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he commanded the respect of the whole par- had an influence in the Cabinet; but there ish." It is no explanation that he was a have been Lord Chancellors, and Bank cases, considerable political economist: no real Eng- and influential Cabinet ministers not a few, lish gentleman, in his secret soul, was ever that have never attained to a like reputation. sorry for the death of a political economist: There is little we can connect specifically he is much more likely to be sorry for his life. with his name. Mr. Macaulay, indeed, says There is an idea that he has something to do that he spoke for five minutes on the bishops' with statistics; or, if that be exploded, that trial; and that when he sat down, his repuhe is a person who writes upon "value;" says tation as an orator and constitutional lawyer that rent is you cannot very well make out was established. But this must be a trifle what; talks excruciating currency; who may eloquent; hardly any orator could be fast be useful as drying-machines are useful; but enough to attain such a reputation in five the notion of crying about him is absurd. minutes. The truth is, that Lord Somers You might as well cry at the death of a cor- had around him that inexpressible attraction morant. Indeed, how he can die is very odd. and influence of which we speak. He left a You would think a man who could digest all sure, and if we may trust the historian, even that arid matter; who really preferred "saw- a momentary, impression on those who saw dust without butter; "* who liked the tough him. By a species of tact they felt him to subsistence of rigid formula, might defy by be a great man. The ethical sense- - for intensity of internal constitution all stomachic or lesser diseases. However, they do die, and people say that the dryness of the Sahara is caused by a deposit of similar bones. Yet it is not grief for his loss in an economical capacity that will explain the mourning for Francis Horner.
I do not
there is almost such a thing in simple persons- discriminated the fine and placid oneness of his nature. It was the same on a smaller scale with Horner. After he had left Edinburgh several years, his closest and most confidential associate writes to him: "There is no circumstance in your life, my The fact is that Horner is a striking exam- dear Horner, so enviable as the universal conple of the advantage of keeping an atmos-fidence which your conduct has produced phere. This may sound like nonsense, and among all descriptions of men. yet it is true. There is around some men a speak of your friends, who have been near kind of circle or halo of influences, and traits, and close observers; but I have had some ocand associations, by which they infallibly casions of observing the impression which leave a certain uniform and distinct impres- those who are distant spectators have had, sion on all their contemporaries. It is very and I believe there are few instances of any difficult, even for those who have the best person of your age possessing the same charopportunities, to analyze exactly what this acter for independence and integrity, qualiimpression consists in, or why it was made ties for which very little credit is given in but it is made. There is a certain undefinable general to young men.' "Sydney Smith keeping in the traits and manner and com- said "the ten commandments were written mon speech and characteristic actions of some on his countenance." Of course he was a men, which inevitably stamps the same mark very ugly man, but the moral impression in and image. It is like a man's style. There fact conveyed was equally efficacious. "I are some writers who can be known by a few have often," said the same most just obwords of their writing; each syllable is in-server," told him, that there was not a crime stinct with a certain spirit: put it into the he might not commit with impunity, as no hands of any one chosen at random, the same impression will be produced by the same casual and felicitous means. Just so in character, the air and atmosphere, so to speak, which are around a man, have a delicate and expressive power, and leave a stamp of unity on the interpretative faculty of mankind. Death dissolves this association, and it becomes a problem for posterity what it was that contemporaries marked and reverenced. There is Lord Somers. Does any one know why he had such a reputation? He was Lord Chancellor, and decided a Bank case, and
"Horner is ill. He was desired to read amusing books: upon searching his library, it appeared he had no amusing
books, the nearest approach to a work of that description being the Indian Trader's Complete Guide."-Sydney Smith's Letter to Lady Holland.
judge or jury who saw him would give the
* Letter from Lord Murray.
said Niel, with an air of resignation. It is not that ill food, though far frae being sae hearty and kindly to a Scotchman's stomach as the curney aitmeal is : the Englishers live amaist upon it,' &c." It was so with the Whigs; they were obliged to put up with honest and virtuous men, and they wanted able men to carry on a keen opposition; and after all, they and the "Englishers" like it best.
