ePub 版

seem to have“ a difference," will be found es- | all momentous changes of the world have been sentially the same to all, and will enrich the produced by individual greatness, so all popubeing of each and all.

lar and free institutions can only be rendered There is one advantage which I may justly and kept vital by individual energiesma result boast over both my predecessors in this office, which nothing can even threaten but that most —that of being privileged to announce to you insidious form of indolence which is called a state of prosperity far more advanced and modesty and self-distrust; a result against more confirmed than that which either could which not only the welfare of this great town, develop. The fairest prophecies which Mr. and of each stranger who comes to Manchester, Dickens put forth, in the inspiration of the and who may now hope to find beneath the time, in the year 1843, have been amply ful shelter of your roof a great intellectual home, filled ;-the eloquent exhortations of Mr. D'Is- but also the exigencies of the time in which raeli, in 1844, have been met by noble re- we live, plead with solemn voices !—They sponses. From a state of depression, which, remind you that existence has become almost four or five years ago, had reduced the number a different thing since it began with some of of members nearly to 400, and steeped the in- us. It then justified its old similitude of a stitution in difficulty, it is now so elevated journey; it quickened with intellect into a that, as to life members, you number 133 of march; it is now whirling with science and those who have made the best of all possible speculation into a flight. Space is contracted investments, because the returns are sure and and shrivelled up like a scroll; time disdains certain, and the rewards at once palpable and its old relations to distance; the intervals fair, which thus greet your life governors upon between the "flighty purpose" and the deed these happy anniversaries; you have of pay- through which thought might lazily spread out ing members no fewer than 2500—with an in- its attenuated films, are almost annihilated; come of £4000 a year with a debt annihi- and the national mind must either glow with lated, with the exception of that on mortgage, generous excitement, or waste in fitful fever. and with good hope even that this encum- How important then is it, that throughout our brance may be soon swept away, and of in- land—but more especially here where all the forming the Courts of Bankruptcy, which I greatest of the material instruments have their understand have taken shelter beneath your triumphant home-almost that of the alchemist roof, that it will soon be time for them to look —the spiritual agencies should be quickened out for a more appropriate home. Before I into kindred activity; that the few minutes of entered this room, i confess I was inclined to leisure and repose which may be left us should, wonder how these great effects had been by the succession of those “ thoughts which achieved; I knew they had been principally wander through eternity,” become hours of accomplished by the great exertions, the sac- that true time which is dialled in heaven; that rifices scarcely less than heroic, of some few to a mind winged for distant scenes, convermembers of your society, who had taken its sant with the society of the great of all ages, interest deeply to heart; but now, when I see and warmed by sympathy to embrace the vast the scene before me, so graced and adorned as interests of its species, the few hours in which it is, I certainly need be surprised at no energies the space between London and Manchester is which have been put forth,–I can wonder at now traversed—nay the little hour in which it no results that have been attained. Those ex- may soon be flashed over-shall have an inertions, however, permit me to remind you, tellectual duration equal to the old, legitimate, having been of extraordinary character, you six days' journey of our fathers; while thought, can scarcely hope to be renewed. You must no longer feebly circling in vapid dream, but look for the welfare of this institution to its impelled right onward with divine energy, younger members. To them I speak when I shall not only outspeed the realized miracles say, “To you its destinies are confided; on of steam, but the divinest visions of atmoyou, if not its existence, yet its progress and spheric prophecy, and still keep “ the start of its glory depend; for its happiest success will the majestic world.” Mr. Canning once not arise mainly from emancipated revenues, boasted of his South American policy, that he or the admiring sympathy of strangers, or even had “called a new world into existence to from a scheme remarkably liberal and com- redress the balance of the old;" be it your prehensive, adapted to all, and embracing the nobler endeavour to preserve the balance even feelings of all; nor yet in laws admirably between the world within us and the world framed, to preserve and support its proportion without us—noi vainly seeking to retard the and order; but it is by the vigorous efforts of life of action, but to make it steady by conyourselves—perpetually renewing spirit and templation's immortal freightage. life in its forms without which their very course,-members of the Manchester Atheperfection will be dangerous, because, while næum,--society at large may watch, and I presenting the fairest shows, they may, with believe will mark, the clear indications both less violence of apparent and startling transi- of its progress and its safety. While the solition, cease to be realities, and, instead of a tary leisure of the clerk, of the shopman, of great arena of intellectual exertion, may the apprentice, of the overseer, as well as of become only the abode of intellectual enjoy the worker in all departments of labours, from ment and luxury-fair, admirable, graceful the highest to the lowest, shall be gladdened, Still; but the moving and elevating impulse of at will, by those companions to whom the a vast population no more !-I know I wrong" serene creators of immortal things,” in verse you in deprecating such a result as possible; and prose, bave given him perpetual introa result I only imagine, to remind you that, as I duction, and who will never weary, or betray

