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superstructure of the theory which they are 'tion-of commendation much colder than what

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blind to the obvious unsoundness of the found-tentous bore, Sir Richard Blackmore... Gray

ation. It is the same with some eminent lawyers. Their legal arguments are intellectual prodigies, abounding with the happiest analogies and the most refined distinctions. The principles of their arbitrary science being once admitted, the statute-book and the reports being once assumed as the foundations of jurisprudence, these men must be allowed to be perfect masters of logic. But if a question arises as to the postulates on which their whole system rests, if they are called upon to vindicate the fundamental maxims of that system which they have passed their lives in studying, these very men often talk the language of savages or of children. Those who have listened to a man of this class in his own court, and who have witnessed the skill with which he analyzes and digests a vast mass of evidence, or reconciles a crowd of precedents which at first sight seem contradictory, scarcely know him again when, a few hours later, they hear him speaking on the other side of Westminster Hall in his capacity of legislator. They can scarcely believe that the paltry quirks which are faintly heard through a storm of coughing, and which cannot impose on the plainest country gentleman, can proceed from the same sharp and vigorous intellect which had excited their admiration under the same roof and on the same day. Johnson decided literary questions like a lawyer, not like a legislator. He never examined foundations where a point was already ruled. His whole code of criticism rested on pure assumption, for which he sometimes gave a precedent or an authority, but rarely troubled himself to give a reason drawn from the nature of things. He took it for granted that the kind of poetry which flourished in his own time, which he had been accustomed to hear praised from his childhood, and which he had himself written with success, was the best kind of poetry. In his biographical work he has repeatedly laid it down as an undeniable proposition that, during the latter part of the seventeenth century and the earlier part of the eighteenth, English poetry had been in a constant F. of improvement. Waller, Denham, ryden, and Pope had been, according to him, the great reformers. He judged of all works of the imagination by the standard established among his own contemporaries. Though he allowed Homer to have been a greater man than Wirgil, he seems to have thought the Æneid a greater poem than the Iliad. Indeed he well might have thought so, for he preferred Pope's Iliad to Homer's. He pronounced that, after Hoole's translation of Tasso, Fairfax's would hardly be reprinted. He could see no merit in our fine old English ballads, and always spoke with the most provoking contempt of Percy’s sondness for them. Of all the great original works which appeared during his time Richardson's novels alone excited his admirafron. He could see little or no merit in Tom Jones, in Gulliver's Travels, or in Tristram 8handy. To Thomson's Castle of Indolence be vouchsafed only a line of cold commenda

was, in his dialect, a barren rascal. Churchill was a blockhead. The contempt which he felt for the trash of Macpherson was indeed just; but it was, we suspect, just by chance. He despised the Fingal for the very reason which led many men of genius to admire it. He despised it, not because it was essentially commonplace, but because it had a superficial air of originality. He was undoubtedly an excellent judge of compositions fashioned on his own principles But when a deeper philosophy was required— when he undertook to pronounce judgment on the works of those great minds which “yield homage only to eternal laws”—his failure was ignominious. He criticised Pope's Epitaphs excellently. But his observations on Shakspeare's plays and Milton's poems seem to us as wretched as if they had been written by Rymer himself, whom we take to have been the worst critic that ever lived. Some of Johnson's whims on literary subjects can be compared only to that strange, nervous feeling which made him uneasy if he had not touched every post between the Mitre tavern and his own lodgings. His preference of Latin epitaphs to English'epitaphs is an instance. An English epitaph, he said, would disgrace Smollett. He declared that he would not pollute the walls of Westminster Abbey with an English epitaph on Goldsmith. What reason there can be for celebrating a British writer in Latin which there was not for covering the Roman arches of triumph with Greek inscriptions, or for commemorating the deed of the heroes of Thermopylae in Egyptian hieroglyphics, we are utterly unable to imagine. On men and manners—at least, on the men and manners of a particular place and a particular age—Johnson had certainly looked with a most observant and discriminating eye. His remarks on the education of children, on marriage, on the economy of families, on the rules of society, are always striking, and generally sound. In his writings, indeed, the knowledge of life which he possessed in an eminent degree is very imperfectly exhibited. Like those unfortunate chiefs of the middle ages, who were suffocated by their own chainmail and cloth of gold, his maxims perish under that load of words, which was designed for their ornament and their defence. But it is clear, from the remains of his conversation, that he had more of that homely wisdom which nothing but experience and observation can give, that any writer since the time of Swift. If he had been content to write as he talked, he might have left books on the practical art of living superior to the Directions to Servants. Yet even his remarks on society, like his re marks on literature, indicate a mind at least as remarkable for narrowness as for strength. He was no master of the great science of human nature. He had studied, not the genus man, but the species Londoner. Nobody was ever so thoroughly conversant with all the forms of life, and all the shades of moral and intellectual character, which were to be seen

