnerilly IfAigt. It luppcns acrccably enanch 
to tht* maxitn, that the Whi}[t arc frleaila to that wife, plodding, unpoetical people, 
ibe Dutch.' — SAtatfaitt'i Ltiun, 1746. 

Thi Spirit of Monarchy (hen t* nothing but the craving tn the human 
mtDd after the Sensible nnd the One. It is not so much a matter of 
sute-aec»iity or policy, a& a natural infirmity, a diBeaac, a falK 
appetite in the popular fccting, which must be gratified. Man is an 
ioidividiuJ animal with narrow faculiiea, but IniiniTc dnirei, which he 
is anxious to concentrate in some one object within the grasp of his 
imagination, and where, if he cannot be all that he wishes himself, he 
may at least contemplate bis own pride, vanity, and passions, displayed 
in their most extravagant dimensions in a being no bigger and 00 better 
than himself. Each individual would (were it in his power] be a 
king, a God : but aa he cannot, the next beat thing is to see this 
reflex image of his self-love, the dailing passion of his breast, realized, 
embodied out of hiiiwcif in the first object he can lay his hands on 
for the ptirpose. The slave admires the tyrant, because the last «, 
what the first woulJ he. He surveys himself all over in the glass of 
royalty. The swelling, bloated self-tmportance of the one is the very 
couDtcr-part aixl ultimate goal of the abjecc servility of the other. 
But both hate manicind fur the same reason, because a respect for 
htuDaaky is a diverston to their inordinate telf-Iove, and the idea of 
the general good is a check to the gross intemperance of passion. 
The worthleitness of the object does not diminish hot irritate the 
jmipenBity to admire. It serves to pamper our imagination equally, 
and does not provoke our envy. All we want is to aggtacdizc our 
owD vain-glory at second hand ; and the less of real superiority or 
exccttcoce there is in the person wc fix upon as our proxy in this dra< 
marie exhibition, the more easily can we change places with him, and 
fancy ourselves as good as he. Nay, the descent favours the rite ; 
and we heap our tribute of applause the higher, in proportion as it is 
A (tet gift. An idol is not the worse for being of coarse matenals : 
Tou ziii ; Q 24.1 




ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 

B kmg tfaould br a commODplaoe nun. Otherwise, he » lupenaa 
hia owo nature* and not depeodcat on our bounty or caprice. Ub 
a a poeticaJ aoima], aod delights in fiction. We like to bare KOft 
(ot the exercite of our mere will. Wr nuke kingi of men, at 
Gods of stocka lad ttooet : we are not jealous of the crcatnret of M 
own hands. We only want a peg or loop to hang our idle faDciBOi. 
a puppet to dre» up, a lay-ligure to paint from. It is ' Thikg Ffr- 
dioaod, and not King Ferdinand, u it waa wisely and vidf 
obserred. We a&k only fot the stage effect ; wr do not go ^tHai 
the •ccQcs, or it would go hard with many of our prejudices 1 Wt 
see the spnboU of majesty, we enjoy the pomp, we crourb hrfere it 
power, we walk in the proeetsion, and make part of the pageaat. tod 
ve say in our secret hearts, there ia nothing but accident that jtmtt 
us from being at the head of it. There is something in the nwd- 
•oblimlty of thrones, wonderfully congcoial to the honun nili 
Every man feels that he could at there ; every man feels that W 
could look big there; every man feels that he could bow thcff) 
every man feels that he could play the monarch there. The lii» 
tion is so easy, and so delightful .' The imagination keeps ptoe vth 
royal state, 

■ And by the rinon splendid 
h on its way attended.' 

The Madman to Hogarth who fancier himself a king, it not a ttiliaq 
instance of this species of hallucination. Almost every tme and loyal 
subject holds nich a barren sceptre in his hand ; and the meaoen 9 
the rabble, as he runs by the monarch's side, baa wit eoough to tbiai 
—'There goes my royaJ self! ' From the most ahaolute despot to 
the lowest slave there is but one step (n<s not one) lo point of nd 
merit. As far as truth or reason is concerned, ihey might cbaqe 
situations to.morrow — nay, they constantly do so witboot the HsiDat 
toss or bene6t to mankind ! Tyranny, in a word, is a farce got vf 
for the entertainment of poor human nature ; and it might ptM fsy 
well, if ii did not so otten turn into a tragedy. 

We once heard a celebrated and elegant historian aod a beany 
Whig decbre, he liked a king like George in. better thin nich a mt 
as Buotiapane ; because, in the former case, tJiere was nothing to 
overawe the imagination hut birth and situation ; whereaa be cooU 
not BO easily brook the double superiority of the other, mental as well 
as adventitious. So does the spirit of independence and the le*eliia( 
pride of intellect join io with the servile rage of the vulgar ! This 
is the advantage which an hcrediury has over an elective monarcby : 
for there is no end of tbe dispute about precedcQCC while merit it 



1 



I 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 



II 

p 



suppneed to determiD? it, csch man laying cUim to this to his own 
ptrson ; •(> that there is do other way to set a«ide all conlrorerey aixl 
hcan-buiniagK, but by |>recladiRg moral and intellectual Qualifications 
altogether, and referring Ihc choice to accident, and giritig tlie pre- 
fctencc to a nonentity. * A good king,' uyB Swift, ' should be, in 
all oiher respects, a mere cypbcr.* 

It has been remarked, a* a peculuinty in mfidern critlciBm, that the 
courtly and loyal nuke a point of crying up Mr. Young, a« an actor, 
and equally running down Mr. Kcan; and it haft been conjectured in 
consequence that Mr. Kean was a raduai. Truly, he is not a radical 
politician ; but what is at bad, be ii a radical actor. He sarours too 
much of tlie reality. He ie not a mock-tragedian, jo automaton 
player — he is something be&ides his paraphernalia. He has 'that 
within which pasics shew.' There is not a particle of aflinity 
between him and the patrons of the court- writers. Mr. Young, on the 
contrary. IB the very thing — all auumption and strut and nKasured 
pomp, hill of wlf- importance, void of truth and nature, the matk of 
the characters he takes, a pasteboard figure, a stitt" piece of wax-work. 
He fills the throne of tcagedy, not like an upstart or usurper, but as a 
matter of course, decked out in his plumes of feathers, and robes of 
«utc, stuck into a posture, and repeatmg certain words by rote. Mr. 
Keon has a heart in his bosom, beating with human passion (a thing 
for the great ' to fear, not to delight In ! ' ] he is a Hnng nuo, and not 
an artificial one. How should those, who look to the surface, and 
never probe deeper, endure him ? He is the antithesis of a court- 
actor. It is the object there to nuppress and varnish over the feelings, 
not to gi\'e way to them. His avert manner must shock them, and 
be thought a breach of all decorum. They are in dread of his ilery 
humours, of coming near hia Voltaic Battery — they chuse mther to 
be roused gently from their telf-complacent apathy by the application 
of Meullic Tractors. They dare not trust their delicate nerves 
within the estuary of the pafsions, but would slumber out their torpid 
existence in a calm, a Dead Sea — the air of which cittinguishfs life 
and motion I 

Would it not be hard upon a little girl, who is busy in dressing up 
a favourite doll, to pull It in pieces before her face in order to shew 
her the hits of wood, the woo), and rags it is compo*ed of? So it 
would be hard upon that great baby, the world, to uke any of its 
idols to pieces, and shew that they are nothing but painted wood. 
Neither of them would ihaak you, but would consider the offer as an 
insult. The little girl knows as well as you do that her doll is a 
cheat ; bat she shut her eyes to it, for she Jiods her account id keep- 
ing up the deception. Her doll is her pretty little self. In its 

243 




ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 



gU^ed eyes, its cherry cheeks its flaxen locks, iu finery lod iu 
baby-house, she has a fairy mion of her own future channi, bcr 
future triuinplis, a thousand hearts led captive^ and an cstablishineM 
for life. Harmlett tUosion ! that can create somdhing out of oothii^ 
can make that which is good for nothing in iuelf so boe in atmeartBCC^ 
and clothe a shapeless piece of deal-board with the atuibutes of s 
divimty ! But the great world han been doing little else but plajriiV 
at makthefuvf all its life-time. For teveral thousand years its chief 
rage was to paint larger pieces of wood and smear them with gore anii 
call them Cods and oner victims to them — slaughtered hecatombs, 
the fat of goats and oxen, or human sacrifices — shewing in thii it» 
Love of nhew, of cruelty^ and impoftCure ; and woe to him who shoold 
•peep through the blanket of the dark to cry, //o/^, AoW.' — Gnat it 
Diana of lie £pheiiaiu, was the answer in all ages. It was in vatD lo 
represent to them, * Your Gods have eye* but they sec not, ears b« 
they hear not, neither do they understand ' — the more stupid, hnoob, 
helpless, and contemptible they were, the more furious, bigoited, and 
implacable were their vounei in their behalf.* The more afanBd 
the fiction, the louder was the noise made to hide it — the man 
mtschieTous its tendency, the more did it excite all the pkrenxyof 
the paMiOQH. Superstition nursed, with peculiar 7.cal, her rickeoy, 
deformed, and preposterous offspring. She passed by the nobler rsc« 
of aoimals creo, to pay divine booouis to the odious and uncieao — dv 
took toads and lerpeots, cats, rats, dogs, crocodiles, goals asd 
nionkeyif and hugged them lo her bosom, and dandled tfaem inU 
deities, and set up altars to them, and drenched the earth with tears 
and blood in their defence ; and those who did not believe in thm 
were cursed, and were forbidden the use of bread, of fire, and water, 
and to worship thenj was piety, and their images were held sacred. 
and their race became Gods in perpetuity and by divine right. To 
touch them, was sacrilege : to kill them, death, eren in yotu ovo 
defence. If they stung you, you must die : if they infested the laad 
with their numbers and their pollutions, there was no remedy. Tlir 
niiisancc was intolerable, impasure, immortal. Fear, religious bortot. 
disgust, hnircd, heightened the flame of bigotry and iotoleniice. 
There was nothing so odious or contemptible but it found a uoctsaiy 
in the more odious and contemptible pervcraity of human DBCiirt. 
The barbarous Gods of anti({uity reigned ia ccalrmpt cf lieir ««r- 

1 * Of whatsoe'er dtsusl his Goiibesd be. 
Stock, Itonc, (M other homtly pcilicTK, 
In hh ileCencc hU lemnl* ire a* bald 
As if be had been cuade of bcstta t«l(f.* — Daroia. 

1+4 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 



I 



I 



I 



ThU game was carried on through all tlie first ages of the world, 
and IN still kept up in muiy parts of it ; and it is imposable to dcBcribc 
the wars, massacrct, horrors, miterles and crimes, to which it gave 
colour, sanctity, and sway. The idea of a God, beneficent and just, 
the inriiible maker of all things, was abhorrent to their gross, mate- 
rial notioDi. No, they must have Gods of tticir own making, that 
they could see and handle, that they knew to be oolhiog tn themaelve* 
but ■eateteu images, and these they daubed OTcr with the gaudy 
emblems of their own pride and passions, and these they lauded to 
the skies, and grew ncrcc, obscene, frantic before them, as the 
representatircs of their sordid igaorancc and barbaric tIccb, Tkuth, 
Good, were idle names to them, without a meaning. They must have 
a lie, a palpable, pernicious He, to pamper their crude, unhallowed 
conceptions with, and to exerciite the untameable fierceness of their 
wills. The Jews were the only people of antiquity who were with- 
held from running headlong into this abomination i yet so strong wms 
the propcDsity in them (from inherent fraihy as well as neighbouring 
cxaniple) that it could only be curbed and kept back by ihe hands of 
Ommpoteocei* At length, reason prevailed over imagination so far, 
that these brute idoh and their altars were overturned ; it was thought 
too much to set up stocks and stone«, Golden Calves and Brazen 
Serpents, as bona-fidt Gods and Goddesses, which men were to &1I 
down and worship at their peril — and Pope long after summed up the 
merits of the whole mythologic tribe in a handsome distich — 

'Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust, 
Whose attributes were rage, rcrcngc, or Iu*t.' 

It wu thoi^ht a bold stride to divert the course of our imaginatioos, 
the overflowings of our enthusiasm, our love of the mighty and the 
marvellous, from the dead to the living lu^ea^ and there we stick. 
We have got living idoU, iniiTead of dead ones; and we fancy that 
they are real, and put faith in them accordingly. Oh, Reason I when 
will thy long minority expire ? It is not now the fashion to make 
Gods of wood and etooe and brass, but wc make kings of common 
men, and are proud of our own handy-work. We take a child from 
bis birth, aod we agree, when he grows up to be a mao, to heap the 
highest honours of the state upon him, and to pay the most devoted 
homage to his will. Is there any thing in the person, ' any mark, 
any likelihood,' to warrant this sovereign awe ana dread ? No : be 
may be little better thao an ideoi, little short of a madman, and yet 

• They VBaSd have a kiog in spite of tbt de»il. TKe imasf-wonhip of the 
i>jipL«t( 1* 1 batch of the tame leivcn. The spiiliiKsi of msa'i nstvre weuM out 
let even the Cluistiin Religion escape. 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 

he IS no less qualiRcd for kiog.* If he can contrire to (mm tk 
College of Physicians tlic H«ra[d'i College dub bim.diTine. Cn 
wr m:ikc any ^^iven ladiviilual taller or ■troni'rr or wiser than otha 
men, or difTcrent in any respect from what nature intended hmi to bi^ 
No ; but we can make a kioj^ of bim. We cannot axld a cnbit totk 
suture, or itunil a virtue into the minds of monarch* — but we can pat 
a sceptre into tbeir hands, a crown upon their head*, we can set tbs 
on 30 eminence, we can surround them with circumataocF, we ai 
aggrandise them with power, ve can pamper their appetjies. we cn 
pander to their wills. We can do every thing to exalt tbnu '» 
external rank and lUtion — nothing to Hfi them one seep htgbrr ■ 
the scale of moral or intellectual excellence. Education does bk 
girr capacity or temper ; and the education nf kings i« iiot espedilhF 
directed to useful knowledge or liberal sentiment. What then is die 
state of the case i The highest respect of the commonity and of 
every iodividoat in it is paid and is due of right there, where peftafi 
Dot an idea can uke root, or a single rirtite be engrafted. !■ not thli 
to erect a standard of esteem dtrrctiy opposite to that of 
morals ? The lawful roonarch may be the best or the worn 
his daounMms, he may be the wiaeu or the wcakear, the 
the ttopidest : still be ij equally entitled to our homage aa 
it is the place and power we bow to, and not the man. He 
be a sublimatioQ of all the rices and diseases of the humao heart i jet 
we are not to aay so, we date not even think so. * Fear Cod, ai 
honour the King,* is equally a maxim at all times and seasons. The 
persooal character of the king has nothing to do with the qomian. 
Thus the extrinsic is sec up over the intrinsic by authority : wealth 
and iotcren lend their couoiccance to gilded vice and infamy on pcia- 

* *lh bo, ibc afjMnest inwm from the nppaserf incapacby of the 
~ S with (ha wont gnet m tfct 

' p wirnM KDL Surely, if ^' 




•plMK ■ w ifir s sn i n i w Oo»tr a m««tt m mm 
mtt a WBf ra a i r l B C the «ibmm •trcteh of ( 




TIrtac the «ibmm •trcteh of (cnm, w'miata, And vbtne to any h. 
Kiof ■onld ovvft ««ni haw beta dtvamt of u boK ^m j^iwy 
mten tiMl ikM «f poK, wfatcr, os pbUoMfher . It k euy here * ferthc Soa M 
ttvM la Ae Sirs^ tttmiy steps.' It mpim BoAinf bat ibc will to no ^ 
KdsMrilMcy takait arc bm oace looked for. Nsjr, a ptrsoo, wbo woold 
kiv* riHBhyntval abiUiMS to the Htnatiaaaf cktuihwu-riea u |urisk i . 
s— cwfc by uifMStisaaUt fji^ to the iiiMsniinii of a throoCf and wicMi 
MMSiM ti t» oi^k^ w 4to4n the fitc of the •«rl4 with the sauUest pMs&b^ 
Asf* of Wmm «B4cniaa4iBf. The Um of *itiMtiaB irtiKh •epantca the n|*t 
pwTto »Mftift>sMksria|.Uk<s>tnKtinetftH iarfeed, m «« KeintbeiMeef 
tlw tws rriiwuiii Ab7 «■« aba*« the rank of an UcM n upfvaed apsUe af 
■MTcing da U^^ taelMs «f r«Tal sMn. Yet these sie the penoos ifio oA. 
«t te fwpl t H s nHabh •■Itinde, esd tawi iboa vitb dkcit want nf nimt~, 
MM tmd i fca wiffcy.'— nflc />Mrf, t, $4- 
146 



ciplt, and outward shew and ftdvantagm bccomc' the svniboU and the 
standard ofmpect in despite of useful qualities or well-directed e^oru 
throu]!'* »II ranks and gradatiorui of society. * From the crown of the 
head to the «ole of the foot there ii no louadDeM left/ The whole 
My\e of moral thinking, feeling, acting, la in a false tone — is hollow, 
•partous mcretriciooe. Virtue, saye Montci^uieu, is the principle of 
republic*; honour, of a monarchy. But it ii * honour dishonourable, 
•ill-bred ' — it is the honour of trucking a principle' for a place, of 
cxchangio^ our boneit conviction* for a ribbon or a garter. The 
buaineK of life is a scramble for nnmeritcd precedence. Is not the 
highest respect entailed, the highest station tilted withoui any possible 
proafH or pretensiooG to public spirit or public principle? Shall not 
the next place* to it be tecured by the sacrifice of them ? It it the 
order of the day, the understood etiquette of courts and kingdoms. 
For the Aervams of the crown to presume on merit, when the crown 
it«elf is held as an heir-loom by prescription, ii a kind of /r/r majtjti, 
an indirect atuinder of the title to the succession. Are not all eyes 
turned to the son of cotut-favour ? Who would not then reflect it* 
smile by the performance of any acu which can avail in the eye of 
the great, and by the surrender of any virtue, which attracts neither 
DoUce Dor applause? The stream of corruption begins at the fountain- 
bead of court induence. The sympathy of mankind is that on which 
all Blrong feeling and opinion floats ; and this sets in full io every 
absolute mooarchy to the aide of tinsel shew and iron-handed power, 
in contempt sod defiance of right and wrong. The right and the 
wrong are of little consequence, compared to tbe in and the euf. 
The dieiioction between Whig and Tory is merely nominal : neither 
have their country one bit at heart. Phaw I we had forgot — Our 
British monarchy is a mixed, and the only perfect form of govein- 
meot : and therefore what is here said cannot properly apply to it. 
But Might before Right is the motto blazoned on the front of unim- 
paired and undivided Sovereignty! — 

A court is the centre of fashion ; and no less m, for being the sink 
o( luxury and vice — 

' Of outward shew 

Elaborate, of inward less exact,* 

The goods of fortuoc, the batU of power, the indulgences of vanity. 
Biay be accumulated withoui end, and the taste for them increases as 
rt is gratified : the love of virtoe, the pursuit of truth, grow stale and 
dull in the disKipatian of a court. Virtue is thought crabbed and 
morose, knowledge pedantic, while every sense is pampered, and 
every folly tolerated. Every thing tciuls naturally to persoiial 

»+7 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 

aggrandiaement and unreuraincd uir-will. It u essicr for tnoiurdM 
ai wet) M other men * to tread the primroK path of dilliancc' ihn 
* to scale tbc Btcrp and thorny road to heaven. ' The vice»( when thq 
have leave from power and authoriiVi go greater length* than tire 
virtues; example jusuliet almost every excess, and * oioe ctutotw 
curtwy to great IcingR.' What chance is there that inimarchB tbali 
not yield to the teinpLatioos of gallantry there, where youth and 
beauty are as wax i Whst female heart can indeed withsuod tfat 
attractions of a throoc — the imllc that melu all hearts, the air 
awes rebellion, the frown tliat kings dread, the hand that 
fairy wealth, that bestows tides, places, honour, power, the brcaal on 
which the star glitters, the head circled with a diadem, whose drea 
dazzles with its richness and its taste, who has oaiianB at his cook 
maod, BCDates at his controut, 'in form and motion so expms aod 
admirable, in action how like mi angel, in apprehmsion how like a 
God ; the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals !' The power 
of resiftance is so much the less, where fashion extends impututyio 
the frail offender, and screens the loss of character. 

■ Vice is undone, if &he forgeu her birth. 
And *tM>pt from angelt to the dregs of earth ; 
But 'tiR the fall demdes her to a whore : 
Let grcaincu own her, and »hc 's mean no more. 
Her birth, her beauty, crowdi and courts confess, 
ChasTe matroQt pnite her. and grave bishops blew. 
In golden chains the willing world she draws. 
And hers the Gospel ii, anuhers the laws.* * 



' A Isdy oi quality abroail, in allanoR lo ibe g>Uantri(> of the reij^niaj Prina^ 
being told, ' I *upMK it will be ymir turn neat i' ••i<l, *No, I hope not ^ fot )«• 
know it is impoHiblc (a refute !* Whdt a Mlire on the court inct fashiocisbUi 1 If 
thii be true, female virme to the blue of rcn»liy is no mote than the moth ta fht 
candle, or ice in the lun't nj. What will mt imt ibemiclves say to it, in wb«B 
at iht* rate, 

— — -' the tame tack holds, 

They aU aie (ubjecti, courtiers, and cnckoldi I' 

Out upan it I We 'It noc believe it. Alas ! poor virtue, what is to become of ibe 
vcrjr idea of it, if we are to be told that every man within the precincts of a 

faivce is an ky^rheiUal cuckold, at holds hi* wife's virtue in Irvsl foe the Prince f 
l^e eoterisin no doabt that many ladies at quality have retialc'l ihe importiiatliM 
of a thiofie, and that many more wuuiil do »o in private life, if they ha<l Ibe daired 
opportunity i oay, we have been aisureit by scwtjI that a king would no nteee W 
able to prevail with ihem than any other man I If however there is any founda- 
tion for the above LiuiouatioD, it thiowa do small light on the Spirit of Monarcky, 
which by the loppooidon imptlei in it the vinaal aurrendrr of the whole sex ai 
ditcrction ; and at the ssme time accounlt perhaps foe the iodiffcrencc sbmna hj 
some cnonaTcha in availing thenielvcs of so mecliSDical a privilefe. 
J48 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCHY 

The air uf a court is not assuiedly that which U most favourable 
to the practice of sr1f-<IeQial and Mrict monlity. We increase the 
tetuputiooa of wealth, of power, and pleaiure a tboutaod-fold, while 
we can gire no addiiioiul force to the antagonist principles of reaion, 
<lhintrre»ted iote^rity aod goodncsa of bean. Is it to be wondered 
at that couru and palaces have produced so many monsters of avarice, 
cruelty, and luM? The adept in voluptuouineu i* not lilcely to be a 
proportionable proficient in humanity. To feed OQ plate or be clothed 
io purple, i* not to feel for the hungry and the naked. He who baa 
the greatest power put toto his hand*, will only become more tmpa- 
timt of any restraint in the uic of it. To hare the welfare and the 
live* of miUioos pliiced at oar disposal, is a sort of warrant, a challenge 
to ttmaadtT them without mercy. An arbitrary monarch act over the 
beads of his fellows does not identify himaelf with them, or learn to 
comprehend their righta or sympathise with their interests^ but lookt 
down upon them u of a different tpeciet from himself, as insects 
crawling on the face of the earth, that he may trample on at his 
pleafore, or if he spares rhem, it is an act of royal grace — he is besotted 
with power, blinded with prerogative, an alien to his nature, a traitor 
to his trust, and instead uf being the organ of public feeling and 
public opinioD, i^ an excrescence aod an anomaly in the state, a 
tsloated mass of morbid humours and proud fUeth ! A constitutional 
king, on the other hand, is a servant of the public, a representative 
of the people's wants aod wishes, diipeaaing justice and mercy accord- 
ing to law. Such a monarch is the King of nngtai>d ! Such was 
hia late, and such ii his present Majesty George the ivth! — 

l>et us uke the Spirit of Monarchy io iw highest suie of exalta- 
tion, in the moment of its proudest triumph — a Coronation-day. We 
now see it in our mind's eye; the preparation of weeks — the expecta- 
tion of months^the seats, the privileged places, are occupied in the 
obscurity of night, and in silence — the day dawn* slowly, big with 
the hope of Ce«ar and of Rome — the golden censers are set in order, 
the tables groan with splendour and with luxury — within the inner 
space the rows of peeresses are set, and revealed to the eye decked 
out in ottrich feathers and pnrU, like beds of lilies sparkling with a 
thoosanil dew-drops — the marshals and the heralds arc in mottoo— 
the Bill organ, majestic, pcala forth the Coronation Anthem — every 
thing is ready — and all at once the Majesty of kingdoms bunts upon 
the astonished sight — liis person is swelled out with all the gorgeous- 
nen of drees, and swathed in bales of silk and golden tiiities — the 
bow with which he greets the assembled multitude, and the represen- 
tatTTcs of loreign kings, is the climax of conscious dignity, bending 
gracefully on ttA own bosom, and inttanlly thrown back into the 

349 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MONARCUY 



pasiioQi are of more cooKquence iban tbe welfare of minkind u 
Urge, would uem a little aittonUhing, but that the fact it so. It it 
not our businesa to preach lecturet to monarchs, but if we were atiU 
diapOBed to attempt the ungraciout talk, wc should do it Id the wonk 
of an author who often addressed tbe ear of monarchs. 

* A man may read a lermon,' ays Jeremy Taylor, *the bcit and 
moHt passionate chat ever man preached, if hr thall but enter iototlie 
lepulchre* of Icingi. In the lame Escurial where the SpiaUh prioca 
lire ID greauieas and power, and decree war or peace, lliey have wittAf 
placed a cemetery where their ashes and their glory shall sleep tiU 
time shall be do mote : and where our kings have been crowned, 
their ancestare lie interred, and they must wallc orcr their grandiire't 
head to take his crown. There is an acre sown with royal teed, tbr 
copy of the greatest change from rich to naked, from ceiled roofs to 
arched coffins, from liring like Gods to die like men. There is 
enough to cool the flames of tust, to abate the height of pride, to 
appease the itch of coretous desires, to sully and daafa ont the dii- 
sembling colours of a lostfiil, artificial, and imaginary beauty. Tbeit 
the warlike and the pcaccfiil, the fortunate ami the miserable, the 
beloTed and the despised princes mingle their dust, and pay dovtt 
their symbol of mortality, and tell all the world, that when we dk 
our ashes shall be equal to kings, and our accounu shall be eatttr, 
and our pains for our crimes shall be lest. To my appreheosiuo, it ii 
z tad record which is left by Athenxus concerning Ninus, the gnil 
Assyrian monarch, whow life aod deatti is summed np io these words: 
"Ninus, the Assyrian, had an ocean of gold, and other riches more 
than the taod in the Caspian tea ; he never saw the stars, and petbapt 
be never desired it ; he never stirred up the holy ftre among the ^Ugi % 
nor touched his God with tbe «acred rod, according to the Uts; be 
never olTered sacrifice, nor worshipped the Deity, nor administered 
justice, nor spake to the people, nor numbered them ; bat he watmoR 
valiant to eat and drink, and having mingled his wines, he threw the 
rest upon the stonea. This man it dead : behold his sepulchre, lod 
now hear where Ninus ts. Sortutimf 1 wat Ninui^ anJ Jmv lit 
brtalh of a living matiy but now am nothing tut day, I have rnetikg 
ifut tvhat J did eat, and <whal 2 trrx'fd to myt^ in Itut it aU mf 
portion : the wea/t/i tvith ivbich 2 wot bin/, my enenaet meetitfg tmlhir 
sbtiH carry a^vay, at the mad Thjat^t carry a raiv goat. I am gmt 
to Hell s and when 2 <ivmt thither, 2 earried neither ^^old nor horte^ mar 
a silver chariot. 2 that wore a mitre, am aatv a littie htaf of dujl f " ' 
— Taylor's Holy Living and Dying. 



i5« 



ON THE SCOTCH CHARACTER 



ON THE SCOTCH CHARACTER 

(jY Fragment.) 

The Scotch nation ire a body- corporate. Thry hang together like 
a swarm of bec«. I do not know how it may be among tbemsetve*, 
but with us tbey ate ^It united as one man. They arc cot straggling 
individnalt, but embodied, formidable abitractions — determined per- 
•ooificatioDs of the bod they come from. A ScoicliinaD gets oo in 
the world, because he is not one, but many. He move* in himself 
a host, drawn up in bactle-jirray, and armed at all points against all 
impugncrs. He is a double existence — he sunds for himself and his 
country. Erery Scotchman is bond aitd surety for erer^' other 
Scotchman — he thinks nulhing Scotch foreign to him. If you &ce a 
Scotchman in the street, you may be almost sure it is another Scotch- 
mao he is aim in arm with; and what is more, you may be sure ihey 
are talking of Scotchmen. Begin at the Arctic Circle, and they take 
Scotland in their way back, riant the fool o( the compasies in the 
meridian, and they turn it by degrees to * Edina's darling scat' — 
true as the needle to the Pole. If you happen to say It is a high 
wind, they &ay there arc high winds in Edinburgh. Should you 
mention Hampsiead or Highgatc, they smile at this as a local preju- 
dice, and remind you of the Calton Htll. The conretsation wanders 
and it impertinent, urless it hangs by this loop. It 'runs the great 
mile, and is still at home.* Vou would thmk there was no other 
place in the world but Scotland, hut that ihcy strive to convince you 
at every turn of its superiority to all other places. Nothing j^ocs 
down but Scotch Magazines and Reviews, Scotch airs, Scotch bravery. 
Scorch hotpitaJity, Scotch novels, and Scotch logic. Some one the 
other day at a literary dinner ia Scotland apologised for alluding to the 
name of Shakespear so often, because he w.is not a Scotchman, 
What a blessing that tlie Duke of Wellington w.-ib not a Scotchman, or 
we should never have heard the last of him ! Even Sir Walter 
Scott, I understand, ulks of the Scotch novels in all companies; and 
by waving the title of the author, it> at liberty to repeat the subject aJ 
infinitum. 

Lismahago in Smollett is a striking and laughable picture of this 
national propensity. He maint.iined with good discretion and method 
that oat-cakcfl were better than whcatcn bread, and that the air of the 
old town of Edinburgh w-iB sweet and salubrious. He was a favour- 
able specimen of the class— acute though pertinacious, [feasant but 

»53 




ON THE SCOTCH CHARACTER 

conrn uoder some collateral dc&cripijmi. He is of the nibr of 
luachir, and not of Judab. He itickles for no higher diiancaei 
than that of his clan, or vicinage.' In a word, the Scotch are tk 
crcaturci of inreterate habit. They pia their faitb od exunjile lod 
authority. All their ideas an cast ia a previous mould, and nnad 
to those of others. It is not a single blow, but a repettiian of Udvi, 
that Icavei an impression on them. They are strong only in tfac 
strength of prejudice and numbers. The genius of their grcaiot 
living writer is the genius of natiooal tradition. He has * danuubk 
iteration in him'; but hardly one grain of ehcer invention. IJit 
mind is turned irutinctively backward on the past — he canooc proJRi 
it forward to the future. He has not the faculty of intaginiog ay 
thing, either in individual or general trvith, ditferent from whit ha 
been handed down to him for such. Give him coi:Mmi^ 
inanners, popular superstitions, grotesque characterSf suj 
evenu, and local scenery, aiuJ he is a prodtgy, a man-monster 
writers — uke these actually embodied and endlesA materials 
him, and he is a common man, with as little original power of inind 
as he has (unfortunately) independence or boldness of spirit ! 

The Scotch, with all their mechanical, wholesale attachment to 
names aad parties, are renal in politics,' and cowardly in ftiendibijk 
They crouch to power ; and would be more disposed to fall upon aod 
crush, than come forward to the rapport of, a sinking iadtvidniL 
They are not like La Fleur in the Sentimental Journey, who adrucnl 
three steps forward to his master when the Gem^yfnttej armteil 
him : they are Uke the Maitre Slioul, who retired three paces back- 
wards on the same occasion. They will support a generic dcBoad- 
natioQ, where they have munbers to support them again : the)' nike 
a great giilp, and uwallow down a feudal lord with all the retinae bf 
can muster — tht iwrf, th merrier — but of a single unprotected ttiaggler 
they are shy, jealous, scrupulous in the extreme as to character, iat' 
quisitivc as to connections, curious in all the particulars of birth. 
parentage and education. Setting his prejudices of country, rrli^oe. 
or party aside, you have no hold of a bcotchmao bat by his self 
interest. If it is for his credit or advantage to stand by you, he *iQ 

I Thu may be in pari (be rcaton uf ihc bluD^it thay hsvE nurie in Ujrinc m 
much itmt on whit tfaey call the Caeknrf Stitti n P»etry — ai if the f*Oplc is 
t.an<lDD w«rc proit<l oi that <liillnc(ion, iftil really iboufht it ■ partioiUr MB«W 
to g«t iheir living in tlic mcttupoli*, a* the Scottish * Kcnin anil G>llow{luKi' 
think it-s wnnrirrful itrp in iheir prngTCM through lift la hr able to hirr > l«4c*t 
and pay %t«i antl lai In the gomi tnwn of Edinburgh. 

* II wa( not alwayi to. But by linocking oa the htad the Jscobcte loyally rf 
the Scflleh, their poliliul integrity of principle h«t been rfeiiroyed «■<! i'nufaU* 
to >IL the wiiiitt vl Heaven. 
256 



ON THE SCOTCH CHARACTER 



I 



do il : otherwi*e> it will go very itiucti against both his stomacli nod 
hiH coDscirncc to do so, and you must e'en ihift tor yourself. You 
may trust something to the geueroaily and nugnantniiLy of ao Englieh- 
roan or ao Irishman; they act from an im^Kjite of the blood or from 
a seos« of justice: A Scotchman (the exccpttoni are splendid indeed) 
unifoTinty calculates tlie consequences to himself. He is n»turaljy 
faithful to a leader, as I said before, that i», to a powerful head ; 
but his fidelity amounts to little more than servility. He is a bigot 
to the shadow of power and authority, n slave to prejudice and 
custom, and a coward tn every thing else. He has not a particle of 
meotat courage. Caesar's wlte was not to be suspected ; and it is rhe 
same with a Scotchman's friend. If a word is said against your 
moral character, they shun you Hlce a plague-sjMt. They arc twt 
only afraid of a charge being proved against you, but they dare not 
disprove it, lest by clearing you of it they should be supposed a party 
CO what had no existence or foundation. They thus imbibe a bad 
opitiioo of you from hearsay, and conceal the (lood they know of you 
both from themselves and the world. If your political orthodoxy is 
called tn question, they take the alarm as much as if they were appre- 
heosive of being involved in a charge of high treason. One would 
think that the whole country laboured, as iheydid Sixty Years Sinci, 
under an imputation of disaffection, and were exposed to the utmost 
vigilance of the police, so tiiat each person had too little character for 
loyalty himself to ruQ any additional risk, by his neighbour'*, bad 
name. This is doI the case at present : but they carry their precau- 
tions and circumspection in this respect to such an idle and stupid 
excess, a* can only be accounted for from local circumstances and 
history — that is to say, from the cfTccts of that long system of suspicion, 
persecution and jurveillatue, to which they were exposed during a 
century of ridiculous (^'aX least uf unsuccessful) wars and rebellions, in 
favour of the House of Stuart. They suffered much for King James 
and the Good Cautr ; but since that time their self-love must be excused 
to look at home. On my once complaining to a Scotchman of what 
I thought a dereliction of his client's cause by the counsel for the 
drfendant in a prosecution fur libel, I received for answer — That 

•Mr. bad defended the accused as iar as he could, conshttntlj 

mt/ikue&araclfr,'— though the only character the Learned Gentleman 
could boast, hsd been acquired by his skill, if not hit courage, in 
resisting prosecutions of this kind. 

The delicate sensibility (not to aay soreness) of the Scotch in 
matters of moral reputation, may in like manner be accounted for 
(indirectly) from their domiciliary system of church-goremmcnt, of 
Kirk-aMemblies, and Ruling Elders : and in the uopriocijJcd assurance 

vat- XII. i R 257 



I 



ON THE SCOTCH CHARACTER 

with which upcrsioRs oflhU sort arc thrown ooi, aod thcpuncWMt 
which they strike into the timid or hypcKritical, one womj ma tk 
reiauning effects of Pnunce-Sheeu and Cutty-Siooli ! Poor Bvnt' 
he called up the ghott of Dr. Hombook) but did not lay the tfit 
of cant and lying io the Cunning North ! 

SomethtDg however, it mutt be confcMcd, has bcco dooc : i dui|r 
haa been elfcctcd. Extremes meet; and the Saint haa been (isNOi 
inBtancn) merged in the Sinner. The cscential charactct «f ik 
Scotch is determined Klf-will, the driving at a purpoec ; u iltf 
whatever they undertake, they make thorough- stitch work* aitd orry 
M far M it will go. This i* the catc io the preteosioas MMne of thea 
wriicr* have lately set up to a contempt for Catty. Stool*, aad i» d 
the freedom ot wit and bumonr. They have been so long ofa 
interdict that they break out with double violence, and atop at aoti^^ 
Of all biartgiiardt (1 use the term for want of any otbvr) a Sconk 
blackguard is for thii reason the worst. First, the character nta 1 
upon him for wont of use, aod u sure to be moer outrageously carica- 
tured. He is only just broke loose from the Khacklea of regilantf 
and restraint, and it forced to play ttraoge antics to br conrioced ifait 
tfaf y are not itill clinging to his heels. Secondly, fbrmalicy, hypocriiy. 
and a deference to ofnnioQ, arc the ' sins that most easily bewt hon.' 
When therefore he has once made up his miod to disregard appear- 
aacei* he becomes totally reckless ot character, aod ' at one bond 
high overleaps all bound ' of decency and common senac. Agaio, th«R 
is perhaps a natural hardness and want of nervous lenBibiHty abou tbt 
Scotch, which renders them (rules and the consideration of cone- 
quenccs apart) not very nice or scrupulous in their proctcdingi. It' 
they are not withheld by cooscieoce or prudence, tbey have o» 
mau^vt'ue iionU, no involuntary qualms or iremort, to qialtly tkor 
effrontery and disrcj^ard of principle. 1'heir impodeiurc it extnoK 
[heir malice is cold-blooded, covert, crawling, deliberate, wilbou dK 
frailty or excuse of passion. They club their vices aod tbeir vcsililj 
together, and by the help of both together are invincible Tbccboia 
spirits who have lately tigured in a much-lalked-of pabticadofit v<>^ 
* old Sytvanus at their head,' — 

' Leaning on cypieia stadlc stout,* — 

in their ' pious orgies' resemble a troop of Yahoos, or a herd flf 
Satyrs — 

• And with their homed ffct they beat the ground • * — 

that is to say, the iloar of Mr. Blackwood's shop ! There » m 
uiher publication, a match for this io fl^^rant im|iudmce and dantW 



AINTANCE WITH POETS 



dulDess, which i» the John Bull. The t''ditor ii aappoted, for the 



honour ol 



What 



Beateu 



^ 



Scolland, to be aq Irtthman. 

I, there it no saying ; but it would hsre been curioQ* to 
hate Km some articles of Sir Walter's undoubted hand proceeding 
from this quarter, as it has been always contended that Blackwood's 
Edinburgh Magazine was too low and Kurrilous » publication for 
him to have any share id it. The adventure of the Bracon \\a* 
perhaps discovered to Sir Walter's admirers and the friends of 
huntantty in general, that 

'Entire affection leDmetli nicer hands t* 

Old Dr. Durney, about the middle of the last century, called one 
rooming on Thomson, the Author of The Seasons, at a late hour, and 
OD expressing bin surprite at the poet's not having risen sooner, 
received for answer, — * I had no motive, young mnn ! ' A Scotch- 
mao acts always from a motive, and on due consideration ; and if he 
does not act light or with a view to honest ends, is more dangerous 
than any ooc else. Others may plead the vices of their blood in ex- 
icauAtion of their errors ; but a Scotchman is a machine, and should 
be conAmcted on sound moral, and philosophical principles, or should 
be put a stop to altogether. 



MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 

Tkt Liitrat,} [tIs3. 

Mv &ther was a Dis«eDdiig Minister at W m in Shropshire ; 

aad in the year 1798 (the tigures that compose that date are to me 
like the 'dreaded name of Demogorgon') Mr. Coleridge came to 
Shrewsbury, to iQCCced Mr. Rowe in the spiritual charge of a 
Unitarian Congregation ttiere. He did not come till late on the 
Saturday afternooD before he was to preach ; aiKl Mr. Rowe, who 
himself went down 10 the coach in a stAte of anxiety and expectation, 
to look for the arrival of his ftucccssor, could Jiad no one at all 
answering the description bat a round-faced man in a short black coat 
(like a shooting jacket) which hardly seemed to have been made for 
him, but who seemed to be talking at a great rate to his fellow* 
passengers. Mr. Rowe had scarce returned to give :in account of bis 
diuppointmcnt, when the rouDd-faced mao in black entered, and 
disupated all doubts on the subjeci, by beginning to ulk. He did 
tMtt cease while fae staid ; nor has be since, that I know of. He 
held the good town of Shrewsbury in delightful suspense for three 
weeks that be remained thcr?, * fluttering ^e froiui Saiopiani like an 

a 59 



fRST ACii 



ICSCE WITH POETS 



eagle in adovr-cote ; ' jod the WdcK mounuina that tkirt the hanaM. 
with their tempe&tuoiu confusion, agiee to have heard no nich mjtx 
•oundt etocc the days of 

' HigS-bom Hoel't harp or soft Llewellyn "i iay ! ' 

As we pOHcd along between W na and Shrewabury, and I tyti 

their blue tops seen through the wintry branches, or the red nutb| 
l«ave« of the sturdy oak-trees by the road-side, a sound wu ta b| 
ears as of a Siren's Nong ; I was stunned, startled with ti, u fttn 
deep sleep ; but I had no notion then that I should ever be able U 
express my admiration lo others in moUcy imagery or quaint alluiat, 
till the hght of his genius chooc iota my soul, like the sun's n^i 
glittering in the puddles of the road. I was at that tinic dnnk 
inarticulate, helpless, tike a worm by the way-side, crushed. bteedia|i 
lifeless ; but now, bunting from the deadJy bands that * bound 

■ With Styx nine times round them,' 



nd th^^j 

rpl.n3 
renuin^ 



my ideas float on winged words, and as they expand their 
catch the golden light of otbei years. My soul has ittdeed 
in its original bandage, dark, obscure, with longings iofinie toA 
UDiatit6ed ; my heart, shut up in the prisoo-house of this rode clay, 
has never found, nor will it ever find, a hean to apeak to ; btn tko 
my uDdcr»anding also did not remain dumb and bnittsh, or at leopb 
found a language to express itself, I owe to Coleridge. But tkti is 
not to my pun>ose. 

My father lived ten miles from Shrewsbury, af>d was in the habit 
of exchanging visits with Mr. Rowe, and with Mr. Jenkins of Whh- 
church (nine miles farther on) according to the custom of Dissnittag 
Ministers in each other's neighbourhood. A line of communicatioa 
is thus established, by which the Same of civil and religiou* liberty n 
kept alive, and nourishes its smouldering lire unquenchable, tike the 
fires in the Agamemnon of jEschylus, placed at different nations, that 
waited for ten long years to announce with their blading pyramids the 
destruction of Troy. Coleridge had agreed to come over to see id; 
father, according to the courtesy of the country, as Mr. Rowe'i 
probable successor ; but in the meantime I had gone to bear him 
preach the Sunday after his nrrjval. A poet and a pbilotoplKS 
getting up into a Unitarian pulpit lo preach the Gospel, was a romaaoi 
ill these degenerate days, a sort of revival of the primitive spirit of 
Christianity, which was not to be lesisted. 

It was in January, 179):', that I rose one morning before daylight, 
to walk ten miles in the mud, and went to hear this celebrated penoa 
preach. Never, the longest day I have to live, ahall I have Mch 

360 



i 



MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 



I 



another walk, u thia cold, raw, comforiJesi one, to the wiDter of the 
year i~fj^- U y a det impretitont que hi U tenu ni lei circonttancts 
pettvent iffatrr. Duiit-je vivre des nedet entieri. It doax Itms dr ma 
jeunttse nt peut rtnaUrt fioar moi, nt i^ effiiutr jamau dam ma ttumoirt. 
When I got there, the organ was playing the looih psalm, and, 
wben it was dune, Mr. Culeridge rose and g^rc out bia text, * And 
he went up into the mounutn to pray, KiMsiiLF, alonc* As he gave 
out this text, his voice *rocc like a iteam of rich dinilted perfumet,' 
and when he came to the two last words, which he pronounced loud, 
de«p, and diftinct, it seemed to me, who was then young, u if the 
•oundt bad echoed from tlic bottom of the human heart, and ai if that 
prayer might have tfoated in solemn silence through the universe. 
The idea of St. John came into mind, ' of one crying in the wilder- 
nc«s« who had lita loins girt about, and whoHe food was locusts and 
wild honey.' The preacher then launched into his subject, like an 
eagle dallying with the wind. The sermon vinA upon peace and war ; 
upon church and srate — not their alliance, but their separation — on 
tfae spirit of the world and the spirit of Christianity, not as the tame, 
but as op|<osed to one another. He talked of those who bad 
'inscribed the cross of Christ on banners dripping with human gore.* 
He made a poetical and pastoral excursion, — and to shew the fatal 
effects of war, drew a striking contrast between the simple shepherd 
boy, dnving his team afield, or sitting under the hawthorn, piping to 
his Hock, * as though he should dctct be old,' and the same poor 
country-lad, crimped, kidnapped, brought into town, made drunk at 
an alebouae, turned into a wrrtched drummer-boy, with his hair 
nicking on cod with powder and pomatum, a lun^ cue at his back, and 
tricked out in the loathsome finery of the profession of blood. 

