Page images

proved himself ripe for military command. | lishmen were sent only to get rich by any This is a rare if not a singular distinction. It means, in the shortest possible time. He first is true that Alexander, Condé, and Charles the made dauntless and unsparing war on that gie Twelfth won great battles at a still earlier age; gantic system of oppression, extortion, and corbut those princes were surrounded by veteran ruption. In that war he manfully put to hazard generals of distinguished skill, to whose sug- his ease, his fame, and his splendid fortune. gestions must be atıributed the victories of the The same sense of justice which forbade us Granicus, of Rocroi, and of Narva. Clive, an to conceal or extenuate the faults of his earlier inexperienced youth, had yet more experience days, compels us to admit that those faults than any of those who served under him. He were nobly repaired. If the reproach of the Comhad to form hin.self, to form his officers, and pany and of its servants has been taken awayto form his army. The only man, as far as we if in India the yoke of foreign masters, else recollect, who at an equally early age ever where the heaviest of all yokes, has been found gave equal proof of talents for war, was Napo- lighter than that of any native dynasty-if to leon Bonaparte.

that gang of public robbers which once spread From Clive's second visit to India dates the terror through the whole plain of Bengal, has political ascendency of the English in that succeeded a body of functionaries not more country. His dexterity and resolution realized, highly distinguished by ability and diligence in the course of a few months, more than all than by integrity, disinterestedness, and public the gorgeous visions which had floated before spirit--if we now see men like Munro, Elphin. the imagination of Dupleix. Such an extent stone, and Metcalfe, after leading victorieus of cultivated territory, such an amount of reve- armies, after inaking and deposing kings, re. nue, such a multitude of subjects, was never turn, proud of their honourable poverty, from added to the dominion of Rome by the most a land which once held out to every greedy successful proconsul. Nor were such wealthy factor the hope of boundless wealth--the praise spoils ever borne under arches of triumph, is in no small measure due to Clive. His name down the Sacred Way, and through the crowd stands high on the roll of conquerors. But it is ed Forum, to the threshold of Tarpeian Jove. found in a better list-in the list of those who The fame of those who subdued Antiochus and have done and suffered much for the happiness Tigranes gruws dim when compared with the of mankind. To the warrior, history will as. splendour of the exploits which the young sign a place in the same rank with Lucullus English adventurer achieved at the head of an and Trajan. Nor will she deny to the reformarıny not equal in numbers to one-half of a er, à share of that veneration with which Roman legion.

France cherishes the memory of Turgot, and From Clive's third visit to India dates the with which the latest generation of Hindoos parity of the administration of our Eastern will contemplate the statue of Lord Wikam empire. When he landed at Calcutta in 1765, Bentinca, Bengal was regarded as a place to which Eng.



MR. COURTENAY has long been well known only are these passages out of place, but score to politicians as an industrious and useful offi- of them are intrinsically such that they wcula cial man, and as an upright and consistent become the editor of a third-rate party news. member of Parliament. He has been one of paper better than a gentleman of Mr. Courtethe most moderate, and, at the same time, one nay's talents and knowledge. For example, of the least pliant members of the Conservative we are told that “i: is a remarkable circum party. His conduct has, on some questions, stance, familiar to those who are acquainted been so Whigish, that both those who ap- with history, but suppressed by the new Whigs, plauded and those who condemned it have that the liberal politician of the seventeenth questioned his claim to be considered as a century and the greater part of the eighteenth, Tory. But his Toryism, such as it is, he has never extended iheir liberality to the native held fast to through all changes of fortune and Irish or the professors of the ancient religion." fashion; and he has at last retired from public What schoolboy of fourteen is ignorant of this life, leaving behind him, to the best of our remarkable circumstance? What Whig, new belief, no personal enemy, and carrying with or old, was ever such an idiot as to think that him the respect and good-will of many who it could be suppressed ? Really, we might as strongly dissent from his opinions.