from Islington to the Thames, and from HydePark corner to Mile-end green. But his philosophy stopped at the first turnpike gate. Of the rural life of England he knew nothing; and he took it for granted that everybody who lived in the country was either stupid or miserable. “Country gentlemen,” said he, “must be unhappy; for they have not enough to keep their lives in motion.” As if all those peculiar habits and associations, which made Fleet Street and Charing Cross the finest views in the world to himself, had been essential parts of human nature. Of remote countries and past times he talked with wild and ignorant resumption. “The Athenians of the age of emosthenes,” he said to Mrs. Thrale, “were a people of brutes, a barbarous people.” In conversation with Sir Adam Ferguson he used similar language. “The boasted Athenians,” he said, “were barbarians. The inass of every people must be barbarous, where there is no rinting.” The fact was this: he saw that a ,ondoner who could not read was a very stupid and brutal fellow: he saw that great refinement of taste and activity of intellect were rarely found in a Londoner who had not read much ; and because it was by means of books that people acquired almost all their knowledge in the society with which he was acquainted, he concluded, in defiance of the strongest and clearest evidence, that the human mind can be cultivated by means of books alone. An Athenian citizen might possess very few volumes; and even the largest library to which he had access might be much less valuable than Johnson's bookcase in Bolt. Court. But the Athenian might pass every morning in conversation with Socrates, and might hear Pericles speak four or five times every month. He saw the plays of Sophocles and Aristophanes; he walked amidst the friezes of Phidias and the paintings of Zeuxis; he knew by heart the choruses of Æschylus; he heard the rhapsodist at the corner of the street reciting the Shield of Achilles, or the Death of Argus; he was a legislator conversant with high questions of alliance, revenue, and war; he was a soldier, trained under a liberal and gesprous discipline; he was a judge, compelled every day to weigh the effect of opposite arguments. These things were in themselves an education; an education eminently fitted, not indeed, to form exact or profound thinkers, but to give quickness to the perceptions, delicacy to the taste, fluency to the expression, and politeness to the manners. But this Johnson never considered. An Athenian who did not improve his mind by reading, was, in his opinion, much such a person as a Cockney who made his mark; much such a person as black Frank before he went to school, and far inferior to a parish-clerk or a printer's devil. His friends have allowed that he carried to a ridiculous extreme his unjust contempt for foreigners. He pronounced the French to be a very silly people—much behind us—stupid, ignorant creatures. And this judgment he formed after having been at Paris about a month, during which he would not talk French, for fear of giving the natives an advantage