*Such we» the notei our oncc-Iov'd poet tung.* 

And for myself, I could not have been more delighted if I had heard 
the music of the spheres. Poetry and Philosophy had met together. 
Truth and Genius had embraced, under the eye and with the sanction 
of Religion. This was even beyond my hopes. I returned home well 
iaiisfird. The sun that was still labouring pale and wan through the 
aky, dMCured by thick mists, seemed an emblem of the gow! caute; 
and the cold dank drnpn of dew that hung half melted on the beard 
of the thistle, bad something genial and refreshing in them ; for there 
waa a spirit of hope and youth in all nature, that turned every thing 
into good. The face of nature had not then the brand of Jtn 
DtviHUM on it: 



* Like to that sanguine flower intcrib'd mih woe.' 



s6f 



MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 

On the Tuesday followmg, the half-infipired Ajteaker came. 1 ml 
csllcd down hito tKc room where he wais and veci half-hopi^* 
half- afraid. He received me very ^racioudy, and ] listened fori 
long time without uttering a word. I did not autfer in bie optnioDbj 
my silence. * For thoM two houn,* he afierwardj wa< plcaicd m 
say, * he was cooversing with W. H.*« forehead ! * Hit a |i pc a r < P 
was different from what 1 had anticipated from seeiog him befiiR. 
At a distance, and io the dim light of the chapel, there wa6 to tori 
nrangc wildness in his aspecti b dusky obscurity, and 1 Uiougltt kin 
[Mtted with the small-pox. His complexion wai at thai time dear, 
and even bright — 

' As are the ehtldrcn of yon axun sheen.* 

His forehead was bnaA and high, light as if built of ivory, with top 
projecting eyebrows, and his eyes rolling beneath iheni like a la 
with darkened lustre. * A certain tender bloom his facr oVTsprcad,' 
1 porpic tinge as we see it in the pale thoughtful complextoci of tk 
Spanish portrjii')Kiinters, Murillo and Velasquez. Hit motitk *H 
gross, roluptoous open, eloquent ; his chin good-bumoored and rauod] 
but hts nose, the rudder of the face, the index of the will, was uniB, 
feeble, nothing — like what he has done. It might acem that tiie 
geniui of his face as from a height suircycd and projected bim (vitii 
sufficient capacity and huge Aspiration) into the world unknown of 
thought and imagination, with nothing to rapport or guide hii vccrug 
purpose, as if Columbus had launched his adventurous course for tk 
New World tn a scallop, without oars or compass. So at lent I 
comment on it after the event. Coleridge in his person was rather 
above- tbc common size, inclining to the corpulent, or like Lwi 
Hamlet, ^tomewbit fat and pursy.* His hair (now, alas! grey) 
waa then black and gloasy at the raven's Aitl ^^H *o Kinootb masacf 
over his forehead. 'I'his long pendulous hair is peculiar to cnthQnuI^ 
to those whose minds lend heavenw;ird ; and is iraditton.tlly iosepu- 
able (thoLgh ot' a ditTerent culour) from the pictures of Chroi. [■ 
ought to belong, at a character, to all who preach Cbr'ui tratifitdt tod 
Coleridge wat at that time one oi thow ! 

It was curious to observe the contract between him and my father, 
who was a veteran in the cause, and then declining imo the vale of 
years. He had been a poor Lri^h lad, carefully broogbt up by hii 
parents, and sent to the University of Glasgow ^vhere he stoditJ 
under Adam Smith) to pri-pare him for his future destinatioa. Il 
was his mother's proudest wish to see her son a Di»«enting Miaistv- 
So if we look back to past generations (as far as eye can reach) w 
see the same hopes, fears, wiahes, followed by the satiK diMppomt- 

a6a 



MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH l»OETS 



I 



I 



mcnK, throbbing in the humno heart ; and lo wc may lec them (if we 
look forward) riuDg up foe ever, and disappearing, like vapourish 
bubbli-s, in ihe huniiiD bfeaji ! After being tossed about from congre- 
gation to coagiegatioo in the heats of the Unitarian controversy, and 
Moabfales about the American war, he had been relegated to an 
OMcurc Tillage, where he was to spend the hut thirty years of his 
life, far from the only converse that he lored, the talk about diRputed 
texu of Scripture and the cauic uf civil and religioui liberty. Here 
be passed hi* days, repining bet resigned, in the study of the Bible, 
and the perusal of the Commentators, — huge fofioi, not easily got 
through, one of which would outlast a winter ! Why did be pore on 
these from mom to night (with the exception of a walk in the fields 
or a turn io the garden to gather broccoli-planu or kidney-beaDi of 
his own tearing, with no small degree of pride and pleasure)? — Here 
were *no figures nor no fantasies,' — m:tihcr poetry nor philosophy — 
nothing to dazzle, nothing to excite modern curiosity ; but to his 
lack-lustre eyes there appeared, within the jsige* of the ponderous, 
unwieldy, neglected tomes, the sacred name of JEHOVAH in 
Hebrew capitals : pessed down by the weight of the style, worn to 
the last fading thinness of the undr islanding, there were glimpses, 
glimmering notions of the patriarchal wanderings, with palm-trees 
hovering in the hori?.on, and proceseions of camels at the distance of 
three thousand rears; there was Motes with the Burning Bush, the 
number of the Twelve Tribes, types, shadows, glosses OD the law aitd 
the prophets; there were discussions (dull enough) on the age of 
MethuHcIfth, a mighty speculation ! there were outlines, rude guesses 
at the shape of Noah's Ark and of the riches of Sotomon'it Temple ; 
qDMtioaB as to the date of the creation, predictions of the end of all 
things; the great lapsrs of time, the strange mutatioriH of the globe 
were unfolded with the voluminous leaf, at it turned over : and though 
the soul might slumber with an hieroglyphic veil of inscrutable 
mysteries drawn over it, yet it was in a slumber ill<xchanged for all 
the sharpened realities of senK, wit, fancy, or reason. My father's 
life wnK comparatively a dream ; but ic was a dream of infinity and 
eternity, of death, the resurrection, and a judgment to come I 

No two individuals were ever more unlike than were the host and 
his guest. A poet was to my father a sort of oondescript : yet what- 
ever added grace to the UniuriaD cause was to him welcome. He 
could hardly have been more surprised or pleased, if our visitor had 
worn wings. Indeed, his thoughts bad wings ; and as the eilkcD 
sounds nulled round our little waioscoied parlour, my father threw 
tuck bii tpcctaclee over his forehead, his white hairs mixing with its 
nnguhtc hue ; and a smile of delight beamed across his rugged cordial 

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MY FIKST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 

face, TO think that Truth had found a new illy io Fancy ! * Boide^ 
Coleridgt teemed to take coniiderable ootice of mc, aad that of iudf 
was rnough. He talked rery familiarly, but agreeably, aod glnce^ 
orer a variety of 8iib}ccis. At dinocr-timc be grew more animacM, 
and dilated in a very edifying iDanner on Mary WolitunecnifH a&l 
Mackintosh. The last^ he «aid, he considered (on my ftahK'i 
speaking of hi* Vtn£cia CaJUcm ai a capital perfomiance} u a dew 
scboLiBtic man — a maflter of the lopicft, — or as tbe ready warehoUK- 
man of letters, who koev exactly where to lay hia hand oo what be 
wanted) though the goods were not his own. He thought him no 
match for Burke, cither in style or matter. Biirkc was a n)ci*- 
pbyiiiciao. Mackintosh a mere logician. Butke waa an orator (aJnuC 
a JKiet) who reasoned in figures, because he had an eye for natue; 
Mackintosh, oo the other band, was a rbetorictao, who had only u 
eye to common-places. On this I rentured to »y that \ had atwxn 
entertained a great opinion of Burke, and that (as far as I could fin) 
tbe speaking of him with contempt might be made the test of a vulgar 
democratical mind, This wa» tbe 6rst obaervation I erer made ut 
Coleridge, and he said it was a Tcry jiut aod striking one. I rr- 
member the leg of Welsh mutton and the turnips on the table that di; 
bad the fmest Havour imaginable. Coleridge added that Mackiotosti 
and Tom Wedgwood (of whom, however, be spoke highly) bad 
exprexsed a very indifierent opinion of his friend Mr. Wordsworth, 
on which he remarked to them — * He strides on so far before yoo, 
that he dwindles in the distance .' * Godwin had once boasted to 
him of baring carried on an argument with Mackintosh for tfanc 
hours with dubiouH success; Coleridge told him — 'If there had beea 
a maa of genius in the room, he would hare settled the quesckm in 
five minutes.* He asked me if I had ever teen Mary Wolstonecnfi, 
and I said, I had once for a few moments, and that she teemed toiK 
to turn off Godwin's objections to something she advanced with quite 
a playful, easy air. He replied, that 'this was only one tnstaace of 
the ascendancy which people of imagination exercised over those of 
mere intellect.' He did not rate Godwin very high ' (this was 
caprice or prejudice, real or sffected ) but he had a great idea of 
Mrs. WoUtonecraft's powers of conversation, none at all of her ulrot 

< My fMber wai tint af thow who miMook his latent ■ft«T sIL He vati t* ke 
very math •tt*ulitfici] that I ptcfcrtC'l hit Letters to hi* Scrmoni. The laA mti* 
forced and dry ; the tint came iiaiuia^Iy from btm. Forcaac, half-pla;i oaww^ 
and a lupinc, monkiah, indolent pleauntry, I have nevrr aeen them equalled. 

* He couiflaincd is particular of tbe ptetumptioa of atlcRiptini: to cstahUih the 
future immottality of man ' without ' (as he uid) ' Jcnowing what Deslh iraa ar 

what Life waa'— and the tone in which he prononDCcI iheae two wonk i **" 

coDVcj' a complete image of Wth. 
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for book-makug. We talked a little about Holcroft. He hati been 
Mked if he wsh not much Mruck wiM him, and he said, he thought 
hiniKlf in more danger of being struck 6y him. I complained that 
he woald not let mc get on at alt, for he required a definition of every 
the commoDest word, exclaiming, ' What do you roeao bjr a /oun/ion. 
Sir ? What do you mean by an uiM ? ' This, Coleridge said, was 
barricadoing ihe road to truth : — it wa> setting up a turnpike-gate at 
erery itcp wc took. I forget a great number of things, many more 
than I remember ; but the day passed off pleasantly, and the next 
morning Mr. Coleridge was to returo to Shrewsbury. When 1 came 
down to breakfast, [ found that he had just received a letter from hia 
friend T. Wedgwood, making him an offer of i 50/. a-ycar if he 
chose to wave his present pursuit, and devote himself entirely to the 
ttudy of poetry and philo«ophy. Coleridge seemed to make up his 
miod to close with this propoaal in the act of tying 00 one of his shoes. 
It threw an additional damp on his departure. It took the wayward 
enthuiiast quite from us to cast him into Deva's winding vales, or by 
the shores of old romance. Instead of living at ten miles distance, 
of being the pastor oi a Dittcnting congregation at Shrewsbury, 
he was henceforth to inhabit the Hill of PoTDassus, to be a Shepherd 
on the Detectable Mountaiiu. Alas! I knew not the way thither, 
and felt very little gratitude for Mr. Wedgwood's bounty. I was 
preacDtly relieved from this dilemma ; for Mr. Coleridge, asking for 
I pen and ink, and going to a table to write somctliing on a bit of 
card, advanced towards mc with undulating step, and giving me the 
precious document, said that that was his address, Mr, Coleridge^ 
Nfihtr-Stowty^ Somrrittthirt i and that he sliould tie glad to see me 
there in a few weeks' time, and* if I chose, would come half-way to 
meet mc. I was ool lets aurprited than the shepherd-lx>y (this 
■imtle is to be found in Cacaandra) wtwn he sees a ihunder-boU fnll 
close at his feet. I stammered out my acknowledgments and accept- 
ance of this offer (I thought Mr. Wedgwood's annuity a trifle to it) 
as well as I could ; and this mighty business being settled, the poct- 
prcachcr took Iravr, and I accompanied him six miles 00 the road. 
Ii waii a line morning in the middle of winter, and he talked the 
whole way. The scholar io Chaucer is described as going 

* Suunding an his way." 

So Coleridge went on hit. Id digressing, in dilating, in passing from 
subject to subject, he appeared to me to iluat in air, to slide on ice. 
He told me in confidence (going along) that he ahoatd have preached 
two sermons l>efore he accepted the situation at Slirewsbury, one on 
Infant Baptism, the other on the Lord's Supper, shewing that he 

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MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH I'OETS 



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could Qot adminiflter cither, which would Kavc cffc-ctiutly diMpulitacd 
Kim for the object in view. I obterved that he contJaiully ctOMCd 
me on ihe way by ithifting from one side of the tont-path lo the othn. 
This sUuck me as xn odd movemcot ; but 1 did not at thai liiK 
connect it wich any iniitabjlity of purpose or involuntary chan^ nf 
principle, at I have done aincc. He iecmcd unable to keep on ift 
a strait line. He spoke slightingly o( Hume (whose llsay oo 
Miracles be latd was stolen from an objectioD started in one of 
South's scrmoos — Creifat JuJmttj jlprUal) I vat not Terr rnndi 
pleased at this account of Hume, for I had just been reading, witb 
infinite relish, that coniplctcst of all metaphysical thoie-tcartt hii 
Trtat'ut on Human Katurt, to which the Ettayt^ in pcnot of scholaitic 
subtlety and close reasoning, are mere ele^nt trilling, light summer' 
reading. Coleridge even denied the cxcclleacc of Hume's geoeni 
style, which I think betrayed a want of taste or candour. He howeter 
made mc amends by the manner in which he spoke of Berkeley. Hp 
dwelt particularly on hisEjiayon f^iiioa as a maelcrpiece of aiulytiol 
reasoning. So it undoubtedly is. He was exceedingly angry with 
Dr. Johnson for striking the stone with hi» foot, in allusion to tbis 
author's Theory of Matter and Siiirit, and saying, ' Thus 1 oatdxU 
him. Sir.' Coleridge drew a parallel (I don't kitow how he brougk 
.-ibout the connection) between Bishop Berkeley and Tom FaiDb 
He said the one was an instance of a subtle, the other of an acute 
mind, than which no two things could be more distinct. The oar 
was a shop-boy's quality, the other the characteristic of a phikuopho. 
He comidcred Bishop Butler as a true philosopher, a profound and 
conscientious thinker, a genuine reader of nature and ol hu own mind. 
He did rot speak of his jlnalogj, btit of his Strmons at ibt Halii' 
Cbapelj of which I had never heard. Coleridge somehow alwayi 
contrived to prefer the urinown to the tnofon. In this jnstancr he 
was right. The jlnalo^ is a tissue of sophistry, of wtre-drawn, 
theological special-plruding ; the .S'^z-manj (with the Preface to ihcflo) 
are ia a tine vein of deep, matured reflection, a candid appeal to ov 
observation of human nature, without pedantry and without bias. I 
told Coleridge I had written a few remarks ^nd was ■omcnmn 
foolish cnouj;b to betic\'C that I had made a dtscx»rery on the ume 
subject (the Naturai D'uiatcrfUrJiutt of the Human AUtu!^ — ani I 
uied to explain my view of it to Colerid^, who listwied with great 
wilLingnesK, but T did not Ruccced in nuking myself undennood. I 
rat down to the task shortly afterwards for the twentieth time, got 
new pens and paper, determined to make clear work of it, wrote i 
few meagre Hctitcnces in the skeleton -style of a maihemadciJ Atras*- 
stration, stopped half-way down the second page ; aod, after tryiag in 
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vaia to pump up any wardnt ima^ci, notions, apprchpcsione, fads, ur 
obtcrratioiu, from that gulph of abstractioD in which I had plunged 
mywlffor four or (ivr yearK preceding;, gave up the attempt as labour 
in vaia, and ehed tears of hclplendcrspoodcncyoo the black uofioiihed 
paper. I can write fast enough now. Am I better than I waa 
then ? Oh no ! One troth discovered, one pang of regret at not 
being able to express it, it better than all the fluency and flippancy lo 
the world. Would that I could go back to what I then wa« ! Why 
cm we not revive past limei u we can revisit old places? If I had 
the quaint Muse of Sir Philip Sidney to atsiit me, I would write a 

Sontut to the Road bel-ween IV m and ShmoMSary, and immortalise 

every itcp of it by loinc fond enigmatical conceit. I would swear 
that the very milestones had cars, and that Harmcr-hill stooped with 
all its pines, to litten to a poet, as he paoscd ! I remember but otK 
other topic of discourse in thix walk. He mentioned Paley> praised 
the nnturalneiu and elearrtcsn of bin style, but condemned his »cnli' 
menta, thought him a mere time-serving casuim, and iiaid thai * the 
fact of his work on Moral and PoUtical Philosophy being made a 
text-book in oui UniverBities was a disgrace to the national character.' 
We parted at the Hixniite stone; and I returned homeward pensive 
but much pleased. I had met with unex}>ccted notice from a perion, 
whom I believed to have been prejudiced against me. * Kind and 
affable to me had been bin condeseension, and should be honoured 
ever with suiuble regard.' He was the first poet I had known, and 
he certainly answered to that inspired name. I had heard a great 
deal of his powers of conversatioD, and was not disappointed. In 
fact, I never met with any thing at all like tlieiii, either k'fore or 
since: I could caAily credit the accounts which were circulated of 
his holding forth to a large party of ladies and gentlemen, an evening 
or two before, on the Berkelcian Theory, when he made the whole 
material universe look like a transparency of line words; and another 
story (which I believe he has sumcwherc told himself) of his being 
atked to a parly at Birmingham, of his smoking tobacco and going to 
sleep after dinner on a sofa, where the company found him to their no 
small surprise, which was increased to wonder when he started up of 
a sudden, and rubbing his eyes, looked about him, and launched into 
a three-hours' dewription of the third heaven, of which be had had 
a dream, very different from Mr. Southcy's Vision of Judgment, and 
also from that other Vision of Judgment, which Mr. Murray, the 
Secretary of the Bridge-street Junto, has taken into his especial keeping ! 
On my way back, I had a sound in my ears, it was the voice of 
Fancy : I had a light before me, it was the face of Poetry. The 
oiQc Stilt lingers there, the other has not <)uitted my side ! Coleridge 

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MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 



in truth met mc half-way on the gronnd of pbiloaophy, or I iho^ 
not hare been won over to his imaginatrre creed. I had U) uoeaij, 
pteaiurable KOfiaiion all the time, till I wu to vint him. Duriitg 
those months the chill breath of winter gave me a welcoming; the 
vernal air was balm and inspiration to me. 'Vhe golden san«et% the 
olvet star of evening, lighted me on my way to new hopes aad 
prospect)!. / lOMt to visit CoJeridgf in tfx Jprhg. This citconiiuiier 
was never absent from my thoughts, and mingled with all my feetisgl. 
I wrote to him at the lime proposed, and received an answer post- 
poning my intended visit for a week or two, but very cordizllj lUpBg 
me to complete my promise then. Thb delay did not duDpi bat 
rather increased my ardour. In the meantime, I went lo LlangoUes 
Vale, by way of initiating myself in the mysteries of natural Kcoery ; 
and I must say I was enchanted with it. t had been reading CaJe. 
ridge's deso'iptioD of England in bis fine Ode q» the Defiarttng Ytm^ 
and I applied it, con amore, to the objects before nie. Thai valley 
was to me (in a manner) the cradle of a new existence : id the river 
that winds through it, my spirit was baptised in the wascn of 
Helicon ! 

I returned home, and soon after set out on my Jourttey with 
unworn heart and untired feet. My way lay through VVorcester and 
Cloucester, and by Upton, where I ihooghi of Tom Jones and the 
adventure of the muff. I remember getting completely wet thiougb 
one day, and stopping at an inn (1 think, it was at Tewkesbury) 
where I sat up all night to read Paul and Virginia. Sweet were the 
showers in early youth that drenched my body, and sweet the drops 
of pity that fell upon the books I read ! 1 recollect a remark of 
Coleridge's upon this very book, that nothing could shew the gttMs 
indelicacy of French manners and the entire corruption of their 
imagination more strongly than the behaviour of the heroine in Uk 
last fatal scene, who turns away from a person on board the sinking 
vessel, tliat otfers to save her life, because he has thrown oS his 
clothes to assist him in swimming. Was this a time to think of such 
a circumstance ^ [ once hinted to Wordsworth, as we were niltsf 
in his boat on Grasmcrr lake, tliat I thought he lutd burrowed the 
idea of his Fofmt on tbt Namim of Placet from the local inscriptioos 
of the same kind in Paul and Virgioia. He did not own the obliga- 
tion, and stated some distinction without a Jilfcrcnce, in defcnct of 
bit cbim to origbaLty. Any the slightest variation would be saA- 
cient for this purpose in his mind ; for wlutcver he added or omitted 
would iDeviubly be worth all that any one else had done, and cootain 
the marrow of the sentiment. I was still two days before the uoie 
fixed for my arrival, for I had taken care to set out early enough. 

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■topped thwe two days at Bridgcwatpr, and wlien I wa« tired of 
aanntering oo the bank< of its muddy river, returned lo tlic ion, and 
Kod Camilla. So Kavc I toitcicd my life away, reading booktt, 
lookiog at pictures, going to plays, hearing, thinking) writing on what 
pleased me best. I have wanted oniy one thing to make mc happy ; 
bm wanting that, hare wanted crcrythtng ! 

I arrived, and was well received. The couatry about Nether 
Stowey %» beautiful, green and hilly, arvi near the sea-chore. I aaw 
it but the other day, after an interral of tweitty years, from a hill near 
Taunton. How was the map of my life spread out befare me, as the 
map of the country lay at my feet I In the afternoon, Coleridge took 
me over to Alt-Foxden, a romantic uid faniily-mansiun of the St. 
AubiiM, where Wordsworth lived. It was rhen in the |X)Me«»ion of 
a friend of the poet's, who g:iTe him the free uu of it. Somehow 
that period (the time just after the French Revolution) wnt not a 
time when nothing mas givtn for nothing. The mind opened, and a 
softness might he perceived coming otct the heart or individuals, 
beocath 'the scales that fence* our self-interest. Wordsworth him- 
self was from home, but his lister kept house, and set before us a 
frugal repatt; and we had free access to her brother's poems, the 
Lyrical Balladt, which were itill in manuscnpt, or in the form of 
SyhilRitt Leiivtt. I dipped into a firw of these with great satiifacrion, 
and with the faith of a novice. I slept that night in an old room 
with blue hangings, and covered with the round-faced family-portraiu 
of the age of George i. and n. and from the wooded declivity of the 
adjomiDg park that overlooked my window^ at the dawn of day, 

could 

' hear the lowl stag ipetk,' 

In the outset of life (and particularly at this lime I felt it to] our 
imagination has a body to it. Wc are in a state between sleeping 
and waking, aod have indistinct but glorious gUmptcB of strange 
shapes, and there iH ulwayn something to come better than what we 
sec. As in our dreamt the fulness of the blood gives warmth and 
reality to the coinage of the brain, ko in youth our ideas are clothed, 
and fed, and pampered with our good spirits; we breathe thick with 
thoughtless happiness, tlie weight of future years presses on the strong 
pulses of the heart, aod we repose with undisturbed faith in truth and 
good. As we advance, we exhaust our fund of enjoymeoi and of 
hope. We are no longer wrapped in lamh* i-<wooIy lulled in Ulycium. 
As wc taste the pleasures of life, their s|»rtE evaporates, the sense 
palti I and nothing is left but the phantoms, the lifeless shadows of 
what has hetn ! 

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MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 



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That morning, as soon as brcakfaat wa» over, we strolled out intB 
the park, and s»tiQg ourselves oa tbc trunk of an old ash~ura ths 
■trctcbed along the ground, Coleridge read aiotxl wttli a sooorontud 
musical Toice, the ballad of Brtty F»j. I waa aot critically or accyti- 
cally inclined. I saw touches of truth and nature, aod took the rtn 
for granted. But in the 'i'hem, the AfaH Mother^ aad the Cvrnfimd 
of a Poor IntBan IVonutn, I felt that deeper power and mijioa vhiek 
have beea since ac know le d ged,_ " 

' In tpitc of pride, Jn c mng rcajton't apile.* 

as the cha ra cteriiitica of this autliw ; ^ the sense of a new style mi 
a new spint to po«ry caihe "direr me. It had to me sotnething ofl 
efTcct that arises firom the tuning up of the fresh aoil, or of the 
welcome breath of Spring, 

' Wliile yet the trembling year is uncottiinncd.' 

Coleridge and myself walked back to Stowey (bat evening, md til 
voice sounded high 

* Of Providence, fiKvknowledge, will, and fiite, 
Fix'd fate, free-wUl, Iweknowledge absolute,' 

H we passed through echoing grove, by fairy stream or water 
glettning in the summer moonlight '. He lamented that Wordn 
\vas not prone enough to believe In the traditional GUperctitlons of the 
place, and that there wse a something corporeal, a nuater-^fftui-Mat 
a clinging to the palpable, or often to the petty, in his poetry, io coo- 
sequence. His genius was not a spirit that descended to him throu^ 
the air ; it sprung out of the ground like a Hower. or unfolded itself 
from a greeo spray, on which the gold-fiocb sang. He said, boweicr 
fif I remember right] that this objection must be confined to hi* 
□escriptire pieces, that his philosophic poetry had a grand and com- 
prebensivc spirit tn it, so that his soul seemed to inhabit the uiuTctit 
llikc a palace, and todincover truth by intuition, rather than by dcduc- 
ftioo. The next day Wordsworth arrived from Bristol at Coieridge'i 
cottaji^e. I think I see him now. He answered in some degree to 
his friend's description of him, but was more gaunt and Don Quixou- 
like. He was quaintly dressed (according to the coi/mae of that 
unconstrained period) in <t brown fustian jacket and ttriped paou- 
looits. There wag something of a roll, a lounge io his gait, not 
unlike his own Peter Bell. There was a severe, worn pressure of 
thought about his temples, a fire in his eye (a s if he saw aoaiethiDE id 
270 - 



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MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 

objecu more than the outmard app ea ranc e), an intense bigh narrow 
torpIicaa,'a Homan'^ose, cheeks nirrbwea* by wrong purpow: and 
feeling, and a coninilsive inclination to laughter about the mouth, a 
good deal at variance with the itolemn, stately exprehsion of the rest 
of bis face. Chantry's bust wanu the marking traits ; but he was 
teazed into making it regular and heavy : Haydon'ii head of him, 
iotrodaced into the Entranct of Christ irittf Jerwalemt is the most like 
his drooping weight of thought and exprestioti. He eat down and 
talked very naturally and freely, with a mixture of clear guithing 
accents in hit voice, a deep guttural intooation, and a strong tiactore 
of the northern hun-y like the crust on wine. He instantly began to 
make havoc of the half of a Cheshire cheese on the table, and said 
triumphantly that *hiR marriage with experience had not been so 
unproductive as Mr. Soutbcy's in teaching him a knowledge o( the 

food things of this life/ tie had been to see the Cajt/t Sptdrc by 
ionk Lewis, while at Bristol, and described it very well. He said 
* it fitted the taste of the audience like a glove.' I'his ad eaptandum 
merit was however by no means a recommendation of it, according to 
the severe principles of the new school, which reject rather than court 
popular effect. Wordsworth, looking out of the low, latticed window, 
said, ' How beautifully the sun seu on that yellow bank ! ' I thought 
within myself, 'With what eyes these poets sec nature! ' and crer 
after, when I saw the sun-set stream upon the objects facing it, con- 
ceived I had made a discovery, or thanked Mr. Wordsworth for 
having made one for me! We went over to Atl-Foxden again the 
day following, and Wordsworth read us the story of Feier Bell in 
the open air ; and the comment made upon it by his face and voice 
was very different from that of some later critics ! Whatever might 
be thought of the poem, * his face was as a book where men might 
read strange matters,' and he announced the fate of his hero in pro- 
phetic tones. There is a daunt tn the recitation both of Coleridge 
and Wordsworth, which acu as a spell upon the hearer, and disarms 
the judgment- Perhaps they have deceived themBclveis by making 
habitual use of this ambiguous accompaniment. Coleridge's manner 
t> more full, animated, and varied; Wordsworth's more equable, sus- 
tained, and internal. The one might be termed more dranutiu, the 
other more lyrical. Coleridge has told me that he himself liked to 
compo&e in walking over uneven ground, or breaking through the 
straggling branches of a copse-wood ; whereas Wordsworth always 
wrote (if he could) walking up and down a straight gravel-walk, or 
in some spot where the continuity of his ver« met with no collateral 
interruption. Returning that same evening), T got into a metaphysical 
argument with Wordsworth, while Coleridge wax explaining the 

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MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH P0E15 

diiTcrcDt DDtcs of the atghtiagale to btc lister, la whicH we odtbcrtf 
us succeeded in nuking ourselreB pctfcctty clear and ioieJHpble. 
Thus I pavBed three weeks st Netlicr Stowey and in the DcijhbtiC' 
hood, gcnrrally devoting the aitemooot to a delightful chat ia ■ 
arbour made of bark by the poet's friend Tom Poole, ntting anda 
two fine elm-tjces, and listcaiDg to the bees liumming round ua, wkli 
we quaffed our fiip. It was agreed, among otbtr things, that n 
should make a jaunt dowo the Briitot-Chanoel, aa far u \Jasm. 
\Vc act ofT together on foot, Coleridge, John Chester, aod T. Tbii 
Chester was a nadvc of Nether Stowey, one of those who wot 
attracted to Coleridge'^ discourse as flies are to honey, or bees il 
•warming-time lu the sound of a brass jmd. He * followed is tit 
cbase, like a dog who hunti, not like one that made up the cry.' Ht 
had on a brown cloih coat, boots, and corduroy breechrs, was lova 
stature, tww-lcggcd. had a drag in his walk like a droTer, whidi h 
aMistcd by a hazel switch, and kept on a sort of trot by the side of 
Coleridge, like a running footman by a state coach, that be might nt 
lose a syllable or sound that fell from Coleridge'e lips. He told oi 
his private opinion, thai Coleridge was a wonderful man. He KarEcl; 
opened his lipi, much less offered an opinion the whole way : yet d 
the three, had I to chuse during that journey, I would be Jnlis 
Chester. He afterwards followed Coleridge into Germanv, vben 
the Kanteao philosophers were puzzled bow to bring him under ioj 
of their categories. When be sal down at table with his idol, Jofan't 
felicity was complete ; Sir Walter Scott's, or Mr. Blackwood's, vtM 
they sat down at the s.ame table with the King, was not more «. 
We i«i3Bcd Dunstcr on our right, a small town between the btow of 
3 hill and the sen. I remember eying JI wistfully as it lay below v. 
contrasted with the woody scene around, it looked as clear, u ptn, 
as tmbro'wntd and ideal as any landscape I have seen since, of Gafptr 
PouBsin's ur Domenichino's. Wr had a long day's march — {am 
feet kept time to the cchoci of Coleridge's tongoe) — tlirough Miiw- 
head and by the Blue Anchor, .md on to Linton, which we did noi 
reach till near midnight, and where we had some dtfliculty in nukiilt 
a lodgment. We however knocked the people of the bouse up ai 
last, and we were repaid for our apprehensions and fatigue by smir 
excellent rashers of fried bacon and ege>* The view in coining 
alon^ had l)een splendid. We walked for miles and miles oo dark 
brown heaths orerlooking the ChacDel, with the Welsh hills beyoitdt 
and at times descended into little nhcltercd rallrys close by the m- 
•ide, with a smuggler's face scowling by us, and then had to ascnd 
conical hilts with a path winding up through a coppice to a bairea 
top, like a monk's shaven crown, from one of which I pointed out to 
27* 



MY FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH POETS 



Coleridge's notice the bare masts of a vessel on the rery edge of the 
horizon and within the red-orbed disk of the setting mo, like his owa 
■pectre-ship in the Ancient Mariner. At Linton the character of the 
■ea-coaat hecotnn more mjirked and rugged. There is a place called 
the Fidity of Rocki (I suspect this was only the poetical name for it) 
bedded among precipices OTCihangiDg the «a, with rocky caverns 
beneath, into which the waves daab, and where the sea-gull for ever 
wheels its screamiug ^i^ht. On the tops of these are huge stones 
thrown transTcrsc, as if an earthquake had tossed them there, and 
behind these Is a fretwork of ]>erpendicul.-ir rocki, something like the 
Giant's Cautetvay. A thunder-storm came on while we were at the 
iao, and Coleridge was running out bare-headed to enjoy the commo* 
lion of the elements in the K^/Z/iy of Roekt, but as if in spire, the 
clouds only muttered a few angry sounds, and let fall a few refreshing 
drops. Coleridge told me that he nnd Wordsworth were to have 
nude this place the scene of a profte-talc, which was to have been in 
the manner of, but far superior to, the Death of AM^ but they had 
relinquished the design. In the morning of the second day, we 
breakfasted luxuriously in an old -fashioned parlour, on tea, toast, 
eggs, and honey, in the very sight of the beehives from which it had 
been taken, and a garden full of thyme and wild flowers that had pro- 
duced it. On this occasion Coleridge spoke of Virgil's Geoigici, 
but not well. 1 do not think he had much feeling for the classical 
or elegant. It was in this room that we found a little worn-out copy 
of the Seatons, lying in a window-iwat, on which Coleridge exclaimnl, 
• 7ioi is true fame ! ' He said Thomson waa a great poet, rather 
than a good one; his style was as meretrictoun as his thoughts were 
namral. He smke of Cowpcr a.* the best modern poet. He said 
the L,yrkal BiiUaJt were an experiment about to be tried by him and 
W<>rdsworth, to see how far the public taste would endure poetry 
written in a more natural and simple style than had hiiheno been 
attempted ; totally discarding ttie artilices of poetical diction, AaA 
tnalcing use only of such words as had probably been common in the 
most ordinary language since the days of Henry it. Some com- 
parisoD was introduced between Shakespear and Milton. He aaid 
*hc hardly knew which to prefer. Shakespear appeared to him a 
merr stripling in the art ; he was as tall and as strong, with infinitely 
more activity than Milton, but he noer appeared to have come to 
man's estate; or if be had, he would not have been a man, but a 
monster.* He spoke with contempt of Gray, and with intolerance 
of Pope, He did not like the versilication of the latter. He 
observed that 'the ears of these couplet- writers might be charged 
with having short Tnemoriex, that could not retain the harmony of 
vuu lu.: s 273 



C^v 



LO 



u will 

L: 




MY FIRST ACQDAISTASCE WITH POETS 



paMci.' He dkooi^ GRie of Jonsaa M xvzifta^; fehidt 
SgSke «t Dr. Jofanua ; aaA b wkA faigbcr ofMiis of brke » ■ 
orator ud polittcia, thai of Fox or PiEt. He bovcw ihoiik ka 
very infenor to ncfaoo* of Kyle lod kajgery to nae of on ttta 
prote-writen, p&nioiliriy Jtrtatj Ta^ku-. He Ukod Richiriiw^ 
bat Dot FkUiog; doc cooU I grt kun to ester iaoa tfae Mcra tf 
CoM U^tSiamt.* In tbort, be vu p mfuouJ and ditavsmadai nz 

EKCt to ihote anthort wfaooi be liked, and mhtre be gsve lit f^ 
It fiir play ; cajiridOM, penrene, and prciodiced in hia a«tip«iB 
distanca. We l<weml oo the * ribbed acA^auMla,' in lodi taft » 
thia, a whole maraiog, aod I recollect rocc with a 
of which John Cham told na the comtiy name ! A 
Coleridge an account of a boy that had been drowoed tbe day I 
aod that ihej had tried to u«e him at tbe risk tjf their ov* Kib> 
He «aid ' he did not kaow bow it vat chat they vemured. b«. Sir, 
we have a ttoture towards ooe another.' This ex|weaHaOa CdIip^ 
remarked to roe, wai a fine illastratiaa of that theory of daiintaaad- 
ncss which I (tn conunon with Butler) had adopced. I broadwdli 
him an argumettt of mine to prove that Sieiujt was not mere tataok 
lioQ of ideas. I said that the mark in tbe sand put one in ouad at i 
mao't foot, aoi because it wai pan of a fonncr ■mpression of a aoi'i 
foot (for it waa t^oite new) hot because it was like the shape «f J 
man's foou He assented to tbe justaeu of this distinction (wkickl 
have explained at length clicwhere, for the benefit of tbe cofiw) 
and Joho Chester listened ( oot from any interest la the subject W 

IbecauK be wai astonished that I shoukl be able to n^gctt any tbii| 
to Cojcridj^c that he did not already know. We returned on tlit 
third morning, and Coleridge remarked the silent cotag^-^Bob 
cnrliog up tbe rallcys where, a few ereniogs before^ we bad leeiidtr 
lights gleaming through the dark. 

In a day or two after we arrived at Stowcy, we set out, I on PT 
return borne, and he for Germany. It was a Sunday iDonuog,aDa 
he wai to preach that day for Dr. Toulmio of Taunton. I siLcd 
him if he had prepared an3rthing for the occssioQ .' He utd he ! 
not even thought of the text, but should as toon as we parted. I 
not go to hear him, — this was a tiult, — btit we met in the ei 
Bridgewatcr. The next day we bad a long day's walk to 

> He hs<l D« idts of pictures, afCUnde m RaphMl, snd at thii litar 1 W« 
Ihtle ai he. He MNnctimc* gin* i itiikiog aicouit st pttscat of the CirWMi U 
PIm, ^ Umfftiaalea and otlun ; of one ia psfticuUr, where Duih i* tnn tn dn 
atf bran>li«liine hit icythr, md the great aoii ffl!ghtf of tbe rarth abaif^cr ■> U 
approach, while trie b^art and tht wretched kneel to him ai ttieir deliverer. H« 
woulil nf cnurae aodentanri so bread and fine s raaral si thia at anjr time. 

»74 




and sat dovn, I recollect, by a wclUide on the rond, to cool orur- 
•clve* and eatitfy our thirst, when Coleridge repeated to me lonie 
descripcire lines from his tragedy of Remorae ; which I mutt aay 
became his mouth and that occasioD better than they, some yean 
after, did Mr. Ellistan's aad the Drury-Une board), — 

■ Oh memory ' ihield me from the world'* poor strife, 
And give those semck thine ct-erhstin^r life.' 

1 uw IK> more of him for a year or two, during which period be 
had been wandering in the Hartz Forent in Germany; and his 
return was cometary, meteorout, unlike his setting out. It was not 
till woie time after thai I knew his friends Lamb and Southcy. The 
last always appears to me (as I first saw him) with a common-place 
book under his arm, and the first with a 6oii-mot in hi* mouth. It 
was at Godwin's that I met him with Holcrolt and ColetidgCj where 
they were disputing fiercely which was the best — Man <u he war, or 
mart at ht ii la bt. 'Give me/ says Lamb, ' man at be is aot to be.' 
Thia aaying was the beginning or a friendship between us, which I 
bdicve still continues. — Enough of this for the preKnt. 

■^ 'But there is matrer for anothrr rhyme, 

^^^^^^ And I to thi» may aild a second ule.' 

P 



PULPIT ORATORY— DR. CHALMERS AND 
MR. IRVING 

TirLikr^/.] [i8ij. 



The Scotch at piescrn seem to bear the bell, and to haTC 'got the 
start of the majestic world.' They boast of the greate«t noFelliits, 
the greatest preachers, the gieatest philanthropists, and the greatest 
blackguards in the world. Sir Walter Scott naods at the head of 
these for Scotch huniuur, Dr. Chalmers for Scotch logic, Mr. Owen 
for Scotch Utopianiim, and Mr. Blackwood for Scotch impudence. 
Umivallcd four ! Nay, liere is Mr. Irving, who threatens to make a 
fifth, and ttultify all our London orators, from 'kingly Kcntingtoo* 
to Blackwall ! Who has not beard of him ? Who does not go to 
hear him ? You can scarcely mo?c along for the coronet-coaches 
that besiege the entrance to the Caledonian chapel in Hatton-gardet ; 
and when, after a prodigious squeeze, you get in so as to have sund- 
ing-room, you »ee in the same undistinguished crowd Brougham and 
Mackintosh, Mr. Peel and Lord Lirerpool, Lord Laodsdown and 
Mr. Coleridge. Mr. Canning and Mr. Hone are pew fellows, 
Mr. Waithman frowns stem appIauK, and Mr. Aldermao Wood 

175 



^ 



PULPIT ORATORY 



doM the honour! of the Meeting ! The lamb li«f down with 
lion, and the Millennium sccmji lo be anticipated in the Calc 
chapel, under the new Scotch preacher. Lords, Udies 
(anattca, join in approbation, — some admire the doctrtnc, otberi 
■ound, wnie the piciuresqne af^arance of the orator, other* the gntt 
of action, some the ingenuity of the argaraent, otheri the bcantir of 
the style or the borsta of pttssion, some even go so far aa to patroaot 
a certain hraeiiih infusion of the Scottish dialect, and a slight defect 
of TiKion. Lady Blocraount declare!) it to be only inferior to the 
ExcuKsioN in imagination, and Mi. Botherby criet — *G<x>d, good!' 
The * Talking Pouto ' > and Mr. Theodore Flash hare not yet bcM. 
Mr. Irring appears to a$ the most accomplished barbariao, and tlie 
lean offcDsIve and most dashing clerical holder-forth w« remembo to 
hare seen. He puu us in mind of the first man, Adam, if Adam 
had bat been a Scotchman, and had had coal black hair. He semi 
to stand up in the integrity of hit composition, to begin a new race of 
practising believers, to give a new impulse to the Christian relij 
CO regenerate the fallen and degenerate race of man. You woulo 
he had been turned nut o^ the hands of N.tture and the Schc 
perfect piece of workmanship. Sec him in the etrcei, he has the sir, 
the free swing, the boh apr'^bt figure of an Indian sarage, or a nortbcni 
borderer dressed in canonicals: set him in the pulpit, and he is arm«d 
with all the topics, a inaster of fence, ih« puplT <^ Dr. Chalmen \ 
In action he has been compared to Kean; in the union of extenul 

* Some ycirtago, ■ pcriftdicsl paper wu ptttiliihcil to London, under the bllev' 
the Pic-Nic It wai (ot up under the autpicct of ■ Mr. Fulkc Crvvi'Ue, tai 
Mwril wril«r« of that As,y Eontribotcii to ii, among whom were Mr. H«nct 
Smith, Mr. Duboi*, Mr. Prince Hoire, Mr. Cumberland, and others. Oo smm 
dispute ariiuig between the proptietoT aad the geatleinen>coRtr)bQtan on the isb> 
jectof m advance in the retnnaeration rarartkln, Mr. Folke Greville graw heroic, 
and laid, * I luvc got a young (ettow jiiu cum? tcdni IrcUnd, who will ondertafa 
to do the whole, verae and proae, politic* an'i icaadal, for two gniiKaa a week, 
and if yon will onu and lup with me t«-morrcw ni^hl, you >hall »ee him, aa' 
judge whcibtt I am not right in clottng with bim.' Accordinyty, ihejr mec tbt 
neat cveninc, in<l the wairaa or all woas wa* tittroda<ed. He began to raab i 
'jiapliy of hii narive ignoriiiice and jmpu><cncc on >tl lubjctu immetliatrly. isd n 
une elie ha^i ucutiun lu t>y toy ihiiig, Wlieo he wii gone, Mr. CunibertaJ 
caclnimed, ' A lalkint; p«lato, by Guil !' The talking potato wat Mr. Cri^er,af 
thr Afimiralty. Our advrnlurrr ahartly, howcvn, rrturnd to hit omtd cqvoIi^, 
and oatiing icciilenlally tbfoui;h * Cow» where (hey were in want of a minrMetul 
candidate at an Electiun, the j^ntleinin of modeai assurance oflfered hltntdf, sb4 
•uccecded. * They wante.^ a Jack.padilin^,' (ai<l the father of the tiopcf«l fviitfc, 
* and to they choie my tou. The caie of ibe Doke of York and Mrs. Clarlu 
loon aftEr came on, nn.H Mr. Croker, who ii a dabbler in rlirt, and in adept in 
lavc'LcCteri, roae from the alTair Sccreliry to the Admiralty, and tke very 'toM 
tad Gxpcctsacy of the fair Sutc' 
.76 



I 



PULPIT ORATORY 



I 



irtctlectual adTan(3ges, wc miglit start a parallel for litm in the 
lirabit Crithton. He stands before Haydoo's picture of Lazarus, 
sod lay*, * Look 3t me! ' He crosnea Piccadilly, and clears Bond- 
street of its beaux ! Rob Roy, Macbriar is come ag;iin. Wc (aw 
him stretched on a bench at the Black Buil in Edinburgh, — we met 
him again at a thirtceD-])enay ordinary in London, in the same attitude, 
and said, without knowios hit calling, or hii ghotUy partt, ' That is 
the man for a fair saint.' We swear it by 

' Hift foot fnercvrial ; hi» martial thigh t 
The brawnft of Hercules, but hi> jovial face ! * 

Aye, there wc »iop like Itnogco — there is a want of expression in iu 
*The iron has not entered his soul.' He has not dared to feel but in 
trammels and in dread. He has read Wertcr bat to criticise him; 
Rousacau, but to hiccI himsrlf agair.nt him ; Shakrspear, but tu <)uule 
him ; Milton, but to round his pcrtodi. Pleasure, fancy, humanity, 
are syrens that he repels and keeps at arm»-lettgth ; and hence his 
features are hardened, and h.ivr a barbaric crust upon them. They 
are not steeped in the expression of Titinn or Raphael ; but ihey 
would do for Spagnoletti to paint, and his dark profile and matted 
locks have something of the grarc commanding appearance of 
Leonardo da Vinci's masslrc portraits. 