what they like best; and therefore it was that | maun gaur wheat flour serve us for a blink,' the House of Commons grieved for his loss unanimously and without distinction. Some friends of Horner's, in his own time, mildly criticized him for a tendency to party spirit. The disease in him, if real, was by no means virulent; but it is worth noticing as one of the defects to which the proper Whig character is specially prone. It is evident in the quiet agreement of the men. Their composed, unimaginative nature is inclined to isolate itself in a single view; their placid disposition, never prone to self-distrust, is rather susceptible of friendly influence; their practical habit is concentrated on what should be done. They do not wish-they do not like to go forth into various speculation; to put themselves in the position of opponents; to weigh in a refining-scale the special weight of small objections. Their fancy is hardly vivid enough to explain to them all the characters of those whom they oppose; their intellect scarcely detective enough to discover a meaning for each grain in opposite arguments. Nor is their temper, it may be, always prone to be patient with propositions which tease, and persons who resist, them. The wish to call down fire from heaven is rarely absent in pure zeal for a pure cause.
In another point of view, too, Horner's life was characteristic of those times. It might seem, at first sight, odd that the English Whigs should go to Scotland to find a literary representative. There was no place where Toryism was so intense. The constitution of Scotland at that time has been described as the worst constitution in Europe. The nature of the representation made the entire country a government borough. In the towns, the franchise belonged to a close and self-electing corporation, who were always carefully watched; the county representation, anciently resting on a property qualification, had become vested in a few titular freeholders, something like lords of the manor, only that they might have no manor; and these, even with the addition of the borough freeholders, did A good deal of praise has naturally been not amount to three thousand. The whole bestowed upon the Whigs for adopting such were in the hands of Lord Eldon's party, and a man as Horner, with Romilly and others of the entire force, influence, and patronage of that time; and much excellent eulogy has Government were spent to maintain and keep fallen to the lot of the close boroughs, which it so. By inevitable consequence, Liberalism, afforded to the Whig leaders a useful mode of even of the most moderate kind, was thought showing their favor. Certainly we have just almost a criminal offence. The mild Horner said that the character of Horner was one al- was considered a man of " very violent opintogether calculated to ingratiate itself with ions." Jeffrey's father, a careful and discernthe best and most special Whig nature. But ing parent, was so anxious to shield him from as for the eulogy on the proprietary seats in the intellectual taint, as to forbid his attendParliament, it is certain that from the position ance at Stewart's lectures. This seems an odd of the Whig party, the nomination system place to find the eruption of a liberal review. was then most likely to show its excellences, Of course the necessary effect of a close and and to conceal its defects. Nobody but an commonplace tyranny was to engender a honest man would bind himself thoroughly to strong reaction in searching and vigorous the Whigs. It was evident that the reign of minds. The Liberals of the north, though Lord Eldon must be long; the heavy and far fewer, may perhaps have been stronger common Englishman (after all the most steady Liberals than those of the south; but this will and powerful force in our political constitu- hardly explain the phenomenon. In fact, the tion) had been told that Lord Grey was in education of Scotland seems to have been defavor of the "Papists," and liked Bonaparte; signed to teach men to write essays and artiand the consequence was a long, painful, cles. There are two kinds of education, into arduous exile on "the other side of the ta- all the details of which it is not now pleasant ble," the last place any political adventur- to go, but which may be adequately described er would wish to arrive at. Those who have as the education of facts, and the education no bribes will never charm the corrupt; those of speculation. The system of facts is the who have nothing to give will not please English system. The strength of the pedathose who desire that much shall be given gogue and the agony of the pupil are designed them. There is an observation of Niel Blane, to engender a good knowledge of two lanthe innkeeper, in Old Mortality. "And what are we to eat ourselves, then, father,' asked Jenny, when we hae sent awa the haile meal in the ark and the grinel?' We
guages; in the old times, a little arithmetic; now also a knowledge, more or less, of mathematics and mathematical physics. The positive tastes and tendencies of the English mind