over him in conversation. He pronounced them, also, to be an indelicate people, because a French footman touched the sugar with his fingers. That ingenious and amusing travel|ler, M. Simond, has defended his countrymen very successfully against Johnson's accusation, and has pointed out some English practices, which, to an impartial spectator, would seem at least as inconsistent with physical cleanliness and social decorum as those which Johnson so bitterly reprehended. To the sage, as Boswell loves to call him, it never occurred to doubt that there must be something eternall and immutably good in the usages to which he had been accustomed. In fact, Johnson's remarks on society beyond the bills of mortality, are generally of much the same kind with those of honest Tom Dawson, the English footman of Dr. Moore's Zeluco. “Suppose the King of France has no sons, but only a daughter, then, when the king dies, this here daughter, according to that there law, cannot be made queen, but the next near relative, provided he is a man, is made king, and not the last king's daughter, which, to be sure, is very unjust. The French footguards are dressed in blue, and all the marching regiments in white, which has a very foolish appearance for soldiers; and as for blue regimentals, it is only fit for the blue horse or the artillery.” Johnson's visit to the Hebrides introduced him to a state of society completely new to him: and a salutary suspicion of his own deficiencies seems on that occasion to have crossed his mind for the first time. He confessed, in the last paragraph of his Journey, that his thoughts on national manners were the thoughts of one who had seen but little; of one who had passed his time almost wholly in cities. This feeling, however, soon passed away. It is remarkable, that to the last he entertained a fixed contempt for all those modes of life and those studies, which lead to emancipate the mind from the prejudices of a particular age or a particular nation. . Of foreign travel and of history he spoke with the fierce and boisterous contempt of ignorance. “What does a man-learn by travelling? Is Beauclerk the better for travelling? What did Lord Charlemont learn in his travels, except that there was a snake in one of the pyramids of Egypt?” History was, in his opinion, to use the fine expression of Lord Plunkett, an old almanac; historians could, as he conceived, claim no higher dignity than that of almanacmakers; and his favourite historians were those who, like Lord Hailes, aspired to no higher dignity. He always, spoke with contempt of Robertson. Hume he would not even read. He affronted one of his friends for talk ing to him about Catiline's conspiracy, and declared that he never desired to hear of the Punic War again as long as he lived. Assuredly one fact, which does not directly affect our own interests, considered in itself, is no better worth knowing than another factThe fact that there is a snake in a pyramid, or the fact that Hannibal crossed the Alps by the Great St. Bernard, are in themselves as un|profitable to us as the fact that thosis * green blind in a particular house i: Threadneed'." w

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street, or the fact that a Mr. Smith comes into the city every morning on the top of one of the Blackwall stages. But it is certain that those "who will not crack the shell of history will never get at the kernel. Johnson, with hasty 'arrogance, pronounced the kernel worthless, because he saw no value in the shell. The real use of travelling to distant countries, and of studying the annals of past times, is to preserve men from the contraction of mind which those can hardly escape, whose whole communion is with one generation and one neighbourhood, who arrive at conclusions by means of an induction not sufficiently copious, and who therefore constantly confound exceptions with rules, and accidents with essential properties. In short, the real use of travelling, and of studying history, is to keep men from being what Tom Dawson was in fiction, and Samuel Johnson in reality. Johnson, as Mr. Burke most justly observed, appears far greater in Boswell's books than in his own. His conversation appears to have been quite equal to his writings in matter, and far superior to them in manner. When he talked, he clothed his wit and his sense in forcible and natural expressions. As soon as he took his pen in his hand to write for the public, his style became systematically vicious. All his books are written in a learned lanuage—in a language which nobody hears rom his mother or his nurse—in a language in which nobody ever quarrels, or drives bargains, or makes love—in a language in which nobody ever thinks. It is clear, that Johnson himself did not think in the dialect in which he wrote. The expressions which came first to his tongue were simple, energetic, and picturesque. When he wrote for publication, he did his sentences out of English into Johnsonese. His letters from the Hebrides to Mrs. Thrale are the original of that work of which the Journey to the Hebrides is the translation; and it is amusing to compare the two versions. “When we were taken up stairs,” says he in one of his letters, “a dirty fellow bounced out of the bed on which one of us was to lie.” This incident is recorded in the Journey as follows: “Out of one of the beds on which we were to repose, started up, at our entrance, a unan black as a Cyclops from the forge.” Sometimes Johnson translated aloud. “The Rehearsal,” he said, very unjustly, “has not wit enough to keep it sweet;” then, after a pause, “it has not vitality enough to preserve it from putrefaction.” Mannerism is pardonable, and is sometimes even agreeable, when the manner, though vicious, is natural. Few readers, for example, would be willing to part with the mannerism of Milton or of Burke. But a mannerism which does not sit easy on the mannerist, which has been adopted on principle, and which can be sustained only by constant effort, is always offensive. And such is the mannerism of Johnson. The characteristic faults of his style are so familiar to all our readers, and have been so