Dr. Chalmers is not so good-looking a man as Mr. Irving; he 
wants the same vigour and spirit. His face ts dead and clammy, 
cold, pale, blocxlleeis, paasionle»s, .ind there is a glazed look of insin- 
cerity about the eyes, uninformed, uninspired from wiihin. His 
voice is broken, harsh, and creaking, while Mr. Irving's is flowing 
and silvery : his Scotch accent and pronunciation are a terrible inflic- 
ttoD on the unat/tivaUJ ens. His * Wlirch observation I ocrge upon you 
my fr/ndi and brcfthren * desoUtes and lays watte all the humanities. 
He grii>ds out his sentences between his teeth, and catches nt truth 
with his liats, as a monkey caliches an Apple or a stick thrown at him 
with his paws. He seems by his action and his utterance to say to 
difficulties, 'Come, let me clutch thee,* and having got them in his 
grasp, tears and rends them in pieces as a dog tears an old rag to 
tatters or mumbles a stone that is flung in his way. Dr. Chalmers 
eflgages attention and secures sympathy solely by the intensity of his 
own purpose : there is neither eloquence nor wisdom, neither imagina- 
tion nor feeling, neither the pomp of sound nor grace nor solemnity 
of manner about him, but he is in earnett, and eager in pursuit of his 
argument, and arrests the eye and car of bis congregation by this 
alone. He dashes head foremost into the bii.irs and thorns oi con- 
troversy, and drags you along with him whether you will or no, and 

177 




1 



PULPIT ORATORY 



your only chance is la pu«h oo aod get out of ihcm as well 
can, though dreadfully Bcraiched and almusi blioded. He i: 



labyrinth, and 



to 



from it . 



hxn 



arc aoxious 

to pass through maoy a dark, subterranean carem with him in fan 
theological ferr^--brat, and are glad enough to get out oa the otbc 
tide, witli the help uf Scotch logic foi oart, and Scotch rhetoric fw 
taila! You hear no home truth*, nothing that touches the heart, at 
Hwcll< or expands the soul ; there is do tide of cloc^DeDce llftiDg jroii 
up to Heaven, or wafting you from Indus to the Pole. — No, you Bt 
detained in a canal, with a great number of /o<tt io it. — You mkt 
way by virtue of stiuiding ttill, your will it irritalrd, and impelln! 
forward by Moppges — you are puzzled into symjnthy, puUea into 
admiration, tired into patieoce! The preacher starts a difficvltf, oi' 
which you had no notion before, and yon sLire to see how he will 
aniwer it. He first makes you uneasy, sceptical, sensible of jour 
helplessness and dependence upon his superior sagacity and recoodile 
learniog, and proportionably thankiul for the relief he affords you in 
the uikpleasant dilemma to which you hare been reduced. It is lilc 
proponing n riddle, and then, after playing with the curiosity sod 
impatience of the company for wme time, g^Ting the solution, wlitdi 
nobody else has the wit to find out. Wc iwvcr saw fuller attetidancri 
or more profound attention than at the Tron Church in Glasgow — i: 
was like a sea of eyes, a swarm uf heads, gaping for mysteries, and 
staring for elucidations — it was not the sublime or beautiful t the 
secret was that which has been here explained, a desire to get rid of 
the difficult, the disagreeable, the dry, and the discordant matter ihjt 
had been conjured up in the tmagiDatioc. Dr. Chalmers, then, sue 
ercds by the force of sophistry and casuinry, in our humble judgmrir. 
Riddles [of which we spoke just now) are generally traditional: 
those that Dr. Chalmers unfolds from the pulpit, are of his own 
invention, or at least promulgation. He started an objection to the 
Chrislian religion [founded on iti; supposed inconsistency with the 
Newtonian philosophy) which objection had nerer been tK>ticed it 
books, on purpose that he might answer it. * Well,* said a Scotch- 
man, * and if the answer was a good one, was he not right ? * * No, 
assuredly,' we should aiuwer, 'for there is no iattb so firm aa that 
which has never been called in question.' The answer could tmly 
satisfy those who had been unsettled by the qoestion ; and there 
would be many who would not be convinced by the Doctor's reason- 
ing, howerer he might plume himself on his success. We cospect 
that this is looking ^ter a rcpntation for literary ingenuity and pfailo- 
sophicnl depth, rather tlian the peace uf consciences or the almion 
w souls ; which, in a Christian minister, is unbecoming and MTOitn 
378 



PULPIT ORATORY 



of the Mammon of unrightcousncM. We ourielTcs were Maggered 
by the blow (either then or long before) and Mill guy for a reply, 
notwithttanding Dr. Chalmirrs's nofilrum. Let the reader briefly 
radge : — The Doctor tells us, it may be said, that iht Christian 
Dispensation nuppoiies that (he counsels of God turn upon this world 
as iu center ; that there is a hcnren above :ind an earth beneath ; and 
ibat man is the lord of the universe, the only creature madt- in the 
divine likeness, asd orer whom Providence wntchcs, and to whom 
rerelatioQt are given, and an inheritance crerlasting. Thii agrees 
with the cosmogony of Moses, which makes the earth the center of 
all things, and the sun, moon, and gtars, little ihiDing spots like silver 
sixpences moving round it. But it does not so well agree with 
Newton's Prindpia (wp state Dr. Chalmers's objection) which sup- 
poses the globe we inhabit to be but a point in the immensity of the 
universe; that ours is but one, and that the most insignificant (per- 
baps] amiMig inaumerable worlds, filled, probably, with created 
intelligences, rational and fallen souls, that ihare the eye of Cod 
with us, and who require to know that their Redeemer liveth. We 
alone (it would appear) cannot pretend to monopolize heaven or hell: 
there are other contingent candidates besidea us. Jscob's dream was 
poetical and natural, while thi! earth was supposed to be a t)at surface 
and the blue sky hung over it, lo which angels might ascend by a 
ladder, af>d the face of God be seen at the top, as his lofty and 
unchangeable abode; but this beautiful episode hardly accords wtt)i 
the Antijiodes. Sir Isaac turned the world upon its back, and 
divided hraveo from it»elf, and removed it far from every one of us. 
As we thought the universe turned round the earth as its pivot, so 
religion turned round man ai its center, as the sole, imporunt, moral 
and »L'councablv ;igcnt in existence. But there are other worlds 
revolving in infinite space, to which this la a speck. Are they all 
desert, worthless ? Were they made ibr ui ? Have they do especial 
dispenuiions of life and light ? Have we alone a God, a Saviour, 
revealed to us? Is religion triumphant only here, or is it itinerant 
through each? It can hardly seem that we alone have occupied the 
tfaoughte or been the sole objects of the plans of infinite wisdom from 
eternity — that our life, resurrection, and judgment to come, are the 
whole history of a wide-seeing Providence, or the loftiest evenu in 
the grand drama of the universe, which was got up as a theatre only 
for us to perform our petty parts in, and then to be can, most of us, 
into hell fire? Dr. Chalmers's Astronomical Discourses indeed may 
be said to dwarf his mighty subject, and make mankind a very Lilli- 
putian race of beings, which this Gulliver in vain dandles in the hard, 
broad, brawny hand of school divinity, and tries to lift into their 

279 



PULPIT ORATORY 

bigottcil sclT-sufficiency and cxctunre impotuoce agajo. How don 
he aaswcr his own objectioD, and turn the tables od himself — bov 
reverse this pitiful, diiniDiched peripectiret 2od aggrzodite lu laov 
own eatiraation once more as unaoubicd heirs of hearen or of beU— 
the sole favoured or reprobated boos of God i Why, his aoswri ii 
UuH— that the microscope has doae as inucli to lift man in the saUt 
of being, and to enlarge the bouDds of this atom the earth, at the 
teletcope his done to <:ircumccribe and lessen it; that titrre uc 
infinite gradatiocu brlow man, worlds within world<> as there ate 
pegreet of being abare, and Biara and suns blaziog round each othtrt 
thaCi for what wc know, a &peck, a lacid drop circulating in a Bca'i 
back, may be another habiubic globe likcthis! — And has that,too,a 
revelation of its own, an avenging God, and a Christ cmcifedl 
Does every particle in a flea's back contain a Mosaic dispensaoaoi 
a Popish and a Piotesunt religion ? Has it iu Tron Church and iti 
Caledonian Chapel, and Dr. Chalmers's Discourses and Mr. Irvbg'i 
Orations in Uctfc ? Tbi& docs not seem to obviate th« diiTicuIty, ba. 
to increase it a million-fold. It is his objection and his answer Iu it, 
not ours : if blasphemy* it is his ; and, if onhodoxy, he is entitkd to 
all the credit of it Dot his whole scheme shows how impossible it 
is to reconcile the faith delivered to the saints with the subtleties and 
iotricicica of metaphysics. It displays more pride of intellect than 
simplicity of heart, is an iniult equally on the understand ings or 
prejudices of men, and could only have been hit upon by that pcrsooi- 
iicatinn and ab«traclioa of crobs-purpoccs, a Scotch metspbysical 
divine. In his general preaching, Dr. Chalmers is a great casoiit, 
and a very indifferent moralist. He states the^trvi and com of every 
question with extreme pertinacity, and often * spins the thread of h)i 
verbosity liner than ihc staple of his argument. He auigns posuble 
reasons, not practical motives, for conduct ; and vindicates the ways of 
God, and his own interpretation of the Scriptures, to the bead. Dot to 
the heart. The old school-divines set this practice afoot ; for baag 
accustomed to hear the secrets of confMsior, and to salve the teodet 
coQiciettccf of the great and powerful, they had to bandy all solU of 
questions about; and if they could find out 'a loop or peg to has£ 
a doubt on,* were well rewarded for their trouble; they were cod- 
elantly reduced to their shifu, and forced to go on the forlorn hope 
of morality by the ticklish cases referred to them for arbitration ; and 
when they had exhausted the resources of humaaity and oatuial 
sentiment, endeavoured to find new topics within tlie range of abstran 
reason and posiibjity. Dr. Chalmers's reasoning is at unUle u 
possible to a chapler in the Gospels: but be may do very welt to 
comment on the Apocalypse or an Epistle of St. Paul's. We do 
180 



Q 



PULPIT ORATORY 



approve of this nietbod of carving out excuses or defence! of 
doctriiul uoints from tlir diy parchmcni of the understanding or the 
cobwebs of ihe brain. Whatever «cw or leavM thcdogmas of religion 
31 TBiiance with the dicutc« of the heart, hardcnii tlie la«t, and lends 
DO advantage to the first. 

Mr. Irving isa more amiable moralist, and a more practical reaaoDer. 
He throws a glancing, pleasing light over the gloomy ground of 
CidTiaism. There is something humane in his appeals, atrikiDg in hii 
apoetrophes, graceful in bis action, u}othiQg in the tones of his voice. 
He U not affected and theatrical ; neither is he deeply impausioned or 
overpowering from the simple majeity of his subject. He is above 
comnKMi-f^ace both in lancv and argument ; yet he can hardly rank as 
a poet or philosopher. He is a modcmiBcd covesaater, a iccptical 
fanatic. Wc do not Ctel exactly on sure ground with him — we 
icarcely know whether be preaches Christ crucified, oi himself. His 
pulpit style has a resemblance to the Jloritl gothit. We are a little 
myjttfied when a man with one hand brings ui all the nice distinctions 
and air-drawn speculations of modern unbelievers, and arniit the other 
with ' fire hot from Hell,'— when St. Paul and Jeremy Bentham, the 
Eraogclisu and the Sorrows of Wcrter, Seneca, Shakcspear, the 
author of Caleb WilUamt and the Political Justice, are mingled 
together in the same passage, and quoted in the same breath, however 
eloquent that breath may be. We see Mr. Irving smile with decent 
acorn 31 thia remark, and launch one more thunderbolt at the 
critics. He ii quite welcome, and we should be proud of his notice. 
In the discourses he has Kitely delivered, and which have drawn 
crowds to admire them, he has laboured to describe the ScDfiua] 
Man, the Intrlleccu^d Man, the Mural Man, and the Spiritual 
Man ; and has sacrificed the three first at the shrine of the 
la»t. He gave certainly a terrific picture of the death-bed of the 
Sensual Man — a scene where few shirr — but it is 3 good subject for 
oratory, and he made the most of it. He described the Poet well, 
walking by the mountain side, in the eye of nature — -yet oppresscdi 

? anting rather than saiisfied, with beauty and sublimity. Neither 
'ante nor Genius, it is most true, are atl-iufficient to the mind of 
man ! He made a fair hit at the Philosophers ; first, at the Political 
Economist, who draws a circle round man, gives him so many feet of 
earth to nand upon, and there leaves him to starve in all his nobler 
pans and faculties: next, at the great Jurisconsult, who carves out a 
mosaic work of nioitres for him, cold, hard, and dry, and expects 
him to more mechanically in right lines, squares, and parallelograms, 
drills htm into perfection, and screws him loco utility. He then fell 
foul of the Moralist and 8ertimentalisi, weighed him in the balance 

381 



PULPIT ORATORY 

9.T16 round him wanting — deficient in cIcarnMS of tigliT to discern 

?ood, in strcn^^h of hand and purpote cotcizc upon It when diaccmcd. 
tut Religion cciTnc!) at last to the aid of the- Spiritual Man, couches 
(he blind tight, and brace* the |>aralytic limb ; the Lord of HoMs i» 
in the field, and the battle Is won, hiii countenance pours light into our 
souh, and bin hand stretched out imparts strength to vis, by whicit we 
tower to our native nkiet! lo tieatinj; of thit subject, Mr. Inring 
intrcxluced scTcrat powerful images and reflecuonii, to show how feeble 
tnoral and intellectual motiTet are to coateod with the allurements of 
seose and the example of the world. Reason alone, be said, was no 
more able to stent the tide of prejudice and fashion, than the swimmer 
with his single arm (here he used an appropriate and spirited gesiurc* 
which reminded ut of the description of the heroic action of the 
Bwicnmer ia Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia) 1* able to oppose the raging 
torrent, aa the voice of conscience was only he,ird in the tiunultuoua 
sconce of life like the faint cry of the wa-bird in the wide world of 
waters. He drew an animated but mortifying sketch of the progress 
of the Patriot and Politician, weaned by degrees from his aiiachnient 
to young Liberty to hu;< old CorruptiuQ ; and showed (itriklngly 
enough) that this change from youthful ardour to a hoary, heartless 
old age of selfishness and ridicule (there were several Mcmlsers of the 
Honourable House present) was not owing to increased wisdom or 
strength of sight, but to faltering resolution and weakness of hand, 
chat could no longer hold out ag-iinsithe bribes, the snares^ and gilded 
chains prepared for it. The romantic Tyro was right and free, the 
callous Courtier was a sbvc and self- cone: el ted. All this was true; 
it was hooeat, downright, and well put. There was no cant in it, as 
far 31 regards the unequal odds and the hard battle that reason has to 
light with pleasure, or .imbiiion, or interest, or other .intagontst 
motives. But docs the objeaion apply to morality solely, or has not 
religion its share in it ? Man is not what he ought to be — Granted ; 
but is he not different from this ideal standard, in spite of religion as 
well as of morality ? It not the religious man often a slave to power, 
the victim of pleasure, the thrall of avarice, hard of heart, a sensual 
hypocrite, cunning, mercenarj-, miserable? If it be said that the 
really religious man is none of these, neither is the truly moral 
man. Real morality, as well as vital Christianity, implies right 
conduct and consistent principle. But the question stniply at issue 
is, whether tiie profession or the belief of sound moral opinion 
implies these; and it certainly does it do more than the profes- 
sion or belief of orthodox religious opinions does. The convictioo 
of the good or ill coasequcnces of our actions in this life does not 
absolutely conform the will or the desires to good; neither does the 
38a 



d 



PULPIT ORATORY 



apprebFosian of future rewardR ur jmniiilimcnts produce this effect 
completely or nccefisarily. The candidate for Heaven is a bock- 
•lidcr ; tlie dread of eternai torments make* but a temporary impiciHian 
on the mind. This is not a reason, in our judgment, for neglecting 
or giving up in despair the motives of religion or morality, but for 
strengthening and cultivating both. With Mr. Irring, it is a triumphant 
and unanswerable ground for ditcarding and deoouncing morality, 
and for exalting religion, as the sovereign cure fur all wounds, a« the 
thaumaiurgoi, or wonder-worker, in the reform of mankind ! We are 
at a los4 to undersund how this exclusive and somewhat intolerant 
view of the subject is recotictleablc with sound reason or with hiRCory. 
Religion is no new experiment now lirst making on mankind ; we live 
in ihc ninetecnUi century uf the Christian xta. ; it is not as if we lived 
in the age of apoit!e», when we might (from novelty and ioexpcriencc 
of the intended liispeasations of Providence) expect tlie earth to wear 
a oew face, and darkness suddenly to tlce away before the light of the 
gospel: nor do we apprehend that Mr. Irring U one of those who 
believe with Mr. Croly, that the millennium actually commenced with 
the battle of Waterloo ; that eveot sccma as far off, to all outward 
appearance, as it was two thousand years ago. What does this make 
against the doctrines of Christianity ? Nothing ; if, as far as they arc 
implanted and uke root, they bear fruit accordingly, noewithetanding 
the repugnance and tJ^anklcsBness of the sou. Why then ta 
Mr. Irring so hard upon the labours of philosophers, moralists, and 
men of letters, because they do not do all their work at once? 
Bishop BuUcr indeed wrote a most able and learned quarto volume, 
to prove tliat the slow growth and imperfect influence of Christianity 
was a proof of its divine origin, and that in this respect we bad a right 
to look for a direct aaa/cgy between the operations of the world of 
grace and nature, lioth proceeding as they did from the same Almighty 
hands ! Oar deservedly popular preacher has, however, an answer to 
what wc have here stated : he says, *the time must and will shortly 
come! ' Wc never contradict prophecies ; we only speak to facts. 
In addressing himself to this point, Mr. Irving made a spirited 
digfCssioD to the Missionary Societies, and the impending propagation 
of the Gospel at home and abroad — all obstacles to it would speedily 
be surmounted :^' The Negro slave was not so enchained but that the 
Gospel would set him free ; the Hottentot was not so benighted but 
that its light would penetrate to him ; the South Sea [slander was not 
so indolent and voluptuous but that he would rouse himself at its call; 
neither the cunning of the Italian, nor the superstition of the Spaniard, 
nor the lameness of the German, nor the levity of the French, nor 
the buoyaacy of the Irish, nor the indomitable pride of the Dcglish, 

183 



ARGUING IN A 



tCLE 



particuUrly wtt)i that cruwttag sycD|)hant Daniel Wilwn (who tendered 
his graniiiouB submimton to Nero iht- other day in the exccis of his 
loyalty to George iv.) we are sorry that we have not been able to 
iTuke our tribute of approbation unqualifipd as it is cordial, and to 
Bttdc ibtir Tcnai breath with the appUuiet bcBtowcd upon htm. * Oh 1 
for an eulogy to kill ' all such with ! 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 
Tht Lihtfoi.l [i8ij. 

Thbke was an account in the newspapers the oth^r day of a fracas in 
the ttreet, in which a Lord and one or two Members of Parliamcat 
were concerned. It availed theni nought to plead the privilege of 
Peerage, or to hate made specchci in the House— they were held to 
bail, like the vilett of the rabble, and the circumstance was not con- 
sidered one to come before the public. Ah \ it in that public that is 
the lad thin;^. It is the moat tremendous ring that crer was formed 
to see fair play between man and man j it jiuts people on their good 
behaviour immediately ; and wherever it exisu, there is an end of the 
^r« and graces which itidtvidualE, high in rank, and low in under- 
standing and momh, may chuse to give rhemselves. While the affair 
is private and can be kept in a corner, personal fear and favour arc 
the ruling principles, m'tght prevaili over ri^hli but bring it before the 
world, and truth and jufiicc stand lomc chance. The public is too 
large a body to be bribed or browbeat. Its voice, deep and loud, 
quails the hearts of princes : its breath would make the feather in a 
lord's cap bend and cower before it, if its glance, measunng the real 
magnitude of such persons with their lofty, tiptoe, flaunting preten- 
sions, had not long since uken the feathers out of their caps. A lord 
is now dressed (oh! degenerate world) like any other man ; and a 
watchman will no sooner let go his grasp of his plain colfar than he 
will thai of a Commoner or any other man, who has his 'fancies and 
good-nights.' What a felling off is here from the time when if a • base 
cotlionly frtlow ' had dared lo lay hands on a nobleman, on 'one of 
quality,' he would h.-ive whipped his sword out of its scabbard and 
run him through the body; the 'beggarly, unmanncred corse' would 
have been thrown into the Thames or the next ditch; and woe to 
atiy {xTsnn that should have attempted to make a stir in the matter ! 
• The age of chivalry is gone, that of constables, legislators, and 
Grub-street writers, has succeeded, and the glory of heraldry is 
extinguished for ever.' 

' ThAnclancholy Jaoq uc» grieves at that.* 

285 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 

Poor Sir Waker ! the citnea are changed indeed, cioce a Duke of 
Buckingham could lend a coi^e of bullies^ e<]uipped io hit lirery, witli 
•Word> and ribbons, to carry otfa young lady from a Pereril ofthc Pcak^ 
by main force, in the face of day, and yet the byc-ttandere not d^re to 
inierferc, from a dread of the Duke's livery and the High Court of 
Star Chamber ! It it no wonder that the prcKnt Duke of Buckiogbain 
[the aid title new reviTcd) make* speeches in the Upper Houie to 
prorc that legitimate monarchn have a right, whenever they please, 
to run their iwords through the heart of a nation aod f>ini the libertiei 
of mankind, thinking if this doctrine were once fully restored, the old 
timet of his predeccMor might come again, — 

* New manners and the pump of ekler day* ! ' 

It li in tracing the bisiory of private manocri that we sec (more than 
any thing eUe) the progress that has been made in public o}Nnion and 
political liberty, and that may be still farther made. No one indivi- 
dual now acts up hie will 21 higher than the law : no noble Duke or 
Baron bold acts the professed bully or glories in the character of a 
lawless nifEan, as a part of the etiquette and pririlcgei of high rank : 
□o gay, gaudy minion of tlie court ukes the wall of ilie paasengeri, 
■word in hand, cuts a throat, washes hia white, crinuon-spotted hands, 
and then to dinner with the king and the ladies. ~7'ifuii is orcr with 
us at present; and while that in the case, Hampden will not have 
bled in the Geld, nor Sydney on the scaffold, in rain! Hvcn the 
monarch in this country, though he is above the law, is subjca to 
opinion; 'subrntti,' as Mr. Burke has it, both from choice and 
Decetsityj ^to the soft collar of social esteem, and gives a dominiitioo, 
vanquisher of lawt> to be subdued by manners ! ' 

It is this which drives the Despots of the Continent mad, and 
makes their nobleu and chief vassals league together, hkc a herd of 
tygeis, to destroy the example of liberty which we (the people of 
England) have set to the rest of the world. They are afraid that if 
this example should spread .ind things go on much 6irther in the road 
they have taken, ihcy will no longer be able to give their subjects and 
dependants the Jinovt, to send them to the galleys or a dungeon with- 
out any warrant but their own uabridled will, and chat a lord or a 
king will be no more above the law than any other man. Mankind, 
in short, till lately and except in this country, were considered as 
a herd of deer which the privileged ctasacs were lo use for their 
pleasure, or which they were to hunt down for spite or sport, at liked 
them beau That they should combine together with a knot of obscure 

Ehiloaophere and hair-brained philanthropists, to set up a pica not to 
e uaed at iny nun's pleasure, or hunted down like vermin for any 
286 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 

man's sport, was an insult to be avenged witii sv^s of btood, an attack 
upon the foundations of Hocial order, and ihc very existence of all 
law, religion, and morality. la all the legitimate governments of 
Hurope, there existed^ and there still rxi&t, a number of iodividuaU 
who were exempted (by birth and title) from the law, who could 
offer every aCroot to religion, and commit every outrage upor morality 
with impunity, with inBoIence and loud laughter, and who pretended 
that in asiertirg this njonatrous privilege of theirs to tlic very letter, the 
essence of all law, religion, and morality consisted. ThiE was the 
case in France tiil the year 171(9. The only law was the will of the 
rich to insult and harass the poor, the only religion a superstitious 
mummery, the only morality subserviency to the pleasures of the 
great. In the mild reign of Louis xv. only, liiere were fifteen 
tboiuaod Uiirej «/r fa>-hei issued fur a number of private, namcles« 
ofTencee, such as the withholdin;; a wife or daughter from the em- 
braces of some man of tank, for having fur merly i-eceived favours from 
a king's mistresi, or writing an epigram oq a Minister of iitate. It 
was on the ruins of thii> tlagitiouK system (no less despicable than 
detestable) that the French Revolution rose; and the towers of the 
iBastille, AA they fell, announced the proud truth in welcome thunder 
'to the human race — to all but those who thought they were born, and 
who oDiy wished to live, to exercise their sweeping, wholesale, nith- 
lesK tyranny, or to vent the workings of their petty, rankling spleen* 
' pride, bigotry, and malice, in endless, tormenting details on their 
fellow -creatures. 

[t will, 1 conceive, hereafter be considered as the greatest enormity 
in history, the Etupideal and the most barefaced insult that ever was 
practised on the underat:unding8 or the right* of men, that wc should 
interfere in this quarrel between liberty and iilavery, take the wrong 
side, and endeavour to suppress the natural consequeiicea uf that very 
example of freedom wc h»d set. That we should do this, we who 
had * long insulted the slavery of Turope by the loudneu of our 
boasts of freedom,' who had laughed at the Grand Monarqiu for the 
last hundred and fifty years, and treated his subjects with every 
indignity, as belonging to an inferior species to ourselves, for sub* 
mitting to his cruel and enervated sway ; that the insuot they took 
us at our word and were willing to break the chains of Popery and 
Slavery that wc never cciucd to taunt them with, we should turn 
against them, sund pwstvc by ' with jealous leer malign^' witnesong 
the machirutiona of despots to extinguish the rising liberties of the 
world, and with the first pUusiblc protest, (he first watch-word given 
(the blow aimed at the head of a king confederate with the enemies 
of his country against it* freedom) should join the warwhoop, and 

»87 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 

it kmden ud loogttt, and ocfcf rat, mxfer one bollow, 
iatatdf btlwomc pceteoce or othet, till we had pot down * the last 
rxample of democniic rebellion * [we, who arc Dochn^ but rehellKm 
ill over, from tbe crown of the bead to the tole of the foot ! ) and 
had restored the doctrtoc of Dtvioe Right, thai bad &Uen hcadJes* 
from fU tKrooc of Igaoraoce ind Sapentitioo with the Fim Chirle*, 
loi^ before it W2S coodemned to the same fate id the persoa of tbe 
Prettch king ; that wc tboald do this, asd be led, urged on to the 
unhallowed taiL by a desceixlaot of the Hocne of Bnmfwick, who 
held hit crown in contempt of the Stuarts, sad grew old, blind, and 
crazed in the muated, oDdirerted, aacrcd thint of Legitimacy. )• 
a thing that posterity will wonder au We pretend to hat-e interfered 
DO pot down the horron of tbe Freoch Revolution, when it waa our 
mterference (with that of others) that produced tho<e horrors* of 
which we were glad as an exciuc to justify our crooked polity and to 
screen the insidiooi, deaitty, fatal blow aimed at liberty. No ; the 
* cause waa hearted ' in the bmau of those who reign, or who would 
reign, in contempt of the people, and with whom it rests to make 
peace or war. It not tbe same principle at work still.' Wltat 
borrora htTe the Nofy Allukce to plead in Tindicitioo of their 
i n ter f erence with Spain ? They have not a rag, a thread of all their 
hideous tissue of sophistry and lies to cover *the open and apparent 
iharoc ' of this se^^oel and consistem comment oo their former conduct. 
It is a naked, barefaced, undisguised attack upon the rigbta and 
libertiet of the world : it is putting the thing upon its true and proper 
footing — tlie claim of Kings to hold mankind as a property in per- 
petuity. There are no horrors, real or pretended, to warranc this 
new outrage on common teotc and human nature. It stand* on 
its own proud basis of injustice — it towers and nwcks the skies in 
all tbe majesty of regal wrong. ' The shame, the blood be opon 
their heads.' If there are no horrors ready-made to their hands, 
they stand upon their privilege to commit wanton outr^tge and un<juali- 
fied aggression ; and if by these means they can proToke horrors, 
then the last arc put first as ihe most plauiibte plea, as a handsome 
mask and soft lining to the hard gripe and features of Legitimacj 
— Religion consecrates, and Loyalty sanctions the fraud ! Bnt, 
should the scheme ^il in spite of every art and elfon, and the wrong 
they have meditated be retorted on Uieir own heads, then we shall 
have, as before, an appeal made to I^ibertyand Humanity — the motto 
of despots will once more he tteace on earth and g^aoJ 'mUI to mm — and 
we too shall join in the yell of blood and the whine of humanity. 
Wc arc only waiting for an excuse now — rill the threats and insulta 
and cruelties of insolent invaders call forth rcpnsalt, and lead to some 



ARtiUING IN A CIRCLE 

act of popular fiiry or national juiticc that shall serve ai a ligna] to 
rouK the turpid spirit of trade in the city, or to ini^amc tbc loyalty of 
country gentlemen deaf for the present to all othLT tourds buc that 
appalling one of Kent! We miut remaio neuter while a grteroua 
wrnng is acting, unlcu we can get something by (he chnnge, or pick, 
a <juarrcl with the right. Wc arc peaceable, politic, when a oatjoa'a 
liberty only is at stake, but were it a monarch's crown that hung 
toitering in the air, oh ! how >oon would a patriot senate and people 
start out to avenge the idle caui« : a single tpcecb from the throne 
would metamorphose as into martyrs of self-interest, savioors of the 
world, delirerers of Europe from lawless violence and uocxaiupled 
wrong. But here wc have no heart to stir, because the name of 
liberty alone (without the cant of loyalty) hax lo>t its magic charm 
on the cars of Englishmen — impotent to sare, powerful only to betray 
RDd destroy ciiemselvcs and others ! 

We want a Burke to give the thing a legitimate turn at present. 
I am afraid the Hditor of the !Vnv Tinuj cjlu hardly Hupply his place. 
They could hardly have done before, without that eloquent ajiosiate, 
that brilliant sophist, to throw his pen iuto the scale against truth aod 
Uberty. He vamistied over a bad cauHc with smooth words, and had 
power to • make the worse appear the better reason ' — the devil's 
boast I The madness of genius wa^ ncceuary to second the madness 
of a court ; hit flaming imagination was the torch that kindled the 
smouldering £re in the inmost sanctuary of pride and power, and 
spread havoc, dismay, and desolation through the world. The light of 
his tm^inacion^ sportive, dazzling;, beauteous as it icemcd, was followed 
by the stroke of death. It so >)ai>pens thiit I myself have played all my 
life with bii forked shafts unhurr, because I had a metaphysical clue 
to carry off the noxious particles, and let them sink into the earth, 
like drops of water. But tbc hngliih nation are not a nation of 
met-t physicians, or they would have detected, .ind smiled or wept 
over the glittering fallacies of ihib half bred reasoner, but, at the SBine 
time, most accomplished rhetorician that the world ever saw. But 
they arc perplexed by sophistry, stupitied by prejudice, staggered by 
authority. In the way or common eeose and practical inquiry, they 
do well enough ; but start a paradox, and they know not what lo 
make of it. ITicy cither turn from it altogether, or, if interest or fear 
give them motirea to attend to it, are fascinated by it. They cannot 
■nalyze or separate the true from the teemmg good. Mr. Pitt, with his 
deep-mouthed commen-piacti^ was able to fdlow in the same track, and 
611 up the cry; but he could tiot have given the tone to political 
feeling, or led on the chase with 'so musical a discord, suco sweet 
thunder.' Burke strewed the flowers of his style over the rotten 

rou XII. : T X89 



^i 



9tl SMMW fanMflf ! IBS 

faw, and wIm fM* to hvifj 
dto imtkmmmm dam W Im 
U WW M MMd to iff «MB 




^< 



■si 

fan rfwl MMii lUf 
of ife QHea of Frvcc^ 

ity: to all who were, or 
wmU U tboiiglbc, csrafieri or mrn of boMv; » dl vln wrrv 
«4iiiW««t of fasaiieir. Of nak, or vx. Tct «fa« k had » do with 
ttw *)iM«iw(»« k woiild b« difievlt to m^. If a womb m faMdnne, 
H »■ wril I b«t it « no rcaiM wb; ibe ilioBld pcmoa her boriMwd, 
irt iMt»y M umatrf. If* itotod ^ bnag Timi^ bcsnlnU sad free 
ur imatmt, Marie Afttoinetic bad been old, t^y, and dusie, all 
iliU mutlitrl iivl hrm {)rr*eiitcd. The aaihor of ibc ReBcctiom 
(imt Mvn nr dmmt he vaw a mo«t dHigbtful riMoa uxtcen yean 
Itrfori-, whicti liwl thrown hja brain into a ferment; and he wu 
t\ti\9tmitm\ ii> iliritw hi* (raden and the world ioto one too. It 
WD* » Itirni* lor a copjr of reran, or a romance ; not for a work in 
whith the ilrttinlct of mankint) wrre to be weighed. Yet she was 
i\w ilvlrn that opened another Ihad of woes; and the world ha> 
naiil Tor that arcurwd planer al youthful heauty with rivert of blood. 
H llwrv waa any one uf auflicient j^cniua nuw tu deck, out some 
Cailllian malJt or vitluve jiiit in the Army of the Faitb, in all the 
vulnuii uf Tincy, to rcncct her imajte in n thouHand agea aod hearts, 
iltiilililK a aalni attd a iiiJirtyr of her; turning loyalty into religion, 
ami rhr righti and ltt>enicf of the Spanish nation, acid of all other 
iiattorw, titto a mockery, a bye-word, and a bugbear, how soon would 
ttii ftid W jiul TO Mr. Canning** present bizarre (almost afraid to 
Ithow Itirir) lituatlonl How gladly he would turn round on the 







ARGUING IN A CIHCLK 

pirot of tiiR forced nrutrallty, and put all hiii drooping tiopcn and 
figures on their nplendid w.ir -establishment again ! 

Mr. Burke was much of a theatrical man. I do not nicao that 
bis high-wrought cnihunasm or %'chemencc waa not natural to him ; 
but the direction thai he gave to it, was exceedingly capricious and 
arbitrary. It was for Kunie time a doubtful questiou which way he 
should turn with respect lo the French Revotuiion, whether for or 
against it. Hio pride took the alarm, that so much bad been done 
with which he had nothing to do, and that a great empire had been 
overturoed with his favourite enginei, wit and eloquence, wtule he 
had been reforming the 'turn-spit of the king's kitchen,' in set 
speeches far superior to the occasion. Rousseau and the Encyclo- 
pardifits had lamentably got the lurt of him; and he was resolved to 
drag them back somehow by the heels, and bring what they had 
elTected to an untimely end, — 

* Undoing a)l, as all had never been.' 

The * Reflections on the French Revolution * was a spiteful and 
dastard but too successful attempt to put a tpoke in the v/htth of 
knowledge and progressiTc civilizjition, aad throw them back for 
a century and a half at least. In Tiewing the change, in the 
prospects of society, in producing which he had only a slight and 
indirect hand by his efforts ro the cause of American freedom, he 
seemed to tay, with lago in the play, — 

■Though that their joy be joy, 
Vet will I contrive 

To throw such changes of vexations on it; 
As it may lose lorae colour.' 

He went beyond his own most sanguine hopes, but did not live to 
witness their tinal accomplishment, by seeing France literally 'blotted 
out of the map of Europe.' He died in the most brilliant part of 
Buonaparte's victorious and captain-tike campaigns in Italy. If it 
could have been foreseen what an * ugly customer ' he was likely to 
prove, the way would have lieen to hiive bribed his vanity (a great 
deal stronger than his Interest) over to the other side, by askiog hie 
opinion ; and, indeed, he ha.i thrown out pretty bro.id hints in the 
early sugc of his hostility, aod before the unexpected success of the 
French arms, and the whi/^ing arrows flung at him by hts old 
friends and new antagouists had stung him to madness, that the 
great error of the National Assembly was in not having consulted 
able and experienced heads on this side the water, as to demolishing 

191 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 

tHr uld, aod coostructixig the oew cdificr. If he had been emplojrcd 
to lay the first atcme, or to unit, by an iiuuigim] diuerUtion, at the 
baptinn of the new Freocb Coottttutkm, the fabric of the Revolation 
would tbenoefortb have tiacik, — 

• Like an cxhalarioQ ci rich distilled prrfumeir,' 

whhoat let or tnolcitation from his tongue or peo. Bnii he waa 
ovettooked. He wa« not called &om hit clotet, or from his pUcc 
in (be Houte (where, it must be confessed, he was out of his place] 
to * ride to the whirlwind and direct the stonn ' ; aod therefore be 
tried, like some malicioui hag, (o urge the veering gale into a honi- 
cane ; to dash the tabouriog vcs*el of the state in piece*, aod make 
•bipwreck of the eternal }ewel of man's happioeu, which it had on 
board — Liberty. The stores of practical and speculative knowledge 
which he bad been for years collecting aod digesdog, aod for which 
be had no uce at home, were not called into play abroad. His 
genius had hitherto been always too mighty for thit occuioo ( but 
here bis utmost grasp of iotellect would hardly bare been nilficient 
to grapple with it. What an opportunity was lost ! Somethiog, 
therefore, was to be done, to relieve the galling scqk of diuppoioted 
ambition aod nrartiried self-consequence. Our political Buty-6otfy 
turned Marcos; and maliciously, and like a felon, strangled the babe 
that be waa not professionally called io to swaddle, aod dandle, and 
bring to maturity. He had his revenge : but ao must others have 
their's on bit memory. 

Borke was not an honest nun. There was always a liaib ol 
indocerity, a sinister bias in his dlepoaitioo. We see, from the 
letters that passed between him and his two brothers, and Barry 
the painter, that there was constantly a balaacing of self-interest and 
principle io his mind; a thanking of God that he was in no danger 
of yielding to temptation, yet as if it were a doubtful or tickliab 
point i and a putient, pensive expecution of place and emoloment, 
till he could reconcile it with integrity and fidelity to bis party ; 
which might e2sily be construed into a quenilottt hankering after it, 
and an opinion that this temporary self-denial implied a considerable 
tacrifice on his part, or that be displayed no small share of virtue in 
not immediately turning knave. All this, if narrowly looked into, 
has a very suspicions appearance. Burke, with all his capricious 
wildoess and Highly imptuses, was a lelf-fieeker and more constant in 
bis enmities than in his friendships. He bore malice, and did doi 
forgive to the last. Hii cold, sullen behaviour to Fox, who shed 
tears when they had a quarrel in the House, and his refiisat to see 
him afterwards, when the latter came to visit him on bit death-bed, 

291 



iM 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 

will for ever Ttmain a itigma oo fait tncrnory. He wu, however, 
punished for hii fault. In his Utter writingi, he complatoi biuerly 
of the BolitarincBi of his old age, and of the absence of the frieods of 
bis youth — whom he had deserted. This is natural justice, and the 
tribute due to aposucy. A man may carry over his own conscience 
to the side of his yaoity or interest, but he cannot expect, at the 
same time, to carry over along with him .ill those with whom he has 
been connected in thought and action, and whose society he will 
mtBS, sooner or later. Mr. Burke could hardly hope to lind, in his 
casaali awkward, unaccountable intercourse with such men as Pitt or 
Dundat, amends for the iou of hii old friends. Fox and Sherid-in, 
to whom he was knit not only by political ties, but by old habitudes, 
lengihcned recollections, and a variety of common studies and pursuits. 
Pill was a mere politician ; Dundas, a mere worldling. What would 
they care about him, and his * winged words ' i No mart «/ tali 
about tbc meetings at Sir Joshua's — the Noetet etermyw Deum ; about 
the ^ne portraits of that great coEourist ; about Johnson or Goldsmith, 
or Dunning or Barrti ; or their early speeches ; or the trying times 
in the beginning of the American war ; or the classic taste aivd free- 
bom spirit of Greece and Rome ; — 

'The beautiful was van'ish'd, and rvtum''d not.* 

Perhaps, indeed, he would wish to forget most of these, as tiDgrateful 
topics; but when a man seeks for repose in oblivion of himself, he 
had better seek it, where be \nlt sooiKit find it,-~in the grave! 
Whatever the talents, or the momentary coincidence of opinion of 
hifl new allies, there would be a want of previous sympathy between 
them. Their notions would not amalgamate, or they would not be 
sure that they did. Every thing would re<juire to be explained, to 
be reconciled. There would be none of the freedom of habitual 
intimacy. Friendships, like the clothes we wear, become the eaiier 
from custom. New friendships do not stt well on old or middle age. 
Affection is a science, to which it is too Eaie to serve an apprentice. 
ship after a certain period of life. This is the case with all patchcd- 
up, conventional intimacies ; but it is worse when they are bulk oo 
inveterate hostility and desertion from an opposite party, where their 
naturally crude taste is embittered by jealousy and rankling wounds. 
We think to exchange old friends and connections for new ones, and 
to be received with an additional welcome for the sacri6ce we have 
made ; hut we gain nothing by it but the contempt of those whom 
we have left, and the suspicions of those whom we have joined. By 
betraying a cause, and turning our backs on a principle, we forfeit 
the esteem of the honest, and do not inspire one particle of 

'93 



ARGUING TN A CIRCLE 



conJidcocc or respect in tbotc who nuy probt by aod pay us for 

our treachery. 

neserttrs are nercr implicitly iruncd. There it, besides the 
teotinicDl or general priocipie of the thing, a practical reasoD for 
this. Their zeal, their cagrrne&s to diMinguish themscWcs in their 
new career* makes thcni raah and extravftgaoi ; and not only so, but 
there is always a leaven of their old principlcc remaining behind, 
which breaks out in spite of themselves^ and which it is difficult for 
their encouragcTB and patrons to guard against. Tliis waj remarkably 
the case with the late Mr. Windham. He was consiantjy running 
a-muci at some question or other, and committing the Mlnistcre. Hii 
old, free-thinking, opposition habits returned upon him before he was 
aware of it ; and he was sure to hazard «omc paradox, or stickle 
for some objectionable point, contrary to the forma of office. The 
cabinet had contemplated no such thing. He was accordingly kept 
in check, and alarmed the treaaury-bciicli wheneier he rose. He 
was like a dog that gives mouth before the time, or is continually 
runtUDg on i stray scent : he was chid aod fed ! The same thing is 
observable in the present Poet-Laureat, whoi>e Jacobinical ptinctplcB 
hare taken such deep root in him (intuj el in cute) that they break 
out even in his Court poems, like 'a thick ecurf on loyalty; aod he 
present)! them unconsciously, (as an olfering of 'sweet smelling gums,') 
at the very fcK>t of the throne. He at picseot relaiDt his place 
apparently on condition of holding his tongue. He writes such Odes 
on kings, that it is next to impossible not to trarestie them itkto 
Limp(x>ns ! 