well say that it is a remarkable circumstance, This book, the fruit of Mr. Courtenay's lei- familiar to people well read in history, but sare, is introduced by a preface, in which he carefully suppressed by the clergy of the informs us, that the assistance furnished to Established Church, that in the fifteenth cenhim from various quarters “ has taught him tury England was Catholic. We are tempted the superiority of literature to politics for de- to make some remarks on another passage, veloping the kindlier feelings, and conducing which seems to be the peroration of a speech to an agreeable life." We are truly glad that intended to be spoken against the Reform bill: Mr. Courtenay is so well satisfied with his new but we forbear. employment, and we heartily congratulate him We doubt whether it will be found that the on having been driven by events to make an memory of Sir William Temple owes much to exchange which, advantageous as it is, few Mr. Courtenay's researches. Temple is one people make whi.e they can avoid it. He has of those men whom the world has agreed to little reason, in our opinion, to envy any of praise highly without knowing much about those who are still engaged in a pursuit, from ihem, and who are therefore more likely to which, at most, they can only expect that, by lose than to gain by a close examination. 'Yet relinquishing liberal studies and social plea- he is not without fair pretensions to the most sures,-by passing nights without sleep, and honourable place among the statesmen of his summers without one glimpse of the beauty of time. A few of them equalled or surpassed nature,-they may attain that laborious, that him in talents; but they were men of no good invidious, that closely watched slavery which repute for honesty. A few may be named whose is mocked with the name of Power.

patriotism was purer, nobler, and more disThe volumes before us are fairly entitled interested than his; but they were men of no to the praise of diligence, care, good sense, and eminent ability. Morally, he was above Shaftes. impartiality; and these qualities are sufficient bury; intellectually, he was above Russell. to make a book valuable, but not quite suffi To say of a man that he occupied a high cient to make it readable. Mr. Courtenay has position in times of misgovernment, cf cornot sufficiently studied the arts of selection and ruption, of civil and religious faction, and that, compression. The information with which he nevertheless, he contracted no great stain and furnishes us must still, we apprehend, be cou- bore no part in any crime ;-that he won the sidered as so much raw material. To manu-esteem of a profligate court and of a turbu.ent facture it will be highly useful, but it is not yet people, without being guilty of any great su!. in such a form that it can be enjoyed by the serviency to either,-seems to be very high idle consumer. To drop metaphor, we are praise; and all this may with truth be said of afraid that this work will be less acceptable to Temple. those who read for the sake of reading, than to Yet Temple is not a man to our taste. A those who read in order to write.

temper not naturally good, but under strici We cannot help adding, though we are ex- command,—a constant regard to decorum,---a tremely unwilling to quarrel with Mr. Cour- rare caution in playing that mixed game of tenay about politics, that the book would not skill and hazard, human liie,-a disposition to be at all the worse if it contained fewer snarlsbe content with small and certain winnings against the Whigs of the present day. Not rather than go on doubling the stake,-these

seem to us to be the most remarkable features Memoirs of the Life, Works, and Correspondence of of his character. This sort of moderation, Sir William Temple. By the Right llon. Thomas PERE- when united, as in him it was, with very con

GRINE COURTENAY. 2 vols. 8vo. London. 1836.

siderable abilities, is, under ordinary circum- | kind. He could not bear discomfort, bodily or stances, Ecarcely to be distinguished from the mental. His lamentations when, in the course highest and parest integrity; and yet may be of his diplomatic journeys, he was put a little perfectly compatible with laxity of principle, out his way, and forced, in the vulgar phrase, with coldness of heart, and with the most in- to rough it, are quite amusing. He talks of tense selfishness. Temple, we fear, had not riding a day or two on a bad Westphalian road, sufficient warmth and elevation of sentiment of sleeping on straw for one night, of travelling to deserve the name of a virtuous man. He in winter when the snow lay on the ground, as did not betray or oppress his country: nay, he if he had gone on an expedition to the North rendered considerable seryice to her; but he Pole or to the source of the Nile. This kind risked nothing for her. No temptation which of valetudinarian effeminacy, this habit of cod. either the King or the Opposition could hold dling himself, appears in all parts of his conout ever induced him to come forward as the duct. He loved fame, but not with the love of supporter either of arbitrary or of factious an exalted and generous mind. He loved it as measures. But he was most careful not to give an end, not at all as a means;-as a personal offence by strenuously opposing such measures. luxury, not at all as an instrument of advantage He never put himself prominently before the to others. He scraped it together and treasured public eye, except at conjunctures when le it up with a timid and niggardly thrist; and was almost certain to gain, and could not pos- never employed the hoard in any enterprise, sibly lose ;-at conjunctures when the interest however virtuous and honourable, in which of the state, the views of the court, and the there was hazard of losing one particle. No passions of the multitude all appeared for an wonder if such a person did little or nothing instant to coincide. By judiciously availing which deserves positive blame. But much himself of several of these rare moments, he more than this may justly be demanded of a succeeded in establishing a high character for man possessed of such abilities and placed in wisdom and patriotism. When the favourable such a situation. Had Temple been brought crisis was passed, he never risked the reputa- before Dante's infernal tribunal, he would no: tion which he had won. He avoided the great have been condemned to the deeper recesses offices of state which a caution almost pusilla- | of the abyss. He would not have been boiled nimous, and confined himself to quiet and se- with Dundee in the crimson pool of Bulicame, cluded departments of public business, in úr hurled with Danby into the seething pitch which he could enjoy moderate but certain ad- of Malebolge, or congealed with Churchill in vantage without incurring envy. If the cir- the eternal ice of Giudecca; but he would per. cumstances of the country became such that haps have been placed in a dark vestibule next it was impossible to take any part in politics to the shade of that inglorious pontiffwithout some danger, he retired to his Library and his Orchard; and, while the nation groan