of those strong plain words, Anglo-Saxon or Norman French, of which the roots lie in the inmost depths of our language; and that he felt a vicious partiality for terms which, long after our own speech had been fixed, were borrowed from the Greek and Latin, and which, therefore, even when lawfully naturalized, must be considered as born aliens, not entitled to rank with the king's English. His constant practice of padding out a sentence with useless epithets, till it became as stiff as the bust of an exquisite; his antithetical forms of expression, constantly employed even where there is no opposition in the ideas expressed; his big words wasted on little things; his harsh inversions, so widely different from those graceful and easy inversions which give variety, spirit, and sweetness to the expression of our great old writers—all these peculiarities have been imitated by his admirers, and parodied by his assailants, till the public has become sick of the subject. Goldsmith said to him, very wittily and very justly, “If you were to write a fable about little fishes, doctor, you would make the little. fishes talk like whales.” No man surely ever had so little talent for personation as Johnson. Whether he wrote in the character of a disappointed legacy-hunter or an empty town fop, of a crazy virtuoso or a flippant coquette, he wrote, in the same pompous and unbending style. His speech, like Sir Piercy Shafton's Euphuistic. eloquence, bewrayed him under every disguise. Euphelia and Rhodoclia talk as finely as Imlac the poet, or Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia. The gay Cornelia describes her reception at the country-house of her relations in such terms as these : “I was surprised, after the civilities of my first reception, to find, in stead of the leisure and tranquillity which a rural life always promises, and, if well conducted, might always afford, a onfused wildness of care, and a tumultuous hurry of diligence, by which every face was clouded, and every motion agitated.” The gentle Tranquilla informs us, that she “had not passed the earlier part of life without the flattery of courtship and the joys of triumph; but had danced the round of gayety, amidst the murmurs of envy and the gratulations of applause; had been attended from pleasure to pleasure by the great, the sprightly, and the vain; and had seen her regard solicited by the obsequiousness of gallantry, the gayety of wit, and the timidity of love.” Surely Sir John Falstaff himself did not wear his petticoats with a worse grace. The reader may well cry out with honest Sir Hugh Evans, “I like not when a 'oman has a great peard: I spy a great peard under her muffler.” We had something more to say. But out article is already too long; and we must close it. We would fain part in good humour from the hero, from the biographer, and even from the editor, who, ill as he has performed his task, has at least this claim to our gratitude, that he has induced us to read Boswell's book again. As we close it, the club-room is before figure which is as familiar to us as the figures of those among whom we have been brought up—the gigantic body, the huge massy face, seamed with the scars of disease; the brown coat, the black worsted stockings, the gray wig with a scorched foretop; the dirty hands, the nails bitten and pared to the quick. We see the eyes and mouth moving with convulsive twitches; we see the heavy form rolling; we hear it puffing; and then comes the “Why, sir!” and the “What then, sir?” and the “No, sir!” and the “You dont see your way through the question, sir!”

often burlesqued, that it is almost superfluous us, and the table on which stands the omelet to point them out. It is well known that he for Nugent and the lemons for Johnson. There made less use than any other eminent writer' are assembled those heads which live forever on the canvass of Reynolds. There are the What a singular destiny has been that of spectacles of Burke and the tall thin form o this remarkable man! To be regarded in his Langton; the courtly sneer of Beauclerk and own age as a classic, and in ours as a compathe beaming smile of Garrick; Gibbon tapping nion—to receive from his contemporaries that his snuff-box, and Sir Joshua with his trumpet full homage which men of genius have in in his ear. In the foreground is that strange general received only from posterity—to be

more intimately known to posterity than other men are known to their contemporaries! That kind of same which is commonly the most transient, is, in his case, the most durable. The reputation of those writings, which he probably expected to be immortal, is every day fading; while those peculiarities of manner, and that careless table-talk, the memory of which, he probably thought, would die with him, are likely to be remembered as long as the English language is spoken in any quarter of the globe.