The remarks I have made above apply strongly to him and some 
of his associates of the /.aie Schoo!. I fancy he has felt, as much ae 
anyone, the inconvenience of drawing off from a cause, and that by 
M doing we leave our oldest and our beat friends behind. There 
are those among the favourers and admirers of his youth, whom his 
dim eyes discover not, and who do not count his grey hairs. Not 
one or two, but more j —men of character and understanding, who 
have pledged mutual faith, and drank the cup of freedom with him, 
warm from the winepress, as well a^ the 'dews of Castilie.' He 
gave up a principle, and one left him ; — he institted a feeling, and 
anotlicr fled ; he accepted a place, and received the cocgratal.ttiona 
of no one but Mr. Croker. He looks round for them in vain, 
with throbbing heart, (tlie heart of a poet can never lie still; he 
should take the more care what it it that agitates it 1} — sees only the 
shadows or the carcases of old friendships ; or stretches out his hand 
Co grasp some new patron, and finds that also cold. If our friends 
arc wwiieimies accuK*d ol short memories, our euemies make it up by 

194 



ARGUING IN A CIRCLE 



_ long once. Wc had better sdberc to the firit ; for we mutt 
de^litr of ntakJDg cordial converu of the last. This double dcsola- 
uon is chcerlcsi, and makes a man bethink hiin»eir. We may make 
a 6hift (a shabby one) without our sclf-refpect; but it will nerer do 
to have it followed by the loss of the respect of those whose opinion 
we once valued most. We may tamper with our uwn coniciencet ; 
but we feel at a loss without the leiilvmony of othcri in our favour, 
which is seldom paid, except to integrity of purpose and principle. 
Perhapii however, Mr. Southey consoles himiiclf for a certain void 
without and within, by receiving the compliment* of soroc Under- 
gniduate of cither of our Universities, on his last article in dcTeoce 
of Rotten Boroughs, in the Quarterly Review i or of a Dignitary of 
the Church, on his share in the Six Acts, and for suggesting to 
Lord Sidmoutli the propriety of punishing the lecond conviction for 
libel with banishment. We do not know how this mny be : but 
with us, it would barb the dart. 

It would not matter, if these turn-coats were not in such violeat 
extremes. Between the two, they rauit be strangely perplexed in 
their own minds, and scarcely know what to make of ihem»el»e«. 
They must have singular qualms come over them at time* — the 
apparitions of former ac<]uainunce and opinions. If they were 
contented to correct, to qualify their youthful extravagancies, and 
to be taught by experience to steer a middle course, and pay some 
deference to the conclusions of others, it would be mighty well ; 
but this is not their humour. They must be conspicuous, dogmatical, 
exclusive, intolerant, on whichever side they are: the mode may be 
different, the principle is the same. A man's nature docs not change, 
though he may profess different sentiments. A Socinian may become 
a Calvinist, or a Whig a Tory : bm a bigot is always a bigot ; aa 
egotist never becomefl humble. Besides, what excuse has 2 man, 
after thirty, to change about all of a sudden to the very opposite 
side ^ If he iit an uneducated man, he may indeed plead ignorance 
yesterday of what he has learnt today: but a man of study and 
reading can't pretend that a whole host of argument! has suddenly 
burst upon him, of which he never beard before, and that they have 
upset all his earlier notions: he must have known them long before, 
and if they nude no impression on him then to modify his violent 
zeal (supposing them to be right now) it is a ugn either of a 
disinclination, or of an incapacity, on his part, to give truth a fair 
hearing — a bad ground to build his present dogmatical and infallible 
tone upon ! It is certain, that the common sense of the world condemns 
these viulent changes of o^oion ; and if they do not prove that a man 
prefers his convenience to his virtue, they at least show that he 

»95 



QCHBBUSS AKD AN5WEBS 



ftrl* 



Aejam^ be 



QUERIES AKO ANSWERS; OR THE RULE 
OF CONTRARY 

I, Wm n ibc wird f w y ir t w eoaaaaOf ia the asMihi of the 
Enfah?— RiriMf tiie Eagfiifc are the imc i imjm hHt of ^ 
pcopet nr bciag ■• nMae to receive VMi dwh mumm ti^tcCKt swl 
DMBg idc t wy hj cp cmhin Am. uwaim ikef mfc it, th^ we 
dMan to raaovc^ ■ poMNNc^ every kntcc at aoM^iMCCh >aa hne 

a. Wlijr an the Fiffah to load af iMm, ooryomc faodict. 
Mack M w pi'm , and large a«odttioBi of dU kiad*? — Beeiaar 
«rr the »o« aaaoniMc Kcof people n tfaewerid: fee bei^ 
at variaaee with eadi other* they ve gUd to get aay oar dar lo 
aad be on their tide; harn^ ao ipooaoeaai aitracpap, ibey ik 
forced to £utm theimclTn iato the wachiae ef aociety { uid each 
holda out in bit iodiridiul ifayaen toA reaenre, tiQ he ti carried away 
by the crowd, and boroe w«h a vioteot, hot wekome shock a^ioat 
•ome other miH of aggregate prejodice or icV-iatereflt. The Eogltah 
'fin together to get rid of their ibarp poiau artd aeoie of oocooifort- 
able peculiarity. Hence, their cluba, their mobst their eects, their 
partin, their •pint of coK>peratioQ, aod prerioos ondencandiag ia 
every thing. An Engtiih mob i) a collection of noknt aod head- 
Btronj; humoars, acting with double force from each nun'a natural 
aelf-will, and the leiiM of oppoaitioo to others; and (be aamc may be 
Mid of ihr nation at large. The Frtoch snitt and separate more 
eaiily ; and therefore do not collect into tuch formidable muaet, ud 
act with fucli anity And tenacity of purpose. It ia the tame with 
their idea*, which caaily krni together, and easily part coropaoy; but 
do not form large or striking maase*: and beoce, the French are full 
of wtl and fancy, but without imaginarion and principle. The French 
are governed by fashion, the English by cabal. 

196 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 

3. Why are the Bnglish a credulous nation, atid the eager dupes of 
all tort* of qtuclcH and impostorG i — Because they are a dry, plodding* 
rmaUer'of'Jact people, and having, in general^ no idea of the poisibility 
of telling lies, think all they hear or read must be true, and are left at 
the mercy of erery empiric or knavish pretender, who will take the 
croable to impoac on them. From their rery gra?tiy and scrioumesst 
they are the dupce of superficiai professions and appearances, which 
they think, (judging from themselves,} must imply all they pretend. 
Their folly and love of the marvrllous tiikes a practical and nits- 
chierouH turn ; they de&pcHe the fictitious, and require to be amused 
by iomcthing thai ihcy think, solid and useful. Hence, they swallow 
Dr. Brodum's pills, Joanna Southcotc's prophecies, the Literary 
Gazette, and Blackwood's Magazine, taking them all for gospel. 
They conrtantly have a succession of idols or bug-bears. There \t 
always some one to be hunted down at the time for their amusementt 
like a strange dog in a village; and some name, some work that is 
cried up for half-a-dozen years, as containing all wi»dom, and then 
you hear no more of it. No people judge to much as the English at 
second-hand, except in mere matters of pounds, shillings, and pence 1 
and even then they may be galled by impudence and quackery. 
Every thing is either in collusion or collision. ThtmhU was a great 
man in the O. P. Row, and now regulates the debates in Parliament. 
If a man has a monstrous good upinion of himself, and nothing will 
drive him out of it, the English will come into his way of thinking, 
■ooner than be left in a minority, or not appear to be in the secret ! 
Lest they should seem stupid, they try to be iaoanof, as they become 
forward in aiming to be witty, aod vulgar in aifecting to be genteel- 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 



Tit Ltmim Wttt^ Rninu.'\ 



[Dtttmitr I, 1S17. 



'Wbsdultgo iboui to coscn fortune, or wnr the btift of honour without the 
it4mp of mtritf 

A KtiowuDGE of the world is generally supposed to be the fnitt of 
experience and observation, or of a varioufl, practical acquaintance 
with men and things. On the contrary, it appears to me to be a 
kind of instinct, arising out of a peculiar construction and turn of 
mind. Some persons display this knowledge at their first outset in 
life: others, with all their oppormniiies and dear-bought lessoni, 
never acquire it to the end of their career. In fact, a knowledge of 
the world only means a knowledge of our own ioteren ; it is nothing but 

297 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 



a species of tclfishnees ot ramifcztion ol' the Uw of sc!f-prcs«rvatioa. 
There may be aid to be two clastwH of people in the world, which 
remain for ever diitioct : those who coniuder things in theahstrxct, or 
with a reference to the truth, and those who cuoaider them only 
with 3 reference to themselves, or to the main ehaaee. The first, 
whatever may be their acquirementt or dikcoreriei, wander through 
life in a sort of ab«ence of miod, or comparative sute of sleep-walking : 
the last, though their attention i> riveted to a tingle point of view, arc 
always on the alert, know perfectly well what they are zboutt aad 
calculate with the greatest nicety the effect which their words or 
actions will hare on otliers. They do not trouble themselves about 
the argument* on any subject : tliey know the opinion entertained on 
it, uid that is enough for them to regulate themselves by ; the rest they 
regard as quite Utopian, and foreign to the purpose. * Subtle as the Sox 
for prey, like warlike as the wolf for what they eat,' they leave mere 
speculative points to those who, from some unaccounuble bias or 
caprice take .in interest in what does not pertunally concern ibem, 
and nuke good the old saying, that *thc children of the world are 
wiser in their generation than the children of the light!' 

The man of the world is to the man of science very much what the 
chamclion is to tlic armadillo: the one takes its hue from every 
surrounding object, and is undistinguishable from them ; the other is 
shut up in a formal cruii of knowledge, and clad in an armour of 
proof, from which the shaft of ridicule or the edge of disapixMntment 
falli equally pointiest. It is no uncommon case to see a person come 
into a room, which he enters awkwardly enough, and has nothing in his 
dreee or appearance to recommend him, but ahcr the first cmbarrBBs- 
menu are over, sits down, takes hid share in the conversation, in 
which he acquits himself creditably, shew!; sense, reading, and 
shrewdncsi, cxpresies himself with point, articulates distinctly, when 
lie blunders on some topic which he might see is disagreeable, but 
persists in it the more as he fmds others shrink from it ; mentions a 
book of which you have not heard, and perhaptt. do not wish to 
hear, and he therefore thinks himself bound to favour you with the 
contents ; gets into an argument with one, proses on with another on 
a subject in which his hearer has no interest; and when he goes away, 
people remark, 'What a pity that Mr. has not more know- 
ledge of the world, and has so little skill tn adapting himself to the 
(one and manners of society !' But will time and habit cure him of 
this defect ? Never. He wants a certain tiut, he has not a voluntary 
power over his ideas, but is like a person reading out of a book, or 
who can only pour out the budget of knowledge with which his brain 
is crammed in all places and companies alike. If you attempt tu divert 

29 B 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WOHLU 



his attention from the gcoctal aubfect to the persons he is addreGsiog, 
you puzzle and nop him quite, rie i» a mere cooreniog aotomatoo. 
He tia« not the tcnte of ptrionatitj — the faculty of petceivtog the 
effect (as well u the grounds) of hin opinionii ; ard how then should 
failure or mortification give it him I It inuKt be a tainful reflection, 
and he muet be glad to turn from it; or after a tew rclacuint and 
unsucccMful clfons to correct bis errors, he will try to forget or 
harden himself id them. Finding that he malies so kIow and imper- 
ceptible a progress in amending hit faults, he will take his swing in 
the opposite direciioo, will triumph and revel in his supposed ex- 
cellences, will launch out into the wide, untrammelled field of abstract 
•peculatioQ, and silence envious sneers and petty carils by force of 
argument and dint of importunity. You will find him the same 
character at sixty that be was at thirty ; or should time soften down 
aonie of his asperities, and tire him of his absurdities as be has tired 
others, nothing will transform bim into a man of the world, and he 
will die in a garret, or a paltry second-lloor, from oot having been abk 
to acquire the art ' to see ourselves as others see as,* or to dress his 
opinions, looks, and actions in the smiles and approbation of the 
world. On the other hand, take a youth from the same town 
(perhaps a school-fellow, and the dunce of the neighbourhood) ; he 
has * no liguics, nor no fantasies which busy thought draws in the bratni 
of men,' no preconceived ttotions by which he must square hti con- 
duct or his conversation, no dogma to maintain in the teeih of upposi- 
tion, no Shibboleth to which he must force others to subscribe; 
tbe progress of science or the good of his fellow-creatures are things 
about which he has not the remotest conception, or the smallest 
particle of anxiety — 

' His soul proud science never taught to strajr 
Far as the solar vrilk, or milky way}* 

all that he sees or attends to is the immediate path before him, or 
what can encourage or lend him a helping hand through it ; his mind 
is a complete blank, on which the world may write its maxims and 
customs in what characters it pleases ; he has only to study its 
humours. Hatter its prejudices, and take advantage of its Imblesi 
while walking the strecu he is not taken up with solving an absmise 
problem, but witli considering his own and the appearance of others \ 
instead of contradicting a patron, assents to all he hears ; and in every 
proposition that comes before him asks himielf only what he can get 
by It, and whether it will make him frientU or enemies : such a one is 
said to possess great penetration and knowledge of the world, under- 
stands his place in society, gets on in it, rises from the counter to the 

299 



ON ICNOWLEI>GE OF THE WORLD 



.(amt^i 



»be»i 



ThrpBB wecnt cii 



U'mtotwam Am 



irct « loBg oovM «c aady, ifce iaM 
to il. It don Bot Msdy i^il] 

lA Hr jUs IB aiMat 10 whmur oac facant mar mj ym 

O* BOral lBCMi|t ID MMWB SI WHtt^V AM OHMM^ 

po««r« or HicKac m in wlcw The oal; yMBJoa b, 'Who k 
vUh to da nf—^ad dK wmcr h, dwtF wlw haw os otha* 
fa gJ to M <f prnrwi aa^ wiher *> wad i* te vsf of or id mam. tbcir 
f fogr cM thnn^ Gfe. Thov vr dow to vcar tfe Efcry of die 

worM Woo hsvc VBj ndcpcvocM fctocfccs or tanr onn- it u wx 
llof the pUotopher or the IBU of gniw doa aot Ke and ksev all 
nMi| tuK be H oot coMURiT md kiiuUt rmiDdrd of b bw hn ow 
AttDreor tbcMcocMofodbovtbaihecaMetNooptopnctkcit. He 
hai a fftxcirt taie of exccUnoeaad OKnld ofanMiaai, «Udi ka» 
MBiBf IB coomoo With cwKM ttuias nd UM^mif calnl^ 
taaoi. He ia a nocal axl ioicfccfd tfpomy ooc b nerc vorldly* 
aaaded one. la yooth, he Im M n guio e bopcs ud bcilltaac drcMM, 
which be cannot tacrifice for Hxnlid va&act — as be adraoco farther 
in IHe, habit and pndc forbid hi> ranung bock. He cmaot briag 
fainMelftogiTVoplus bcM-grooudcd c o oTk t i oo » to a Uockhcad, or his 
coaodcntiofu priactplcs to a koare, thoagh be might make hu fonaac 
hj to doiag. The rule boldi good here ai well aa ia acotber teitte 
— * What »ball it profit a mao if he gain the whole world and tote his 
own Ktul V If his coonctiom lod pHociplcs had beea ten itroDg, 
they woald have jriclded long ago to the snggestions of bis ioiemt, 
and he wodd have rclap«ed into the man of the world, or rather be 
would oerer have had the temptation or capacity to be any thing else. 
Ooe tfciDg that keeps mm honest, a< wril aa that confirnis them 
koafes, i> their incapacity to do any better for themtelref than 
nfttore ba« done for them. Ooe perwn can with difiicuhy speak the 
truth, as another lies with s v^ ill grace. After repeated awk- 
ward attempts to change characters, they each very properly fall 
back into their old jog-trvi path, a« best noted to their genius and 
habtu. 

There are tndiriduats who make themselves and every one else 
tincomfortable by trying to be agreeable, and who arc only to be 

300 



ON KNOWLEDGE OP THE WORLD 

endured in their natura] rharactprii nf btunt^ plain-tpokcn people. 
Many a man would hare turned rogue if he Itad known bow. Noh 
tx quovij /{gno /It Mertrurhu, The modpHt man rannol he impudent 
if he would. The man of sense cannot play the fool to advantage. 
It is not Llie mere rcBOJuiIon to act a part that will enable un to do it, 
without a natural gentun and titnees for it. Some men are born to be 
valett, as others are to be counierB. I'here in the climbing ^^nv/ in 
man hs well as in plants. It ii somctimci made a wonder how men of 
* no mark or likelihood ' frequently rise to coart-prefermcnt, and make 
their way against all competition. That ie ch? very reason. They 
prncnt no tangible point ; they offend no fcciiog oi eelf-imporuocr. 
They are a perfect uoretiating medium of patrooagc and favour. 
They 8.tpire through servility; they repose in inngnificance. A man 
of ulent or precemioo in the same circumstances would be kicked out 
in a week. A look chat implied a dnubf, a hint that suggested a 
difference of opinion, would be fatal. Et is of no use, in parleying 
with absolute power, to dissemble, to suppress: there must hr no feel- 
ings or opinions to dissemble or suppress. The artifice of the depen- 
dant is not a match for the jealousy of the patron : * The k>uJ must be 
subdued to the very quality of its lord.' Where all is aonthilated in 
the presence of the sovereign, is it aitontshing that noll»Hgt should 
succeed ? Ciphers are as necessary in coun« as eunuchs in setagtkH. 



THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED 

Tit LomJtn tf^ttkif Rt^itw. [pttrmltr 8, llij, 

I DO not think Mr. Cobbett would succeed, b an inteiriew with 
the Prince. Bub Doddington said, ' he would not justily before hit 
Sovereign,' even where his own character was at stake. I am afraid 
we could hardly reckon upon the same forbearance in Mr. Cobbett 
where his country's welfare was at stake, and where he had an 
opportunity of vindicating it. He might have a great deal of reason 
on his side ; but he might forget, or seem to forget, that as the king 
is above the law, be is also above reAfon. Reason is but a suppliant 
at the foot of thrones, and waits for their ajvprovd or rebuke, Sahi 
pofiuli tuprema /tx — may be a truism anywhere else. If reason dares 
to approach them at all, it must be in the shape of deference and 
humility, cot of headstrong importunity and selfwill. Instead of 
breathless awe, of mild entreaity, of humble remonstrance, it is Mr. 
Cobbett, who, upon very slight encouragcmcDt, would give the law, 
and the monarch who must kits the rod. The upstart, the hully, 
and the dogmatist, would break out, and the King would assert hlm- 

301 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 

•elf. The refoimer would be loo full of his owd opinion to allow m ' 
opriuD ercQ to Mbjcut, xekI the atfair would hive tbc same coding 
thai of the old bdlad — 

' Tlitn ilic t^een tnrrrtinring what Betty did lay, 
WotiU tenil Ml. Roper to lake her awajr.' 

A« I have broogbi Mr. Cobbeu ia here by the neck and ahoulders, 
I may add thai I do oot tfaiak. he bdoogs properly to (he class, either 
of philosophical speculators, or men of the world. He ii a political 
bamooriBt. He is too much taken up with himself eithei to attend 
to right rcasoD* or to judge correctly of what passes around him. He 
miitakea strength of purpose attd pastioo, not only for truth but for 
succew. Becauae he can gire fifty good reasons for a thing, be thiaks 
it not only ougbt to be, but muji be. Because be ii swayed so eotireijr 
by hts wishes and humours, he bdicvrs others will be ready to give 
up their prejudices, interests, and rescntmeots to oblige hira. rie 
persuades himself that he u the fittest perftoo to represent Wnt' 
minster in parliamcDi, and hr cootiidrrB this point (ooce prored) 
tantamount to his return. He knows do ntore of the disposition or 
sentiments of the people of Westminster than of the inhabitants of the 
moon (except from what he himself chooKs to siy or write of them), 
aitd it is this want of sympathy which, at much as anything, prerentx 
his being choaen. The exclusive force and bigotry of his opinions 
deprives them of half their influence and effect, by allowing oo tolera- 
tion to others, and consequently setting them against him. 

Mr. Cobbett seemed disappointed, at ooe time, at not succeeding in 
the character of a legacy-hunter. Why, a person to succeed in thU 
charaaer, ought to be a mere skin or bag to hold money, a place to 
deposit it in, a shadow, a deputy, a trustee who keeps it for the 
original owner— <o that the transfer is barely nominal, and who, if 
he were to return from the other world, would modestly yield tt 
up — one who has no peraunal identity of his own, no will to encroach 
upon or dispose of it otherwiite than his patron would wiUi after his 
death — not a bairbrained egotifl, a danliing adventurer, to stjuander, 
hector and flourish away with it in wild schemes and ruinous experi- 
ments, every one of them at variance with the opinions of the testator ; 
in new methods of turnip hoeing ; in speculations in madder— thb 
would be to tear his soul from his body twice over — 

'His patron *s ghost from Limbo lake the while 
Seei this which more damnation doth i][»an him pi!c !' 

Mr. Cobbett complained, that in his last interview with Baron 

Maures, that gentleman was in his douge, and that the rerercod 

3« 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 



IcgUee §»i at the bottom of the cable, cutting a poor figure, and not 
contradicting a word (he Baron said. No doubt, as he hint put this 
in print in the exuberaace of his dtssatisfactioc, be let both gentlemen 
see prettjr plainly whitt he thought of ihem, and fancied that thi» 
exprcHion of hii contempt, as it grati6ed him, wai the way to 
eoRure the good will of the one to make over his whole estate, 
or the good word of the other to let him go snath. This \t a oew 
way of being qy'iu with ODc'a beoefactori, and an egregious qmd 
pro quo. If Baron Mazeres had left Mr. Cobbdt 200,000/. it 
must have been not to write his epitaph, or visit him in hii last 
momenta ! 

A gOHiping chambermaid who only smiles and aisents when her 
nustreu wishes her to utk, or an ignorant country clown who Manda 
with his hat off when he has a favour to aak of the squire, (and if be 
is wiw, :it all other times,) knows more of the nutter. A knowledge 
of mankind is little more than the Scotch instinct of bowing, or of 
* never standing upright in the presence of a great man,' or of that 
great blockhead, the world. It is not a perception of truth, but a 
KDic of power, and an instant dcccrmtoatioQ of the will to submit to 
it. I( is therefore less an intellectual acquirement than a natural 
disposition. It is on this account that I think both cunning and 
wisdom are a sort of original eodowrocnts, or atuio maturity much 
earlier than is supposed^ from their being moral qualities, and haring 
their seat in the heart rather than the head. The ditTerrnce depends 
00 the manner of seeing thinge.. The one is a selfish, the other is a dis- 
interested view of nature. The one is the clear open look of integrityr 
ihe other is a contracted and blear-eyed obliquity of mental vison. 
If any one has but the courage aitd honesty to look at an object as it is 
in itself, or divested of prejudice, fear, and favour, be will be sure 
to ace it pretty right ; as he who regards it through the refractions of 
opinion and fashion, will be sure to see it distorted and falfti6ed, how- 
ever the error may rebound to bin own advantage. Certainly, he who 
makes the universe tributary to his convenience, and subjects all his 
impressions of what is right or wrong, true or false, black or white, 
round or square, to the standard and maxima of the world, who never 
utters a proposition but he fancies a patron close at his elbow who 
overhears him, who is even afraid, in private, to suffer an honest 
cooviciioQto rise in his mind, lest it shoala mount to his lips, get wind, 
and ruin his prospects in life, ought to gain sametl}ing in exchange 
for the restraint and force put upon his thoughts and faculties: on 
the contrary, he who is confined by ik> such petty and debasing 
trammels, whose comprehension of mind is *in large heart enclosed,' 
iinds his inquiries artd his views expand in a degree commensurate 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 



with the oniverie around bim; malcn tnitli welcorot wherrTpr b« 
tnceti her, aod receive* her cordial embrftce in return. To aee things 
divntcd of passion and interest, is to see them with the eye of history 
and philosophy. It is easy to judge right, or at least to come to a 
mutual underttandingin mattersof hiEtory and abctractmorality. Why 
then is it so diflicutt tu arriTC at the sanie calm certainty in actual 
life? Because the paMioot and interests arc coacerocd, and it 
rec]uires so much mure candour, love of truth, and iDdepetideDce of 
spirit to encounter * the world and iis dread laugh,' to throw aside 
every sinister coosideratioD, and grapple with the plain merits of the 
case. To he wiser than other men is to be honestcr than they ; and 
strength of mind is oniy courage to see and speak the tailh. Perhapa 
the courage may be also owing tu the Bcreogth ; but both go together, 
and are natural, aad not ac<)uired. Do we not see in fables the force 
of the moral principle in delecting the truth i The only effect of fables 
is, by making inanimate or irrational things acton in the scene, to 
remove the case completely from our own sphere, to take our edf-lovc 
off its guard, to simplify the question ; and yet the result of this obvious 
appeal is allowed to be universal and irrctittible. Is not this another 
example that *thc heart of man is deceitful above all things;' or, 
that it ii less our incapacity to distinguish what is right, than our 
secret delermi nation to adhere to what is wrong, that preTents our 
discriminating one from the other i It is not that great and useful truths 
are not manifest and discernible in themselTes ; but little, dirty objecu 
get between them and us, and from being near and gross, hide the lofty 
and distant! The first busiuess of the patriot and the philanthropist is 
to overleap this barrier, tu rise out of this material dross. Indignation, 
contempt of the base and grorelling, makes the philosopher oo leas 
than the poet; and it is the power of looking beyond self that eoables 
each to inculcate moral truth and nobleness of sentiment, the one by 
geceral precepts, the other by individual example. 

I have no quarrel with men of the world, mere tmi^k-miormt : 
everyone after his fashion, 'as the flesh and fortune shall serre ; ' 
but 1 confess I have a little distaste to those, who, having set out is 
loud and vaunting enthusiasts, have turned aside to * tread the 
primrose path of dalliance,' and to revile those who did not choose 
to follow so edifying an example. The candid brow and elastic 
spring of youth may be exchanged for the wrinkles and crookedness 
of age; but at least we should retain something of the erectness and 
openness of oor first unbiassed thoughts. I cannot understand how 
any degree of egotism can disjjcose with the conEciousncss of personal 
identity. As we advance fanher in life, we are naturally inclined to 
revert in imagination to its commencement ; but what can those 



ON KNOWLEDGE 



^ORL] 



dwrll upon ih«e wbo find only feelings that they despise, and 
opinions that they hate abjured ! ' If thine eye offend thee, pull 
it out and cast it from thee : ' but the operation is a painful one, 
and the body remains after it only a mutilated fragraenl. Generally, 
those who are cut off from this r«oorcc in former recollectiooi, 
matte np for it (a« well as they caa) by an exaggerated and uxoriout 
fondness for their late-eapoused cooTictioos — a thing oasightly and 
indecent ! Why does he, who, at one time, deftpiscs ' the little 
chapel-bell/ afterwards write * the Book of the Churdi ? ' The one 
is not an atonement for the other: each shows only a ju»enilc or a 
Hupcranruated precocity of judgment. It is uniting Camille-Desmoulias 
and Camilte-Jourdani {Jourdan of the CUmei) in one character. I 
should like (tint out of malice, but from curiosity) to see Mr. 
Southey re-wnte the beautiful poem on *hiB own miniature-picture, 
when he was two yean old/ and icc what he would sabMJtute for 
the lines — 

' And it wa» thought. 
That thoit ^hniildM tread prefeimem*!' flowery path, 
Young Robert ! ' 

There most here, T think, be liiaiiu in mataiteriptu i the verse 
must halt a little ! The laureate and hts friends say that tbey are 
still labouring on the same design as ever, correcting ijie outlines and 
filing up the unfinished sketch of cbcir early opinions. Tbey seem 
rather to have blotted them quite out, and to have taken a Unh 
canvas to begin aTiothcr and no less extravagant caricature. Or 
their new and old theories remind one of those heads in pictore- 
dealrrs' shops, where one half of the face is thuroughly cleaned and 
repaired, and the other left covered with stains and dirt, to show 
the nece«£ity of the picture-scourer's art : the transition offends the 
sight. It may be made a question whether men grow wiser as 
they grow older, any more than they grow stronger or healthier 
or bonester. They may, in one sense, imbibe a greater portion of 
worldly wisdom, and have their romantic flights umed to the level 
of every day's practice and experience ; but }>erhapB it would be 
better if some of the exirava^incc aiut enthusiasm of youth could be 
infused into the latter, instead of being absorbed (perforce) in thai 
sink of pride, envy, selSshncss, ignorance, conceit, prejudice, and 
hypocrisy. One thing is certain, that this is the present course of 
events, and that if the individual grows wiser as he gains experience, 
the world Hoes not, and that the tardy penitent wbo is treading back 
his steps, may meet the world advancing as he is retreating, and 
adopting more and more of the genuine impulses and disinterested 

Tou xit. : u 30J 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 

views of youth into iti creed. It is, indeed, only by conformiag to 
t>om« such original ;ind unsophisticated Rundard, that it can acquire 
either soundoeBs or coosiueDcy. Tte ap]>eal is a fair one, from tht 
bad habits of society to the unprejudiced aapiratiooa and impreuiona 
of humao nature. 



THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED 

TkelMiivt ffetifj Rtvinv.] [Dtttmb€r tj, tSl?. 

It seems, in troth, a hard case to have all the world against us. and 
lo require unconimoD fortiludc (not to say presumpiion] to stand 
out single against such a ho«T. 'I'he bare suggestion must * give us 
pause,' and has no doubt overturned many an hoacat convicuoa. 
The opinion of the vtfor/d, (as it pompou&ly entitles itself,) if it meana 
anything more than a set of local and party prejudicei, with which 
only our interest, not truth, is concerned, \» a shadow, a bugbear, 
and a contradiction in terms. Having all the 'WorlJ agaiiut as, is a 
phrase without a> meaning; for in those pcinu in which all the 
world agree, do one differs from the world. If all the world were 
of the same way of thinlting, and always kept in the same mind, it 
would certainly be a little staggering to bave them against you. But 
however widely and angrily they may differ from you, they differ 
as much so from one another, and even from themselves. What 
is gospel at one moment, is heresy the next : — different countries and 
climates have different notions of things. When you are put on your 
trial, therefore, for impugning the public opinion, you may always 
lubpana this great body against itself. For example, I have been 
twitted for somewhere calling Tom Paine a great writer, and no 
doubt his reputation at present 'does somewhat smack: ' yet in 1791 
he was so great, or so popular an author, and so much read and 
admired by numbem who would not now mention his name, that the 
Government was obliged to suspend the Constitution, and to go to 
war to counteract the effects of his popularity. His extreme popu- 
larity was then the cause (by a common and vulgar rraelion) of hta 
extreme obnoxiousness. If the opinion of the world, then, contra- 
dicts itself, why may not 1 contradict it, or choose at what time, 
and to what extent I will agree with it? I have been accused of 
abusing dissenters, and saying that securles, in general, are dry and 
suspicious; and I believe tlut all the world will say the same thing 
except themselves. I have said that the church people are proad 
and overbearing, which has gireo them umbrage, though in this 1 
bare alt the sectaries on my side. I have laughed at the Methodists, 
306 



I 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 



and for this 1 have been accused of glancing M religion : yet 
wiu> does not laugh ac ihr MechodistA as wel) an myself? But 
I alio laugh at thoac who laugh at them. I hare poioied out by 
turns the weak sidea and foibles of diifcrent sects -iDd panies, and 
they themselves mainuin that they are perfect and infallible : and 
this is what is called having all the world against me. I have 
inreizhed ail my life against the insolence of the Tories, and for 
this I have the authority both of Whigs and Reformers ; but then 
I hare occasionally spoken against the imbecility of the Wliigt>, 
and the cxtraragaoce of the Reformers, and thus have brought all 
three on my hack, though two out of the three reguEarly agree with 
tU L say of the third party. Poets do not approve of what I have 
said of their turning prose-writers; nor do the politicians approve of 
my tolerating the fooleries of the fanciful tribe at all : so they make 
common cause to Jamn me [>etween them. People never excuse the 
drawbacks from themselves, nor the concessions to an adversary : 
tach is the justice and candour of mankind ! Mr. Wordsworth is 
not satisfied with the praise [ have heaped upon himselft and stilt 
less, that I hare allowed Mr. Moore to be a poet at all. I do not 
think I have ever set my face .tgainst the popular idols of the day; 
I have been among the foremost in crying up Mrs. I^iddons, Kean, 
Sir Walter Scott, Madame Pasta, and others; and as to the great 
names of former time*, my admiration has been lavish, and some- 
times almost mawkish. I have dissented, it is true, in one or two 
instances ; but that only shows that I judge for myself, not that 1 
make a point of contradicting the genera! taste- I have been more 
to blame in trying to push certain Illustrious Obscure into notice: — 
they have not forgiven the obligation, oor the world the lacit 
reproach. As to my personalities, they might <tu>^ ^ ^'^H ^ 
termed impersemalUiet. I am so intent on the abstract propotition 
and its elucidation, that I regard everything clic as of very subordinate 
conaequence : my friends, I conceive, will not refuse to contribute 
to so laudable an undertaking, and my enemies muti ! I have found 
fault with the French, I have found fault with the English; and 
pray, do they not hnd great, mutual, and just fault with one 
another? It may seem a great piece of arrogance in any one, to 
set up his individual and private judgment against that of ten millions 
of people ; but cross the channel, and you will have thirty millions 
on your side. Even should the thirty millions come ovci to the 
opinions of the ten, (a thing that may happen tomorrow,) still one 
need not despair. I remember my old friend Peter Tinnerty, 
laughing very heartily at something 1 had written about the Scotch, 
but it was followed up by a sketch of the Irish, on which he closed 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 

tbe book, looked grzvt, aod said he disapproved entirely of all 
nattonaJ rdlecdoo). Thu* yoa hare zll ihe world on your side, 
except when it ji the party cooceroed. Vihn any set of people 
ihiok or nay of themscWrs is hardly a rule for others : yet, if you 
do Dot attach yourself to eornc one act of people and principles, and 
slick to them through thick and thin, instead of giving 3rour opinion 
fairly and fully all round, you must cxpea to hare all the world 
against you, for no other reason than because you express aiocercly, 
and /or their good, not only what ihey say of others, bir what is said 
of theroselres, which they would fain keep a profound secret, and 
prcvcai the divulging of it under the severest pains and penalties. 

When I told J that I had conoposed a work in which I had 

'in sonie Eurt handled ' about a uorc of leading characters, he said, 
'Then you will have one raan against you, and tbe reTnainiog 
niaeteen for you! * I have not found it so. Id ^ct, these persons 
would agree pretty nearly to all that I say, and allow that, in 
nineteen points out of twenty, I am right; but the twentieth, that 
relate* to some imperfection of their own, weighs down all the rest, 
and produces an unanimous verdict against the author. There is but 
one tbiog io which the world agree, a certain bigoted blindoeBS, and 
conventions! hypocrisy, without which, according to Manderille, 
(that is, if they re.i1Iy spoke what they thought and knew of 
une anothcrt) they would fall to cutting each other's throats 
immediately. 

We find the same contrariety and Jluctnaiion of opinion in di^erent 
ages, as well as countries and classes. For about a thousand y-ears, 
during 'the high and palmy state ' of the Romish hierarchy, rt was 
agreed {ntmint fontradictnie) that two and two madtjivc: afterwards, 
for above a century, there was great battling and controversy to provr 
that they made four nnd a haJf; then, for a century more, it was 
thought a great stride taken to come dowo to four and a quarter ; and, 
jn'fhaps, in another century or two, it will be discovered for a wonder 
that ttuo and ttw actualfy male/our ! It is said, that this slow advance 
and perpetual interposition of impediments Ih a salutary check to the 
rashness of innovation, and to hazardous experiments. At least, it is 
a very effectual one, amounting almost to a prohibition. One age 
is employed in huildine up an absurdity, and the next exhausts all 
its wit and learning, Jtcal and fiiry, in battering it down, so that at the 
end of two generations you come to the point where you set out, and 
have to begin again. The»e bents and disputes about external points 
of f^th may be things of no const-qucnce, since under all ihr variations 
of form or doctrine the essentials of practice remain the same. It 
docs not seem so ; U any rate, the noQ-eSKDtials ap]>ear to excite all 

308 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD 

the interest, and 'keep tiiis dieailful pudder o'er our lie^a i ' ud 
wbcci the dogma is once stripped of myitery aod intolenince, and 
reduced to conuDoo eeoee, do one oppejn to take any further twtice 
of it. 

The appeal, tbeo, to the authority of the world, chiefly rcaoIrM 
itaelf into the old proverb, that * wbco you are at Roiiic you rauHt 
do as thoie at Rome do ; ' that it, it is a sbtftiog circle of local 
prejudices and gratuitous assumptioos, a tucceitful conformity to which 
is bcM iDiored by a oegation of all other qualities that might interfere 
with it : solid reason and virtue are out of the queatioo. But it may 
be inaisted, that there are quatiiin of a more practical order that may 
greatly contribute to aiid facilitate our advancement in life, such as 
presence of mind, cooTivial talents, inBif,ht into character, thorough 
acquaintance with the profounder principles and secret springs of 
society, and su forth. I Ju nut deny tJiat all thii may be of advantage 
ID cxuaordioary cases, and often abridge dirticuhit's [ but I do not think. 
thai it is either necessary or generally u»eful. for instance, habitual 
caution and reserve is a surer resource than that presence of mind, or 
quick-witted readioess of expedient, which, though it gets men out of 
scrapes, as often leads them into them by begetting a false confidence. 
Pcraoiu of agreeable and lively talents onen tied to their cost that one 
indiscretion procures them more enemies tiien ten agreeable sallies do 
friends. A too great penetration into character is lens deairab!c than 
a certMn power of hoodwinking ourselves to their defects, unless the 
loriner is accompanied with a profound hypocrisy, which is also liable 
to detection and dittcomijture; and as to general maxims and principles 
of worldly knowledge, I conceive that an instinctive sympathy with 
tiieni is much more profitable than their incautious discovery and 
(brmal announcement- Thus, the pultcic rule, ' When a great wheel 

ficcB up a hill, cling fast to it ; when a great wheel runs down a hill, 
ei go youi hold of it,' may be useful as a hint or warning to the 
shyness or fidelity of an Englishman; a North Briton feels its truth 
ioHtioctively, and acts upon it unconsciously. When it is observed in 
the Hiitory of a Fountfiingy that * Mr. Alworthy had done so many 
charitable actions that he had made enemies of the whole parish,' the 
sarcasm is the dictate of a generous indignation at ingratitude rather 
than a covert apology for sclfib-h niggardliness. Misanthropic reflec- 
tions have their source in philanthropic scntimenu ; the real despiser 
of the world keeps up appearances with it, and is at pnins to varnish 
over its vices and follies, even to himself, lest his secret should be 
betrayed, and do him an injury. Those who see completely into the 
world begin to play tricks with it, and overreach themselves by being 
too knowing : it is even po&stbie to out-cant it, and get laughed at that 



ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE WOULD 



way. Fielding kacv Bomcthing of ihe world, yet he did not make a 
fortune. Sir Walter Scott has twice made a fortune by dcscriptiutu 
of nature and chancter, and has twice last it by the same foTtdnew for 
speculative gain*. Wheierer there is a strong faculty for anythiag, 
the exercise of that faculty becomet its own end and reward, aod 
produces an indiJfereDcc or inattention to other things ; so that the 
beat security for success In the world is an incapacity for success ic 
any other way. A twokseller to succeed in his business should have 
no knowledge of books, except as nurketable commodities : the 
JDstaDC he has a taste, an opinion of his own on the subject, he may 
consider htmicif as a tcined man. In like manner, a picture-dealer 
should know nothing of picturea but the catalogue price, the cant of 
the day. The moment he has a feeling for the art, he will be tena- 
cious of it : a Guide, a Salvatar * will bethe fatal Cleopatra for which 
he will lose all he is worth, and be content to lose it.' Should a 
general then know nothing of war, a physician of medidne ? No : 
because this ie an art and not a trick, and the one has to contend with 
nature, and the other with an enemy, and not to pamper or cajole the 
follies of the world. It recfuircs also great talents to OTertum the 
world ; not, to push one's fortune in it : to rule the sute like 
Cromwell or Buonaparte ; not, to rise in it like Castlrreagh or 
Croker. Yet, even in times of crisis and coovulsion, he who outrages 
the feeling of the moment and echoes the wildest extraragaoce, 
succeeds ; as, in times of peace and tranquillity, he does eo who 
acquiesces most tamely in the ordinary routine of things. This may 
serve to point out another error, common to men of the world, who 
sumetiinet, giving tlicmselves credit for more virtue,than they possess, 
ilecfare very candidly that if they had to begin life oeer again, ihey 
would have hcea great rogutr. The answer to this is, that then they 
would have been hanged*. No : the way to get on in the world is to 
be neither more nor less wise, neither belter nor worse thao yoor 
neighbours, neither to be a * reformer nor a house-breaker,' neither to 
advance before the age uor lag behind it, but to be a* tike it u 
l>osKibIe, to reflect its Image and Miperscnptioa at every turn, and then 
you will be its darling and its delight, and it will dandle you and 
fondle you, and make much of you, as n monkey doats upon its yoaogl 
The knowledgeof vice — that ia, oi stattiledtle rice — is not the knowledge 
of the world : otherwise a Bow-strccc ninncr and the keeper of a 
house of ill fame, would be the most knowing characters, and would 
soon ri&e above their professions. 



« 



310 



ON PUBLIC OPINION 



ON PUBLIC OPINION 



Ti* Ltmdon tTeeify Stfifto.} 



[Jaaiidry 19, iSsl. 



* Scared at the sound inelf ha* marte.* 

Oncc asking a friend why he did not bring forward an explaoatioo of 
a circumstance, in which hii cocduct bad btca called in c|ucBtioD, be 
said, ' His friends were satisfied on the subject, and he cared very 
little about the opinion of the world.' I made answer that I did not 
consider this a good ground to rest his defence upon, for that a man's 
friends seldom ihougbt better of him than the world did. I see no 
reason to alter this opinion. Our friends, indeed, are more apt than 
a mere stranger to join in with, or be silent under any impuution 
thrown out against us, because they are apprehensive they may be 
indirectly implicated in it, and they are bound to betray us to save 
their own credit. To judge of our jealousy, our sensibility, our high 
notions of responsibility on this score, only consider if a single indi- 
vidual lets fall a solitary remark Implying a doubt of the wit, die 
sense, the courage of a friend, — bow it Kaggers us — how it makes us 
shake with fear — how it makes us call up all our eloquence and airs 
of self-consequence in hta defence, lest our parriality should be sup- 
posed to have blinded our perceptions, and we should be regarded as 
the dupes of a miiitaken admiration. We already begin to meditate 
an escape from a losing cause, and try to 6nd out some other fault in 
the diaracter under discus¥ion, tu show that we are not behind-hand 

i if the truth must be spoken) ir sagacity, and a sense of the ridiculous, 
f, then, this is tlie case with the first flaw, die first doubt, the first 
speck that dims the sun of friendship, so that wc are ready to turn 
our backs on our sworn attachment and well-known professions the 
instant we have not all the world with us, what must it be when 
we hare all the world against us ; when our friend, instead of a 
single stain, is covered with mud from head to foot ; how shall we 
expect our feeble voices not to he drowned in the general clamour? 
how shall we dare to oppose our partial and mis-timed suffrages to 
the just indignation of the public: Or if ic should not amount to 
this, how shall we answer the silence and contempt with which his 
name is received ? how shall we animate the great masB of indiffer- 
ence or distrust with our private enthusiasm * how defeat the involun- 
tary smile, or the suppressed sneer, with the burst of generous feeling 
and the glow of honest conviction ? It is a thing not to be thought 
of, unless we would enter into a crusade against prejudice and malig- 
nity, devote ouraetres aa martyrs to Jriendahip, raise a controversy in 
ercry company we go into, <jiiarrcl with every person we meet, and 

3" 



ON PUBLIC OPLSION 



jUtM 



ocndvoaad 



rdar 



by KJetrw^ ov frmT* hj i w i u b, bit by woliiag oir <rva pntts- 
MOM to dwacy and conaoa MK. Pcopk vtD hoc &a to ah«fn. 
tlKK a MM Miy fc**e Im nmom far ha Gi^ or vica ; bat tk« far 

IBBChff CO TOMSttCT S O rfwC ft M M CB Iw H wkhsH CJCCBi^ II H^ IB 

fac^M ncsfC cadcfrive tfaoo of iW pett «m1 oaly bca^t tkey 
ocnvc from tnc $tffOKa ciiort oi toor sofpoavi uid aMttw- 
poranes — tlw plcann of ''""^*-*-t aod raJiog M tfaon, vlncb tfccy 
all ttOKfjartia 4 m m , It ii ock* ■iogt' bcngfaof i— ui oropkHM; 
b«t the vMt auwMffacrv m Wlected with a aott of agoeiifa ^k of 
mpa aad ifidnot ikit icfaxc* Um ocrra of 6ddiiy« aod hmIus am 
■OR — flp«* molvioH ikfccB »d tm pak ; and be wIm •• proof 
afWHt it( OHKciAtr be amid witb a lotc of tmh, or a rnwi oiw 
far iDBDkiBd* vbidi pbce kin oot of Uk reach of ocdiaary ntleo aad 
calculadoDK. For myfelT, I do oot •hriok from ddcnduig s caOK 
or a Aieod ooJcr a tltmd\ though io odtJber caae wili cheap or 
comRMQ dToru vaSax. fiot, in ibc nm, yo« mccdy luad t^ far 
yovr owD jodgioeot aod pnodplc* agaioic lathion aod BRJodioCp vA. 
tfaoa awomc a ton of nunly and heroic attinide of defiaacc : in tbe 
last, (which oukn it a nutSer of greater nicety aod oe nw triwi 
biltiy,) yoB nieak behind aoocher to throv yoor gaootlet at the «lwle 
world, aad h requirei a doable nock of uoical finnocaa oot to be 
lao^ied oot oT your boaited zeal aod indeptDdc&cc ^\ a romantic aod 
ama^r weaknctt.^ 

Tlierr i« nothtag in which all the world agree but in ruoniog down 
•omc obooKioui tndiridoal. It may be nqipMed, that thii ii oot fbr 
DOthinfi and that they hare good reaaofu (ot what they do. On the 
contrary, I will undertake to uy, that ao far from there being invari- 
ably jiut grouoda for such an universal outcry, the universality of tbe 
outcry is often the only ground of the opiDioo ; and that it it por- 
poidy raiacd upon thit principle, that all other proof or evidence 
agaioH the peraoo meant to be ruo down is wanting. Nay, farther, 
it may happeo, while the clamoor ii at the loode*t ; while you heat 
it from all quarters; while it blows a perfect hurricane; white * the 
world riogs with the vain Rir * — not one of thote who are most eager 
ia hearing and echoing it knows what it is about, or is oot fully per> 
suadcd, that the charge is equally falte, malicious, and absurd. It is 
like the wind, that ' no man knoweth whence it comcth, or whither 

1 Thr only frfeD^* whom we defend with mbI lad ol^tinacy arc ow reUtiooi. 
They Mein part orovraelvc*. Wt caanal iluke tbem off tilt they sre hanged, nor 
ibrn nrithrr ! For our othrrfricnilt wr ■re only aMwmbk, ■« long nitre coantCB- 
■ncelhcm ^ iRii we thmrrurc cut the conoection ■« aoon >• poniblc. But whoever 
willin|ly gave yp the good diipodtioni of a chiJd, «r the hgnour «( a parent ? 