confine its training to ascertained learning and | burgh Review he wrote as many as seventydefinite science. In Scotland it was very nine articles; in a like period afterwards he different. The time of a man like Horner wrote forty. This is often not nearly enough was taken up with speculations like these: remembered. When you hear a man's style I have long been feeding my ambition with criticized, you should ask, how high up has the prospect of accomplishing, at some future he written? Elaborate men never get up to period of my life, a work similar to that their knees; Gray was never up to his ankles; which Sir Francis Bacon executed about two Tennyson's poems amount to socks. You hundred years ago. It will depend on the may venture to look very minutely at these sweep and turn of my speculations, whether little productions; but when you confront a they shall be thrown into the form of a dis- body of composition, you should really be cursive commentary on the Instauratio careful how you examine his voluminous inMagna' of that great author, or shall be en- terior. You will be sure to find little things titled to an original form, under the title of you do not expect; we must not go into the a View of the Limits of Human Knowledge subject; not quite pleasant trifles; little unand a System of the principles of Philosophi-digested things; any analyst will tell you cal Inquiry.' I shall say nothing at present what. It was so with Lord Jeffrey. Any of the audacity," &c. &c. And this sort of one who should expect to find a pure perfecplanning, which is the staple of his youthful tion in these miscellaneous productions, biography, was really accompanied by much should remember their bulk. If all his reapplication to metaphysics, history, political views were reprinted, they would be very economy, and such like studies. It is not at many. And all the while he was a busy lawall to our present purpose to compare this yer, was editor of the Review, did the busispeculative and indeterminate kind of study ness, corrected the proof-sheets; and, more with the rigorous, accurate education of Eng- than all, what one would have thought a very land. The fault of the former is sometimes strong man's work, actually managed Henry to produce a sort of lecturer in vacuo, igno- Brougham. You must not criticize papers rant of exact pursuits, and diffusive of vague like these, rapidly written in the hurry of life, words. The English now and then produce as you would the painful words of an elabora learned creature like a thistle, prickly with ate sage, slowly and with anxious awfulness all facts, and incapable of all fruit. But instructing mankind. Some things, a few passing by this general question, it cannot be things, are for eternity; some, and a good doubted that, as a preparation for the writing many, are for time. We do not expect the of various articles, the system of Edinburgh everlastingness of the pyramids from the viis enormously superior to that of Cambridge. bratory grandeur of a Tyburnian mansion. The particular, compact, exclusive learning of England is inferior in this respect to the general, diversified, omnipresent information of the north; and what is more, the speculative, dubious nature of metaphysical and such like pursuits tends, in a really strong mind, to cultivate habits of independent thought and original discussion. A bold mind so trained will even wish to advance its peculiar ideas, on its own account, in a written and special form; that is, as we said, to write an article. Such are the excellencies of the system in this respect of which Horner is an example. The defects tend the same way. It tends, as is said, to make a man fancy he knows everything. "Well then at least," it may be answered, "I can write an article on everything."
The truth is, that Lord Jeffrey was something of a Whig critic. We have hinted that, among the peculiarities of that character, an excessive partiality for new, arduous, overwhelming, original excellence, was by no means to be numbered. Their tendency inclining to the quiet footsteps of custom, they like to trace the exact fulfilment of admitted rules, an exact accordance with the familiar features of ancient merit. But they are most averse to mysticism. A clear, precise, discriminating intellect shrinks at once from the symbolic, the unbounded, the indefinite. The misfortune is that mysticism is true. There certainly are kinds of truth, borne in as it were instinctively on the human intellect, most influential on the character and the heart, yet hardly capable of stringent The facility and boldness of the habits so statement, difficult to limit by an elaborate produced were curiously exemplified in Lord definition. Their course is shadowy; the Jeffrey. It has been proved that he wrote mind seems rather to have seen than to see his own size. He was a little man, which them, more to feel after than definitely to makes it less extraordinary; but it seems that apprehend them. They commonly involve if you commenced a layer of literature on the an infinite element, which of course cannot soles of shoes, you would actually have enough be stated precisely, or else a first principle-and in the way of reviews only to fill an original tendency-of our intellectual with his writing up to the crown of a real constitution, which it is impossible not to feel, hat. During the first six years of the Edin- and yet which it is hard to extricate in terms