“ Che fece per villate il gran rifiuto," ed under oppression, or resounded with tumult Of course a man is not bound to be a politiand with the din of civil arms, amused him- cian any more than he is bound to be a soldier; self by writing Memoirs and tying up Apricots. and there are perfectly honourable ways of His political career bore some resemblance to quitting both politics and the military profes. the military career of Louis XIV. Louis, lest sion. But neither in the one way of life, nor his royal dignity should be compromised by in the other, is any man entitled to take all the failure, never repaired to a siege, till it had sweet and leave all the sour. A man who been reported to him by the most skilful offi- belongs to the army only in time of peace,cers in his service that nothing could prevent who appears at reviews in Hyde Park, escorts the fall of the place. When this was ascer- the sovereign with the utmost valour and tained, the monarch, in his helmet and cuirass, fidelity to and from the House of Lords, and reappeared among the tents, held councils of tires as soon as he thinks it likely that he may war, dictated the capitulation, received the be ordered on an expedition-is justly ihought keys, and then returned to Versailles to hear to have disgraced himself. Some portion of his flatterers repeat that Turenne had been the censure due to such a holiday-soldier may beaten at Mariendal, that Condé had been justly fall on the mere holiday-politician, who forced to raise the siege of Arras, and that the Ainches from his duties as soon as those du. only warrior whose glory had never been ob- ties become difficult and disagreeable ;-thai is scured by a single check was Louis the Great! to say, as soon as it becomes peculiarly imYet Condé and Turenne will always be con- portant that he should resolutely perform there. sidered captains of a very different order from But though we are far indeed from considerthe invincible Louis; and we must own that ing Temple as a perfect statesmen, though we many statesmen who have committed very place him below many statesmen who have great faults, appear to us to be deserving of committed very great errors, we cannot deny mure esteem than the faultless Temple. For that, when compared with his contemporaries, in truth his faultlessness is chiefly to be as he makes a highly respectable appearance. cribed to his extreme dread of all responsibi. The reaction which followed the victory of the lity;--10 his determination rather to leave his popular party over Charles the First, had procountry in a scrape than to run any chance of duced a 'hurtful effect on the national charac. being in a scrape himself He seems to have ter; and this effect was most discernitle in the been averse from danger; and it must be ad- classes and in the places which had been most mitted that the dangers to which a public man strongly excited by the recent Revolution. The was exposed, in those days of conflicting ty- deterioration was greater in London than in the ranny and sedition, were of the most serious country, and was greatestof all in the courtly and