J" 



ON PUBLIC OPINION 

: gDCdli' It U vox a praeterea mhU, What then id it thit gins it 
iu oooiEdeDt circulation and iu irreaiitible force I It is the loudneu of 
the organ wiih which it is pruaouRced* the Steolorian lunga of thr 
multicudc : the number of voices that take it up nod repeat it, becauK 
others have done no; the rapid flight and the impaJ|>abIe nature of 
common fnme, that makes it a desperate undertaking for any individual 
to inquire inui or arreat the miichief that, in the deafening bu^z or 
loosened roar of laughter or of indignation, renders it impossible fo( 
the still small voice of reason to be heard, and leaves no other course 
tu honesty or prudence than to fall l^^c on the face before it as before 
the pesiilcntia) blast of the Ucscrt, and wait rill it han passed over. 
Thus cvcryoQc joins in asserting, propagating, and in outwardly 
approving what everyone, in his private and unbiassed judgment, 
■ hMieireB aiMl knows to be scandalous and untrue. For everyooc in 
nch circumstances keeps his own opinion to himself, and only attends 
to or acts upon that which he concdvci to be the opioion of everyone 
but himself. So that public opinion is not seldom a farce, equal to 
any acted upoo the stage. Not only is it spurious and hollow in the 
way that Mr. Locke points out, by one man's taking up at second 
hand the opinion of another, but worse than this, onu man takes up 
what he believes another mill think and which the latter professes 
only because he believes it held by the first ! All therefore that is 
necessary, to control pnblic oiumon, is, to gain possession of some 
organ loud and lofty enough to make yourself heard, that has power 
and Inicrest on its side ; and then, no sooner do you blow a blast in 
this trump of Uifame, like the horn hung up by an old castle-wall, 
thaa you are answered, echoed, and accredited un all sides : the gates 
are thrown open to receive you, and you are admitted into the very heart 
of the fortiest of public oiuoion, and can ass.til from tJie ramparts 
with every engine of abuse, and with privileged impunity, all those 
who may come forward to vindicate the truth, or to rescue tlieir 
good oame from the unprincipled keeping of authority, servility, 
sophistry and renal falsehood! The ooly thing wanted is to give an 
alarm — to excite a panic in the public mind of being left ui the furci, 
and the rabble (whether in the ranks of literature or war) will throw 
away their arms, and surrender at discrecion to any bully or impostor 
who, for a eotirideralsoa, shall choose to try the experiment upon them J 
What I have here described is the effect even upon the candid and 
well-disposed : — what must it be to the malicious and idle, who ore 
eager to believe all the ill they can hear of everyone; or to the 
prejudiced and iateiested, who are determined to credit all the ill 
they hear against those who are not of their own side i To these 
last it is only requisite to be understood that the butt of ridicule or 

3^5 



ON THE CAUSES OF POPULAR OPINION 



ON THE CAUSES OF POPULAR OPINION 

rir Lmdam WtAty Mt^it%B.\ IFtinmy t6, tSiS. 

PARTY-SriRrr ii the bett rcagon io ehe world for prrsonal andpalby 
and Tulgir abuse. 

■Bat, do yau not think, Sir/ (meihiakB I hear Mine Scotch 
dialectidao exclaim,} 'that belief is involuntary, and that we judge 
in all cases according to the precise degree of evidence and the posittre 
facts before tui' 

No, Sir. 

* You believe, then, in the doctrine of philonophical free-will ? * 
Indeed, Sir, I do not. 
' How then. Sir, am I lo understand wj unaccountable a diversity 

of opinion from the moM appfoved writers on the philosophy of the 
human mind, such as Mr. Dugald Stewart and the Editors of the 
Rdinburgh Kncyclopicdia ? ' 

May I ask, my deu Sir, did you ever read Mr. Wordsworth's 
poem of Michael? 

* I cannot charge my memory with the fact ; or I paid no particular 
attention to it at the time, as I have always agreed with the Edinburgh 
Review in considering Mr. Wordswonh's poetry as remarkably silly 
and puerile.' 

But still true to Nature in a humble way. 

'Why, 1 think, Sir, sumetliing uf tliat kind it admitted (either by 
way of ridicule or praise) in the article in the Review.' 

Welt, Sir, this Michael is an old shepherd, who has a son who 
goes to sea, and whn turns out a great reprobate by all the accounts 
received of him. Before he went, however, the father took the 
with him into a mouncuinglfn, and made him lay tht- first stone of ft' 
sheep-fold, which was to be a covenant and a rememhrance between 
theiti if anything ill h.ippened. For years after, the old man used to 
go to work .It this ahcrp-fotd — 

' Ainang [hi- rocks 
He *rciii, aiiJ fiill look'd up upon the lun. 
And listen'd to the wind " — 

and sat by the half-finished work, expecting the lad's rctura, or 
hoping to hear some better tidings of him. Wan this hope founded 
on reason — or was it not owing to the strength of affection which, in 
spite of everything} could not relinquish its hold of a favourite object, 
iodccd the only one that bound it to existence i 

Not being able to make my Scotchman answer kindly to interroga- 

316 



ON THE CAUSES OF POPULAR OPINION 



toriet, I muflt get on without him. Indrcd, I hare genenlljr found the 
natives of that coumr; greater hindrances than helps. In matters of 
ab«olutc demonstration and Hpecutative indrflerences, I grant, thai belief 
iainroluotary, and the proof not to be rcsUted; but then, in nich 
matters, there is no difference of opinion, or the difference is 
adjusted amicably and rationally. Hobbes is of opinion, that tf thetr 
passions or interests could be implicated in the question, men would 
deny stoutly that the three angles of a right-^ angled triangle are equal 
to two right ones : and the disputes in religion look something like it. 
I only contend, however, that in .il1 ca&es not of tbi» peremptory and 
determinate cast, and where dtRpatra commonly .irise, inclination, 
habit, and example hare a powerful shitc in throwing in the casting- 
weight to our ojnnions ; and that hr who h only tolerably free from 
these, and not their regular dupe or slave, is indeed ' a nun of ten 
thousand.' Take, for irstance, the example of a Catholic clergyman 
in a popish country : it will generally be found that he lives ard die* 
in the faith in which he was brought up, .is the Protesum clergyman 
does in his, — Shall wc B.iy that the necessity of gaining n livelihood, 
or the prospect of preferment, that the early bias given to his mind 
by education and study, the pride of victory, the shame of defeat, the 
example and encouragement of all about him, the respect and love of 
his flock, the flattering notice of the great, have no e^ect in giving 
consistency to hi* opinion* and carrying them through to the lam i 
Yet, who will suppose that in either case this apparent uniformity is 
mere hypocrisy, or that the imellecTS of the two classes of divines are 
naturally adapted to the arguments in favour of the two celigions they 
have occasion to profess^ No : but the unilerHtanding takes a 
tincture from outward impulses and circumstance «, and is led to dwell 
on those suggestions which favour, and to blind itself to the objections 
which impugn, the side to which it previously and morally inclines. 
Again, even in those who oppose e&tablished opinions, and form the 
little, firm, formidable phalanx of dissent, have not early instruction, 
ipiritual prtd«, the love of contradiction, a resistance to usurped 
authority, as much to do with the keeping up the war of sects and 
schisms as the abstract love of truth or conviction of the underttand- 
ing i Does not persecution fan the flame in such liery tcmperi:, and 
docs it not expire, or grow lukewarm, with indulgence and neglect ? 
I have a sneaking kindness for a Popish priest in this country; .ind 
to a Catholic peer I would willingly bc>w in passing. What arc 
national antipathies, individual attachments, but so many cxpreuioas 
of the moral principle in lorrning our opinions ? All our opinions 
become grounds oo which we act, and build our expcctalioni of good 
or ill ; and tbis ^od or ill mixed uj) willi ihcni is soon changed into 

3'7 



ON THE CAUSES OF POPULAR OPINION 



bring ti out and net it off by a rariecy of ornaments and allusioDi. 
This puzzled the court-Hcribei, whose bosincss it was to cruiih me. 
They could not see the meaning: they would not sec the colouri 
for it hurt their eye*. Oh, had I been but one of tltem, I raig 
even hare dined with Mr. Murray! One cried out, it was dull: 
another, that tt wu too tine by half: my friend* took up thi< [a<i 
alicmalive as the most favourable j and since then it has been agreed 
that I im a florid writer, iomcwhat flighty and paradoxical. Yet, 
when I wished to unburthen my mind in the Eidinaurgh by an article 

oo linglish (rot Scotch) mctaphysict, .1 who echoe* thit^orid 

charge, said he preferred what I wrote for effect, and was afraid of 
iu being thought henry — by ihe side of Macculloch ! I have 
account^ for the Aowere ;— the pHradoxet may be accounted for in 
the «me way. All abstract reasoning is in extremes, or only tak 
up one view of a quegiion, or what it called the principle of the thing |; 
and if you want to give this popularity aitd elTcct, you are in dangi 
of running into extravitgance and hyperbole. I have had to bring o 
Bome obscure distinction, or to combat some strong prejudice, and in 
doing this with all my might, may have often overshot the mark. 
It was easy to correct the exccM of truth afterward*. I have been 
accused of inconsistency, for writing an essay, for instance, on the 
Advanuges of Pedantry, and another, on the Ignorance oj ike Learned, 
at if ignorance had not iu comforts as well ai knowledge. The 
pertonalities I have fallen Itno have never been gratuitous. If I have 
sacrificed my friends, it has always been to a theory. I hare been 
found fault with for repealing myself, and for a narrow range of ide; 
To a want of general reading, I plead guilty, aiKl am sorry for it ; 
but perhnpa if I had read more, I might hare thought less. As to 
my barrenness of invention, I have at least glanced over a number of 
Bubjecu^painting, poetry, prose, plays, politics, pariiamentary speakers, 
metaphysical lore, books, men, and things. There is some point, 
some fancy, »me feeling, some taste shown in treating of these. 
Which of my conclusions has been reversed ? Is it what I said ten 
yean ago of the Bourbons which raised the war-whoop against mc f 
Surely all the world are of that opinion now. I have, then, given 
proofs of some talent, and of mure honesty : if there is haste or want 
of method, there is no common-place, nor a line that liclcs the dust ; 
arvd if I do not appear to more advantage, I at least appear such as 1 
am. If the bditor of the Atlas will do me the favour to look over 
my Eteay on the PrmeipUt of Human jieiiaa, will dip into any essay 1 
ever wrote (except one that appeared in the Rctroapeciive Reriew, 
which was not my own. though I was very handsomely psid the fiilj 
price of an o.'igina] composition for it), and will take a sponge and 






A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WIlITll 



dear the duRt from the face of my OU fVoman (which 
a commoD frtCDcl's), I hose he will, upon Mcood thouf 



:h he caa lee it 

ighu, acquit me 
of an absolute dearth of resourcen and want of versaolity in the 
direction of vny studicf. 



A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WRITING 

Th tmim tt^nUy Rtvinv.] IMmuA 39, t Sat. 

* This life is bnt, if quiet life is best.* 

['Food, warmth, sleep, and .1 book ; these are all I at present aak — 
the ultima tbuU of my waadcriog detire«. Do you not then wiah for 

' A friend in your retreat^ 
Whom you may whitpcr, solitude is cvnec i ' 



f'^f^ enough : — j 



itill belter. Such 



attractions are 

^_ [■ by distance. Nor a mistress? 'Beautiful mask! I 

know thee ! ' When 1 can judge of the heart from the face, of the 
thoQghts from the lips, I may again trust my»elf. Instead of these, 
give me the robin red-hrcast, pecking the crumbs at the door, or 
warbling on the leafiest spray, the tame glancing form that has 
followed me whcrrver I have Been, and 'done its i^iriting gently;' 
or the rich notes of the thrush that Btartle the ear of winter, and 
•rem to have drunk up the full draught of joy from the very 
trnie of contrast. To these I adhere and am faithful, for they are 
true to me ; and, dear in themselves, are dearer for the sake of what 
it departed, leading me back (by the hand) to that dreaming world, 
in the innocence of which they lat and made sweet music, waking 
the promise of future years, and answered by the eager throbbings of 
my own breast. But now *the credulous hope of mutual minds is 
o'er,' and I turn back from the world that has deceived roe, to nature 
chat lent it a fake beaut)', and that kecpfi up the illufion of the past. 
As I quaff my Hbationi of tea in a morning, I love to watch the 
clouds Bailing from the west, and fancy that *the spring comes slowly 
up this way.' In this hope, while * fields are dank and ways are 
mire,' I follow the sante direction to a neighbouring wood, where, 
having gained the dry, level greensward, I caa see my way for a mile 
before mc, closed in on each side by copse-wood, and ending in a 
point of light more ur less brilliant, as the day ie bright or cloudy. 
What a walk is this to me ! 1 have no need of book or companion 
— the days, the hours, the thoughts of my youth arc at my side, ard 
Tou zn. : X 321 



A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WRITING 



blend whh the air thst fana mf cheek. Here I can sauotcr ht 
hour*, bending my eye forward, stoppiog aod turning to look badt, 
thinking to atrikc oft iato some less trodden path, yet liMttatisE H 
quit the one I am in, afraid to snap the briule threada of menxirjr. I 
remark the shining trunks and slender branches of the birch ireea, 
waring in the idle breeze ; or a pheasant springs up on whirring wiaj; ; 
or I recall the spot where I once found a wood-pigeon at the fooc 
of a tree, weltering in its gore, and think how many seasons hire 
flown since 'it lett iu little life in air.' Dates, names, faces carnt 
batk — to what purpose ? Or why think of them now ? Or rather, 
why not think of them oiteoer i We walk through life, as through 
a narrow patli, with a thin cttrlain drawn around it ; behind aie 
ranged rich portraits, airy harps arc strung — ye: we wUI not stretch 
forth our hands and lift aside the veil, to catch glimpses of the one, 
or sweep the chords of the other. As in a theatre, when the dd- 
fashianed green curtain drew up, groutM of figures, ^ntasiic drenes, 
laughiag faces, rich banquets, stately columns, gleaming vistas appeared 
beyond ; so we have only at any time to * peep through the blanket 
of the past,' to possess oureeives at once of all thai has regaled anr 
tenses, that is stored up in our memory, that has struck our fancy, 
that has pierced our hearts : — yet to all this wc axe indilTereot, insens- 
ible, and ttcem intent only on the present rrxation, the futnrr 
disappointment. If there ia a Titian hanging up in the room with 
me, I scarcely regard it : how then should I be expected to etrain 
the mental eye so far, or to throw down, by the magic speJU uf the 
will, the 6tone-walIs that enclose it in the Louvre? There is one 
head there of which I have often thought, when looking at it, thai 
nothing should ever disturb me again, aod I would become the 
character it represents— such perfect calmness and self-possession 
reigns in it ! Why dn I not hang an image of this in some dusky 
corner of my brain, and turn an eye upon it ever and anon, as I have 
need of some such talisman to calm my troubled thoughts i The 
attempt is fruitless, if not natural; or, like that of the Preach, to 
hang garlands on the grave, and to conjure back the dead by 
miniature pictures of them while living ! It is only some actual 
coincidence, or local association that tendsf without violence, to ■ open 
all the ccib where memory slept.* I can easily, by stooping over the 
long-sprent grass and clay-cold clod, recall the tufts of primroses, or 

Eurple hyacinths, th.-it formerly j^rew on the same spot, and co\-er the 
ushcs with leaves and singing -birds, as they were eighteen summers 
ago ; or prolorging my w.ilk and hearing the sighing gale rustle 
through n talF, strait wood at the end of it, cAn fancy that I dia- 
tinguish the cry of hounds, and the fatal group issuing from it, at icl 



i 



t 



A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WRITING 



the tatc of ThcoJofc ami Ilonoria. A moaning gusi of vind aids 
the belief; I look once more to lec whether the trees before me 
answer to the idea of the horror- icrickea grove, and an air-buih city 
towers o»er their grey tops. 

* Of all the citiec in Romanian lands. 
The chief and mon renown *d Ravenna stands.' 

I return home resolved to read the entire poem through, and, after 
dinner, drawing my chair to the fire, and holding a siria]! print close 
to my eyes, launch into the fiill tide of Drydcn's couplets (a stream 
of aound), comparing his didactic and descriptive pomp with the 
simple pathos and picturesque truth of Boccacto's story, and tatting 
with a pleasure, which none but an habitual reader can feel, some 
quaint examples of pronunciation in this accomplished versi6er. 



W These 



' Which when Honoria vicw'd. 
The fresh imfuiif her former fr'ght rcnew'd.' — 

Tftmlore and Manoria. 

And made th' /«jii//, which in his grief appean. 
The means lu muiim thee with my |iiotiK trar«.' 

SigummnJa an./ Gmicardt. 



These trifling instances of the waveriug and unsettled state of the 
language gi?c double effect to the firm and stately march of the Terse, 
and make me dwell with a sort of tender interest un the difficulties 
and doubts of an eitrlier period of literature. They pronounced words 
thca ID a manner which we should kugb at now; and they wrote 
Tcrsc in a manner which we can do anything but laugh at. The 
pride of a new acquisition seems to give fresh confidence to it ) to 
impel the rolling syllables through the moulds provided for ihcm, and 
to overflow the envious houndi) of rhyme into time-honoured triplets, 
I ^ni much pleaKd with Letgh Hunt's mention of Moore's involuntary 
admiration of Dryden'a free, unshaclitcd verse, and of his repeating cvn 
amore, and with an Irish spirit and accent, the 6ne lines — - 

< Let honour and prcfennent go for gold. 
But glorious beauty isn't to be sold.' 

What sometimes surpriKS me in looking back to the past, is, with 
the exception already stated, tu lind myself so little changed in the 
time. The same images and trains of thought stick by me : I have 
the same tastes, likiDgv, senLiments, and wishes that T had then. One 
great ground of confidence and support has, indeed, been struck from 
under my fe«t ( but I have made it up to mysell' by proportionable 



A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WBITING 



pcrttnxctty of opiDJon. The succcsi of the great caOK) to which T 
had rowed myself, wu to mcr more thao all the world z I bad a 
atrength in it* itrength, a re»urce which I Icoew not of, till it fatted 
me for the lecond time. 

'PalJ'n was Glenaitny's rtateljr tree I 
Oh I ne*er to we Lord Ronatd more f* 

It was not till I saw the axe laid to the root, Uiat I found the full 
cxtetit of what I had lo lose and suffer. But my conFJctioQ of the 
right was only estabiuhcd by the triumph of the wrong ; and nty 
earliest hopes will be my last regrets. Ooe aource of this uabctxliD^ 
Deu, (which tome may call obctioacj,) ii that, though living much 
aloiic, I have never worihijvped the Echo. I tee plainly enough that 
black u DOt white, that the grass ii green, that kings are noi their 
aubjecu ; and^ in such self-erideot caset^ do not thiok it necessary to 
collate my opinions with the received prejudices. In tubtler qnntioiii, 
and matters that admit of doubt, as I do not impose my opioioa on 
others without a reason, so I will not give up mine to them without a 
better reason; and a person calling me names, or giving himself airt 
of authority, doe» not convince nte of his having taken more paina lo 
find out the truth than I have, but the contrary. Mr. Gtffbrd once 
laid, that ' while I was sitting over my gin and tobacco- pi pest, J 
fancied myeelf a Leibnitz.' He did nut bo much as know that 1 had 
erer read a meuphyeica] book : — waa 1 th«cfore,out of complaifiance 
or deference to him, to forget whether I had or not ? I am rather 
diiappotnced, both on my owti account and his, that Mr. Hunt has 
missed the opportunity of explaining the character of a friend, as 
clearly as he might have done. He is puzzled to reconcile the 
shyness of my pretensions with the inveteracy and sturdiness of my 
principles. 1 should have thought they were nearly the same thioe. 
Both from disposition and habit, I can aitume nothing in word, look, 
or manner. I cannot btcal a march upon public opinion in any 
way. My standing upright, speaking loud, entering a room grace- 
fully, proves nothing ; therefore I neglect these ordinary means of 
recommending myself to the gnotl graces and adminition of stranger*, 
(and, as it appears, even of philosophers and friends). Why? 
Because I hare other resources, or, at Icist, am absorbed in other 
studies and pursuits. Suppose this absorption to be extreme, and even 
morbid, that I have brooded over an idea till it has become a kind 
of substance in ray brain, that 1 have reasons for a thing which I 
have found out with much l.ibour and pains, and to which I cad 
scarcely do justice without the utmost violence of exertion (and that 
only to a few persons,) — is this a reason for my playing off my 

3*4 



I 



i 



« 



A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WRITING 

out-of-the-way notionB in all conipaaicB, wearing a prim and Bclf- 
complaccDt air, as if I were 'the admired of all obnerrerir or is it 
not rather an argument, (to]>erher with a want of animal spirits,) why 
I should retire into myicu. aod perhaps acquire a nerrous and uncaiy 
look, from a coD&ciousness of the disproportion between the interest and 
conviction I feel on ceruin subjects, and my ability to coTninuDicatc 
what weighs upon my own mind to otiiert? If niy Ideas which I ^o 
not avouch, but KUppoiw, lie below the surface, why am I to be always 
aitcmpiing to dazzle superficial people with them, or Btniling, delighted, 
at my own want of flucce^s? 

What I have here stated is only the excess of the common and 
well-known English and scholastic character. I am neither a buAbon, 
B fop, nor a Frenchman, which Mr. Hunt would have me to be. 
He finds it odd that I am a close reasoner and a loose dretser. I 
have betm (among other follies) a hard liver as well as a hard 
thinker ; and the consequences of that will not allow me to dreca 
as I please. People in real life arc not like players on a stage, who 
put on a certain look or eesiattUy merely for effect. I am aware, 
indeed, that the gay and airy pen of the author does not Krtously 
probe the errors or misfbrtones of his friends — he only glances at 
their seeming peculiarities, so at to make them odd and ridiculous; 
for which forbearance few of them will thank him. Why does he 
assert that I was vain of my hair when it was black, and am equally 
vain of it now it is Rrey, when thii* is true in neither case? This 
transposition of motives makes me almost doubt whether Lord Byron 
was thinlcing to much of the rings on his lingers at bis biographer 
was. These sort of criticisms should be left to women. I am made 
lo wear a little hat, stuck on the top of my head the wrong way. 
Nay, I commonly wear a large fllouching hat over my eyebrows; 
and if ever I had another, I must have twisted it about in any shape 
lo get rid of the annoyance. This probably tickled Mr. Hunt's 
Cincy, and retains possession of it, to the exclusion of liie obvious 
truism, that I naturally wear *a melancholy hat.' 

I am charged with using strange gestures and contortions of 
features in argument, in order to 'look energetic' One would 
rather suppose tliat the heat of the argument produced the cxtra%-a- 
gancc of the gestures, as I am said to be calm at othrr times. 
It is like saying that a man in a passion clenches hia teeth, not 
because he is, but in order to seem, angry. Why xliould everything 
be construed into wr and affectation ? With Hamlet, I may say, 
* I know ool leemi.' 

Again, my old friend and pleasant 'Companion' remarks it, as an 
inomaly in my character, that I crawl about the Fivct^Court like a 

»»5 



A FAREWELL TO ESSAY-WRITING 



cri^r till I get the racVet in my hand, vben I start up as if I vras 
posK»icd viih 1 dcTiI. I hare riieo a moUTC for exertion ; I lie by 
for difiRcaltieii and extreme ca«e8. Amt C^iar out rmBrnj. I have (vo 
DOtioD of doing ooihing with an air of importance, nor fhould I erer 
take a liking to the game of battlrdoor and Rhmtlecock. I hire 
only seen by accident a page of the unpublished McnuKcripe relattng 
to tbe prcjeot aubject, which I dare say ia, on the whole, friendly 
aod jutt, and which has been suppressed as being too iaTOurab)e» h 
contideriog ccruin prejudicca against me. ■ 

In nunert oftacle and feeling one proof that my coDclusiona bare 
not been quite shallow or hairy, is the circumstance of their hxTing 
been lasting. I have the tame favourite book*, pictures, paMaga 
that I ever bad : I may therefore prestmic that they will last me my 
life — nay. I may indulge a hope that my thoughts will turvire me. 
This continuity of inipretsion is the only thing on which I pride 

myself. Even L , whose relish of certain things it as kee« and 

earnest as possible, takes a surfeit of admiration, and I should be 
afraid to ask about his select authors or particiilar friends, after a 
lapse of ten years. As to myself, any one knows wbeie to bare me. 
What I have ooce made up my mind to, ( abide by to ihe end of 
the chapter. Or>e cauie of my independence of opinion is, I belicrv, 
the liberty I gire to others, or the very diffidence and dittrust of 
making conrens. I shoold be an excellent man on a jury : I might 
say little, but should starve 'the other eleven obstinate fellowi' out. 
I remember Mr. Godwin writing to Mr. Wordsworth, that 'hii 
tragedy of Antonio could not fait of success.' It was damned pa0 
all redemption. I said to Mr. Wordsworth that I thought this a 
natural consequence; for how could any one have a dramatic turn of 
mind who judged entirely of others from himself? Mr. Gixlwio 
might be convinced of the excellence of his work ; but how coold 
he know that others would be convinced of it, unless by suppoung 
that they were ag wise as himself, and as infallible critics of dramatic 
poetry^io many Arietotles sitting io judgment on Euripides ! Thn 
shows why piidc is connected with shyness and reserve; for the 
really proud have not so high an opinion of the generality as to 
suppose that they can ttnderstand them, or that there is any common 
meanire between them. So Dryden exclaims of his opponents with 
bitter disdain — 



' Nor can I think what thou^ts they- ran cooeetvc' 



1 



I bave not aought to make pariiuins, still less did I dream of making 

enemies ; and have therefore kept my opiniona myself, whether they 

Were currently adopted or noU lo get others to come Into oui 

S«6 



rAREWELL 



ES8AY.WRITING 



way« of thinking, we must go orer to thciri; and it ts nccciiary to 
follow, in order to Irad. At the time I lived here formerly, I had 
no suspicion that I should cTcf hecortif » voluminous writer ; yet 
1 had jtifit the »ame confidence in my feelm^d before I had Yentured 
to air diem in public as I have now. Neither the outcry yor or 
agmntt mores me a jot : I do not lay that the oik is QOt more 
•grerabte than the otlier. 

Not far from the spot where I write, I hrst read Chaucer's 
Flotvrr iinj Ltitf^ and was charmed with that young beauty, shrouded 
in her bower, and listening with exer-fresh delight to the repeated 
song of the nightiitgalc close by ber — the impression of the scene, 
the vernal landscape, the cool of the morning, the gushing notes of 
the tongstrest, 

< And ayen, inethaught she sung dote by mine ear,' 

is as virid as if it had been of yesterday ; and nothing can persuade 
me that that is not a fine poem. I do not lind this impression 
conreycd in Drydcn's version, and therefore nothing can persuade 
me that that is as tine. I tiHed to walk out at this time with Mr. 

and Miss L of an evening, to look at the Claude Lorraine 

skies over our heads, melting from azure into purple and gold, and 
to gather muBhrooms, that sprung up at our feet, to throw into o«r 
hashed mutton at supper. I was at that time an enthutiasric admirer 
of Claude, and could dwell fur ever on one or two of the finest 
prints from him hung round my little room ; the fleecy flocki, the 
bending trec&, the windinjr streams, the groves, the nodding temples, 
the air-wove hills, sod distant sunny vales ; and tried to translate 
them into their lovely living hues. People then told me that 
WiUon was much superior to Claude. I did not believe them. 
Their pictures have since been seen together at the British Institu- 
tion, and all the world have come into my npinloti. t have not, on 
that account, given it up. 1 will not compiirc our hashed mutton 
with Amelia's; but it put us in mind of it, and led to a discussion, 
sharply eeationed and well sustained, till midnight, the ri-suli of which 
appeared some yean after in the lidinbtirgh Review. Have 1 a 
better opinion of thoAc criticie^ms on that account, or should I there- 
fore maintain them with greater vehemence and tcnaciousncss ? Oh 
do! Both rather with less, now that they are before the publicf 
and it is for them to make their election. 

It is in looking back to such scenes that I draw my best consola- 
tion for the future, l^ater impremiong come and go, and serve to 
lill up the intervals; but thc«c arc my standing resource, my true 
classics. If I have had few real pleasures or advantages, my tdcasi 

5»7 



BYRON AND WORDSWORTH 

from their sinewy texture, have beca to mc in the nature of mlibs; 
and if I should oot be able to add to the stock, I can lire bi 
httsbandiDg the interest. Ai to my ipecuUtioDs, there is lii2lr to 
admire in them but my adminitton of others; and whether xitej 
have an echo in time to come or not, I have learned to set a grated 
value OD the p.ist, and am content la wind up the accouoc of what ii 

rrtonal only to mytclf and the immediate circle of objecu in which 
have moved, with an act of easy oblivion, 

• And curtain cloie mch wene from every future viewj 



BYRON AND WORDSWORTH 



return a volame of 
apjarent 



TJU Undtn ffuify Rn>itw.] 

I AM much surprised at Lord Byron's haste to 
Speater^ which vu lent him by Mr. Hunt, aod at ht« 
inditference to the progress and (if he plea»ed) aJvancemeftl of poetry 
up to the prcKat day. Did be rcaJly thick that all geoius was 
concentred in his own time, or in hie own boftom ? With his pride 
of ancestry, had he no curtoaity to explore the heraldry of intellect I 
or did he regard the Muse as an upstart — a mere modero hlue-ttoeiwg 
and fine lady I I am afraid that high birth and station, instead of 
being (as Mr. Burke predicates,) *a cure for a narrow and aelfiah 
mind,' only malce a man more full of himself, and, instead of rnlargiog 
and refining hit views, impatient of any but the most inordinate 
and Immediate RUmulus. I do not recollect, in all Lord Byroo*s 
writings, a single recurrence to a Feeling or object that had ever 
excited an interest before t there is no display of natural affection — 
DO twining of the heart round any object : all is the restless and 
disjointed effect of fir*t impresMons, of novelty, contrast, surprise, 
grotesque costume, or sullen grandeur. His beauties are (he oearit 
of Paradise, the favourites of a seraglio, the changing visions of a 
feverish dream. His poetry, it is true, is stately and dazzling, 
arched Hkc a rainbow, of bright and lovely hues, painted on the 
cloud of his own gloomy temper — perhaps to disappear as soon ! 
It is easy to account for the antipathy between him and Mr» 
Wordsworth. Mr. Wordsworth's poetical mistress is a Pamela: 
Lord Byron's an Eastern princess or a Moorish matd. It is the 
extrinsic, the uncommon that captivates him, and all the rest he 
holds in sovereign contempu This it the obvious result of 
pampered luxury and high-born nentitnents. The mind, like the 
3s8 



BYHON AND WORDSWORTH 

palace in which it has been brought up, ndniits rone but new and 
costly ftimiturc. From a icoro of homely »ini|)licity, and a surfeit 
of the artiticlal, it h^s but one resource l?ft in exotic manners and 
preicrnatural effect. So wc fee in novcli, written by ladie« of 
quality, all the marvellous aUurements of a fairy talc, Jewell, 
f^unrrie* of diamonds, giants, magicians, condors and ogres.^ The 
author of the Lyrical Ballad*, deicribci the lichen on the rock, the 
withered fern, with some peculiar feeling that he has about them : 
the author of Childe Harold deacribo the ttately cypre**, or the 
fallen column, with the feeling that every achoolboy has about 
them. The world is a grown ichoolboy, and relishes the latter 
most. When Rousseau called out — '^/j/ voila dt la pcrvenche!^ 
in 3 iraospoit of joy at sight of the periwinkle, becauKe he had iiru 
«ecn this little blue flower in company with Madanic Wareai thirty 
years before, I cannot help thinking, that any asloniehmcnt expressed 
at the sight of a palm-lrec, or even of I'ompcy's Pillar, is vulgar 
compared to this I Lord Byron, when he docs not eauater down 
Bond-street, goes into the East : when he is not occupied with 
the pasting topic, be goes back two thousand years, at one poetic, 
gigantic stride ! But instead of the sweeping mutations of empire, 
and the vast lapses of duratioOi thrunk up ioco an aotithetis, 
commend mc lo the *slow and creeping foot of lime,' in the 
commencement of Ivaohoc, where the jester and the swine-herd 
watch the sun going down behind the low-stumed trees of the 
forest, and their loitering and impatience make the summer's day 
•eem so long, that wc wonder how we have ever got to the end 
of the nix hundred years that have panted since ! That where 
the face of nature has changed, time should have rolled on iti 
course, is but a commonplace discovery ; but that where all seem* 
the same, (the long rank glass, and the stunted oaks, and the 
inoocent pastoral landscape,] all should have changed — this is to 
me the burthen and the mystery. The ruined pile is a niemento 
and a monumeat to him that reared it^-oblivion has here done 
but half its work ; but what yearnings, what vain cotiflicts with its 
fate come over the soul in the other cate, which make* man seem 
like a grasshopper — an insect of the hour, and all that he is, or that 
others have been — oothing ! 

1 See Ads Rcii. 



3*9 



ON CANT AND HYPOCRISY 

most be all perfect, or all vicbus — neither of which Buppoamons ii 
evcD possible. If a clergyman ia noiOTiouslyadruokard, a. debauchee, 
a glutton, or a acutfcr, then for him to lay claim at the same time lu 
extraordinary insptratiooi of faith or grace, is both icandalooi and 
ridiculous. The scene between the Abbot and the poor brother to 
the ' Duenna ' is an admirable expocure of thia doable-faced dealing. 
But bccaute a partoa has a rclitb for ttie good ihioga of this life, or 
what is commonly called u Hquaruh loolh in iu head^ (beyond what be 
would have it supposed by othera, or crcn by himaelf,j that he hai 
therefore no fear or belief of the next, I hold fur a crude and vulgar 
prejudice. If a poor half-uarred pariih priest pays his court to an 
eita foJriJa, or a venison pasty, with uncommon ^«//c, shall we say 
that he has no other Hrminicnts in otTcring his derodons to a crucibXf 
or ID couDUng his bcad« ? 1 ace no more j;round for such ao ioferenccr 
than for affirming that Handel was not in earnest when he sat down 
to compose a Symphony, because he had at the same time perhaps a 
bottle of cordials in his cupboard ; or that Raphael was not entitled 
to the epithet of iftvine, because he was attached to the Fomarina ! 
Kvcrything has it* turn in this chequered scene of things, unless we 
prevent it from taking its turn by over-rigid conditions, or drive mcD 
to despair or the mow callous c-ffrontcry, by erecting a Etandard of 
periectioo, to which no one can conform in reality ! Thomsoni ia his 
'Caitle of Indolence,' (a subject on which his pen ran riot,} has 
indulged iQ raiber a free description of ' a little round, fat, oUy mao 
of God— 

' Who shone all glittering with ungodly dew. 
If a tight dan^sel chancc<l to trippcn by; 
Which, when obscn-ed, he shrunli into his mew, 
And straight wotiIiS rccullect his piety anew.' 

Now, was the piety in this case the lest real, because it had been 
forgotten for a moment? Or even if this motive should not prove 
the strongest in the end, would this therefore show that it was aoae, 
which is necesKiry to the argument here combated, or ro mnke out 
our IhtEe pLump priest a very knave! A priest miy be honest, aod 
ytt err ; as a womao may be modest, and yet half-inclined to 
be a rake. So the virtue of prudes may be suspected, though 
not their sincerity. The slrength of their pAHsions may make 
ihcm more cooecious of their wcakneea, and more cautious of 
ex|xising iheitiselves ; but not more to blind others than as a 
guard upon themselves. Again, Buppi>si* a clergyman hazards a 
jest upon sacred Eubjecu, does it follow that he does not beliere 
a word of the matter i Put the case that any one else, encouraged 
332 



by hit example, takes up the banter or levity, aod sec what 
effect it will hare upon the rercrrnd divine. He will turn 
rouod like a aerpcnc trod upon, with all the vehemence and asperity 
of the most bigoted orthodoxy. Is this dictatorial and exclusive 
spirit then put on merely as a mask and to browbeat others ? No ; 
Init he tliinks he is privileged to trifle with the subject B«fely hinuelf, 
from the store of evidence he bus in reserve, and mim the nature of 
his functions ; but he is afraid of serious coneequeaces being drawn 
from what others might say, or from his seeniiog to countenance it ; 
and the moment the Church \» in danger, or his own faith brought io 
question, bis attachment to each becomes as visible as bis hatred to 
those who dare to impugn either the one or the other. A woman's 
attachment to her husband is not to be suspected, it' she will allow no 
one to abuse him hut herself! It has been remarked, that with the 
■jpread of liberal opinions, or a more general scepticiim on article* of 
(aith, tlie clergy and religious persons in general have become more 
squeamish and jealous of any objections to their favourite doctrines : 
but this is what must follow in the natural course of things — the 
resistance being always in proportion to the danger ; and aigomcou 
and books that were formerly allowed, to pass unheeded, because it 
was supjMised impossible they could do any mischief, are now de- 
nounced or prohibited with the most icalous vigilance, from 3 know- 
ledge of the contagious nature of their influence and contents. So in 
morals, it is obvious that the greatest nicety ofexpression and allusion 
must be observed, where the manners are the most corrupt, and the 
imagination moat easily excited, not out of mere affectation, bat as a 
dictate of common sense and decency. 

One of the finest temarks that has been made in modern limes, is 
that of Lord Shaftesbury, that there is no such thing as a perfect 
Thcist, or an absolute Atheist ; that whatever miiy be the general 
conviction entertained on the subject, the evidence is not and cannot 
be at all times equally present to the mind ; that even if it were, we 
are not in the same humour 10 receive it : a fit of the gout, a shower 
of rain shakes our best-estabttshcd conclusioni ; and according to cir- 
cumstances and the frame of mind we are in, our belief varies from 
the most sanguine enthunasm to lukewarm indifference, or the most 
gloomy despair. There is a point of conceivable faith which might 
prevent any lapse from virtue, and reconcile nil contrarieties between 
theory and practice ; but this is not to be looked for in the ordinary 
course of nature, and is reserved for the abodes of the blest. Here, 
*upon this bank and shoal of time,* the utmost we cao hope to attain 
is, a strong habitual belief in the excellence of virtue, or the dispen- 
sations of Providence ; and the conl^tct of the paasions, and their 

S33 



ON CANT AND HYPOCRISY 

ihcm. There may be u excuse for the latt to the frailty oT pawwt 
b«t the former can ariae from nothing but ao utter depnTity of di*> 
poEition. Aaj one may yield to temptatioD> and yet feel a UDCert 
love and 3*piratk>D after virtue : but he who mainuias vice in theory, 
has not cvrn the conception or capacity for rirtue in bis ratod. Mm 
err ; fiendB only make a mock at goodness. 



THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED 

Tit UnJem tftttfy RnTtnv.} [D^tmitr^ 13, iSst. 

We, lometimes deceive ourselveti and think wotic of hamao oatare 
than it deserves, in conaequence of judging of character rrotn tumei, 
and classes, and modes of life. No ooe is simply aod abaolutdly aay 
one thing, though be may be branded with it as a aajzi«. Some 
persons have expected to see bis crimes written in the face of s mar- 
derer, aod have been disappointed because they did not, at if this 
impeached the diwinction between virtue aod vice. Not at all. The 
circumBUnce only showed that the man was other things, aod had 

other ferUngs besides those of a murderer. If he had nothing else, • 

if he had fed on nothing else, — if be had dreamt of nothing else, bttt 
acheniFt. of murder, his features would have expressed noching else: 
but this perfection in vice is not to be expected from the contradictory 
and mixed nature of our motives. Humanity is to be met with to a 
dm of robbers ; nay, tnodeity in a brothel. Even among the most 
abandoned of the other sex, thtrre is not unfre<]uently found to exist 
(contrary to all chat is generally supposed) ooe strong and individual 
attachment, which renulns unshaken to the last. Virtue may be said 
to steal, like a guilty thing, into the secret haunts of vice and infamy ; 
it dings to their devoted victim, and will not be driven quite away. 
Notliing can destroy the human heart. Again, there is a heroism in 
crime, as well as in virtue. Vice and infamy have also their altxn 
and their religiun. This makes nothing in their favour, but is a proof 
of the heroical disinterested neas of man's nature, and that whatever 
he does, he mast fling a dash of romance and sublimity into it ; just 
as some grave biographer has said of Shakespeare, that 'even wheo he 
killed a calf, he nude a speech and did it in a great style.' 

It is then impossible to j;ct iid of thii original distinction and 
contradictory bias, and to reduce everything to the system of French 
levity and Epicurean indifference. Wherever tliere is a capacity of 
conceiving of things as ditfcrcnt from what they are, there roust be a 
principle of taste and eclectioD — a dispositioa to nuke them better, 
and a power to make them worse. Ask a Parisian milliner if the 
does not think one bonnet more becoming than another — a Farinan 



ON CANT AND HYPOCRISY 

dmdog'inastcr if French grace is not better than iLngliBh awkward- 
neas — a Frracb cook, if all sauces are alike — a French blacking/ if all 
throws are equal on the dice? It is curious that the French nation 
restrict rigid rulea and fixed principles to cookery and the drama, aod 
maintain that the great drama of human life is entirely a matter of 
caprice and fancy. No one will as&en that Raphael's histories, that 
Claude's laodacapes arc not better than a daab : but if the expression 
in one of Raphael's faces it better than the most mean and vulgar, 
how resist the cooscqucoce that the feeling eo expressed is better also? 
It docs not appear to me that all faces or all actions ate alike. If 
goodness were only a theory, it were a pity it should be lost to the 
world. There arc a number of things, the idea of which is a clear 
gain to the mind. Let people, for instance, rail at friendship, genius, 
freedom, as long as they will — the very names of these despised 
qualities are better than anything else that could be tubstituicd for 
them, .ind embalm even the most envenomed satire against them. It 
is no small consideration that the mind ie capable even of feigning 
such things. So I would contend against that reasoning which would 
have it thought thai if religion is not true, there is no ditference 
between mankind and (be beaati that perish ; — I should say, that tbU 
diiitinction is equally proved, if religion is supposed to be a mere 
fabrication of the human mind ; the capacity to conceive it makes the 
difference. The idea atone of An over-ruling Providence, or of a 
future state, is as much a distinctive mark of a superiority of nature, 
as the Invention of the mathematics, which are true, — or of poetry, 
which is a fable. Whatever the truth or falsehood of our Bpecuiations, 
the power to make them is peculiar to ourselves. 

The contrariety and warfare uf different faculties and dispositions 
within us has not onEy given birth to tlie Manichean and Gnosuc 
heresies. And to other superstitions of the lust, but will account for 
many of the mummeries and dogmas both of Popery and Calvinism, — 
conwssion, absolution, justjftcaiion by faith, &c. ; which, in the 
hopelessness of attaining perfection, and our dissatisfaction with our- 
Klves for falling short of it, are all substitutes for actual virtue, and 
an attempt to throw the burthen of a task, to which we are unequal 
or only half disposed, on the merits of others, or on outward forms, 
ceremonies, and professiom of faith. Hence the crowd of 

* Eremites and friars. 
White, blirk, and grey, with all their trumpeiy.' 