and words. Of this latter kind is what has fond enthusiasm of secret students, the lonely been called the religion of nature, or, more rapture of lonely minds. And each has reexactly perhaps, the religion of the imagina- ceived according to his kind. If all cultition. This is an interpretative faculty. To vated men speak differently because of the exit the beauty of the world has a meaning, its istence of Wordsworth and Coleridge; if not grandeur a soul, its sublimity an expression. a thoughtful English book has appeared for As we gaze on the faces of those whom we forty years, without some trace for good or love; as we watch the light of life in the evil of their influence; if sermon-writers dawning of their eyes, and the play of their subsist upon their thoughts; if "sacred features, and the wildness of their animation; poets" thrive by translating their weaker as we trace in changing lineaments a varying portion into the speech of women; if, when sign; as a charm and a thrill seem to run all this is over, some sufficient part of their along the tone of a voice, to haunt the mind writing will ever be fitting food for wild muswith a mere word; as a tone seems to roaming and solitary meditation, surely this is in the ear; as a trembling fancy hears words because they possessed the inner naturethat are unspokens so in nature the mystical" an intense and glowing mind," "the vision sense finds a notion in the mountains, and a and the faculty divine." But if, perchance, power in the waves, and a meaning in the in their weaker moments, the great authors long white line of the shore, and a thought of the lyrical ballads did ever imagine that in the blue of heaven, and a gushing soul the world was to pause because of their versin the buoyant light, an unbounded being es; that Peter Bell would be popular in in the vast void air, and drawing-rooms; that Christabel would be perused in the City; that people of fashion "Wakeful watchings in the pointed stars." would make a handbook of the Excursion, There is a philosophy in this which might it was well for them to be told at once that be explained, if explaining were to our this was not so. Nature ingeniously pr purpose. It might be advanced that there pared a shrill artificial voice, which spoke in are original sources of expression in the season and out of season, enough and more essential grandeur and sublimity of nature, than enough, what will ever be the idea of of an analogous though fainter kind to those the cities of the plain concerning those who familiar, inexplicable signs by which we trace live alone among the mountains; of the frivin the very face and outward lineaments olous concerning the grave; of the gregaof man the existence and working of the mind rious concerning the recluse; of those who within. But be this as it may, it is certain laugh concerning those who laugh not; of that Mr. Wordsworth preached this kind the common concerning the uncommon; of religion, and that Lord Jeffrey did not of those who lend on usury concerning those believe a word of it. His cool, sharp, collected who lend not; the notion of the world of mind revolted from its mystery; his detective those whom it will not reckon among the intelligence was absorbed in its apparent righteous-it said, "This won't do!" fallaciousness; his light humor made sport And so in all time will the lovers of polished with the sublimities of the preacher. His Liberalism speak, concerning the intense and love of perspicuity was vexed by its indefinite- lonely prophet. ness; the precise philosopher was amazed at its mystic unintelligibility. Finding a little fault was doubtless not unpleasant to him. The reviewer's pen φόνον ηρωεσσιν — has seldom been more poignantly wielded. "If," he was told, "you could be alarmed into the semblance of modesty, you would charm everybody; but remember my joke against you (Sydney Smith loquitur) "about the D-n the solar system- bad light -planets too distant-pestered with comets: feeble contrivance; could make a better with great ease." Yet we do not mean that in this great literary feud, either of the combatants had all the right, or gained all the victory. The world has given judgment. Both Mr. Wordsworth and Lord Jeffrey have received their reward. The one had his own generation; the laughter of men, the applause of drawing-rooms, the concurrence of the crowd: the other a succeeding age, the
Yet if Lord Jeffrey had the natural infirmities of a Whig critic, he certainly had also its extrinsic and political advantages. Especially at Edinburgh, the Whigs wanted a literary man. The Liberal party in Scotland had long groaned under political exclusion; they had suffered, with acute mortification, the heavy sway of Henry Dundas, but they had been compensated by a literary supremacy; in the book-world they enjoyed a social domination. On a sudden this was rudely threatened. The fame of Sir Walter Scott was echoed from the southern world, and appealed to every national sentiment-to the inmost heart of every_Scotchman. And what a ruler! A lame Tory, a jocose Jacobite, a laugher at liberalism, a scoffer at metaphysics, an unbeliever in political economy. What a gothic ruler for the modern Athens '
* The first words of Jeffrey's review of the Excursion,
are, This will never do.”