LORD NUGENT's MEMORIALS OF HAMPDEN."

We have read this book with great pleasure, though not exactly with that kind of pleasure which we had expected. We had hoped that Lord Nugent would have been able to collect, from family papers and local traditions, much new and interesting information respecting the life and character of the renowned leader of the Long Parliament, the first of those great English commoners, whose plain addition of Mister, has, to our ears, a more majestic sound than the proudest of the feudal titles. In this hope we have been disappointed; but assuredly not from any want of zeal or diligence on the part of the noble biographer. Even at Hampden, there are, it seems, no important papers relative to the most illustrious proprietor of that ancient domain. The most valuable memorials of him which still exist, belong to the family of his friend, Sir John Eliot. Lord Eliot has furnished the portrait which is engraved for this work, together with some very interesting letters. The portrait is undoubtedly an original, and probably the only original now in existence. The intellectual forehead, the mild penetration of the eye, and the inflexible resolution expressed by the lines of the mouth, sufficiently guaranty the likeness. We shall probably make some extracts from the letters. They contain almost all the new information that Lord Nugent has been able to procure, respecting the private pursuits of the great man whose memory he worships with an enthusiastic, but not an extravagant, veneration.

The public life of Hampden is surrounded by no obscurity. His history, more partionlarly from the beginning of the year 1840 to his death, is the history of England. These me

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moirs must be considered as Memoirs of the history of England; and, as such, they well deserve to be attentively perused. They contain some curious facts, which, to us at least, are new, much spirited narrative, many judicious remarks, and much eloquent declamation.

We are not sure that even the want of information respecting the private character of Hampden is not in itself a circumstance as strikingly characteristic as any which the most minute chronicler—O'Meara, Las Cases, Mrs. Thrale, or Boswell himself-ever record: ed concerning their heroes. The celebrated Puritan leader is an almost solitary instance of a greatman who neither sought nor shunned greatness; who found glory only because glory iay in the plain path of duty. During more than forty years, he was known to his country neighbcars as a gentleman of cultivated mind, of high principles, of polished address, happy in his family, and active in the discharge of

local duties; to political men, as an honest, industrious, and sensible member of Parlia ment, not eager to display his talents, stanch to his party, and attentive to the interests of his constituents. A great and terrible crisis came. A direct attack was made, by an arbitrary government, on a sacred right of Englishmen, on a right which was the chief security for all their other, rights. . The nation looked round for a defender. Calmly and unostentatiously the plain Buckinghamshire Es quire placed himself at the head of his countrymen, and right before the face, and across the path of tyranny. The times grew darker and more troubled. Public service, perilous,