official circles. Almost all that remained of what feelings; yet they had not acquired a strong had been good and noble in the Cavaliers and passion for innovation. Accustomed to see old Roundheads of 1642, was now to be found in establishments shaking, falling, lying in ruins the middling orders. The principles and feel all around them,--to live under a succession Angs which prompted the “Grand Remon- of constitutions, of which the average dura. strance" were still strong among the sturdy tion was aboui a twelvemonth--they had no yeomen, and the decent God-fearing merchants. religious reverence for prescription ;--nothing The spirit of Derby and Capel still glowed in of that frame of mind which naturally springs many sequestered manor-houses; but among from the habitual contemplatior, of immemorial those political leaders who, at the time of the antiquity and immovable stability. AccustomRestoration, were still young, or in the vigour ed, on the other hand, to see change after change of manhood, there was neither a Southampton welcomed with eager hope and ending in disnor a Vane, neither a Falkland nor a Hamp- appointment,--to see shame and confusion of den. That pure, fervent, and constant loyalty face follow the extravagant hopes and predicwhich, in the preceding reign, had remained tions of rash and fanatical innovators--they unshaken on fields of disastrous battle, in had learned to look on professions of public foreign garrets and cellars, and at the bar of spirit, and on schemes of reform, with distrust the High Court of Justice, was scarcely to be and contempt. They had sometimes talked found among the rising courtiers. As little, or the language of devoted subjects--sometimes still less, could the new chiefs of parties lay that of ardent lovers of their country. But claim to the great qualities of the statesmen their secret creed seems to have been, that who had stood at the head of the Long Parlia- loyalty was one great delusion, and patriotism ment. Hampden, Pym, Vane, Cromwell, are another. If they really entertained any predidiscriminated from the ablest politicians of lection for the monarchical or for the popular the succeeding generation, by all the strong part of the constitution.--for Episcopacy or for lineaments which distinguish the men who Presbyterianism,--that predilection was feeble produce revolutions from the men whom revo- and languid; and instead of overcoming, as in lutions produce. The leader in a great change, the times of their fathers, the dread of exile, conthe man who stirs up a reposing community, fiscation, and death, was rarely of proof to resist and overthrows a deeply-rooted system, may be the slightest impulse of selfish ambition or of a very depraved man; but he can scarcely be selfish fear. Such was the texture of the Pres. destitute of some moral qualities which extort byterianism of Lauderdale, and of the specula. even from enemies a reluctant admiration tive republicanism of Halifax. The sense of fixedness of purpose, intensity of will, enthu- political honour seemerl to be extinct. With siasm which is not the less fierce or perse the great mass of mankind, the test of integrity vering, because it is sometimes disguised under in a public man is consistency. This test, the semblance of composure, and which bears though very defective, is perhaps the best thai down before it the force of circumstances and any, excepi very acute or very near observers, the opposition of reluctant minds. These are capable of applying; and does undoubtedly qualities, variously combined with all sorts of enable the people to form an estimate of the virtues and vices, may be found, we think, in characters of the great, which, on the whole, most of the authors of great civil and religious approximates to correctness. But during the movements,--in Cæsar, in Mohammed, in latter part of the seventeenth century, inconHildebrand, in Dominic, in Luther, in Robes- sistency had necessarily ceased to be a dispierre; and these qualities were found, in no grace; and a man was no more taunted with scanty measure, among the chiefs of the party it

, than he is taunted with being black at Timwhich opposed Charles the Firsi. The cha- buctoo. Nobody was ashamed of avowing racter of the men whose minds are formed in what was common to him with the whole the midst of the confusion which follows a nation. In the short space of about seven great revolution is generally very different years, the supreme power had been held by the Heat, the natural philosophers tell us, produces Long Parliament, by a Council of Officers, by rarefaction of the air, and rarefaction of the air Barebone's Parliament, by a Council of Officers produces cold. So zeal makes revolutions, again, by i Protector according to the Instru. and revolutions make men zealous for nothing. ment of Government, by a Protector according The politicians of whom we speak, whatever to the humble petition and advice, by the Long may be their natural capacity or courage, arc Parliament again, by a third Council of Officers, almost always characterized by a peculiar by the Long Parliament a third time, by the levity, a peculiar inconstancy, an easy, apa- Convention, and by the king. In such times, thetic way of looking at the most solemn ques-i consistency is so inconvenient to a man who tions, a willingness to leave the direction of affects it, and to all who are connected with their course to fortune and popular opinion, a him, that it ceases to be regarded as a virtue, aotion that one public cause is pretty nearly and is considered as impracticable obstinacy as good as another, and a firm conviction that and idle scrupulosity. Indeed, in such times, it is much better to be the hireling of the worst a good citizen may be bound in duty to serve cause than to be a martyr to the best.

a succession of governments. Blake did so This was most strikingly the case with the in one profession, and Hale in another; aunt English statesmen of the generation which fol- the conduct of both has been approved by pos. lowed the Restoration. They had neither the terity. But it is clear that when inconsistency enthusiasm of the Cavalier, nor the enthusiasm with respect to the most important public of the Republican. They had been early eman- questions has ceased to be a reproach, incon cipared from the dominion of old usages and sistency with respect to questions of minor

mportance is not likely to be regarded as ancient and honourable, had, before his time, ishonourable. In a country in which many been scarcely mentioned in our history; but very honest people had, within the space of a which, long after his death, produced so many few months, supported the government of the eminent men, and formed such distinguished Protectur, that of the Rump, and that of the alliances, that it exercised, in a regular and King, a man was not likely to be ashamed of constitutional manner, an influence in the state abandoning his party for a place, or of voting scarcely inferior to that which, in widely differfor a bill which he had opposed.