If we do Dot conform to the law, we at least acknowledge the 
juriediction of the court. A person does wrong ; he is sorry for it ; 
and ae he stilt feels himself liable to error, he is dcsirouH to make 

VOL. XII. : Y 3)7 



ON CANT AND UYPOCBI8Y 

aUnwineDt u well w be cao, by ablution*, by titbes, by pouott^ t^ 
■acriiicn, or other votunury demonetrationc of obcdieoce, which a 
in hi* power, though hit putioot arc doc, and which prove tJui bi 
will u not refractory, and that his uodernanding is right towaidi God 
The itncter teoeu of Calvtciun, which allow of do mrditun bcma 
graiCc aod reprobation, and doom loaQ to rtcroa] panialiineiit for emj 
breach of the moral Uw, as an equal otTeoce againtt infinicc truth md 
juittce, proceed (like the puadoxical doctrioe of the Stain) fna 
taking a balfrirw of this subject, and coasideriag Tatta a* anintaUc 
ooly to the dictate* of his understandiDg and hia conacicDccT and rr 
excua^rlc from the temptations and fizilty of hunun ignoranc: 
ptMloo. Tbe mixing up of religion and morality together, ^'' 
malting us accountable for every word, thought, or acciao, under sa 
less a resporuibliiy than our cvcrlaxting tiiture welfare or mterryt hv 
also added incalculably to the difficulties of sclf-kitowlcdge, has npef- 
iodaced a riolent and spurious state of feeling, and made it aimMC 
impossible to distinguish the boundaries between the true and falie, ii 

f'udging of human conduct and mobTes. A religious man is afraid of 
ooking into the state of his soul, lest at the same time he should 
reveal it to Heaven ; and triea to persuade himaelf that by abutting; 
his eyes to his true character and feelings, they will remain a profboad 
secret both here and hereafter. This is a suong engine and irretrK- 
ibte inducement to self deception ; and the more zealous any ooe is tn 
his conrictioos of the truth of religion, the more wc may raqxct ilie 
sincerity of hiB pretensions to piety and morality. 

Thus, though I think there is very little downright hypocrity in 
the world, I do think there is a great deal of cam — *caDt religioiu, 
CiOt political, cant literary,' &c. as Lord Byron said. Though lew 
people have the face to set up for the very thing they in their hearts 
despise, we almost all want to be thought better than we arc, and a^ect 
a greater admiratioD or abhorrence of certain things than we really 
feel. Indeed, some degree of atfectation is ai necessary to the aaai 
as dress is to the body ; we must overact our part in some measure, 
in order to produce any effect at all. There was formerly the two 
hours' sermon, the long-winded grace, the nasal drawl, the uplifted 
hands and eyes; .ill which, though accompanied with some corres- 
poodiGg emotion, expressed more than was really felt, and were to 
fact intended to make up for the conscious deficiency. As our 
ioterest m anything wears out with time and habit, we exaggerate the 
outward aympioms of 7eal as mechanical helps to devotion, dwell the 
Icniger on our words at they are less felt, and hence the very origin 
of llie term, cani. The cant of sentiroenulity has succeeded to that 
of religion. There ii a cast of humanity, of patriotism and loyalty— 

53« 



POETRY 

people do not feel these emottons, but tKey make too greit a 
' _/kij ibout them, and drawl out the cxpfession of them till they tire 
themselves and others. There U a caot about Shakespeare. There 
is a cant about PoUlica/ Economy juKt now. In shorty there is and 
mutt be a cant about everything that excites a considerable degree of 
attention and interest, and that people wouM be thought to know and 
care rather more about than the? actually do. Cant is the voluntary 
overcharging or prolongation of a real sentiment ; hypocrtKy is the 
setting up a. pretension to a feeling you never had and have no wish for. 
Mr. Coleridge is made up oi cant, that is, of mawkish alfectatioD and 
sensibility ; but he has not sincerity enough to be a hyfxicritff that is, 
he has not hearty dislike or contempt enough for anything, to give 
the lie to his puttng professians of admiration and esteem for it. The 
fuss that Mr. Liberal Snnkc makes about Political Economy is not 
cant, but what Mr. Theodore Hook politely calls htiii^ug\ he him- 
self is hardly the dupe of Jiis own pompous reasoning, but he wishes 
to make it the ttallin^-hortt of hi* ambition or interest to sneak into 
a place and curry favour with the Govejonient. . . . 



POETRY 



Tlu AiUi.\ 



[Mmrdt 8, it 19. 



I 



\ 



As there are two kinds of rhyme, one that is rhyme to the car, and 
another to the eye only ; bo there may be said to be two kinds of 
poetry, one that is a description of objects to those who have never 
seen or but slightly studied them ; the other is a description of objects 
addressed to those who have seen and are intimately acquainted 
with them, and expressing the feeling which is the resutf of such 
knowledge. It is needlesis to add that the first kind of poetry is 
comparatively superficial and commonplace ; the last profouDd* lofty, 
nay often divine. Take an example (one out of a thousand) from 
Sbakspeare- In enumerating the wished.for contenu of her basket of 
flowers, Perdita in the fVmttr't TaU mentions among others 

■ Daifodils 
That come before the twallovr daici, and take 
The wind* of March with heatity; violets dim. 
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes 
Or Cyihcfca's breath ; pale primroses 
That die unmarried ere they can behold 
Bright Phnphiii in hi* strength, a malady 
Most incident to maids.' 

33y 



POETRY 

Thin pauagc which knoclu dowo John Boll whh iu fKiFm md ■! 
melting (oltneu, and iiavour> of 'that fine nadness which ov in 
poeU had,' JR a myBlrry, an unlran^UttabU langmge* to all Fnn: 
Racine could Dot have cooccivcd what it waa about — the trwt^ 
Englithman fcpta a crrt-iin pridr and pleasure in it. What ■ pnvdrfi 
(if that were all) to be born on this the cloudy aixl poetical side of ik 
Chaflticl 1 We may in part clear up this cootradiction la tBfCet bydr 
clue above giTrn. The French arc more apt at raking tbr paoemd 
their ideai from word* ; we, who arc slower iuid hearirr, srr oUfi^ 
to look clowr at tbin^ii before we can pronounce upoo tbeai at aL 
which in the end pertiap* openii i larger field both of aba ermj oaW 
fancy. Thiu the phrase * violctH t/fm,' to thoM who have Dcrer tta 
the object, or who, having paid no atremion to it, refer to the detcri^ 
lion for theii notion of it, seems to coorey a dur rather tfaM a 
compliment, dimneM being no beauty in itself; so this part of liK 
itory would not h^ive been ventured upon in French or tinsel pMtiy. 
But to tbo«e who have necn, and been an it were maTnonred of tbc 
little hed^c-row candidate for appUuK, looking it it again auj agM 
(na miscrncontcinplatc their gold — as tine lad tci h-ing over tfaeir jewtti), 
til] iu image hat tunic into the soul, what other word ii there chat (nt 
from putting the reader out of conceit with it) to well rrcxls its deep 
purple glow, ltd retired modesty, ita sullen, corucious beauty ? Tbo« 
who have not leca the flower cannot form an idea of iu character, 
nor understand the line without it. Ttjt aspect in dull, obniK, faint, 
absorbed ; but at the same time aoft, luxurious, proud, and full of 
meaning. People who look at nature without being seoatbte to these 
distinctions and contrarieties of feeling, had better (instead of the 
flower) look only at the label on the ttalk. Connoisseurs in Krescb 
wines pretend to know all these depths and refinements of latte, 
though connoisKurs in Frcocb poetry pretend to know tbeni nob 
To return to our text 

< Violets dim. 
Bill svfcewt ihan ihe Jtilft of Jiinn's eyes 
Or Cytherea'* breath.' 

i\ovi bi%arrf\ crte* one hypercrttic. What Far-fetched metaphors 
exclaima another. We ihall not dwell on the allusion to ■ Cyiherea' 
breath,' it is obviou* enough : hut how can the violet's smell be s^ 
to be 'sweeter than the lids of -luno's eyes?* Oh! honeyed words, 
how ill understood! And is there no true and rooted analogy 
between our ditferent sensations, as welt as a positive and literal 
identity f Is there not a sugared, melting, half-tleepy look in some 
eyelids, like the luscious^ languid smell of flowers ? How otherwiu 





POETRY 

exprcM that air of score and tcnderocM which brcathci from ihcm i 
Is there not a balmy dew upoa them which one would ktss oWi 
Speak, yc lovers) if any such remain in these degenerate days to 
take the part of genuine pnetry against cold, barren criticism ; for 

poetry is nutKing bui an imclleciual \ovc Nature ic ihc poet's 

mistrets. and the heart in hit case lends word& and harmonioLiii utter- 
ance to the tongue. Again, how full of truth and pity is the turn 

which is given to the description of the pale and faded primrose, 
watching for the sun's approach as for the torch of Hymt-n! Milton 
has imitated this not so well in ' cow&lips wan that hang the pensive 
head.* Cowslips arc of a gold colour, rather than w.in. In speaking 
of the daffodils, it seems as if our poet had been struck with these 
< lowly children of the ground ' on their liriit appearance, and seeing 
what bright and unexpected guests they were at that cold, comfort- 
leni season, wondered how * they came before the swallow (the 
harbinger of summer) dared,' and Iwing the only lovely ihinR in 
nature, bncied the winds of March were taken with them, and tamed 
their fury at the sight. No one but a poet who has spent his youth 
in the company of nature could so describe it, as no reader who has 
not experienced the frame elemeaiary sensations, their combinations 
and contrasts, can properly enter into it when so described. The 
finest poetry, then, is not a paradox nor a trite paraphrase ; but a bold 
and happy cnoTiciation of truthi and feelings deeply implanted in the 

mind Apollo, tlie god of poetry and day, evolving the thoughts 

of the breast, as he does the seed from the frozen earth, or enables 
the flower to burst its folds. Poetry is, indeed, a fanciful structure; 
but a fanciful structure raised on the groundwork of the strongest and 
most intimate associations of our ideas: otherwise, il is good for 
nothing, vox el prelerea ttibU. A literal description goes for nothing 
in poetry, a pure fiction is of as little worth ; but it is the extreme 
beauty and power of an impression with all its accompanimenta, or the 
very intensity and truth of feeling, that pushe* the poet over ihe verge 
of matter-of-fact, and ju&iilien him in resorting to the licence of ficttoo 
to express what without his ' winj^ed words ' must have remained for 
ever untold. Thus the feeling of the contrast between the roughness 
and bleakness of the winds of March imd the tenderness and beauty 
of the flowers of spring Is already in the reader's mind, if he be an 
obsrrrer of nature : the poet, to show the utmoKt extent and con- 
ceivable effect of this contrant, fd^^f that the windo themselves are 
seotible of it and smit with H\e beauty on which they commit such 
nidc assaults. Lord Byron, whose imagination was not of ihis com- 
_ pound character, and more wilful than natural, produced splendid 
I cxaggeratioas. Mr. Shelley, who felt the want of originality without 



ENGLISH GRAMMAR 

the power to wpply tt» dittortcd eitry ihing from what ic wM,id 
fait pen pioduced only abortioot. The one would say thu tV n 
was a * ball of dazzling 6n ;* tht other, not knowing what to us, be 
dctcrmiaed * to elevate and surprize/ would swear that it wu UtcL 
This latter cUu c^ ponry may be deiKHmnatcd the ^ ffi acidjfflicdL 



ENGLISH GRAMMAR 

TJif /bUl.'] lAUrfA 15. 1I14. 

This ti one of those subject* on which the human undemaiidioj hs 
pUycd the fool, almost as egregiously, though with lew dire cooie- 
qucDceSfthao on many others; or r^er oae on which it has net 
chosen to exert itself at all, being hoodwinked aod ted blindfold tn 
mere precedent and authority. Scholars who have niade and tasjk- 
from English gramruarB were previously and systematically toitiatcdii 
the Greek and Latin tongues, so that they hare, without deigmog U 
notice the diference, taken the rules of the latter and applied tbnn 
indiscriminately and dogmadcatly la the former. As well might 
they pretend that there is a Jual numler in the Latin language becauw 
there is one in the Greek. 

The Dejiitittons alone are able to corrupt a whole generation of 
iogeouous youth. They seem calculated for no other purpose than to 
myttijy and ttuhifj the understanding, and to inoculate it betimes with 
a due portion of credulity and verbal sophistry. After repeating them 
by rote, to maintain that two and two makes (iTe is easy, and a tbiD| 
of course. What appears most extraordinary is that notwithstanding 
the complete exposure of their fallacy and nonecn&e by Home Tookc 
and others, the same system and method of instructioo should be 
perstticd ill ; and that grammar succeeds grammar and edition edition, 
re-echoing the same point-blank contradictions and shallow teimt. 
llstablii)hnienls and endowments of learning (which subsist on a 
'foregone conclusion*) may have sompthing to do with it; inde- 
pcndtmly of which, and for each person's individual solace, the more 
senseless the absurdity and the longer kept up, the more reluctant does 
the mind seem 10 part with it, whether in the greatest things or mere 
trifles and technicalities ; fur in the latter, at the retracting an error 
could produce no startling sensation, and be accompanied with do 
redeeming enthuniasm, its detection must be a pure loss and pitifiul 
mortiiicalion. One might eupposr, that out nf so many persOOS SB 
have their attention directed to this subject, some few would Hnd out 
their mistake and protest against the common practice; but the greater 

342 



ENGLISH GRAMMAR 



» 



the number of professioful labourers in the vineyard, who seek not 
trutb but a livetihood, aod »ii f/ay •anth itfordi more currcotly tban 
with things, the less chance must there be of this, lince the niajoriiy 
will always let their facet againetit, aodinsist uuon theold Mumpi'mut 
la preference to the new Sumfuimiu. A schoolmaster who should go 
ao far out of hii way as to take the Dtvercion* of Purley for a text- 
book, would be regarded by his brethren of the rod as*a maoof Ind/ 
and would soon have the do^s of the village bark at bim. It is said 
without blu»hiog, by both nutters aod ushers who Jo not chuse to be 
■ wise above what is written,' that a noun is the name of a /^nf, lu-. 
substance, as if /ove, honour, toJour, were the aatnes of aubiUnces. Ad 
adjective i» deJincd to be the name of a quality ; and yet in the 
expressions, a ^«/<{/ soulf-box, a wooden spoon, an iron chest, &c., the 
words go/J, 'wooden, iron, are allowed by all these profound writers, 
gramma rians, .ind logicians, to b« essentially adjectives. A verb is 
likewise defined to be a word denoting being, action, or suffering ; at:d 
yet the words being, action, juffering (or passion), are all substantives ; 
so that these words cannot be supposed to have any reference to the 
things whose names they bear, if it be the peculiar and sole ofEcc of the 
verb to denote them. If a system were made in burlesque and 
purposely to call into question and expose its own nakedness, it could 
not go beyond this, which in gravely taught in all seminaries, and 
patiently learnt by all school-boys as an exercise and discipline of the 
lotcllectua] faculties. Agaiin, it is roundly asserted that there are 
tix eatet (why not seven?) in the English language; and a caie ii 
deRned to be a peculiar termination or inflection added to a noun to 
show iu position in the sentence. Now in the Latin language there 
are no doubt a number of cases, inasmuch as there are a number of 
inJlectiona; ^ and for the same reason (if words have a meaning) in the 
English Language there are none, or only one, the genitive ; because 
if wc except this, there i& no inflection or variety whatever in the termin- 
oations. Thus to instance in the present noun — A csk, Of a case. 
To a case, A case, O caie. From a case — they tell you that the word 
eajt is here its own nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, 
and ablative, though the deuce of any case — that is iotlectioD of the 
noun — is there in the case. Nevertheless, many a petlagogue would 
awear till he was black in the face that it is »o; and would lie awake 
many a reitleu night boiling with rage and vexation that any one should 
be so lost to shame and reason as to suspect that there is here also a dis- 
lioctioD without a difTereoce. Initrictness, in the Latin word there arc 
only four, easaj, eatui, cojum, caru; and the rest arc conceded out of 

L ' Th» WM Bcetuiry in Laliti, \*h«r« no order w*i obterved to tlie wordi of a 

I KDlcDU : in Encliili the jiutJipaiitiaD generally dMetmbct the connection. 

L : 




ENGLISH GRAMMAR 




. y 

«a^ U rfiMalmiM, »fcctc tfacrv m oocMriRdt 
(btliw then famr cBealMdyc x cq tm d) nfacvF 
on? rtfiw. '■ » tpvfA n» iill Iwtli. ihw Fn^Mi nnnni fciii yi ' 
Except with > few, where ite terwBMiiB it borrpwed froai ac- 
knpufc, Mch «■ Emftuj^ &.c^ therr k so poMibUky of gefin 
lelfi^dweex Mipfad froA die Ibna of the trnanutiaB: htton 
loalUB£ It ifae poMt with tkeir Latia c]pcs «« gntden vbovrcr Aq 
have been wecmataei to fad them ii a Ann toeguc. Tbe dife- 
e»ce of tac n tcnacibrly comwtj v A m Ea^eb by a different vvrf 
■ — . w iw aw^ rt^f, Arr^ lay, ^en. BCc ; aod there i*QonichtUl| 
as cooveotiaoal geo^ ta BeoKnl thi^i — Anue, eimrv^,jSfU, mi m 
on. All t)M night be cxcssiUe at a prrindicv or OTerssht : be 
AcB why pentn in k io the thmj-etghth editaoa of a aCaodanl b«l 
poh Blhc d by the f>teat finn ia Pateraoitcr-row * WTc MMWiiBB 
thmk nunkJod have a p royeiM i w to tjwf boc more m matt e w iffaa 
than theory. Tbn maintaia what An know to bewnlMMRs ihKla* 
of foDodattoD, and ia tbe sheer ^arit oi cantradictaoa, or b e caag dtfT 
hate to be coaTTOced. In the tame saoocr ai tbe caeea aod Rodai 
of ooBiift, the whole ratniScatioa of tbe verb » conatmcted, aad famg 

S' for the admtranoD of the creddottt upon the ideal of the l.ita mi 
reek Tcrb, with all its teavea, pertoot, moods, and partkipl^s 
whether there he snjthing more than a mere skrletoo ofa r eaem h li BCt 
tanupetkdallthitlfaroedpatcb-workapoaorDOt. •! A»«w, thou Wji 
he hwj ; we, jre, they /-nv.' There it a dtfleTence to the three fira, 
to that from aaooiiQciog the verb, yon koow the nreSx ; bot in the tbm 
|a*t, what diiTemce is there, what ugn of tepantion from ooe 
another, or from tbe first penoa nngiiUr ? *I /nx-c/' U the poa 
tenie doubtleM : rt is a diifereDce of inflection denoting time : box * I 
iCtt lore, I Isrtx loveJ^ I «^, frt«, thail^ v.h>uU loTe,' are not prepedy 
tCDKi or moodi of the rerb hvey but other Tcrba with the 
tofiQitive or participle of the 6r»t rerb appended to them. Thas ti 
our irregular verb professionally licked into regularity and shape. 
When the thing is wanting it is supplied by the name. Empe^ki 
vat m ctbhUr^ rom when he iBil m/ nAUe. A coojooctioQ is bdd to 
be a part of tpeech without any meaning in itself, hot th.it serves u> 
connect sentences together, soch as M<ir, anJ^ &c. h is proved by Mr. 
HomeTooke, thai the conjunction /^ti/ is no other than the pronoun/^ 
(with the words thit^ or^r<y»o/(nwf understood)— as <»i»</it the impera- 
tive of the old Saxon verb anaaJad (to add), opoo a similar pnnci]^e 
— * I say this antt (or add ) that ' — and though it is abore 6tty ycaii 
fltnce this luminous discovery was published to tbe world, no hint of 
1 Sij*n*, li the Tociiivt ever ■ ate f 
S44 



ENGLISH GRAMMAR 



. 



ept into any Grammar used in schoolfi, and by authority. It 
Kcmi to be taiccD for granted that all eound and UKfu! knowlrdge 
i> by rote, and that if it censed to be so, the Church and State might 
crumble to pieces like ihe conjunctions aati and that. There may be 
some truth io that. 

It is strange that Mr. Horoe Tooke, with all his logical and 
etymological acuteaeH, ihould have been so bad a metaphysician as to 
argue that all lanj^age wgu merely a disjointed tissue of names of 
objects (with ccnain abbreriaiioos), and that he should have gircn or 
attempted no definition nf the verb. He barely hints at it in one 
place, vn. — that the verb is quoJ loquifiur, the noun de ipio \ that is, 
the noun expresses the name of any thing or points out the object ; 
the verb signifes the opinion or will of the speaker concerning it. 
What then becomes of the infinitive mood, which neither aflirms, 
denies, nor commands any thing, but is left like a log of wood la the 
high road of grammar, to be picked up by the first jaunting-car of 
* winged words ' that comes that way with its moods, persons, and 
tenses, flying, and turned to any use that may be wanted ? Mr. 
Tooke was in the habit of putting off his gueau at Wimbledon with 
promising to explain some ^xt/^ the following Sunday; and he left 
the world in the dark as to the definition of the rerb, much in the 
same spirit of iadtnttge and mystery. We do not know when the 
deficiency is likely to be supplied, unless it has been done by Mr. 
Fcarn in his little work called Anti-Tooke. We have not seen the 
prt>licttion, but we know the author to be a must able and ingenious 
wa^ ud capable of lighting upon Dice distinctions which few but 
htmseir would ever dream of. An excess of modesty, which doubts 
every thing, is much more favourable to the discovery of truth than 
that spirit of dogmatism which presumptuously takes everything for 
granted ; but at the same time it it not e<]ually qualified to place its 
conclusions in the most advantageous and imposing tight; and we 
accordingly too often find uur quacks and impostors collecting acrowd 
with their drums, tnimpeti, &aii /daairdt of themselves at the end of 
a street, while the 'still, small' pipe of truth and simplicity is 
drowned in the loud din and bray, or forced to retire to a distance to 
solace itself with its own low tones and fine-drawn distinctions. 
Having touched upon this subject, we may be allowed tu add that 
some of our most eminent writers, as, for instance, Mr. MacuUoch 
witli his Principlrs of Pofittea! Economy, and Mr. Mill with his 
EUmtntt df Poiitical Economy, remind us of two barrel-organ grinders 
in the same sueet, playing the same tune and contending for pre- 
cedence and mastery. What it Mozart to any of the four ? 




345 



PETER PINDAR 

change of nunoers and the laxity of tbeorics, they boaH«d of iImmc 
thty had not. 

He •ometimes told a story well, though bat rarely. He ined w 
speak with >oine drollery and unction of bii mccttzig in his toor ■ 
Germany with 2 Lutheran clergyman, who expre«sed a great cnrioma 
about the face of Dr. Dodd in a Latin gibberish which he could aO 
at first understand. ' Do^torem Tott, Doctorem Tolt ! Infeti* Amm, 
etMo tvtpfnjuj ! ' — hf called out in an agony of suspense, fitting tbt 
action to the word, and the idea of the ro'creihl dirine just then 
occurring to Mr. Coleridge's imagination. The Cermaot have i 
■trance superstition that Dr. Dodd is still wiaderiog in dtsgutae a^l 
the Hartz forent in Germany ; and his Priton Tfiot^htt are x fiirooT^V 
book with the initiated. 

If these remarkable sayings are fewer thao the reader might expect, 
they arc ull wc remember; and we might a»ail ourselre* of the 
answer which Queredo puts into the mouth of the door-keeper of 
Hell, when the uoet is surprised to find so few kings in his cunodv 
— 'There arc all that ever existed ! ' 



PETER PINDAR 

T*< AtUt.\ [AfrU 5, sSaf. 

This celebrated wit and character lived to a great age, and miioed 
his spirit and faculties to the last. In person he did not ;tt all amwer 
to Mr. Cobbctt's description of authors, as a lean, Rarreling, puny 
race — ' men made after supper of a cheese-paring '^he was large, 
robust, |>ort]y, and llorid ; or in Chaucer's phrase, 

' A manly man to ben an abbot able* 

In his latter years lie w.i£ blind, and had his head close shaved ; 
as he sat barc-bcadcd, presented the appearance of a fine old tnook- 
a Luther or a Frhr John, with the gravity of the one and tlM wit 
and fiery turbulence uf chc uther. Peter had something clerical in 
hU aspect : he looked like a venerable father of poetry, or an 
unworthy son uf iJie church, c<{ua[ly fitted to indict a homily and 
preach a crusade, or to poini an epigram, and was evidently one of 
those children of Momus in whom tlie good things of the body had 
laid the foundation nf and given birth to the good things of the mind. 
He was one of the few authors who did not disappoint the expects- . 
tions raised of them on a nearer acquaintance ; and the reason probabll 
wa« what has been above hinted at, namely, that he did not take to" 
this calling from nervous despondency and consiituiional povcny of 
548 



PETEH PINDAR 



. but from the fulness and cxuberaoce ofliii intcllecrual resourccB 
'Animal ipirita. Our satiritt was not :i mere wit, hut a man of urotig 
sense and obacrTation, critical, argumentative, a good decLatmer, and 
with a number of acquircmcntH of various kinds. Hia poetry, instesid 
of having abwrbed all the little wit he had (which is so often the case), 
wai but * tbr sweepings of hts mind.' He Kaid just w good things 
every hour in the day. He was the life and soul o( the company 
where he wa» — told a iiory admiribly, gave h'ti opinion freely, apokc 
rcjuatly wpII, and with thorough knowledge of poetry, pflinting, or 
music, could ' haloo an anthem ' with stentorian lungs in imitation of 
ihc whole chorus of children at St. Paul's, or bring the black popula- 
tion of the WeM Indie* before you like » swarm of Hies in a sjgar- 
ba»in, by hi) manner of describing their arlics and odd noises. Dr. 
Wolcot'a convcfaation waa rich and powerful (not to say overpower- 
ing) — there wan an extreme tinction about it, but a certain tincture of 
gTOBsness. His criticism was his best. "Wc remember in particular 
his making an excellent analysis of Dryden's Alexander' i Feati in a 
controversy on its merits with Mr. Curian ; and as a specimen of his 
paraUflumt between the siBter-artii, he used lo say of Viotti (the 
celebrated tjoHq- player}, that <hc was the Michael Angelo of the 
Bddle.* He had a hereny in painting, which was, that Claude 
Lorraine was interior to Wilson ; hut the orthodox bclievere were 
obliged to be silent before him. A short time betore his death he 
had a private lodging at Soracrs' Town, where he received a few 
friends. He sat and ulked familiarly and clieerfully, asking you 
whether you thought his head would not make a fine bust? He had 
a decanter of rum placed on the table before him, from which he 
poured out a glass-full .is he wanted it and drank it pure, taking no 
other beverage, but not exceeding in this. His intinniliet had made 
no alteration in his conversation, except perhaps a little more timidity 
and hesitation; for blindness is the /amra/j/ of the mind. He could 
cot Kc the effect of what he said lighting up the countenances of 
others; and in this case, the tongue may run on the faster, but hardly 
so well. After coffee, which he accompanied with the due quantity 
of merum laJ^ he would ask to be led down into a little parlour below, 
which was hung round with some early efforts of his own in landscape- 
painting, and with some of Wilson's unfinished sketches. Though 
he could see them no longer, otherwise than in his mind's eye, he 
was evidently pleased to be in the room with them, as they brought 
back former associations. Youth and age seem glad to meet an it 
were on the last hill-top of life, to shake hands once more and part 
for ever! He spoke slightingly of his own performanceti (though 
they were by no means contemptible), but launched out with great 

349 



LOGIC 



of the miucr it. that the mon imporuat conckmont ar« ooi to bei 
easily eocloicd in prw« and foTnis of words and dctioitiont; Midi 
to catch the (ruth as it flics, is as nice a point aa bedgtog the ciKkai: 
though they say that its wings have been lately clipped and a mb^ 
built for it somewhere in Westminner. Not to proceed fardrrt 
this subject, aad get 'over shoes, orer booca ' in the mire ot bkb 
physics, wr shall conclude this article with what w<e mranr to stut t 
the commcDCement of it, to wit — that the commoDest form of dt 
Bylloglftxii is the worst of all, being a downrif;ht fallacy asd fttm 
frineipii. It coDsists in including the iodiTidual in the Bpecirt,ad 
runs Lhua : ■ All men are mortal ; John is a nun ; therefore Joha i 
mortal.' Let any one deny this at his peril ; but what ts. or aa k 
gained by wich parrotcing ? The first branch of the prernisrs lakafa 
granted and supposes that you already know all that you want to pnm 
in the conclusion. For before you are entitled to aaaeft rousdly ibl 
all men are morul, you must know this of John in pouiicular, wbo ■ 
a man, which is the point you are labouring to establish ; m, if n« 
do not know this of every individual man, and of John among tbc 
restf then you have no right to nuke such a sweeping general aMeitin 
which falls to the ground of itself, l-^ither the premises are hanyg 
false, and the conclusion rotten that way ; or if they be soood, uA 
proved as matter-of-fact to the extent which la pretended, then yos 
have anticipated your concEusioo, and your syllogtsm is pedantic and 
superfluous. In fact, this form of tJie Eyllogi^m is .in unmeaDine bbi 
upon words, or resolves itself into the merely probable or aoaJogioI 
argument, that because all other ii>en have diedy John, who is ooe of 
of them, wtli t£t also. The inference relating to historical tmth, aad 
founded on the custumary connection between cause and effect, is very 
different from logical proof, or the impossibility of conceiving at 
ceruin things otherwise than as inseparable. Suppose I see s row of 
pillars before me, and that I chusc to afBrni — 'Those hundred piUats 

by; and whal elic I ditcnver or imiftinc mutt be in confnrTniry with thim tni 
knowltiise. Thli coherence in propoiitionK of in the mind, ii the fnrre of rr*iM, 
whereby one idea acci *t tlie ground-work or csDSe of anothrn. ir X apply B ■■ ■ 
common meatuc to A and C, ind fiad it the »nne wilh both, it foUowt that 'h*T 
■r( equal to ODC inathcr } liuce othttwtie I must luppose the iime thisj (B) to 
be equal to uncqusi thinci, which ii impoatittle at loDg ai I retain m; mums, at 
more ffoperly, mji reiQlIeetioti. 1 h»ve a*cerlnine<i two linet to be of the leopli 
of a third; that length cannot ditfer from ilielfi and thcrcfarc hsving aettieil 
what the two Uaei are with mpeci lo the thtrti, I cannot conceive them to be 
different with rtipect to one another, without ^Litifetting tnyfetf, or what I know 
of thsm. If I had no power of coatempbiin^ diflfervnt propositions togetber, I 
conld ibaw no luch coacluiion ; the conclniion therefore reSHln from tlua CDm* 
prehtDii*e power of the mind ; and ruton ii the tnil or band that ties ifae baniUc 
of our Kparate iiieai, or the [ogiai/aicitfiiu togetlicr. 

3S» 




THE LATE MR. CURRAN 

are al! ol white marbEe ; the pillar directly facing mc is ddp of the 
hundred i therefore that pillar is also of white marble ' — would not 
this be arrant crifting both with my own underatandiag and with thai 
of any one who had p.iiirnce to hear me ? Bm if I were to eee s 
nucnber of pillars reBembling each oihci in omward appearance, and 
oti exaniiniag all of them but one, found them of white marble and 
concluiied that that one was of white marble coo, there would be 
■omc common lensc in this, but no logic. The mind, however, has 
a natural bias lo wrap up ii« concluMooe (of whatever kind or degree) 
in regular forms of worda, and to deposit them in an impoung frame- 
work of demonstratioi) { it prefers the shadow of certainty to the 
«ubetaacc of truth and candour ; and will not, if it can help it, leave 
a single loop-hole for doubt to creep in at. Hence the tribe of 
logicians, dogmatists, and rerhitl pretenders of atl tom. 



THE LATE MR. CURRAN 

TM* Aif«<.] [jlfril 26, tSa9. 

' This celebrated wit and tirator in his tatter days was a little in the 
back-ground. He had lodgings at Brompton ; and riding into town 
ooe day, and hearing two gentlemen in the Park disputing about 
Mathews's Curran, lie said— * In faith, it's the only Mr. Curran,tbat 
is ever talked of now-a-days.' He had some c^ualms about certain 

• peccadillos of his past life, and wanted to make confessors of his 
friends. Certainty, a monaitery is no unfit retreat fur tho«c who have 
been fed away by the ihoughtleis vivacity of youth, and wish to keep 
up the excitement by turning the tables on themselves in age. The 

I crime and the remorac are merely the alternations of the same 
passionate temperament. Mr. Curran had a dash of the eye, a 
musical intonation of voice, such as we have never known excelled. 
Mt. Mathews's imitation of him, though it had been much admired, 
doe« not come up to the original. Some of his bursts of forensic 
elo<iuence deserve to be immortal, such as that appalling expression 
applied to a hired spy and informer, that he *had been buried as a 

»man, and was dug up a witness.' A person like this might fiod 
langosge to describe the late thou at Edinburgh. Mr. Curran did 
not ahiae ao much ia Parliament ; but he sometimes succeeded 
admirably in turning the laugh against his opponents. He com- 
pared the situation of government after they had brought over a 
member of Opposition to their side, and found the renegado of 
DO uae to them, to the story of the country-gentleman who bought 
Punch and complained of his turning out dull company, ^onie of 
VOL. XII. : z 35$ 




THE COURT JOURNAL— A DIALOGUE 

Mr. Curran'a tmt-^Holi and nlltn of humour were finc-nue. Hr mw 
time* indulged in poetry, in which he did not rxccL Hii tafU i&« 
was but iodifferent. He neitlier liked ParaJijt Luttt Dor lUmn mi 
Ju&a. He hod an ear for muuc, and both ptaycd and mug hit natiw 
ballads delightfully. He coDtended that the English had oo iiiijiwl 
music He was an eathusiastic admirer of Mrs. Siddoaf. He ail 
of John Keroble, that, ' he had an eye rather to /ooi at thu 10 lat 
tL/db,' His great pAsston was a lore of Hngli&h literature and tir 
society of literary men. He occanontUy found hii account na n. 
Bong ODC day io a group of philoMphen, and the iaveotioa d' in 
being spoken of, one of the party auggested that it was from KCnii 
horse's »hoe strike fire; 'and I suppose/ said Curran trtocnphuUT, 
*the horseshoe was afterwards made with that 6rr.' 



THE COURT JOURNAL^A DIALOGUE 

M. — Have you »eea the Comi Jeuma/l 

G, — No: I only read aome 'Maxims on Love,' which I 

to hare met with in some iire-cxistent work. 

M. — Then you may tell C — from me it will not last cbree montht. 
People of fashion do not want to read accounu of themaclrcs, writtto 
by those who know nothing of the matter. This eternal baUtlc abon 
high life is an a^onc to every one else, and an impertinence witb 
respect to those whom it ia scupidly meant to flatter. What do tboie 
care about tiresome descriptions of satin ottomans and ormolu carruigtt 
who are sick of seeing them from morning till night ? No ! ilwy 
would rather read an .iccnunt of Donald Bean Lean's Highland cave, ■ 
strewed with rushes, or a relation of a row in a oight-cellar in St. ■ 
Giles's. What they and a1t mankind want, is to rary the monotonotu 
round of their existence ; to go out of themselves as much as possible; 
and not to have their own opprcMtve and idle pretensions served up to 
them again in a hash of mawkish ifTectation. They read Coi&€ti — it 
ia like an electrical shack to them, or a plunge in a cold-bath : it 
braces while it jar6 their enervated libres. He is a sturdy, blunt 
yeoman : the other is a foppish footman, dressed up in cast-off £Dcry. 

Or if Lord L is delighted with * description (not well-done) of 

bis own house and furniture, do you suppose that Lord H , who 

is bis rival in gewgaws and upholstery, will not be equally aneasy at 
it? As 10 the vulgar, what they like is to see Jtne sights and not 
to hear of iliem. They like to get inside a fine bouse, to see fine 

3?4 



THE COURT JOURNAL— A DIALOGUE 

ihtngfi and touch them if they dare, and noi to be tantalized widi a 
vapid inventory, which docs nut gratify their senBCt, and mortifies their 
pride and Dense of privation. The exaggerated admiration only makvt. 
the exclueioQ more painful : it is like a staring sign to a show which 
one has not money ia odc'i pocket to pay for seeing. Mere furniture 
or private property can never be a subject to intereflt the public : the 
poiKHor ii entitled to the »ole benefit of it. If there were an account 
in the newspaper thai all this finery was burnt to ashet, then all the 
world would be eager to read it, saying all the time how sorry they 
were, and what a Ehocktng thing it was. 

G. — Servants and country-peoptc always turn to ihe accidents and 
offences in a newspaper. 

M. — And their masters and mistresses too. Did you never read 
the bfewgait Calendar ? 

G Yes. 

M. — Well, that is nat genteel. This is what renders the Beggat'x 
Optra so delightful ; you despise the actors in the scctte, and yet the 
wit gaits and brings down their hettrrt from their airy flight with all 
their borrowed plumage, w that we arc put absolutely at our ease for 

the time with respect to our own darling pretensions. G was 

here the other evening ; he said he thought the Beggar's Opera came 
after Shaks|)eare. I wonder who put that in his head ; it was hardly 
hii own discovery. 

G. — It seems neither Lord Byron nor Burke liked the Beggar't 
Opera. 

M, — They were the losers by that opinion: but how do you 
account for it? 

G. — Lord Byron was a radical peer, Burke an upstart plebeian ; 
neither of them felt quite secure in the tuebt where tliey had stationed 
themselves from the random-shots that were flying on the nage. 
They could not uy with Hamlet, < Our withers are unwrunc;.* As to 
Lord Byron, he might not relish the point ot Mrx. Pea^huins speech, 
* Marriwl a highwayman ! Why, husscy, you will be as ill-treated 
and as much neglected as if you had married a lord !* Did you ever 

hear the story of Miss , when she was quite a girl, going to see 

Mrs. Siddoni in the Falal Marriagt, and being taken out fainting into 
the lobby, and calling out, ' Oh B'tron, BirwiV — ' Egad !' said the 
cool narrator of the story, 'she has had enough of Byron since !' 
With regard to Burke, there was a rotten core, a Scrbonian bog in 
his understanding, in which not only Gay's master-piece but the whole 
of what modern literature, wit, and reason had done far the world, 
jnk and was swallowed up in a fetid abyss for ever I But I am 
)rry you ihioli no better of tlie Caurt Journal. I was in ho[>rs 

355 



THE COURT JOURNAI^A DIALOGUE 




it might succeed, u a very old frieod of mine hu someUuBf to da 
■with it. 

M. — Oh i but mischief riubc be put a stop to. Xhi« U the 
aauteout toad-eatm^, and it i» a« swkwardly done as it is ill- 
There ta a fulsome pretence act up in one paper that rank connui ib 
birth and blood. It it at once to neutniiie all the present race ti 
fashion. The civil wars of Yotk and Laocaater put an end to aJidok 
all the old nobility — there arc nooe of ihc Planiagettets left dot. 
ThoHc who go to court think themselves lucky if they can uace at 
far back as ihc Nell Cwynns and Duchess of Clevelaods in Charla 
the Second's days. Besides, all this prejudice about notMltly and 
ancestry should be understood and worshipped in ailence and at i. 
distance, not thrown in the teeth of such people, as if they hid 
nothing else to boast of. They should be told of perfectiooi wbidi 
they have net, as you praise a wit for her bcaury and a fool for her 
wit. Your friend should read Count GrammoiU to learn liaw to flatter 

and cajole. Uocs not Mr. C know enough from experience of 

the desire of lords and ladies to turn authors, and abioe, not in a 
ballruun), but on Mr counter ? 

G. — He expects the K to write ; nay, it was with diiGculqr 

he was dissuaded from offering a round sum. 

M. — How much, pray ? 

G. — Five thousand guineas for half a page. 

M. — It would not sell a single copy. People would think, jt 
hoax and would not buy it. Those who believed it would not 
it. Oh ! there is a letter of Louis xvui. in a late ntimber, on 
death of some lady he was attached (o : it is prettily dooe, but it ■> 
such good English, chat I suspect it can hardly be a translation or aa 
original. If they could procure curious documents of this kind, and 
had a magazine of the secrets, anecdotes, and correspondence of 
people of high rank, undoubtedly it would answer; but this would be 
another edition of the Jockey Cluh, and very different from its prcseni 
insipidity. Kvcn children will nut be crammed with honey. 

u. — I understand there is to be no scandal. All the great an 10 
be supposed to be elegantly good, and to wear Tirtue with a grace 
peculiar to people of fashion. 

M. — Thai will at any rate be new. And then I sec there are 
criticisms on pictures : the wruer is thrown into raptures with the 
portraits of Lord and Lady Castlereagh. And this is followed by a 
drawling, pitiable account of two litdc Corrcgios, as if they were 
miracles and had descended frotn heaven — the ' Madonna* and 'Mer- 
cury teaching Cupid to read.' They ate well enough, though Sir 
Joshua has done the same thing better. But higher praise could not 



i 



4 

D the ■ 
il it ■ 




THE LATE DR. PRIESTLEY 

be larished on ihc ' St. Jerome ' or the * Night at Dresden,' or the 
' Ceiling at Parma,' which is his bett, though it has fatlen inio 
decay. 

G. — CoUectora think one Corrcgio just as good a« another ; and it 
in 10 meet this feeling, pobaWy, that ihc article is written. 



THE LATE DR. PRIESTLEY 

TiM AtUt.} [/mm 14, tSt9. 

The epithet of the latf cooU not be applied to this celebrated 
character in the senie in which it has been turned upon some /a/e 
wits and dinncr-huniers as never being in time; if he had a fault, it 
waa that of being precipitate and premature^ of sitting down to the 
banquet which he had prepared for others before it was half-done ; of 
seeing things with too quick and hatty a glance, of finding them in 
embryo, and leaving them too often in an unfinished stale. This 
turn of his intellefrt had to do with his natural temper — he was 
impatient, »omewhat peevish and irriuble in little things, though not 
from violence or acerbity, but from seeing what was proper to be 
done quicker than others, and not liking to wait for an absurdity. 
On great and trying occaeions, he was calm and reaigncd, having 
been schooled by the lesions of religion and philosophy, or, perhaps, 
front being, as it were, taken by surprise, and never having been 
accustomed to the indulgence of strong passions or violent emotions. 
His trame was light, fragile, neither strong nor elegant; and in going 
to any nlacc, he walked on before his wife (who was a tall, powerful 
woman) with a primitive simplicity, or av if a certain rcstlessneu and 
huiTy impelled him on with a projectile force before others. His 
personal appearance was aJtogcthcr lingular and characteristic. It 
belonged to the class which may be called jcb^fatiic. His feel 
seemed to ha*e been entangled in a gown, his features to have 
been set in a wig or taken out of a mould. There was nothing to 
induce yoo (o say with the poet, that • his body thought' ; it was 
merely the envelop of hit mind. In his face there was a strange 
mixture of acutenrKs and obtuseneSA ; the nose was sharp and turned 
up, yet rounded at the end, a keen glance, a quivering lip, yet the 
aspect placid and indifferent, without any of that expreiiion which 
ariKB either from the close workings of the pauions or an tniercourse 
with the world. You diicovered the prim, formal look of the 
Dissenter — none of the haughtiness of the churchman nor the wild- 
new oF the visionary. He was, in fact, always the iiudcnt in his 
dotetf moved in or out, as it happened, with no perceptible variation; 

557 



THE LATE DE. PEEESTLET 



^ 



braFnxk 

be vas dc 

MU Ebe Afr. Sa«W. » W 

E-dH^ Vafan^) ,srr fro. 