arduous, delicate, was required; and to every |service, the intellect and the courage of this wonderful man were found fully equal. He became a debater of the first order, a "no" dexterous manager of the House of Commons, a negotiator, a soldier. He governed a fierce and turbulent assembly, abounding in able men, as easily as he had governed his fämily. He showed himself as competent to direct a campaign as to conduct the business of the petty sessions. We can scarcely express the admiration which we feel for a mind so great, and, at the same time, so healthful and so well proportioned; so willingly contracting itself to the humblest duties; so easily expanding itself to the highest; so contented in repose; so powerful in action. Almost every part of this virtuous and blameless life, which is not hidden from us in modest privacy, is a precious and splendid portion of our national history. Had the private conduct of Hampden afforded the slightest pretence for censure, he would have been assailed by the same blind malevolence which, in defiance of the clearest proofs, still continues to call Sir John Eliot an assassin. Had there been even any weak part in the character of Hampden, had his manners been in any respect open to ridicule, we may be sure that no mercy would have been shown to him by the writers of Charles's faction. Those writers have carefully preserved every little circumstance which could tend to make their opponents cdious or contemptible. They have told us that Pym broke down in a speech, that Ireton had his nose pulled by Hollis, that the Earl of Northumberland cudgelled Henry Martin, that St. John’s manners were sullen, - that Vane had an ugly face, that Cromwell had a red nose. They have made themselves merry with the canting phrases of injudicious -zealots. But neither the artful Clarendon nor the scurrilous Denham could venture to throw the slightest imputation on the morals or the manners of Hampden. What was the opinion entertained respecting him by the best men of his time, we learn from Baxter. That eminent person-eminent not only for his piety and his fervid devotional eloquence, but for his moderation, his knowledge of political affairs, and his skill in judging of characters—declared in the Saint's Rest, that one of the pleasures which he hoped to enjoy in Heaven was the society of Hampden. In the editions printed after the restoration, the name of Hampden was omit. ted. “But I must tell the reader,” says Baxter, “that I did blot it out, not as changing my opinion of the person. . . . . . Mr. John Hampden was one that friends and enemies acknowledged to be most eminent for prudence, piety, and peaceable counsels, having the most universal praise of any gentleman that I remember of that age. I remember a moderate, prudent, aged gentleman, far from him, but acquainted with him, whom I have heard saying, that if he might choose what Person he would be then in the world, he would be John Hampden.” We cannot but regret that we have not fuller memorials of a man, who, after passing through the most severe temptations by which human virtue can be •ried, after acting a most-conspicuous part in a revolution and a civil war, could yet deserve such praise as this from such authority. Yet the want of memorials is surely the best proof

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that hatred itself could find no-blemish on his memory. The story of his early life is soon told. He was the head of a family which had been settled in Buckinghamshire before the Conquest. Part of the estate which he inherited had been bestowed by Edward the Confessor on Baldwyn de Hampden, whose name seems to indicate that he was one of the Norman favourites of the last Saxon king. During the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster, the Hampdens adhered to the party of the Red Rose, and were consequently persecuted by Edward the Fourth, and favoured by Henry the Seventh. Under the Tudors, the family was great and flourishing. Griffith Hampden, high sheriff of Buckinghamshire, entertained Elizabeth with great magnificence at his seat. His son, William Hampden, sate in the Parliament which that queen summoned in the year 1593. William married Elizabeth Cromwell, aunt of the celebrated man who afterwards governed the British islands with more than regal power; and from this marriage sprang John Hampden. He was born in 1594. In 1597 his father died, and left him heir to a very large estate. Aster passing some years at the grammar school of Thame, young Hampden was sent, at fifteen, to Magdalen College, in the University of Oxford. At nineteen, he was admitted a student of the Inner Temple, where he made himself master of the principles of the English law. In 1619 he married Elizabeth Symeon, a lady to whom he appears to have been fondly attached. In the following year he was returned to Parliament by a borough which has in our time obtained a miserable celebrity, the borough of Grampound. Of his private life during his early years, little is known beyond what Clarendon has told us. “In his entrance into the world," says that great historian, “he indulged him. self in all the license in sports, and exercises, and company, which were used by men of the most jolly conversation.” A remarkable change, however, passed in his character. “On a sudden,” says Clarendon, “from a life of great pleasure and license, he retired to extraordinary sobriety and strictness, to a more reserved and melancholy society.” It is probable that this change took place when Hamp*n was about twenty-five years old. At that **e was united to a woman whom he loved and esseemed. At that age he entered into Political he... A mind so happily constituted as his, woula naturally, under such circumanoes, relinquish the pieasures of dissipation for domestic enjoyments and public duties. His enemies have allowed that he was a man in whom virtue showed itself in its mildest and least austere form. with the morals of a Puritan, he had the manners of an accom. plished courtier. Even after the change in his habits, “he preserved,” says clarendon, “his own natural cheerfulness and vivacity, and, above all, a flowing courtesy to all men.” These qualities distinguished him from most of the members of his sect and his party; and, in the great crisis in which he afterwards took

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