ent times, and by widely different arts, the The public men of the times which followed house of Neville attained in England, and that the Restoration were by no means deficient in of Douglas in Scotland. During the latter courage or ability; and some kinds of talent years of George II., and through the whole appear to have been developed amongsl them reign of George III., members of that widely to a remarkable—we might almost say, to a spread and powerful connection were ahnost morbid and unnatural degree. Neither Thera- constantly at the head either of the Government menes in ancient, nor Talleyrand in modern or of the Opposition. There were times when times, had a finer perception of all the pecu- the “cousinhood," as it was once nicknamed, liarities of character, and of all the indications would of itself have furnished almost all the of coming change, than some of our country- materials necessary for the construction of an men of those days. Their power of reading efficient cabinet. Within the space of fifty things of high import, in signs which to others years, three First Lords of the Treasury, three were invisible or unintelligible, resembled Secretaries of State, two Keepers of the Privy magic. But the curse of Reuben was upon Seal, and four First Lords of the Admiralty them all: “Unstable as water, thou shall not were appointed from among the sons and grandexcel."

sons of the Countess Temple. This character is susceptible of innumerable So splendid have been the fortunes of the modifications, according to the innumerable main stock of the Temple family, continued by varieties of intellect and temper in which it female succession. William Temple, the first may be found. Men of unquiet minds and of the line who attained to any great historical violent ambition followed a fearfully eccentric eminence, was of a younger branch. His facourse-darted wildly from one extreme to ther, Sir John Temple, was Master of the Rolls another-served and betrayed all parties in in Ireland, and distinguished himself among turn-showed their unblushing foreheads al- the Privy Councillors of that kingdom by the ternately in the van of the most corrupt admi- zeal with which, at the commencement of the nistrations and the most factious oppositions struggle between the crown and the Long were privy to the most guilty mysteries, first Parliament, he supported the popular cause. of the Cabal, and then of the Rye-House Plot He was arrested by order of the Duke of Or. -abjured their religion to win their sovereign's mond, but regained his liberty by an exchange, favour, while they were secretly planning his repaired to England, and there sat in the House overthrow--shrived themselves to Jesuits with of Commons as burgess for Chichester. . Heatletters in cipher from the Prince of Orange in tached himself to the Presbyterian party, and their pockets-corresponded with the Hague was one of those moderate members who, at whilst in office under James began to corres- the close of the year 1648, voted for treating pond with St. Germains as soon as they had with Charles on the basis to which that prince kissed hands for office under William. But had himself agreed, and who were, in conseTemple was not one of these. He was not quence, turned out of the House, with small destitute of ambition. But his was not one of ceremony, by Colonel Pride. Sir John seems, those souls within which unsatisfied ambition however, to have made his peace with the anticipates the tortures of hell, gnaws like the victorious Independents; for, in 1653, he reworm which dieth not, and burns like the fire sumed his office in Ireland. which is not quenched. His principle was to Sir John Temple was married to a sister of make sure of safety and comfort, and to let the celebrated Henry Hammond, a learned and greatness come if it would. It came: he en- pious divine, who took the side of the king joyed it: and in the very first moment in which with very conspicuous zeal during the Civil it could no longer be enjoyed without danger War, and was deprived of his preferment in the and vexation, he contentedly let it go. He was church after the victory of the Parliament. On not exempt, we think, from the prevailing politi-account of the loss which Hammond sustained cal immorality. His mind took the contagion, on this occasion, he has the honour of being but took it ad modum recipientis ;-in a form so designated, in the cant of that new brood of mild that an undiscerning judge might doubt Oxonian sectaries who unite the worst parts of whether it were indeed the same fierce pesti- the Jesuit to the worst parts of the Orange. lence that was raging all around. The malady man, as Hammond, Presbyter, Doctor, and partook of the constitutional languor of the Confessor. patient. The general corruption, mitigated hy William Temple, Sir John's eldest son, was his calm and unadventurous temperament, born in London, in the year 1628. He received showed itself in omissions and desertions, not his early education under his maternal ur cle, in positive crimes; and his inactivity, though was subsequently sent to school at Bishopsometimes timorous and selfish, becomes re- Stortford, and, at seventeen, began to reside at spec!able when compared with the malevolent Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where the und perfidious restlessness of Shaftesbury and celebrated Cudworth was his tutor. The times Kunderland.

were not favourable to study. The Civil War Temple sprang from a family which, though disturbed even the quiet cinisters and bowling

« PreviousContinue »