■VR H pOKfryi or bob 
flMfc iasw IMP of I 

—nrtr fci rifa g Ae ■piacf «J Mi f Lfcy afwimj afhm 

k wy he ifely JMOttJ ik« dKic ■ aetM ohic— . — iwwrr ■ di 

Wwnce. TUte tt4» nm mmf rmd. " 1>iiTiiij. j^iw. 

b«, poliba, diiiaNy, nct^kjac^ aad bmbu ft^tmafhy^—tmi tkme 

vlw pcTVMd BM vofKi nttoco tBmicnci cwdyy sod vcic n i 
gnat Maanc, mama* of ill ifcctt «b)retK. He va* one of tbr 

fl«ry fev lAo ooaU make ahmrmt qvadaa* pofolar ; aad ia tUl 
roptct be WM M s psr with Palcy with ratntr tiac« fak Jmc mcw w- 
■Ma aad mittlety. ralry** looae cuwcry, vluch u hia ■ mjf .fcoM 

aod chief xttractioB, be got (every wora of h) from Afar^uoi 
Tocker'a f-^^t ^ Natwre. A mta nay write fiaeotly cm a noflibcT 
of to{rica with the »uk pea, sad tiat pea a very hhu ooe ; bot dit* 
waa BOt Dr. Pricstley'icaae ; the stadiea to which be devoted hintidf 
with ao moch soccesa and eefat itx\\attA dttfermi and almon iocon- 
patiUc facultiea. What for ioiuace can be more diitinct or morr 
rarely combined than mrtaphyiical refioemeot aod a talent for experi- 
mcaul phiioaophy ? The ooe picki up the grains, the other apim 
the threads of ihouRhu Yet Dr. Prieadey was certainly the beat 
cottCrOTCnialial of hit day, aod one of the best in the laogoa^e ; aod 
hia ehemical experimeou (so curious a variety io a diiientiog miaiater's 
pnrKUtu) laid the foundation aod often nearly comptrted the aoper- 
■tractare of most of the modern discorcriei in that science. This is 
Ctodidly and gratefully acknowledged by the French cbemiKii 
however the odium thiologicum may slur orer the obligation io this 
CDuntryi or certain fashionable lecturers may avoid the repetition of 
surtling naniet. Priestley's Controverjy mtk Dr. Prict is a roaaur- 
|rirce not only of ingenuity, vigour, and Logical dearncsc, but of verbal 
dexterity and artful evaKion of difficullics, if any ooe need a model of 
thin kind. His aotagoniil stood no chance with him in ' tlic dazzling 



THE LATE DR. PRIESTLEY 



» 



feace of argumeat,' and yet Di. Price wi« nu mean man. We 
thoaltl like to bate seen a tilning-bout on some point of ■chola«iic 
divioity between the little Presbyterian parson aod the great Goliath 
of modern Calvinism, Mr. Irving; he would have had his huge 
Caledonian boar^pear, his Patagonian club out of his hacd* in a 
twinkling with his sharp Unitarian foil. The blear-eyed demon of 
vulgar dogmatitm and intolerance would have taken his revenge by 
goasbing his teeth, rolling his eyes in a resistless phrensy, and 
denouncing as out of the pale of Christian charity a man who placed 
bis chief comfort in this lite in bis hope of the next, and who would 
have walked lirnily and cheerfully to a stake in the fulness of his 
beliefof the Christian revelation. Out t; pen chcte pulpit demtgorgons, 
* Antluopagi and men who eat each other,' to gratify the canine 
malice and inward gnawing of their morbid understand iogi, and 
worse than the infuriated savage, not contented to kill Hie body, 
would 'cast both body and soul into hell ; ' and unless they can sec 
from their crazy thrortes of spirituat pride and mountebank enrontcry. 
tbc whole world cowering like one outstretched congregation in a 
level sea of bare heads and upturned wondering looks at their feet, 
prone and passive, and aghast under tlve thunders of llieir voice, the 
Hashes of their eye — would snatch Heaven's own bolt to convert the 
solid globe into a sea of 6re to torture millions of their fellow-creatures 
in for the slightest difference of opinion from them, or dissent from 
the authority of a poor, writhing, agonised reptile, who works himself 
up in imagination by raving and blasphemy into a sort of fourth 
person in the Trinity, and would avenge bis mortified ambition, his 
moonstruck-madness, and ebbing popularity as the wrongs of the MosT 
High! — * Nay, an you mouth, we'll rant as well as you!'- — To 
return to Dr. Priestley and common sense, if it he possible to get 
down these from the height oi melo-Jramatu and apocalyptic orthodoxy. 
We do not place the subject of this notice in the first class of meta- 
physical reasoucrs either for originality or candour : but in boldnesa 
of inquiry, qoickneu, and elasticity of mind, and case in making 
himself understood, he had no superior. He had wit too, though 
this was a rritource to which he resorted only in extreme cases. 
Mr. Coleridge once threw a respectable dissenting congregation into 
an unwonted forgctfiilnesa of their gravity, by reciting a description, 
from the pen of the transatlantic fugitive, of the manner in which the 
first man might Bct about nisking himself, accuidiog to the doctrine 
of the Atheists. Mr. Coleridge put no marks of quotation either 
before or after the passage, which was extremely groteique tnd 
ludicrous ; hut imbibed the whole of the applause it met with in his 
tiickeriog smiles and oLIy countciuncc. Dr. Priestley's latter years 

3S9 



SECTS AND PARTIES 

wrre unhappily emfaiu^rcd by bit unaratling appral* to the Fmd 
pbUo«opher« in be-half of the ChhttUo religion ; sod abo by doQMk 
micTortitnei, to which noac but a Cobbett could bare ailodeil ia tem 
of mutnph. We tee no end to ihe rascality of human nanrt; t! 
that there U good in it i< the coostaot butt of the baae and bnttaL 



SECTS AND PARTIES 

Tit AiIm.] {Aagnt a, 1S19. 

We from our soula siocercly bate all cabals and coterwi and (buii 
our chief objection to sects and partiea. People who set op to judp 
for thcmtclies on every question that come* before them, and qaarrt! 
with rccnTcd opinions and established usages, ftntJ ao little aynipailiT 
from the rest of the world that they are gud to get any ooe to a|ret 
with them, and with that prorieo the poorest creature becomeft ^eir 
Magnut jlpoUo. The mind sets out indeed in search of troth and ob 
a principle of independent inquiry ; but is so Ihtle able to do witbacl 
leaning on someone elae for eocouj-agemeot and support, thai we 
presently see those who ha»e tepsrated themselves from the mert 
mob, and the great masses of prrju<iice and o[)inion, forming into 
litde groups of their own nnd appealing to one another's approbatioa, 
as if they had secured a monopoly of common sense acid reason. 
Wherever two or three of this sort are gathered together, there a 
self-conceit in the midst of them. * You grant me judgment, and I 
grant you wit * — is the Itey-notc from which an admirable duett, trio, 
or quartett of the understanding may be struck up at any time to the 
entire satisfaction of the parties concerned, Uiough the bye^standm 
may be laughing at or execrating the unuTlcomc discord. The 
principle of all reform U this, that there is a tendency to dogmatism, 
to credulity and intolerance in the human mind itself, at n-cM as io 
certain systems of bigotry or superstition ; and until reformers are 
themaelvcs aware of, and guard carefully against, the natural iofinnity 
which besets them in common with all others, they must necetaarily 
run into the error which tJiey cry out against. Without this self- 
knowledge and circumspection, though the great wheel of vulgar 
prejudice and craditionaJ authority may be stopped or slackened in its 
course, we shall only have a number of small ones of petulance, coo> 
tradiction, and partisanship set a-going to our jrequent and daily 
annoyance in its place: or (to vary the fguriO instead of crowdtog 
bto a common stage-coach or hum-drum vehicle of opinion to arrive 
at a conclusion, every man will be for mounting his own ve/orififA, 
run up against hifl neighbours, and exhaust his breath and agitate hia 
360 



SECTS AND PAHTIKS 



limbs in »iin. In Mr. Bcntbam's Booi of Fallacies we apprehend 
are not to be found the crying sins of singularity, rath jiulgnieDt, and 
self-applauae. What boots it, we might ask, to get rid of ic*t§ and 
subscription to thirty-nine articles of orthodox belief, if, in lieu of 
this wholesale and comprehensive mode of exercising authority over 
our fellows, a Dogma is placed upon the table at breakfast time, iits 
down with us to dinner, or is laid on our pillow at night, rigidly 
prescrihitig what we are to eat, drink, and how many hours we arc to 
sleep I Or be it that the authority of ArittotJe and the schooUmen is 
gone by, what sliall the humble and seriouH in<)uirer after truth profit 
by it, if he still cannot say that his soul is his own for the niblimc 
dulnrss of Mr. Maculloch, and the Dunctad of political vcoDomists i 
The imprimatur of the Star-Chamber, the cum pri'vilegio rrgu is taken 
oJf from printed books — what docs the freedom of the press or 
liberality of sentiment gain, if a board of Utility at Charing-crosa must 
affix its stamp, before a jest can find its way into a newspaper, or 
must knock a flower of speech on the head with the alcdge-hammcr 
of cynical reform ? The clovcn-foot, the over-weening, impatient, 
exclusive spirit breaks out in different ways, in different times and 
circumstances. While men are quite ignorant and in the dark, they 
trust to others, and force you to do bo under pain of fire and faggot : 
— ^when they have learned a little they think they know every thing, 
and would compel you to comform to that opinion, under pain of their 
impenirence, niaj edict ions, and sarcasms, which are the modem rack 
and thumb-screw. The mode of torture, it must be confessed, is 
refined, though the intention in the same. Their ill-temper and want 
of toleration fall the hardest on their own side, for those who adhere 
to fashion and power care no more about their good or ill word, than 
about the short, nnmelodious gruntings of any other sordid stye. 
But how is any poor devil who has got into their clutches to shelter 
himself from their malevolence and party-spite? Why, by enlisting 
tinder their banners, swearing to all that they say, and going all 
lengths with them. Otherwise, he is a black theep in the flock, and 
made a butt of by the rest. This is a self-evident process. For the 
fewer people any sect or party have to sympathise with them, the 
more entire naust that ^^ympaihy be : it must be without flaw or 
blemi«h, as a set-off to the numbers on the ochcr side ; and they who 
set up to he wiser than all the world put together, cannot afford to 
acknowledge themselves wrong in any particular. You must, there- 
fore, agree to all their sense or nonsense, allow them to be judges 
equally of what they do or do not understand, adopt their cant, repeat 
their jargon, have no notions but what they have, caricature their 
absurdities) make yourself obooxious for their Bati8factioo> and a stave 

361 



CONVERSATIONS AS GOOD AS REAL 



beauty. Cootd Hogarth have painicd this ? Yet ben was a nat 
quite in hit wajr* He wEectt what is bad in St. GUec's, not whtiB 

best in nature. That old Mother W . lives for erer. It «ii 

she who decoyed away Emily Coitntry that eat to Sir Jothoa fwba 
Thais, She was a chintncy-swecpcr't daughter, or somethmf d 

that kind ; but she was a vast beauty, and Mother W foood te 

out Id ipitc of her ragt and dirt. She had a hawk's eye for anyil at 
of this iOTi. I sat facing her once in an u[)per box at the Open. I 
nerer taw such an expression — her look went through yoti. 

7*. — But I suppose you looked at her again. 

J. — Fielding has tried to deacribe Sophia as a beauty, but ottbi 
a wretched hand of it. He says first she was a beauty ; and then o 
let you know what sort of a )>eauty she was, that she was like die 
f^tnuj o/MeJtti; then that her nose inclined to be Roman, whid 
the yenut de Media' t does not t then that she resembled KnelWi 
portrait of Lady Kanclagh, which is like neither. The truth it, be 
did not know what^he was like; nor that he could not in worda pn 
a description of beauty, which is the painter's province. 

T. — Coleridge usc^l to remark that detcriptioo was the vice of 
poetry, and allegory of painting. 

J. — Nothing can be better said. Since you told mc that remark 
of his about Paul am} Vtrginiay tie has risen vastly in my estimatioa. 
Again, why does the correspondent in the Atlaa uke me up short for 
uying that * we laugti at a person who is rolled in the gutter f * He 
observes on this, * if it is itn accident, the laughter is silly, aod not a 
case in point; if inHicted as a punishment for some petty injustice^ 
we do not laugh, but rub our hands.' So that we are to laugh in 
oeicber case. Is the ridicule meriied where the cobbler, in the 
* Election Dinner,' has sinutteil the face of his next neighbour ? Or 
does the cobbler laugh the less, or will he not laugh on for ever^ on 
this account } Hns nol Hogarth immortalised this piece of sillioess 
in this disgraceful scene? Who will set limits (by the author't 
cramle) to the length to which he loth out his tongue, or to the 
portentous rolling of his eyes in a squint of ecstasy ? In the sly leer 
and drooping of the widow's eyelids, or the position of the parson's 
hands in the * Harlot's FunerLiI,' drawing as welt as character and 
invention J Or is the fighting of the dog and the man for the bone 
on 3 perfect footing of equality (to show that hunger levels all dis- 
tinctions), or the mother letting the child fall over the wall in the ' Gin- 
lane,' or the girl in the ■ Noon,' * with her pie-dish tottering like her 
virtue, and the contents running over,' (as I have seen it Bomewherr 
expressed,) ao example of skill in drawing? It i* easy to paint a 
lace without a nose, or with a wry one; the di^culty is to make it 

364 



CONVERSATIONS AS GOOD AS REAL 



ri<. 

h 



itrught. Few pcnoat can draw a circle ; my one may draw a 
crooked line. 

T. — But has not Hogarth hit off the exact character and expret- 
Mon ; and is not that 3 proof of the painter's hand and eye ? 

J. — It may be « ; but you cannot be sure of it. The corretpon- 
denc ot the paper laugbe at the idea of lioganh'a coming under the 
article of writing. He 6m come under the anicle of writiog. Docs 
not the critic tpeak of his ' immortal ules I ' Does Nf r. Lamb 
expatiate on the drawing, colour, and effects of light and ihade* or 
only on the moral and story ? He has left out one half of the 
language of painting in the prints ; and they arc the better for it. Nor 
do I Kc what objection there is to the comparison of Hogarth to 
buffoons on the stage. For my part, I think Listen comes much 
nearer to Hogarth than Kmery's Tyh ; and 1 am rare his Lcni 
GriaaJt ta just ae good in tU v>ay as anything can possibly be. Why 
then does the critic scout the comparison f Because it would be 
ridiculous to say, that Llston's Lord Grizzle u as fine as Mrs. Siddons'a 
Latfy Maebrih ; that both fulfilled their partt) equally, and that neither 
could do more without infrioging 00 the integrity of their characters. 
Vet if the dignity of the subject is to be left out of the question, 
Liston may be put into the scale with Mrs. Stddons just as well as 
Emery ; but if not, then neither one nor the otiicr can. Any one 
fiar me may say he likes Puneb and the pvppti-thov} as well as the 
finest tragedy — I should think it hontst and natural enough — ^but 1 
hate putting up at a half-way house between farce and tragedy, and 
pretending that there is no difference in the ca«e. Persons who have 
no laste for, but an aversion to whatever is great and elevated, are 
ashamed openly to patronise farce, lest they should be laughed at ; 
and they, therefore, get something intermediate between that and 
tragedy, and set it up as the finest thing in the world, to escape 
ridicule and satisfy their own perrenc incliaatioo. It ii ccccssary to 
set one's face against such vulgar critics ; for, like other vulgar people, 
'"you do not keep them quite out, they will constantly encroach and 

rn you out of your most settled convictions with theii mongrel 
theories. 

T. — What is the aim of all high tragedy ? It is to resolve the 
sense of pain or Buffcrtng into the sense oi power by the aid of imagi< 
nation, and by grandeur of conception and character. What is the 
object of Hogartli's tragicomedy ? To reverse this order : that ia, he 
gives us the extremest distress in the mo«t revolting circnmitancea 
aod in connection with (he most unfeeling and weakest characters, so 
AB cither to produce the utmost disgust or excite as little sympathy as 
possible. Why must maternal affection be displayed, and, as it were. 




CONVERSATIONS AS GOOD AS REAL 

T, — Cribbc i« an original writer ; bin it is to be hoped k «i 
have few followers. Mr. Lamb, by nfteDing thr iH ' \ n»^ t r * ! i kMvH^ <* 
one of his ulcs, hat taken out the itJng. 

J, — Hogaith U an exception to general rule* ; I sud bo b^ta. 
He is the only great comic painter ; and he is so for thii mHD— 
that patQttog i> not the motber-coaguc of comedy. Would not tls 
be allowed of sculpture? I hare not teen tbe * Tain 0*S|uDtcr'i bn 
■ome Scotch critica are already, 1 hear, for exploding tbe oaMft. 
Faioting i* a dry, plodding art { a bottle-rKwe, if you come to »-yMw«» 
it cloKty, become* a. rery dull affair. We tali of a faamp-baclE or i 
Bore leg, which is enough of a good thing; tbe painter is obfiged » 
give them entire, which is too much. Neitbei can he cany oJF tip 
groMoew by brilliancy of illustration, or rapidity of narratiTC Tk 
eye and the mind uke in a j^roup or a succcKiion of incideou is u 
iQitant : the hand follows lamely and slowly after, and naturally loMt, 
in tlic nieclunical details of each object, the surprise, odd Rarts, ud 
contratta, which arc the life of comedy. Hogarth aloDCr by fail 
double allusions, and by his giving motion (which is tim«} overcuK 
this difficulty, or pinted as if he were no painter, but act down cidi 
figure by a stroke of the pencil, or in a kind of siwt-hand of the art, 
being obliged to run neither into caricatore nor Btill-Iife. Thb 
extreme facility or lenaciousness (amonoting to a two-fold Uoguip) 
was his peculiar /ffr-f<, and that in which he was, and will rnnatni o- 
rtvalled. Ductow acts romances on hor^-back ; but it ia oot the 
best way of acting them ; and few wilt imitate him without brcakiBf 
their necks. 

7'. — Do oot the same remark* apply in some measure to paiotiitf 
history I 

J. — In some measure, they do ; and therefore graiK] attd dtgniAcd 
subjects are to general to be preferred to the more violent azid dis- 
tressing ones. Therefore Titian's portraits are on a par with history. 
You who admire Titian, how you must look at Hogarth ! Yoo tee 
they avoid the sight of blood even oa the stage. In short, it ii a 
qocstion, whether low and disagreeable subjects are (it to be painted ; 
and Sir Joshua, among others, did not much approve of tbcm. It is 
nor a question whether grace and grandeur are iit subjects for painting 
— this alone seulcs the preference, and is some excuse for tbe author 
of the D'uc9ur$rt in perhaps making it a little too exclusire. If it were 
true that Hogarth is universal, or contains the highest kind of ex- 
cellence, no one would dispute about bim. After all, a burtiygmrih 
is neither a lute nor an organ. 



368 



CONVERSATIONS AS GOOD AS REAL 



CONVERSATIONS AS GOOD AS REAL (») 



I 



Tit Aitu.\ 

r._w„ I 



[Ntvemhtr i, 1SZ9. 



ight 



be 



error 



that 



sUling : 
character \% one things and to l>r judged of from a lioglr circum- 
stance? The iimplicity of langiufie constantly runs us into false 
abstraccioni. We call a man by one name, and forget the help of 
contradictions of which he is compoied. An acc^uaintancc was wonder- 
iog not long ago, how a man of ^czat that he mentioned could be 
guilty of such absurdities in practice-. I answered that a man's 
undersunding often had no more influence over his will than if they 
belonged to two different persons ; nor frequently so much^ since wc 
somctimea conii<:nted to be goremed by advice, thoDgh we could not 
controul our pasNona if left to onrseUes. 

J. — That is Tt^ry true ; but I do not see why you should express 
so much eagcmets about it^ as If yoor life depended dq it. 

7'.— Nor I neither : I was not aware that I did so. 

J. — You lay too much stress on these spccuUtire opinions arxl 
abstruse distinctions. You fancy it is the love of truth : it is quite as 
much the pride of understanding. Are you as ready to be conrinced 
yourself as you are bent 00 convincing others ? You and those like 
you pretend to benefit mankind by diKCuvering something new ; but 
you con find out nothing that has not been invented and forgotten a 
hundred times. The world turns round jutt the same, in spite of the 
chirping of all the grasshoppers or squabbles of all the philosopher* 
upon it. I told G. so the other day, who did not much like it — 
I laid he gave a power of crtatioH to the human mind, which did 
not belong to it. Even Shakspcare, who was ao original and taw 
so deeply into the springs of nature, created nothing: he only 
brought forward what existed before. I said, ' You may observe ai»d 
combine, but you can add nothing — neither a colour to the rainbow, 
nor a note to music, nor a faculty to the mind. And it 's well that 
you cannot i for my belief is, that if you could create the smallest 
thing, the world would not last ihree months, so little arp you to 
be trusted with power.* G. retorted by a charge of misamhropy; 
and I asked him who were those dtgnifiers of the s|>ecies to whom 
he wished me to look up with so much awe and reverence. He 
aoawered, somewhat to my surprise, Burke, Fox, and Sheridan. I 
expected he would ha^e named Lord Bacon, or some of those. 1 
was Dot much staggered by his authorities. 

7". — I did not know G. was so parliaincntsry : he might, while 
he was about it, have mentioned the three last speakers of the 

VQU xii. : 2 A 369 





TRIFLES LIGHT AS 

HouK of CommoDB, Lord Colchnter, Lord Sidmoiitb, ud )t*. 
Onilow. 

J. — He ahould have gone farther off: il ja diuance thai bids 
defects and magnttie«. So it U with that prejudice of cl»«aic>l lesn- 
ing. You lock up namet in sn otxolete language, and liicjr becoat 
ucred. I do not wish to tprak against a cUudcal educatun; t 
refine* and aoftcni, 1 gram : and I see the want of it in CotAm, 
and others, who may be regarded as upitarts In leuera. Bet tuirly 
it often gives a (iilte etrimate of men and things. Every oDe broB|kt 
Dp in coUcg«T at)d drugged with Latin and Greek for a aombcr ol 
years, firmly believes that there have hern about fivt people in the vnrU, 
amd that toey arc dtad. All that actually exiscsf he holds to bt 
nothing. The world about him ta a phiiDtasmagoria : he cootidm 
it a personal alfront that any oik should have common sense, or be ibk' 
to hod his way along the street, without looking for it in Plato « 
Aristode. The classical standard turns shadows into realities aoi 
realities into shadows. A man of sense it trying to get tbc better ot 
this early prejudice all his tifcf and hardly succeeds, after in&we 
mortifi cation, at last. The dunces and pedants arc the beat of; 
they never luspect that there is any wisdom in the world but thai of 
the ancients, of which they are the depoutaries. 

T. — 1 do not think G. goes that length ; but be only exisu is 
his pauion for books and for literary fame. You canoot iihock bin 
more than by <iue*tioning any e«ublishcd repuution. , 

J. — Yes, he conceives himself to be a free-thinker, and yrt U a ■ 
bigot in his way. 1 

7'. — Men will have some idol, some mythology of their own — the 
dii mjfor» or minore* — something that they think greater than theo- 
selves, or that they would wish to resemble ; and G. would be 
as angry at a sceptic on the subject of Burke's style, as a CachoUt 
would be at a heretic who denied the virtues and miracles of toi 
patron taint. 



TRIFLES LIGHT AS AIR 

Tht Ails$1 [Stfiemitr vj tmd Oetthtt 4, i9a). 

I. There is no flattery so gro«s or extravagant but it will be accept- 
able. It leaves some stin^; of pleasure behind, since its very excess' 
seems to imply that there must be some foutidation for it. Tell the 
ugliest pcrEon in the world that he is the bandsomcsc, the greateit fbtd 
that he is a wit, and he will bcheve and thank you. There ts a 
possibility at leas: that you may be sincere. Even the sycophaot'i 
370 




II. There is no abuse so foul or unprovoked but some pirt of it 
will jiick. Ill words break the charm of good deeds. Call a man 
names all the year round, and at the end of the year (for no other 
reason) his best friends will not care to mentioa his name. It is no 
pleasant reflection that a man has hren accused, however unjustlyi of 
I folly or a crime. Wc inToluntarily aMociatc words with things ; 
and the imagination rcuins an unfarourahle impression tonj^ after the 
undcrstarding is diiabuacd. Or if we repel the charge and resent 
the injuBiicc, this is making a toil of a plcuure, and our cowardice 
and indolence soon take part with the malice of mankind. The 
usailants arc always the more courageous party. It degiadci a nun 
even to be subjected to undeserved reproach, for it seems as if with- 
out some flaw or blemish no one would dare m attack him ; so that 
the viler and more unprincipled the abuse, the lower it sinkf>, not him 
who otfers, but him who is the object of it, in general estimation. If 
we sec a man covered with mud wc avoid bim without expressing 
the cause. The favourites of the public, like Cxsar's wife, muat not 
be suspected ; and ic is enough if we admire and bear witness to the 
superiority of another under the most favourable circumstances — to 
do this in spite of secret calumny and vulgar clamour is a pitch of 
generosity which the world has not arrived at. 

III. A certain manner makes more conquetu than either wit or 
beauty. Suppose a wom.-i;n to have a graceful ease of deportment, and 
a mild self-possession pervading every look and tone of voice; this 
exercises an immediate ioHuencc on a person of an opposite and 
irritable temperament — ic calms and enchants him at once. It it like 
soft music entering the room — from that time he can only breathe in 
her presence, and to be torn from her is to be torn from himself for 
ever. 

IV. Fame and popularity are ttuparatt quaatilies, havbg no 
common measure. A poet or painter now living may be as great as 
■ay poet or painter that ever did live ; and if he be so, he will be so 
tbooght of by future ages, but he cannot by the present. Persons of 
overweening vanity and shortsighted ambition, who would forestall 
the n»eed of fame, show themselves unworthy of it, for they reduce it 
to a level with the reputation they have already earned. Thry 
should surely leave something to look forward to. It Is weighing 
dross against gold— comparinf; a meteor with ihe pular star. Lord 
Byron's nArrowncss or presumption in this respect wu rcmaikabJe. 

371 




amicably you may gaio a clear insight into itj if you dispute about it 
you only throw duat in one anoth^'a eyes. In all angry or viotnt 
cootroTcray, youi object is not to learn wudom, but to prove ygur 
adversary a fool ; and in this respect, it muM be admitted, both pamn 

usually succeed. 

X. Envy is the ruling passion of manldod. The explanation ii 
obvioui. Ab we are of infinitely more importaoce in our own cya 
than all the world beside, the chief bent and study of the mind ii 
directed to impress others with this self-eTident but disputed distioction, 
and TO arm ourKlves with the exclusive signatures and crcdeotiali of 
our superiority, and to hate and stifle all that tttands io the way oC or 
obscures, nur absurd prctensiucs. Each individual looks upon himself 
in the light of a dethroned monarch, and the rest of the world ai bii 
rebellious subjects and runaway slaves, who withhold the homage thit 
ii his natural due, and burst the chains of opinion he would impox 
upon them: the madmaa Id Hogarth (sooth lo say), with ha 
crown of straw and wooden sceptre, is but a type and rommioK-fidtt 
emblem of evcry-day lifr. 

XI. It has been made a subject of regret that in forty or fi^ 
years' time (if wc go on jt we have done) no one will read Fielding. 
What a falling-olf ! Already, if you thoughdeesly lend Jattft 
Andrfrnt to a respectable fiamily, you find it returned upon youi haoidi 
as an improper book.. To be sure, people read < Don Juan * ; but that 
t* inverse. The worst ts, that this seniclcss fastidiousness is more 
owing to an affectation of gentility than to a disgust at vice. It 
not the scenes that arc described at an alehouse, but the aithovtt 
wliich they take place that gives the mortal stab to taste and refi: 
ment. One comfort is, thai the manners and characters which 
objected to as h'm in Fielding have in a great measure disiappearcd or 
taken another shape ; and this at least is one good eiTect of all excel 
lent satire — that it destroys 'the very food whereon it lives.' The 
generality of readers, who only seek for the representation of existing 
models, muNt therefore, alter a time, !«ck in vain for this obviouf 
verisimilitude in tlic most powerful and popular works of the kind; 
and will be either disgusted or at a Iobs to understand the application. 
People of scDse and imaginatioD, who look beyond the surface or the 
passing folly of the day, will always read Tom Jones. 

XII. There is a set of critics and philosophers who have never read 
anything but what has appeared within the last ten years, and lO 
whom every mode of expression or turn of thought extending beyond 
that period has ;i very odd eifcct. They cannot contpreheod ho«j 

374 



ore 

I 



r 



TRIFLES LIGHT AS ATR 

people used such out-of-the-way phrascB in ibc time of Shakspcare ; 
the iitylc of Addison would not do now— creo Juniiu, tiicy think, 
would make but a thabby tbrtad-hart figure in the columnie of ii 
modem newtpapcr^aU the riche* that Uie language haa acc^uired in 
the course ai time, nit the idiomatic reKurcet arising from (ttudj or 
accident, are utterly discarded — atnk under-ground : and all that ii 
admired by the weak or sought after by the vain, is a thin surface of 
idle affectation .iehI glossy innoratiotu. Eren spelling and pronunci- 
ation hate undergone such changes within a short time, that Pope and 
Swift re<]uire a little modfm'ning TO accommodate them to 'ears 

Slite;' and that a hiutiiQciing bt!U would be puzzled in reciting 
rydcn's Hounding verse with its occasional barbarous, oldfashioned 
acccniingi if it were the custom to read Drydcn aloud in those serene, 
morning circles. There is no class more liable to set up this narrow 
superficial standard, than people of fashion, in their horror of what is 
Tulgar and ignorance of what really ii so ; they luTe a jargon of their 
own, but scout whatever does not fail in with it as Gothic and outri ,- 
[he English phraies handed down from the last age they think come 
cast of Temple-bar, and they perform a sedulous cjuarantine against 
them. The Ttma^ having found it so written in some outlandish 
dtpiibt of the Marquis of Wellestey's, chocc aa a mark of the hauit 
Ateraturf, to spell duMtci with an e, and for 3 long time he was held 
for ft Qovice 0[ an alTected and absolute writer who ipeh it otherwiK. 
The Globe, with its characteristic good sense and sturdincst of spirit 
bu restored the old Engtisli spelling in defiance of scandal. Some 
penons who were growing ji-aloua that the author of iV^averlty had 
eclipwd ihcir favourite luminaries may make themselves easy ; he 
himself is on the wane with those whose opinions ebb and ilow with 
the ' inconstant moon ' of fashion, and has given way {if Mr, Colburn's 
advcrtisemcntsspeaktrue, * than which what *s truer?'} to a set of titled 
nonentitie*. Nothing solid is to go down, or that ie likely to last 
three months; instead of the standing diahe» of old linglish literature 
we arc to take up with the nuinarh and whipt syllabubs of modern 
taste ; are to be occupied with a stream of titlepages, extracts, and 
specimens, like passing (igores in a camera ^uura^ and are to be 
puzzled in a mob of new books as in the mob of new faces in what 
was formerly the narrow part of the Strand. 

XIII. Never pity people because they are ill-used. They only wait 
the opportunity to use others just as ill. Hate the oppression and 
prevent the evil if you can ; but do not fancy there is any virtue in 
being oppressed, or any love lost between the parties. The unfor- 
tuoate are ttot a jot more amiable than their ncighbourSi though they 

375 



1 



f^ivc them««lvci out to, aod our pity uke> part wi:h those who tun 
disdritied our envy. 

XIV. The buaua oiiad Kcms to improTe, becatue it is cooticiullj 
in progress. But u it move* forward to nrw acqutsitioni and trophin, 
it lose* iu hold oo thoie which formerly were iu chief boaM lad 
employment. Men ore better chcmisis than they were, but wane 
divioct ; they read the ncwapapers, it is true, but neglect the djMiCi. 
Everything has its turn. Neither ts error extirpated ao much as it 
takei a new form and put* on a more artful disguise. Folly shtfta its 
^ound, but finds iu level : abcurdity is never left without a subtertiigc. 
The dupes of dreamt and omens in former times, are now the converti 
to graver and more lolcnin pieces of quackery. The race of the san- 
guine, the visionary, and the credulaui, of those who bctieTc what ehey 
wish, or what excites their wonder, in preference to wfaat tbcy kaow, 
or can have rationally explaicted, will never wear out ; and they only 
transfer their innate love of the marvellous from old and exploded 
chimeras to fashionable theories, and the terra uutgaita of tnodera 
science. 

XV. It is a curious speculation to take a modem Mle, or some 
accomplished female acquaintance, and conceive what her grear-great- 

graadmother was tike, some centuries ago. Who was the Mrs. 

of the year aoo ? We have some standard of grace and elegaacc 
among eastern nations 3000 years ago, because we re«d accounts of 
them in history ; but we have no more notion of, or faith in, our own 
ancestors than if we had never had any. We eui tht connexion with 
the Druids and the Heptarchy; and c&nnot £incy ourselves (by any 
transformation) inmates of caves and woods, or feeders on acoroa aad 
bIocb. We seem aigrafted on that low tcem~a bright, airy* aad 
insolent excrescence. 

XVI. There is this advantage in painting, if there were oo 
other, thai it is the truent and most self-evident kind of history. 
It shows that there were people long ago, and alio what tbey 
were, not in a book darkly, but face to face. It is not the half- 
formed clay, the otdfaihioned dress, as we might conceive i but 
the living lineaments, the breatliing expression. You look at a 
picture by Vandyke, and there sec as in an enchanted mirror, 
an English woman of quality two hundred years ago, siuing in 
unconscious state with her chiid playing at her fret, and with all 
the dove-like innocence of look, the grace and rclinen>ent that it is 
pOBsible for virtue and breeding to bestow. It is enough to make w 
proud of our nature and our countrywomen ; and dissipates at 



COMMON SENSE 

the idle, uptlart prejudice that all licfunr our time was sordid and 
scarce ciriliaed. If our progrcKS docs not appear to greic a> our pre- 
sumptton bafl suggrMcd, wh;it does it signify? With tucb modeU 
kept in view, odt chief object ought to be not to degenenie; and 
though the future prospect is less gaudy aod imposing, the retrospect 
opens a larger md brighter mtta of cxcelleace. 

XVII. I am by educatioQ and cooTictiun iaclined to republicaoiim 
and piiritanisni. In America ihcy have both ; but I confess I feel a 
little staggered in the practical ef!icacy and saving grace of first pnn- 
eMes, when I ask my»clf, * Can they throughout the United States, 
from Boston to Baltimore, produce a single head like one of Tttian'a 
Venetian nobles, nurtured in all the pride of aristocracy and all the 
blindness of popery ? ' Of all the branches of political economy, the 
bumaa face is perhaps the best criterion of value. 



COMMON SENSE 

Tit Mmi,] lOilch' II, 1829. 

Common sense is a rare and enviable quality. It may be trdy said 

• that * its price ia abore rubies.' How many learned raca, how many 
wits, how many geniuses, how many dull and Igncirsnt people, how 
many cunning knaves, how many welt-meaning fools are without it ! 
How few have it, and how little do they or others know of it, except 
from the infallible results — for one of its first ret^uisites it the utter 
absence of all pretension ! The vulgar laugh at the pedant and 
enthusiast for the want of it, while they themselves mistake bigotry 
and narrow-minded notions for it. It is not one of the sciences, but 
has been well pronounced to be * fairly worth the acvco.* It is a 
kind of mental instinct, that fceU the air of truth aod propriety as the 
fingers feet objects of touch. It does not conust with ignorance, 
for wr cannot pronounce on what we do not know ; and on the other 
hand, the laying id a stock of knowledge, or raaiterbg aoy art or 
science, &ecms to destroy that native simplicity, and to warp and 
trammel the unbiassed freedom of mind which is necessary to its 
receiving and giving their due weight to ordinary and casual im- 
prcMions. Common sense is neither a peculiar talent nor a laborious 
acquircmcDt, but may be regarded as a sound and tmpaitial judgment 
openting on the daily practice of life, or on what 'comes home to 
the bu)ioe«a and bosoms of men ' ; comtHoed with great attainments 
and speculative inquiries, it would justly earn the titlt of midom \ but 
of the latter we have never known a single instance, though wc have 
met with » few of the former j that it, we have known a number of 

377 



I 




COMMON SENSE 



ir M pot fkHamifhm, dwy do Mt 
(mtjamitd m wfaK hn bcywd ihar ^fcm cf ftf Bun ^ oImw- 
tJoB, by nkiig pp ibe opBiOM of their Acttr Aa^. Tlie cooaoa 
pMylcia like wnav do aot vaK commo weam ia what £rf]a nder 

cWir Oftdti cpf niM ace md diilj pnebee. A try iliiiiifcii 

or plo^MBM •adenuod* tbocaufciofc i»d a* ' cradt of plaiighiioi 
kjae,' Uhmi^ be kunn oocfaing (W the Cathofec fBeadoa. If ■■ aU 
vooua ia a couDtry-fovn beUeret the duQ fa* binH at a aake^ mm 
ikat tbii qacttioe it woled, tt ii becute ibe ■* told ■» by Ummt wba 
Mghc to kjiow bcner, and who nopow «&v pEe)adioe* i^oa 4r 
i pMi r irT Vtdgar erron a^cb an taken oa ttmt, or are traditiaBa^ 
or are the bluodera of igooraDce on poioa of learak^ bave nmliiimij 
do wiUi commoo teiMe, wbicb decides 00I7 ob Acta and fisefia^ 
arbich hate come uiuler Its own notice. CooHDaa Kttae and evmmm 
fiat! a/e alio the antipodet of each other : tbe one i* a coUecboo af 
tnie cxpcriencei, the other a rouitoe of cant pbraaek AU aAotaoaa 
U tbe death of comnion ceiue, whicb reqotrea tbe ntmoK atinficin 
jod nocerit;. Liars must be witbout comntoa (ettae, for iiulcad « 
considering what things really are, iheir whole time and actmtsoa ace 
taken up in impedof (alae appearances oa tbein»elTes and tfaeir oetgb- 
boors. No conceited person can bave tbe faculty «e have beta 
speaking of, liace all objects are tinged and cbaneed frocn their prOBCf 
hue by tbe idle reflection of tbeir faocted cxccUcDCe and tatperionly. 
Great talkers are io the same predicsTneot, for tbey sacriilce tnxii to 
a fine q>ecch or sentimeotf aod conceal the real coose^joeoce* of cbia£i 
fron tbeir riew by a cloud of words, of empty breath. They lookj 
at nature oot to study what it is, but to diKover what they can i^ ' 
aboot it. Passionaif people arc generally thougbt to be devoid 
judgnKDt. They may be so, when their passions are touched to the 
quick i but without a certain degree of natural irritability, we Jo not 
cooceiTe tntth leaves sufficient siiags in the miiul, and wc judge 
correctly of things according 10 the interest ve take in them. No 
oi>e can be a physiognomist, for rxampte, or have an insight into 
character and expression, wtthoat the correspondent germs of these ii 

his own breaic Phlegmatic C , with all his huabandry acqnire- 

mcnts, i* but half a philosopher, half a clown. Poets, if tbey have 
not common sense, can do very well witbout it. What oeed have 
they to conform ibeir ideas to the actual world, when tbey can create 
a world according to ibeir fancy \ We know of no remedy fur want 
of tact and insight into human atfairs, any more than for the defect of 
any other organ. Tom Jonti is, wc think, the best hom.bDok for 
atodents in this way; and if the novice abuuld rise up no wiser from 
its repeated perusal, at least such an employment of his time wUl be 
380 



THE SPIRIT OF CONTROVERSY 



better than plajriog the fool or talking nonfcnfc. After all, the moflt 
absurd characters are those who are bo, tHX from a waat of common 
»enK, but who act in defiance of their better knowledge. The 
capriciouE and iickle who change crery moment, tKe perrerK who 
aim only it what ii placed out of their reach, the obstinate who 
pursue s lotiDg cause, the idle and ricioui who ruin themielvei and 
every one connected with them, do it as often with their eyes open as 
from blind infatuation ; and it i? the bias of their wills, not the 
deliciency of their undcrEtanding&,th3C is in fault. The greatest fools 
in practice are sometimes the wiseH men in theory, for they have all 
the advantage of their own experience and self-reliection to prompt 
them i and they can give the best advice to others, though they do 
not conceive themselves bound to follow it in their own insuace. 
f^dto mettorn fmAotptty etc. Their judgmentB may be clear and juai, 
bat their habits and affections lie all the wrong way; and it is as 
useless as it would be cniel to expect thero to reform, since they only 
delight and can only exist in their darling absurdities and daily and 
hourly tuafadtj from common sense and reason. 



THE SPIRIT OF CONTROVERSY 

Tie ^iiai.'\ [Janiul'jr 3I, 1830. 

Thf. Spirit of Controversy hag often been arraigned as ihc source of 
much bitterness and vexation, as productive of *covy, malice, and all 
unchariublencss' : and the chargi-, no doubt, is too well founded. 
But it is said to be an ill tu'ind iBat Ihwi noMy good; and there are 
few evils in life that have not some qualifying circumstance attend- 
tag them. It is one of the worst consequences of this very spirit of 
controversy that it hmi led men to regard things too tnuch in a single 
and exaggerated point ot view. Truth is not one thing, but has 
many aspccu and many shades of difference ; it is neither all black 
nor all white ; sees something wrong on its own vide, eometbing right 
in others; makes concessions to an adversary, allowances for human 
frailty, and is nearer akin to charity than the dealers in controversy 
or the declaimers ngainst it are apt to imagine. The bigot and 
partisan (influeoced by the very spirit he Ends fault with) sees nothing 
in the endless disputes which have tormented and occupied men's 
thoughts but an abuse of learning aivd a waste of time : the philosopher 
may still find an excuse for «o bad and idle a practice. One frequent 
objection made to the incessant wrangling and collision of sects and 
parties in, What deti it all cotne to ? And the answer it, What tveuld 
ihty have done without it i The pleasure of the chase, or the bcnefic 

38 i 



THE SPIRIT OF CONTROVERSY 



romeotiDg ipiriraa] pride and imolcrancc, and towing heart-buraingi, 
jealoiuies, and lears, ' like a thick Bcurf o'er life t ' y^r bad it not 
been For tbis, we ihould hive been tearing one another to pieces like 
savagcR for fragmentB nf raw flcnb, at cjuarrelting with a herd of iwioe 
for a windtall of acorna undei an oak-cree. The world has never jet 
done, and will never be able to do, without some apple of discord — 
some bone of contention- — any more th;in courts of law can do without 
pleidiogi, or hospital! without the lick. When a thing ceatcs to be 
.1 iubjeci o( concroversyt it ceases to he a Bobject of interest. Why 
need we regret the varioiu hardthipa and persecutions for conicience- 
Rake, when men only clung closer to their opinions in consequence f 
They loved their religion in proportion as they paid dear for it. 
Nothing could keep the Diuentcrs from going to a conventicle while 
it was declared an unlawful amembly, and was the highroad to 9 
prison or the plantatiooi — uke away teiu and fines* and make the 
road open and easy, and the aect dwindles gradually into inaignificaace. 
A thing is rapposed to be worth nothing that cons nothing. Besidei, 
there \6 always pretty nearly the saine quantity of malice afloat in the 
world ; though with the change of time and manners it mav become 
3 Beer poison, and kill by more unseen ways. When the sword hai 
done its wotRl, slander, * whose ed^e is shnrper than the sword,* steps 
in to keep the blood from stagnating. In^ead of alow fires and paper 
capi fanteiicd round the heads of the victims, we arrive at the same 
end by a politer way of nicknnmet and anonymous criticism. Blael- 
m/cms Magazifu Is the modern version of Fox's Rook of ATartyrst 
Discard religion and politicB (the two grand topics of comroversy), 
and people would hate each other as cordially, and torment each other 
as effectually about the preference to be given to Mozart or Rossini, 
to Malibran or Pasta. Wc indeed fix upon the most excelletit things, 
as God, our country, and our King, to account for tiie exceu of our 
zeal ; but this depends much leas upon the goodness of our cause 
than on the strength of our passiona, and our overflowing gall and 
rooted antipathy to whatever stands in the way of our conceit and 
obstinacy. We set up an idol {as we set up a mark to shoot at) for 
othera to bow down to, on peril of our utmo&l displeasure, let the 
value of it be what it may 

' Of whatsocVr descent his Godhead be, 
Stock, «onc, or other homely pedigree, 
In litti ilefenre hi» nervnntx are as ncil<l 
As if he had been bom ot beaten gold.' 

It is, however, tmt fair to add, in extenuation of the evils of contro- 
versy, that if the points at issue had been quite clear, or the 
38* 



THE SPIRIT OF CONTROVERSY 



\ 



\ 



adrantage all on one side, they would not have been so liable to be 
contested about. We condemn coQtrovcr»y, because we wouJd hiFC 
nutteis all our own waVf 'nd ihinli that ours ia the UD]y tide thst has 
•- title lo be heard. We imagine that there is but one ticw of a 
subject that is fight; and that all the rest being plainly and uilfully 
wrong, it is a shocking waste of speech, and a dreiidful proof of pre* 
judice and party iptrit, to have a word to say io their defence. Bat 
this is a want of liberality uod coiiiprehrnsion of miod. For in 
general we dispute either about things respecting which wc are a good 
deal in the dark, and where both ]}arties are very possibly in the 
wrong, and may be left to Itnd out their mutual error ; or about those 
points, where there is an opposition of interests and pasMons, and 
wheie it would be by no means safe tu cut short the debate by 
making one party judges for the other. They must, therefore, be 
left to iight it out as well as they can; aiid, between the extremes 
of folly and violence, to strike a balance of common sense .itid 
even-handed justice. Every sect or party will, of course^ run into 
extravagance and paniality ; but the probability ie, that there is some 
ground of argument, some appearance of right, to justify the grossest 
bigotry and intolerance. Tlie fury of the combatants Is excited 
because there is something to be t^nid on the other side of the 
question. If men were as infallible as they supp^jbc themselves, they 
would not dispute. If every nordty were wcli-foundcd, uuth might 
be discovered by a receipt; but as antiquity doet not always turn out 
aa old woman, this accounts for the vu intrtU of the mind in so oftoi 
prating and setting iu face against innovation. Authority has some 
advantages to reconimeod it as well as reason, or it would long ago 
have been scouted. Aristocracy and democracy, monarchy and 
republicanism, are not all pure good or pure eril, though the abettors 
or antagonists of each think so, and that all the mischief ariscK from 
others entertaining any doubt about the question, and insisting on 
carrying their absurd theories into practice. The French and Hng- 
lish are grossly prejudiced .igainst each other; hut still the interests 
of each are better taken care of under this exaggerated notion than 
if that vast mass of rights and pretensions, which each is struggling 
for, were left to the tender mercies and ruthless candour of the other 
side. ' Every man for hnmsrlf and Goti for tit aii' is a rule that will 
apply here. Controversy, therefore, is a necessary evil or good (call 
it which you will) till alt differences of opinion or interest are recon- 
ciled, and absolute certainty or perfect indifference aUke takes awav 
the poisilntity or the temptation to litigation and quarrels. We need 
be under no itnmedtate alarm of coming to such a concltnion. There 
ia always room for doubt, food for contention. While we are 
VOL. XII. ; 2 B 3S5 



k 



ENVY 

eD;;roMed witfa ooe cootrofmy, iadrrd, we Oduk ereiy tlnng dv ii 
clear ; but u looa u one poibi u iett)«i, we begin to canl aad ton 
objectknis to that wbicb b» before been uken Ibr gpuptL Tht 
Rnornirra thought ooly of opposiog tbc Cbiurh of RomCi aad wvci 
once aoddpated tbc tchisou sod animosities which woae aamf 
Pratetfaots : the Diutrotcrs, io curyio^ their poiDt against tbe Cbsck 
of Eoglaod, did not dream of tlat crop of in6dclity and fT / n6tim 
which, to their great horrof ukd Bcaodal, sprung up in the foUo«n| 
age, from their claim of free inquiry and private judgmenL. The 
iton-^4enliali of religion 6rrt came into dispute ; then the eueaoik. 
Our own opinion, we tancy, if founded on a rock ; the rcM we regard 
at fftubbte. But do toooer ia one oat>work of enabltahni faitfa or 
practice demolithed, than another if left a defencclesa mark for tbt 
enemy, and the enginet of wit and lopbiur^ immeduiely begin to 
bauer it. Thua we proceed step by step, till, poaaing thmgh tkr 
aevcral gradatioos ot vanity and paradox* we came to doubt whfftfuf 
we luna on our bead or our heels> alternately deny the cxiaicneeaf 
aprit and matter, maintain that black it white, call evil good and 
evil, and defy any one to proTc the contrary. Ai failh la the 
and cement tbat upholds society by opposing fixed principles ai^ 
barrier against the bioads of passion, so reason it the meiutrm^ 
which dissolves it by leaving nothing sutiicienily firm or unqucsdaaed 
in our opinions to witlikt^nd the current and bias of iodioAtioa. 
Hence the decay and ruin of states — then barbarifini, sloth, and 
ignorance — and so we commence the circle again of buildiog op aU 
that it ia possible to conceive out of a rude cbaot, and the obacare 
shadowingB of things, and then puliiog down all ibat we have buik a 
till not a trace of it is left. Such ia the effect of the ebb and Aov 
and restlets agiution of the human mind. 