was this man to reign over them? It tience for long argument, no acuteness for would not have been like human nature, if delicate precision, no fangs for recondite rea strong and intellectual party had not soon search. Writers, like teeth, are divided into found a clever and noticeable rival. Poets, incisors and grinders. Sydney Smith was a indeed, are not made" to order; " but Byron," molar." He did not run a long sharp arspeaking the sentiment of his time and circle, gument into the interior of a question; he counted reviewers their equals. If a Tory did not, in the common phrase, go deeply inproduced " Marmion, a Whig wrote the to it; but he kept it steadily under the conbest article upon it; Scott might, so ran Lib-tact of a strong, capable, heavy, jaw-like eral speech, be the best living writer of fic- understanding, pressing its surface, effaction; Jeffrey, clearly, was the most shrewd ing its intricacies, grinding it down. But and accomplished of literary critics. as we said, this is done without toil. The play of the "molar" is instinctive and placid: he could not help it; it would seem he had an enjoyment in it.
And though this was an absurd delusion, Lord Jeffrey was no every-day man. He invented the trade of editorship. Before him an editor was a bookseller's drudge; he is The story is, that he liked a bright light; now a distinguished functionary. If Jeffrey that when he was a poor parson in the counwas not a great critic, he had, what very try, he used, not being able to afford more great critics have wanted, the art of writing delicate luminaries, to adorn his drawingwhat most people would think good criticism. room with a hundred little lamps of tin metal He might not know his subject, but he knew and mutton fat. When you know this, you his readers. People like to read ideas which see it in all his writings. There is the same they can imagine to have been their own. preference of perspicuity throughout them. Why does Scarlett always persuade the Elegance, fine savor, sweet illustration, are jury?" asked a rustic gentleman. "Be- quite secondary. His only question, as to an cause there are twelve Scarletts in the jury- argument, was, "will it tell?" as to an exbox," replied an envious advocate. What ample, "will it exemplify?" Like what is Scarlett was in law, Jeffrey was in criticism; he could become that which his readers could not avoid being. He was neither a pathetic writer nor a profound writer; but he was a quick-eyed, bustling, black-haired, sagacious, intrusive, agreeable man of the world. He had his day, and was entitled to his day; but a gentle oblivion must now cover his already subsiding reputation.
called " push " in a practical man, his style goes straight to its object; it is not restrained by the gentle hindrances, the delicate decorums of refining natures. There is nothing more characteristic of the Scandinavian mythology, than that it had a god with a hammer. There is no better illustration of our English humor, than the great success of this huge and healthy organization.
Sydney Smith was an after-dinner writer. There is something about this not exactly His words have a flow, a vigor, an expres- to the Whig taste. They do not like such sion, which is not given to hungry mortals. broad fun, and rather dislike unlimited stateYou seem to read of good wine, of good cheer, ment. Lord Melbourne, it is plain, declined of beaming and buoyant enjoyment. There to make him a bishop. In this there might is little trace of labor in his composition; be a vestige of Canningite prejudice, but on it is poured forth like an unceasing torrent, the whole, there was the distinction between rejoicing daily to run its course. And what the two men which there is between the loud courage there is in it! There is as much wit and the recherche thinker-between the variety of pluck in writing across a sheet, as bold controversialist and the discriminative in riding across a country. Cautious men statesman. A refined noblesse can hardly have many adverbs, "usually," "nearly," respect a humorist; he amuses them, and "almost: safe men begin, it may be ad- they like him, but they are puzzled to know vanced: you never know precisely what whether he does not laugh at them as well as their premises are, nor what their conclusion with them; and the notion of being laughed is; they go tremulously like a timid rider; at, ever, or on any score, is alien to their shy they turn hither and thither; they do not decorum and suppressed pride. But in a go straight across a subject, like a masterly broader point of view, and taking a wider mind. A few sentences are enough for a range of general character, there was a good master of sentences. A practical topic wants deal in common. More than any one else, rough vigor and strong exposition. This is Sydney Smith was Liberalism in life. Somethe writing of "Sydney Smith." It is suited body has defined Liberalism as the spirit of the to the broader kind of important questions. world. It represents its genial enjoyment, For anything requiring fine nicety of specu- its wise sense, its steady judgment, its preflation, long elaborateness of deduction, evan-erence of the near to the far, of the seen escent sharpness of distinction, neither his to the unseen; it represents, too, its shrinkstyle nor his mind was fit. He had no pa- ing from difficult dogma, from stern state