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passionate eye of practical philosophy. Both had the good of their country as their leading motive; but one acted more from the heart, and the other from the head. Washington's actions sprang from impulse, the other's from reflection. Both were equally inflexible; one from the integrity of his heart, the other from the soundness of his head. In drawing this parallel let it not for an instant be understood that we deny a head to Washington or a heart to Franklin. We only point out this distinction as the governing principle of their conduct. One said, I feel I ought to do it; the other said, I think I will.

It is in this identity with his subject that Mr. Sparks is the unrivalled head of American biography; indeed, we do not know of any who is superior to him in the literature of England. Some biographers, when they write the life of a hero, forget Columbus was the grandest of discoverers, by the most magnificent enthusiasm that ever stirred the human imagination, and in like manner transmogrify Mahomet into a tame adventurer. The truth is, these wonderful men were the embodiments and exponents of the leading feature of the age they lived in, and so far from creating the storm, they merely rode upon it as the chief objects. Some lean to the belief that the man makes the epoch; others that the epoch makes the man. Possibly the truth may lie between in this, as in many other things, and the fact prove they were made for each other. Doubtless, when a vague idea is floating in the imaginations of men, some one more charged with the spirit of that particular thought may grasp it, and become the conductor of that electric shock which is to shatter the tottering superstitions of the world.

It no doubt sometimes occurs that men who have carried out a theory to its remotest practice, would have started aghast had the ultimate result been suddenly presented to their "mind's eye." Like John Gilpin, they have been carried away by their steed, and compelled by the brute force of a popular revolution to dine at Ware, when they only set out to spend a day at Edmonton, with their wife, some favorite theory. However homely this illustration may be, it has been forced upon us by a close study of the characters of many of the most celebrated disturbers of the human race. A poet one day called these men human yeast.

It may, however, possibly happen that they themselves become quickened with the spirit of progress as they ride on; and as the path widens, future objects may present themselves as the necessary consequence of their first advance. This should be always borne in mind when we feel disposed to blame the extreme lengths to which some of the most celebrated men have been hurried by the force of circumstance.

Few men deserve more consideration in this respect than Napoleon. If there was ever a man justified by the necessities of his position, it was the great Emperor of the French. Many are inclined to blame his pertinacious hatred to England, and to sagely conclude that had he confined his ambition to reasonable bounds, he would have lived and died the ruler of France. This would have been true had Napoleon been only a great man of the common-place order, but, unfortunately for himself, he was the most original genius of his age. He had, therefore, instincts which counselled him more strongly and unerringly than the concentrated every-day good sense of the world. This mute god revealed to him that he was the apostle of a creed which must be spoken through his mouth, although to his own destruction; and, like the Pythoness of old, he had no free choice in the matter. The presentiment of a great man becomes in time invariably his superstition, and we offer the constantly recurring prediction of Napoleon as to the Omnipotence of Destiny, as an illustration of our remark, and as an explanation of his own fate. There is more grandeur in the Exile on the Rock of St. Helena than in the Emperor on the Throne of the Tuileries; and we think that Napoleon did more for human liberty when apparently the chained exile of that lonely pinnacle of despair, than when he was the diademed monarch of France.

Prometheus in fetters, dying 'neath the vulture, speaks to the world for ever in the Greek of ^Eschylus. Jove himself is vulgarized and dwarfed by the sublime fortitude of his victim, the Fire Stealer. Even so does the dethroned and vanquished victor of tyranny speak to all nations through the voice of history.

Had Napoleon died monarch of France, he had been vulgarized for ever. He would have been dumb to the world of liberty, save through the French tongue; and the Goddess of Freedom, we are afraid, will never listen to that language. But his martyrdom on the solitary rock gave him a key to the heart of every Anglo-Saxon, and they took up his mission, which was to destroy the clay idol set up by a legitimate Nebuchadnezzar for the worship of the world. Thus their sympathy first enlisted them in the cause, and since then the great social Alcides has cleansed the Augean Stables of tyranny through the agency of his former foes. Had Prometheus not been a tortured captive, ^Eschylus had never made him the Hero of Endurance; and had Napoleon escaped that majestic doom of despair—

"Dying death stiffened in that mute embrace,"

he would only have been a successful adventurer, a nine days' wonder, and the founder of a race of tyrants who would themselves in time have become legitimate, and required another Napoleon to overthrow. Let the majestic shade of the departed Corsiean rejoice over the transient evil of the last few years of his mortal life, and thank the "Triple Fates" that he was snatched from a throne on which so many fools and despots had died, to be placed on the loftiest pedestal ever awarded to a human being. The truth of a great creed is testified by the suffering of its founder, and not by the success of his earthly mission. While the Crescent of the victorious Mahomet is fading every day from the heavens, the Cross of the Galilean is rapidly becoming the symbol of the world.

The mission of Napoleon is the grandest human theme ever presented to the imagination of a poet. We can faintly conceive how, in the times to come, when some future Milton presents him in an Epic, or some Shakspeare in a dramatic shape, the admiring audience will look upon him as belonging to a nobler species than the human race; and how in the solemn temple of their souls they will execrate that nation for whom he died, in emancipating from the thraldom of the dancing master and the tax-gatherer. It may possibly bestow upon Great Britain the dignity of its hatred. While we are on the subject of the two Prometheuses, we may possibly be excused by the reader for preserving a remark of Browning's. We had been conversing (seated on the green hills of Surrey, at whose foot this great poet resided, with his father, mother, and only sister, before his marriage with Miss Barrett) upon Napoleon, Prometheus, and other eminent sufferers. Browning grew warm on the subject, and pointed out a curious passage of the Prometheus Vinctus, which he said was not only the foundation of Napoleon's creed, but also a prophecy or foreshadow of the Christian Trinity.

This (the author of Sordello maintained) was a singular proof of the ghostly or shadowy evidence, which the " cloud of witnesses" gave in favor of these mysteries.

We have endeavored by these general remarks to give a better idea of the excellence of Mr. Sparks's biographies than by any extracts from his writings. Who could convey to the beholder the idea of a forest by presenting an elaborate isolated tree? Let this simile excuse our rather dealing in generalities when we talk of Mr. Sparks's biographies. It is very often the test of an undue and unartistic attention to parts, correspondent to a neglect of the whole, when a critic is enabled to present the reader with a convincing specimen of the genius of the artist. This really is the exact truth in the present case. All is equally well finished; there is nothing striking about a feature or limb, but the face or the form is beautiful. Who would think of cutting off a nose or plucking out an eye, and presenting these mutilations as convincing evidences of beauty? We cannot help carrying on the parallel by remarking that the very isolation deprives each organ of sight and smell, and ignores at the same time the delights of vision and perfume. What be

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