ENVY 



I 



Envy is the ^ru^'njf or receiving pain from any accompliAhment or 
advantage possetAed by anotber. 1 1 is one of the most tornieDtiog and 
odious of the passions, irniimucb as it d>ies not consist in the enjoynieat 
or pursuit of any good Co ourselves, but in the hatred aad jcaHotuy of 
the good fortune of others and the debarring and defrauding them of 
tbeir due and what is of no use to us, on the eiog in tkt manger priociple : 
and it ia at the same time at- mean as it is revolting, ai beion Accom- 
panied with a sense of weakness and a desire to conceal and tamper 
with the truth and its own convicliooa, out of paltry spite and 
386 




KNVY 



rnniiy. Ic is however, but an cxcc«» or excrctcencc of the other 
pBJsioiM (such as pride or availce) or of a wisli to inoaopoliae all 
the good things of life to ourBctTcs, which makrs us impatiem and 
discatiafted at seeing any one else tn posKsaion of that to which wc 
thinlt wc have the only fair title. Envy ig the dcrormed and distorted 
offspring of tgot'um ; and when we rcHcci on the siratige and dispro- 
portioned character of the parent, wc cannot wonder at the perversity 
and waywardness ot the child- Such n the absorbing and exorbitant 
(quality of our self-love, that it reptesem* lu as ct infinitely more 
importance in our own eyes than the whole unirerec put together, and 
would sacriAcc the claims and interest of all the world beside to the 
least of its caprices or extravagances: need we be surprised then that 
this little, upstart, overweening self, that would trample on the globe 
itielf and then weep for new ones to concjuer, should be uneasy> road, 
mortilied, eaten up with chagrin and melancholy, and hardly able to 
bear its own existence, at iccicg a single competitor among the 
crowd cross its path, Jostle its pretensions, and stagger its opinion of 
its exclusive right to admiration and superiority? This it is that 
conitilutet tlie otience, that gives the shock, that inflicu the wound, 
that some poor creiiture (as we would fain suppose) whom we had 
before overlooked and cntirciv disregarded as not worth our notice, 
hIiiiuM of a sudden enter the lists and challenge comparison with us. 
The presumption is excessive; and so is our thirst of revenge. 
From the moment, however, that the C)'e fixes on another as the 
object of envy, we cannot take it olT; for our pride and setf-cotueit 
magaify that which obstructs our success and Icbscqi our self- 
imporr.ince into a monster ; we sec nothing cUe, we hear of nothing 
else, we dream of nothing else, it haunts us and takes possession of 
our whole souls ; and as we are engrossed by it ourselves, so we fancy 
that alt the rest of the world are equally uken up with our petty 
annoyances and diiap|)ointed pride. Hence the 'jealous leer malign ' 
of envy, which, not daring to look that which provokes it in the face, 
cannot yet ke^ its eyes from it, and gloats over and becomes as it 
were enamoured of the very object of its loathing and deadly hate. 
We pay off the *core which our littleness and vanity has been running 
up, by ample and gratuitous concessions to the first person that gives 
a check to our swelling self-complacency, nnd forces us to drag him 
into an unwilling comparison with ourselves. It is no matter who 
the person is, wKit his pretensions — if they are a counterpoise to 
our own, wc think them ot more consequence than anything else in 
the world. This often gives rise to laughable results. We see the 
jealousies among servants, hackney-coachmen, cobblers in a stall ; we 
arc unused with the rival advertisements <^ quacks «k1 stage-coach 

187 



ENVV 



proprinori, and imile lo read the ligoificant indmaiion oa Mme ifaap 
window, * Ko conr.ection with the next door ; ' but the ssmc foUj rm 
through the whole of life; each perton think* that h« who fOO^ ii 
hit way or out»iripk him io a particular puriuit, is the mott eoraUc^ 
and at the aame time the moit hateful character in the world. 
Nothing can show the absuidity of the paaHOO of eovjr in a nun* 
■trrking pmot of view than the number of rival ctairaa which it 
entirely overlook!, while it wooid arrogate all cxcellcQce to itjdf. 
The loftiQe&s of our ambitioa and the narrowneas of our views arc eqiul, 
and indeed bock depend upon the same cause. The plxjrcf ecvio 
only the player, the poet envict only the poet, because each coofinei 
bit idea of excellence to his oun profession and pursuit, and thinbi 
if be could but remove some tuples* competitor out of his way, h( 
should have a clear suge to himself, or be a • Phcpnix gazed bj 
all :* as if> though we crushed odc rival, another would oot start op: 
or ai if there were oot a thouiaod other claims, a thousand otba 
modes of excellence and praiseworthy acquirements, to divide the 
patm atKl defeat his idle pretenaion to the sole and uooualiM 
admiration of mankind. Professori of every class see merit only in 
tbeir own line ; yet thev would blight and destroy that fftlU ht of 
excellence which alone they acknowledge to exist, except as it cenlra 
in themielves. Speak in praise of an actor lo armthcr actor, and be 
turns away with impatience and ditgnst : speak disparagingly of the 
first as an actor in general, and the latter eagerly takes up the quaird 
as his own : ihtis the et^it de corpj only comes in as ao appendage 
to our self-love. It is perhaps well that we ate so bitod to merit ont 
of our immediate sphere, for it might only prove an additional tyt-Mn, 
increase the obliquity of our mental vition, multiply our aotipathiH, 
or end in toul indincrcncc and despair. There is nothing wi bad ai a 
cynical apathy and coniempl for every art and science from a snpcr- 
tlctal itnatiering and general acquaintance with them all. The roereii 
pedantry and the most tormenting jeaiouay and licart-bumioga of eftvy 
are better than this. Those who are maBien of different advantages 
and accomplishments, are seldom the more satisfied with them : they 
still aim at Eomeihing elie (however contemptible) which they base 
not or cannot do. So Pope says of Wharton — 

' Though wonHerine tenate» hung on all he spoke^ 
The club mu« hail hitn ma«er of the joke. 
Shall parts m> various aim at nothing new i 
He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too,* 

The world, indeed, are pretty even with these constellationi 
splendid and superfluous qualitiei in their fastidious eatinutc of ihdi 
3B8 



I 



ENVY 



own pretcneioni, for (if possible) they ncTer gire any individual 
credit for mure than one leading a^ltainmeat. If a tout is ao artist, 
his being a tine musician adds nothing lo his farne. When the 
public strain a point to own one claim, it is on condition that 
ihe fortunate candidate waives crcry other. The mind is prepared 
with a plausible sniichcsis in Ruch cases against the formidable 
cQcroachmenls of vanity : one cjualiGcation is regularly made a foil 
to another. We allow no one co be two things nt a time : it quite 
UDKttles our notiona of personal identity. If we allow a mao 
wit, it is part of the bargain that he wants judgment : if Btyle he 
wants matter. Rich, but a fool or miser — a beauty, but vaia ; /« 
nijii /he ^nd. 'But* is the favourite monosyllable of envy and self- 
love. Raphael could draw and Titian could colour — we shall never 
get beyond this point while the world stands ; the human under* 
standing is not cast in a mould to receive double proofs of entire super* 
iority to itself. It is foUv to expect it. If a farther claim be set up, 
we call in cjucttion the solidity of the first, incline to retract it, and 
suspect that the whole is a juggle and a piece of impudence, as w« 
threaten a common beggar with the stoclcs for following us to ask a 
second alms. This is, in fact, one source of the prevalence and deep 
root which envy has in the human mind : we are incredulous as to 
the truth and justice of the demands which are so often made upon our 
pity or our admiration ; but let the distress or the merit beestabliahed 
beyond all coalroTersy, and we open our hearts and purses on the 
•pot, and Bometimea run into the contrary extreme when charity 
or admiration becomes the fashion. No one envies the Auihvr of 
Wovtrlty^ becatue all admire him, and are sensible that admire 
him how they will, they can never admire him enough. We do 
not envy the sun for shining, when we {■ex^ the benefit and aee 
the light. When some peracns start an injudicious psrallel between 
him and Shakspearc, we then, may grow jealous and uneasy, because 
this interferes with our older and more hrmly rooted conviction of 
genius, and one which has stood a severer and surer test. Envy hu, 
then, some connexion with a sense of justice — is a defence against 
imposture and quackery. Though we do not willingly give up the 
secret and silent consctouiness of our own worth to vapouring and 
false pretences, we do homage to the uue candidate for fame when 
he appears, and even exult and take a pride in our capacity to appreciate 
the highest desert. This is one reason why we do not envy the dead — 
test because they are removed out of our way, than because all doubt 
and diversity of opinion is dismissed from the (question of their title to 
veiteration and respect. Our tongue, having a license, grows wanton 
in their praiie. We do not envy or stint our admiration of Ruben*. 

389 



ENVY 

beciusc the miKs of uacertainty or prejudice are wttbdrm ^ 
the hand of time from the spleodour of hia work*. FacM ii n 
genius — 

' Like to a gate of steel fronting the lun. 
That rvndm back tit figure and in heat.' 

We girc full and unbounded scope to our impressions when the; vt 

confirmed by H)cccs»iTc generation!; a* we form our opinioo* coUlj 

and ilowly while we are afiaid out judgment may be reveraed bj 

poMerity. We truHi the testimony ot' ages, for it is true ; we ve m 

JoDger in p&in Icm wc should be deceived by vaniish aad tiaicl: 

and feel assured that the praise and the work are both ateriing. !■ 

contemporary reputation, the greater ntid more transccndant tbenxtn. 

the teas is the envy attending it; uhich ihows th^t this p^Bsioo is not. 

after all) a mere barefaced hatred and detraction from ackiK>wledgrd 

excellence. Mrs. Siddons was not an object of envy ; her unririBed 

powers defied competitors or gainsayen. If Keao had a psnj 

against him, it was composed of those who couid not or wookl dm 

•ce his merits through his defi;cts { and in like manoer, Joba 

Kerable's elevution to the tragic throne was not carried by loud a&d 

tumultuous acclamation, because the stately height which he atiaiwd 

was the gradual result of labour and study, and his style of acting dsi 

not flash with the inspiration of the God. Wc arc backward to 

bestow a heaped measure nf praise, whenever there is aoy inaptitude 

or incongruity that acts to damp or throw a stumbJing-block to the wxj 

of our enthusiasm. Hence the jealousy and dislike shawn towariii 

upstart wealth, at we cannot in our imaginations reconcile the foriMT 

poverty of the po«tctsors with their present magnificence — we dc9|HK 

fortune-hunters in ambition as well as in love— and hence, no doubt, 

one itrodg ground of hereditary right. Wc accjoiesce more readily 

in an assumption of superiority that in the lirst place implies ito mciil 

(which is a great relief to the baser son], and in the Kcood, tbK 

bafHes opposition by seeming a thin^; inevitable, takea for granted, 

and transmitted in the common courw of nature. lo cooiested 

elections, where the precedence is understood to be awarded to rank aod 

title, there is observed lo be leas acrimony and obstinacy than vbcfl 

it is supposed to depend on individual merit and fitness for the office; 

no one willingly allows another more ability or bonesty than himself* 

but he cannot deny chat another may be 6ftttr ham. Learning agaia 

is muTC freely admitted than genius, beL:ause it it of a more po&iuic 

quality, and is felt to be less eH^cntially a part of a man's self; and with 

regard to the grosser and more invidious distinction of wealth, it 

be difficult to substitute any finer test of nnpcctahitity for it, ami 

390 




ON PREJUDICE 

i< hard to fathom the depth of a man'i undcrsianding, but the length of 
his pufK U «oon knowa ; and besides, there is x little collusion in the 
case: — 

■ The leimed pate ducks to the golden fool." 

We bow to a patron who gives us a good dinner and his countenance 
for our pain*, and interest bribes and lulls envy asleep. The most 
painful kind of envy is the envy towards inferiors ; fo: we cannot bear 
Co think that a person (in other respects utterly iniigniBcant) should 
hive or Kern to have an advantage over us in any thing we have sec 
oor hexrtR upon, and it strikes at the very root of our self-love to be 
foiled by tho»e we despise. There ts tome dignity in a contest with 
power and acknowledged reputation : but a triumph over the sordid 
and the mean is itself a montficBtion, while s defeat is iaiolerable. 



ON PREJUDICE 

Ti* Allm.) i^fH l<* ■>]<>• 

pKEji,'nicr, in its ordinary .ind litem! wnse, xi prtjudging any tjue«ioo 
without having sutficieotly exvnined it, and adhering to our opinion 
upon it through ignorance, malice, or perversity, in spite of every 
evidence to the contrary. The little that we know has a strong alloy 
of niegiving and uncertainty in it : the mam of things of which we 
have no means of judging, but of which we form a blind and con6- 
dent opinion as tJT we were thoroughly acquainted with them, is 
monstrous. Prejudice ia the child of ignorance t for as our actual 
knowledge falls short of our desire to know, or cariosity and inteiest 
in the world about us, so must we be tempted to decide upon a greater 
number of things at a vemurc ; and having no check from reason or 
inquiry, we sliall grow more obstinate aDd bigoted in our conclusions, 
according ao they have been rash and prevumptuous. The absence 
of proof, intte^ of susiiending our judgments, only gives us an op]>or- 
tunity to make things out according to our withes and fancies ; mere 
ignorance is a blank canvss on which wc lay what colours we please, 
and paint objects black or white, aa angels or devils, magnify or 
diminish them at our option; aiKl in the vacuum either of facts or 
arguments, the weight of prejudice and passion falls with double force, 
and beam down everything before it. If we enlarge the circle of our 
previous knowledge ever so little, we may meet with sotnething to 
create doubt and aitTiculty ; but as long as we remain confined to the 
cell of oar native ignorance, while we know nothing beyond the 
routickc of tense and custom, wc shall refer everything to that sundard, 

39' 



ON PREJUDICE 



or make it 



wouJd have 



be. Iik( 



, ailed ditUm ' 
have never been from home, aod expect to find oodjiog in l^wcU 
thit doe« oot accord with iheir wiEhes and ootiaas. It ii rtriw, 
that the fewer things wc know, the more ready wr ihall be n •» 
oouncc upon and condemn, what is new and strange to ub j thU Bitk 
leBs capable we shall be of varying our canccptiooi, aod tbe av 
pron*^ to mifuke a pan for the whole. What we do not uodcnM^ 
the meaning of mmt necessarily appear to us i iUicuIous aod coota^ 
tibic ; and wc do not stop to inquire, till we have beeo tauglu Ij 
repeated experiments and wainiDgA of our owq fallibility, wbetbertk 
atMordtty is in ourselves or in the object uf our dislike and KsnL 
The most ignorant people are rude and inttolent, as the most lariuM 
are cruel and ferocious. All oor knowledge at 6rst lying ia a oaro* 
compau (bounded by local and physical causes) whatever doo ort 
conform to this shocks us as out of reason and nature. The Im vf 
look abroad, the more our ideas are introverted ; aitd our hafaiul 
impreisioQs, from being made up of a few particulars alwan repand, 
grow cogether into a kind of concrete subfttance, which will oot bcv 
uking to meces, and where the smallest deviation destroya tbc mMt 
frcling. Thus the difference of colour in a black man was thootht is 
forfeit hia tide to belong to the species, till books of voyages and tnvdt, 
and old Fuller's quaint expression of* God's image carved in ebony,' 
have brought the two ideas into a forced uoioo, arid Mr. Mtnty 
no longer libels men of colour with tmpuaity. The word rtfM 
has a harsli and incongruous sound to ears bred uader a cooatitutiocil 
monarchy ; and we strove hard for many years to arertum the FrfiKh 
republic, merely because we could not reconcile it to onrselrcs ibit 
such a thing should exist at all, notwithstanding the examples of 
Holland, Switzerland, and many others. This term has hardly m 
performed quarantine: to the loyal and patriotic it has an ugly taia 
ID it, and is scarcely tit to be mentioned in good company. If, 
however, we are weaned by degrees from our prejudice* agaiaff 
certain words that shock opinion, this is not the case with all ; ftf 
those that ortend good manners grow more olfensive with the progreu 
of reiiiiement and civilization, so that no writer now dare Tcotnre opoo 
expressions that unwittingly disfigure the pages of our elder writers, 
and in this respect, instead of becoming callous or indifrercnt, wc 
appear to become more fasiiilious every day. There is then a real 
grossness which docs not depend on familiarity or custom. Thu 
account of the concrete nature of prejudice, or of the inantKr to which 
our ideas by habit and the dearth of general information coakvce 
together into one indissoluble form, will show (what otherwise teeou 
unaccountable) how such violent antipathies and animosities have been 
39a 



ON PREJUDICE 



occanoued by the mot ridiculous or crifttng differoiccs of opinion, or 
outward lymboU of it ; for, bjr coiuunt ciutom, and the want of 
reflection, the most insignificant of these vas as ineeparably bound up 
with the main principle as the most trnportaot, and to give up any 
part was to give up the whole essence and vital intercsu of religion, 
morals, and goremmcnt. Hence we eee all sects and parties mutually 
iosist OD their own technical distinctions as the essentials and funda- 
mentals of religion, and politics, and, for the slightest variation in any 
of these, unceremoniously attack their opponents as atheists aod 
blasphemers, traitors and incendiarirfi. In fact, these minor poinu 
are Mid hold of in preference, as being more obvious and tangible, 
and as leaving more roam far the exercise of prejudice and poasioo. 
Another thing thnc makes our prejudices rancorous and inreterate, is, 
that as dtey are taken up without reason^ they seem lo be seif-evidtnt \ 
and wc thence conclude, that they not only are so to ourselves, but 
must be so to others, so that their differing from us is wilful, 
hypocritical, and malicious. The In<]uisition never pretended to 
ponish its victims for being heretics or infidels, but for avowing 
opinions which with their eyes open they knew to be fake. That ><, 
the whole oi the Catholic faith, * that one entire and perfect chry- 
•olitc,' appeared to them so completely without flaw and blameless, 
that they could not conceiTC how any one else cootd imagine it to be 
otherwise, except from stubbornness and contumacy, and would rather 
admit (to avoid so improKthle a suggeation) that men went to a 
stake for an opinion, not which they held, but counterfeited, and 
were content to be burnt for the pleasure of playing the hypocrite. 
Nor is it wonderful that there should be so much repugnance to admit 
the existence of a serious doubt in matters of such vital and eternal 
interest, and on which the whole fabric of the church hinged, since 
the first doubt that was expressed on any single point drew all the 
rest after it ; and the first ;>erEon who started a conscientious scruple, 
and claimed the iriai ly reatont threw down, as if by a magic spell, 
the strongholds of bigotry and superstition, and transferred the deter- 
mioatioo of the issue from the blind tribunal of prejudice and implicit 
laith to a totally dilTerent ground, the fair and open field of argument 
and inquiry. On this ground a single champion is a match for 
thousftnds. The decision of the majority is not here enough : 
onaoimity Is absolutely necessary lo infallibility ; for the cmly secure 
plea on which such a preposterous pretension could be set up is, by 
taking it for granted that there can b« no possible doubt entcttaioed 
upon the subject, and hy diverting men's minds from ever asking 
thcmselvcB the question of the truth of certain dogmas and raysterics, 
any more than whether ttm and two mair four. Prejudice in short 

593 



ON PREJUDICE 

coDtinue to apply thit term to the prejudices of other people Ta 
■oppoRc thai wr cannot make a niigtakr is the very way to nm brad- 
long into it ; for, if the distinction were so broad and gUrifig u m 
■clf-conceic aod dogmatism lead ub to itnagine it ii^ we could ncttf, 
but by cie<ign, mistake truth for faliehood. T*ho«e, howe?er, wha 
think they can maie a clear ilage cfitt aotl frame a set of opiaiona v 
all lubjecta by an appeal to reason alone, and without the amiUtf 
ititermixturc ofcuitom, imaginattoo, or painoD, know jtut as liokof 
ihein*eiTeH as they do of human namre. The best way to pretfrt 
oar ruDniug into the wildett exceiiei of prejudice and the HM 
dangerous aberratinnB from reasoo, is, not to represent the two thiap 
as having u great gulph between them, which it is imposiiUe to |M 
without a rioLent cHon, but to ihow that we are coostantiy (cm 
when we think oursrlve* most secure} treading on the bilk of 
a precipice; that custom, pauion, imagination. iniiDuaie theoisclm 
into and influence almost every judgment we pass or se n ti roew 
wc indulge, and arc a nccetsary help (as wcU a« hittdrance) to 
the human understanding ; and that, to attempt to refer every (nic«t]ci& 
to abstract truth and precise detinitioo, without allowing tot the 
frailty of prejudice, which is the unavoidable consequence of ifac 
fraihy and imperfection of reason, would be to unravel the whole vcb 
and texture of human understanding and society. Such dirio| 
anatomists of morals and philosophy think that the whole beauty ff 
the Tniod consists in the skeleton; cut away, without remorse, ill 
sentiment, fancy, taste, as superfluous excresceocet ; aod, in their on 
eager, unfeeling pursuic of scientific truth ami etrmentary prttKiples 
they * murder to dissect.* Bat of this I may say aomethiag is 
another paper. 



THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED 

It is a mistake, howerer, to suppose that all prejudices are 
though it is not an easy matter to distinguish between true and 
prejudice. Prejudice is properly an opinion or feeling, not for which 
there is no reason, but of which we cannot render a batisfactary 
account on the spot. It is not always possible to assign a * rcasoi 
for the faith that is in us,' not even if we take time aixl suromoB op 
alt our strength ; but it does not therefore follow that our faith it 
hollow and unfounded. A false impression may be detined to be as 
effect without a cause, or without any ade<]uate one ; but the etfcct 
may remain and be true, thoj^h tht cause is concealed or forgotten. 
The grounds of our opinions and tastes may be deep, and be scattered 
396 



ON PREJUDICE 



over a large lurficr; thejr may be Tariout, remote tnd complicatedi 
but chc result will be sound and true, if they have extitcd at all, 
though we may aoT be able to analyse them into cla&ses, or to recall 
the particular time, place, ard circumstancee of each individual caae 
or braach of the evidence. The materiaU of thought and feeling, the 
body of facts and experience, are infinite, are constantly going on 
iround u), and acting to produce an impression of good or evil, of 
assent or dissent to certain inferences; but to require that we should 
be prepared to retain the whole of this mats of cxpcrieocc in our 
memory, to resolre it into its component parts, and be able to quote 
chapter and Terse for every conclusion wc unavoidably draw from it, 
or else to discard the whole together u unworthy the attention of a 
tational U-ing, is to betray an titter ignorance both of the limits and 
the several uses of the human capacity. The/tf/ing of the truth of 
anything, or the soundncse of the judgment formed upon it from 
repeated, actual impressions, is one thing : the power of vindicating 
and enforCLDg it, by distinctly appealing to or explaining thoae 
impre&sions, in another. The moiit fluent talkers or most plauuble 
reasoncrs arc not always the justcst thinker*. 

To deny that we can, in a certain tense, know and he justified io 
believing anything of which wc cannot give the complete dcmonstra- 
tioQ, or the exact tviy and iiyaf, would only be to deny that the 
clown, the mechanic (and not even the greatest philosopher), can 
know the commonest thing ; for in this new and dogmatical process 
of reasoning, the greatest philosopher can trace nothing ahovr, oor 
proceed a siogle step without taking lomethiog for granted : * aod tt 
IS well if he does not take more things for granted than the most 
vulgar and tiiiTerate, and what he knows a great deal less about, A 
common mechanic can tell how to work an engine better than the 
mathematiL'iao who invented it. A pcarani is able to foretell rain 
from the appearance of the clouds, because (time out of miod) he has 
seen that appearance followed by chat consequence ; and shall a 
pedant catechise him out of a coaviction which he has found true in 
innumcTablc insunccs, because he does not understand the composition 
of the elements, or cannot put his notions into a logical shape f 
There may also be some collateral circumstance (as the time of day), 
as well as the appearance of tlie clouds, which he may forget to state 

' Bcrkrtr]', In hii Mmuu Piilrnfif, attick* Dr. Mitlcy. wbu h*'t objrctrcl lo 
fiith ant! mysieriei in religion, nn ibis tcoie ; anil conlendi that the niatbcmalican, 
no leu than the iheologisn, i« Abliced to pictume on crTuin ftitulaut, at to reiorl, 
before be could t«(ablisb i liiigle tbeorcm, to s fuioul Jcfioitiaii 'of thoie undcfia- 
■ble snd bypotfaelical eii it en en, point*, lines, and lurfacei j and, tccordini; to ihe 
ingeniotii anrt learnol Biihap ofCloynt, ttfUi would fare Mtbtnef than ttiftrftuJi 
in this war of word* sod caplioui coatiadiction. 

397 



ON PREJUDICE 



I 

I 



otlifrs, we haTe no reason to think them better than others. The 
error here is, when that which is properly a dictate of the heart passes 
out of its GphcTC, and becomes an overweening decision of the under- 
standing. So in like manner of the love of country ; aod there Is a 
prejudice in favour of vinne, genius, liberty, which (though it were 
possible) it would be a pity to destroy. The p.'uisions, such as 
STarice, anibitioD, love, &c.,are prejudices, that, is amf^y exaggerated 
views of certain objects, made up of habit and imagination beyond 
their real value; but if we ask what is the real Talue of any object, 
iodependently of its coonection with the power of habit, or iu 
afTording natural scope fot the imagination, we shall perhaps be 
puzzled for an answer. To reduce things to the scale of abstract 
reason would be to annihilate our interest in them, instead of raising 
our affections to a higher standard ; and by striring w make iDaa 
rational, we should leave him merely brutish. 

Animals are without prejudice : they are not led away by authority 
ot custom, but it is because they are gross, and incapable of being 
taught. It is, however, a, mistake to imagine that only the vulgar 
and ignorant, who can give no account of their opinions, arc the 
ilavH of bigotry and prejudice ; ttte notsiest declaimers, the most 
subtle casuists, and most irrefragable doctors, are as far removed from 
the character of true philosophers, while they strain and pcrven all 
their powers to prove some unintelligible dogma, inctiltcd into their 
mines by early education, interest, or lelf-importance; and if we say 
the |>eaiant or artisan is a Mahometan because he is born in Turkey, 
or a papist because he is bom in Italy, the mufti at Constantinople or 
the cardinal at Rome is to, for no better reason, in the midst of all 
his pride and learning. Mr. Hobbrs used to say, that if he had read 
u much as others, he should have been as ignorant as they. 

After all, most of our opinions are a mixture of reason and pre- 
judice, experience and authority. We can only judge for ourselves 
ID what concerns ourselves, and in things about us : and even there 
we must trust continually to established opinion and current report; 
in higher and more abstruse points we must pin our faith still more 
on others. If we believe only what we know at first hand, without 
trusting to authority at all, wc shall disbelieve a great many things 
that really exist ; and the suspicious coxcomb is as void of judg- 
ment as the credulous fool. My habitual conviction of the exist> 
ence of such a place as Rome is not strengthened by my having 
teen it ; it might be almost said to be obscured and weakened, as the 
reality falls short of the imagination. I walk along the streets without 
fearing that the houses will fall on my head, though I have not ex- 
amined their foundation ; and I believe lirmly in the Newtonian aystem, 

fOL. Xlt. : 2C 4OI 




ON PARTY SPIRIT 

though I have oever cead the PrintMa. Iq the fonner caie, I 
that if ihe houws were inclined to fall ihey would not wait for iiir;1 
and ID the Uuct I acquiesce id what aJI who bare studied the lubject, 
and are capable of utidefeianding it, agree i% baring no reaaoo tfi 
ratpect the contrary. That tht tarlb turru round is agreeable to n; 
uoderstandingf though it shocks m^ sense, which is howcrrer too weak 
to grapple with so van a quesiioD. 



ON PARTY SPIRIT 

Tit AilM,.1 i^fril 15. l8j«. 

Paktv spirit is one of the profauadMtiti of Satan, ar in more modern 
laoguage* one of the dexteroiu tqtavoqua and contrivances of oui self- 
love, to prove that we, and those who agree with us, combine all that 
is excellent and praite-worthy in our own person* (as io a rtog-feoce) 
and that all the vicet and defocmity of human nature take refuge 
with those who ditfer from us. It k extet^ding a&d famffifi£ 
ihe principle of the amour -ftroprtj by calUng to its lid the etprit ^ 
carpj and Bcrccning and surruundJng our favourite prnpensitiet and 
obstinate caprices in the hollow squares or dense phaUoxea of »ecu 
and p:irUeE>. This is a happy mode uf pampering our self-complacency, 
and persuading ournelves that we and thoxe that side with ui, are 
*the salt of the earth;' of giving vent to the morbid humours of 
our pride, envy, and all uncharitabienesi, those natural sccretiotu 
of the human heart, under the pretext of self-defence, the public 
safety, or a vcice from Heaven, .is it may happen; and of heaping 
every exccUcnce into one scale, and throwing all the obloquy and 
contempt into the other, in virtue of a nick-name, a watch-word of 
party, a badge, the colour of a ribbon, the cut of a dress. We thus 
desolate the globe, or tear a country in pieces, to show tlut we are 
the only people ^t to live in it i and fancy ourselves angels, while we 
are playing the devil. In this m.inner, the Huron devours the Iroquois, 
becauBe he is an Iroquois, and the Iroquois the Huron for a similar 
reason ; neither luspccts that he does it, because he himself is a. savage 
and no tiettcr than a wild bea^t; and is convinced in his own breast 1; 
that the difference of name and tribe makes a total difference in the ■ 
case. The Papist persecutes the Protestant, the Protestant persecute* ^ 
the Papist in his turn ; and each fancies that he has a plenary right to 
do so, while he keeps in view only the offensive epithet which • cuta 
the common link of brothcrhofxl between them.' The church of 
England iil-treatcd the Dissenters, and the Dinsenters, when they bad 
the opportunity, did not spare the church of England. The Whig 
40} 



ON PARTY SPIRIT 



calU the Tory a knave, the Tory coirplimeois the Whig with the 
Kamr Ulle, and each ibinks the abuse tticki to the paity-aame, aod 
has nothing to do with himself or the generic name of man. On 
the coDtraryr it cuts both ways ; but while the Whig uya * The Tory 
is a knave, becauRe be is :i Tory,' chia is at much as to cay, * I can- 
not be 3 knave, becautc I am a Whig ; ' and by exaggerating the 
profligacy of his opponent^ be imagines he h laying the eure foundatioD, 
and railing the toHy superstructure of his own praises. But if he 
suySf which ii the truth, ' The Tory is not a rascal because be is a 
Tory, but because human nature in power, and with the temptation, is 
a rascal,' then this would imply that the secdA of depravity arc sown 
in his own boaom, and might ahoot out into full growth and luxuriance 
if he got into place, which he does not wish to appear /(// 6e tioti get 
IB to plme. 

We may be intolerant even in advocating the cause ofToleration, and 
ao bent on making proselytes to Free-thinking as to allow no one to 
think freely but oureelves. The most boundless liberality in appear- 
ance may amount in reality to the most monstrous ostracism of opinion 
— not in condemning this or that tenet, or standing up for this or that 
sect or party, but in assuming a superciiiots superiority to all sects and 
parties alike, and pioscribing in the lump and in one sweeping clause 
all arti, sciences, opinions, and pursuits but our own. Till the time 
of Locke and Tolaod a general toleration waa never dicarot of: it 
was thought right on all hands to punish and discountenance heretics 
and schismatics, but each party alternately claimed to be true 
Chnsdans and orthodox behcvers. Daniel Defoe, who spent hit 
whole life, and wasted his strength in as«rting the right of the Dis- 
senters to a toleration (and got no thanks for it but the pillory), was 
scatuJalized at the proposal of the general principle, and was equally 
strenuous in excluding Quakers, Anabaptists. Socinians, Sccptici, and 
all who did not agree ia the tisentialt of Christianity, that is, who 
did not agree with him, from the benciit of such an indulgence to 
tender consciences. We wonder at the crtielties formerly practised 
upon the Jews : is there anything wonderful in it ! They were at 
the time the only people to make a butt and a bugbear of, to set up as 
a mark of indignity and as a foil to our self-love, for the Jtr* rutturtt 
principle that is within ut and always craving its prey to huDt down, 
to worry and make sport of at discretion, and without mercy — the 
unvarying uniformity and implicit faith of the Catholic church had 
imposed silence, and put a curb on our jarring dissensions, btart-burn- 
ings, and ill-blood, so that we had no pretence for quarrelling among 
ourselves for the glory of God or the salvation of men : — a Jokdahus 
BkunOi an Athfiit oi aoiccrer, race iaa way, would hardly suffice to stay 

40J 



"ARTY SPTRIT 

the Monuch of our tbeologicil rancour, we tiierefore felt witk aijfi 
and main upon tlie- Jew* at a forlorn hope in this dearth of objeairf 
■pite or zeal ; or, ai the whole of Horope was recoocUed is the 
boioni of holy mocher church, went to (he holy Land in inrch if 
a difference of opioion tod a grcMind of mortal offeoce; bal h 
aooner was there a difiiioa of the Christian world than Psput U 
upoQ Proiestantf Protestants upon ichixniattcs, and scfaismatici ml 
OIK another, with the sanM loving fury as they had before faUcn OM 
Turks and Jews. The disposition is always there, like a xtnaA 
mastilf — the pretext only is wanting; and this is furnished by a nm, 
which, as soon as it is affixed to difTeient sects or parties, sins ii i 
license, we think, to let loose upon them all our malevolence, doon- 
neering humour, love of power and wanton mischief, aa if they »crr 
of different species. The sentiment of the pious Hnglish bishop n 
good, who, on seeing a criminal led to execution, exclaimed, * Thctc 
goes ray wicked self!' 

If we look at common patriotism, it will fiirnish ao illustratioD ei 
party-spirit. One would think by an Englishman's hatred of ihr 
[•reach, and hid readiness to die lighting with and for hi* cooiitTynieti. 
that all the nation were united aa one maa in heart and band^^ 
so they are in war-time — and as an exerciie of their loyalty afld 
courage ; but let the crisis be orer, and they cool wonderfully, begin 
to feel the distinctions of English, Irish, and Scotch, fall out amoas 
themselves upon some minor disiinctioD ; the same hand that was 
eager to shedjthe blocd of a Freachmao will not give a emit of 
bread or a cup of cold water to a fellow-countryman in dtstrett ; and 
the hcroei who defended the wooden walls of Old England arr 
left to expose thcit wounds and crippled limbs to gain a pittance froiD 
the I passer gcr, or to perish of hunger, cold, and neglect in our high- 
wayK. Sucli is the effect of our boasted nationality : it i* active, 
fierce in doirg mischief; dormant, lukewarm in doing good. We 
may also see why the greatest stress is laid on trifles in rrligioo, isd 
why the most violent animosities arise out of the smallest differences 
in politics and religion. In the first place, it would never do to 
establish out superiority over others by the act^uisition of greater 
virtues, or by discarding our vices; but it is charming to do Uiis by 
merely repeating a ditfereaiTt^nnu/d of prayer, or turning to the eafl 
instead of the west. He should tight boldly for such a distinctioo, 
who it persuaded it will furnish him with a ptsport to the other wortd, 
and entitle him to look down on the rest of hia fellows an gh^rM over 
10 ttrdilion. Secondly, we often hate those nios: with whom we hate 
only a slight shade of difference, whetlier in politics or religion ; because 
at the whole in^a contest fur precedence and infallibility, wc 6iid it 
4O4 



CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LEGISLATION 

more difficult to draw the line of iliRlinctifln whrre to many polnH 
are conceded, sod are staggered iq our cooviction by tht argumenw of 
chofic whom we cannot deapise as tatAlly and incorrigibly in the wrong. 
The high-church party in yuecn Annc'i time were dispoied to Mcrilicc 
the low church and DinscntcrK to the Papists, because they were more 
galled by their argameois and disconcerted with their pretenuons. Id 
private life, ihc reverse of the forcj^oing reaioniog holds good ; that is, 
trades and professions present a direct contrast to sects and parties. 
A conformity in seotiment ftreogil^cns our party and opinion ; but those 
who have a similarity of pursuit arc rivals in interest ; and hence the 
old maxim, that /wo of a IratU cnnnot agree. 



PROJECT FOR A NEW THEORY OF CIVIL 
AND CRIMINAL LEGISLATION 

Whbw I was about fourteen (as long ago as the year 179»)» in 
cooaequeace oFa dispute, one day after coming out of meeting, betweea 
my father and an old lady of the congregation, respecting the repeal 
of^lhe Corporation and Test Acts and the limits of religious toleration, 
I eet about forming in my head (the first time I ever attempted to 
think) the following system of political rights and general juris- 
prudence. 

It was this circumstance that decided the fate of my future lUe; 
or rather, I would eay it was from an original bias or craving to be 
saiislied of the reason of things, that I seized hold of this accidental 
opportunity to indulge ia its uneasy and uoconscioas determination. 
Mr. Currie, my old tutor at Hackney, may still have the rough 
draught of tliis speculation, which 1 gave him with tears in my eyet, 
and which he good-naturedly accepted in lieu of the customary Mm//, 
and as a proof that I was no idler, but that my inability to produce a 
lice on the ordinary school topics aroxe from my being involved in 
more difficult nnd abstruse matters. He must smile at the so oft- 
rcpcatcd charge against mc of florid flippancy and tinK!. If from 
those briars I have since plucked roses, what labour has it not cost 
mc? The Test and Corporation Acts were repealed the other day. 
How would my father have rejoiced if this had happened in his time, 
and in concert with his old friends Dr. Price, Dr. Priesdey, and 
others! but now that there is no one to care about it, they give aa a 
boon to indifference what they lo long refused to justice, and thua 
ascribed by some to the liberality of the age ! Spirit of cootradictioo ! 
when wilt thou cease to rule over sublunary affairs, as the moon 

40 s 





PROJECT FOR A NEW THEORY OP 

then* hai the commnoity nich a right i It can oolf uwt in idt 
defence, or from the necestttjr of muiiuinmg the equal rigbuof em^ 
ODCi ind of opposing force to force in ouc of snj riotnw mi 
UBWamouble infringement of tbem. Society coiui«U of i pvn 
nnmbcr of individuaU ; and the aggregate right of goTcmmem i* caif 
[he cocse<)ueDce of these inherent ri^bu, balanciog 2nd Dcntnliaif 
one another. How those who dray natural rights get al aoyavtof 
rightt divine or human, I am at a loss to discoTcr ; for wfuns 
exiats in combioation, exisu beforehand ia an elementary state. Tk 
world ia composed of acomti aod a machine cannot be made vitbM 
materials. First, theo, it follovs chat lav or governcneot it not tht 
mere creature of a social compact, since each person haa a cenait 
right which he is bound to defend against another withoat aaking dat 
other's leaTc, or etae tlte right would alwaya be at the a»ercy of 
whoever choie to invade it. There would be a right to do wron^ 
but none to resist it. Thus I hare a natural right to defend my H^ 
against a murderer, without .iny mutual compact between us; beset 
•odcty has an aggregate right of the same kind, and to make a bw ta 
that effect, forbioding and punishing murder. If there be 00 teA 
immediate value and attachment to life felt by the individual, and a 
consequent justifiable determination to defend it, then the famd 
pretension of society to vindicate a right, which, according to dis 
reaaoning, has no cxiitctice in itself, must be founded 00 air, on a 
word, or a lawyer's ipte JixU. .Secondly, society, or gOTernmeol, at 
luch, has no right to trench unon the liberty or rtghta of the todividiiali 
its members, except as these last are, as it were, forfeited by toterftriog 
with and destroying one another, like opposite mechanical forcra or 
quantities in anthmctic. Put the basts that each nun's will is a 
sovereign law to itself: this can only hold in society as long as hr 
does aot meddle with others ; but as long as he does oot do this, ibr 
first principle retains iu force, for there is do other principle to 
impeach or overrule it. The will of society is not a suflicicnt pleat 
since this is, or ought to be, made up of the wills or rights of the 
individuals composing it, which by the supposition remain entire, and 
contei^ucntly without power to act. The good of society is not a 
sut^iicirnt plea, for individuals .ire only bound {00 compulsion] not to 
do it harm, or to be barely just : benevolence and rirtuc are voluntary 
qualities. For insiance, if two pctKoni are obliged to do all that ii 
possible for the good of both, this must either be setded voluntarily 
between them, and then it is friendship, and not force ; or if this is 
not the case, it is plain th^ one must be the slave, and lie at 
caprice and mercy of the other ; it will be one will forcibly reguistioj 
two bodies. But if each is left master of his own person and ac ' 
408 



CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LEGISLATION 

with only the implied proiito of not encroachinj; on those of the 
othvr, thcD both may continue free and indep«nd(.-nt^ and contented in 
their several Bphcres. One individual has no right to interfere with 
the employment of my muscular puwefB, or to put violeoce on my 

ferson, to force mc to contribute to the mo« laudable underialeing if 
do not approve of it, any more than I have to force hint lo asmt 
me in the direct contrary: if one has not, ten have not, nor a million, 
any such arbitrary right over me. What one can be maJr to do for a 
nfiiiiioo IB very triiling : what a milUon may do by being left free in 
all that merely concerns chemsclvei, and not subject to the perpetual 
caprice and insolence of authority, and pretext o( the public good, in 
a very different calculation. By giving up the principle of political 
independence, it is not the raillion that will goverD the one, but the 
one that will in time give law tu the milUon. There arc some things 
that cannot be free in natural society, and agaia«t which there is a 
natural law ; for instance, no one can be allowed to knock, out 
another's brains or to feiicr his limbs with innpunity. And govero- 
meat is bound to prevent the same violations of liberty and justice. 
The question is, whether it would not be possible for a government to 
exist, and for a system of laws to be framed, that conSncd itself to 
the punishment of such offences, and left all the rest (except the 
nipprcssion ot" force by force) optional or matter of mutual compact. 
What are a man's natural tights i Those, the infiingenient of which 
cannot on any auppoiition go unpunished : by leaving all but cases of 
necessity to choice and reason, much would be perhaps gained, and 
nothing lost. 

CoKOLLARr 1. It results from the foregoing statement, that there 
is nothing naturally to restrain or oppose the will of one man, but the 
will of another meeting it. Thus, in a desert island, it is evident 
that my will and rights would be absolute and unlimited, and I might 
say with Robinson Crusoe, * I am monarch of all I survey.* 

CoROLLARV 3. It is coming into tiociety dial circumscribes my 
will and rightK, by cst-ibliohing equal .ind mutual rights, instead of the 
original uncircumscribcd ones. They are stil! 'founded as the rock,' 
though not so broad and genera! as the casing air, for the only thing 
that limits them it the solidity of another right, no better than my 
own, and, like stones in a building, or a mo^ic ])aTen)ent, each 
remains not the lesa lirmly riveted to its place, though it cannot 
encroach upon the next to it. I do not belong to the state, nor am I 
a nonentity in it, but I am