In your

or forsake him ;-while the voluntary toils of thundered as the watchwords of unnumbered associated labour and study shall nourish struggles for power are now fast waning into among you friendships, not like the slight alli- history, it is too much to hope, perhaps to ances of idle pleasure, to vanish with the hour desire, until the education of mankind shall they gladdened, but to endure through life with more nearly approach its completion, that the products of the industry which fed them ; strong differences of opinion and feeling while in those high casuistries which your should cease to agitate the scenes on which most ambitious discussions shall engender, the freemen are called to discharge political duties. ardent reasoner shall recognise here the beat. But the mind of the staunchest partisan, exings of the soul against the bars of its clay panded by the knowledge and embellished by tenement, and gather even from the mortal the graces which your Athenæum nurtures, impediments that confound and baffle it, assu- will find its own chosen range of political rance that it is winged to soar into an ampler associations dignified—the weapons of its warand diviner ether than invests his earthly heri- fare not blunted, but ornamented and embossed tage ;-while the mind and heart of Manchester, / -and, instead of cherishing an ignorant atturning the very alloy and dross of its condi- tachment to a symbol, a name, or a ribbon, tion to noble uses, even as its mechanists expressed in vulgar rage, infuriated by intemtransmute the coarsest substances to flame and perance to madness, blindly violating the speed, shall expand beyond the busy confines charities of life, and disturbing sometimes its of its manufactures and commerce to listen to holiest domestic affections-it shall grow calm the harmonies of the universe;—while, vindi- in the assertion of principle, disdain the sugcating the power of the soul to be its own gestions of expediency, even as those of corplace, it shall draw within the narrow and ruption, and partake of the refinement which dingy walls to which duty may confine the distance lends, while “with large discourse body, scenes touched with colours more fair looking before and after,” he expands his and lovely than “ever were by sea or land,” or prospect to the dim horizon of human hopes, trace in each sullen mass of dense and hover and seeks his incentives and examples in the ing vapour,

tragic pictures of history. A politician thus

instructed and ennobled, who adopts the course “A forked mountain, a blue promontory,

which most inclines to the conservation of With trees upon't that nod into the world, And mock our eyes with air;"

establishments, will not support the objects of

his devotion with a mere obstinate adherence, while it shall give the last and noblest proof of chiefly because they oppose barriers to the the superiority of spirit over matter by com- aims of his opponents, but will learn to revere manding, by its own naked force, as by an en. in them the grandeur of their antiquity, the chanter's wand, the presence of those shapes human affections they have sheltered and nurof beauty and power which have hitherto nur- tured, the human experiences which mantle tured the imagination in the solitude and still round them, and the inward spirit which has ness of their realities ;-while the glory of such rendered them vital; while he who pants for institutions shall illumine the fiercest rapids of important political changes will no longer commercial life with those consecrating gleams anticipate, in the removal of those things which shall disclose in every small mirror of which he honestly regards as obstacles to the smooth water which its tumultuous eddies may advancement of his species, a mere dead level, circle, a steady reflection of some fair and or a vast expanse redeemed only from vacancy peaceful image of earthly loveliness, or some by the cold diagrams of theory, but will hail glory of cloud or sky, preserving amidst the the dawning years as thronged by visions of most passionate impulses of earth some traces peaceful happiness; and, as all great sentiof the serenity of heaven ;-then may we exult ments, like all great passions, however oppoas the chariot of humanity flies onward with site may be their superficial aspects, have their safety in its speed,- for we shall discover, like secret affinities, so may these champions and Ezekiel of old, in prophetic vision, the spirit representatives of conflicting parties, at the in its wheels!

very height of the excitation produced by the There is yet one other aspect in which I energy of their struggle, break on a sense of would contemplate your association before I kindred, if not of their creeds, at least of their enter on the more delightful part of my duty- memories and their hopes—embrace the past that in which success is certain—the soliciting and the future in one glorious instant, confor you the addresses of distinguished men, scious, at once, of those ancient anticipations some of them attached to your welfare as well with which the youth of the past was inspired, by local ties as by general sympathy, others when the point we have attained was faintly gladly attending on your invitation, who feel discerned at the verge of its horizon by the your cause to be their cause, the cause of their intensest vision of its philosophy, and graspgeneration and of the future. It is that in ing and embracing the genial idea of the future which its influences will be perceived, not as richest in the ever-accumulating past which merely banishing from this one night's emi- time prepares for its treasure. Then shall nence, raised above the level of common life, they join in hailing, as now we hail from this and devoted by knowledge to kindness, all neutral eminence, the gradual awakening of sense of political differences, but softening, individual man of every class, colour, and gracing, and ennobling the spirit of party itself clime, to a full consciousness of the loftiness as long as it must continue active. For of his origin, the majesty of his duties, the although party's out-worn moulds have been glories of his destiny. Then shall they reshivered, and names which have flashed and joice with us in the assurance thah, as he con.

quers the yet desert regions of the earth which conquests of civilization, shall new Athenæums was given him to be replenished and subdued, arise, framed on your model-vocal with your the same magic by which you are here ena- language-inspired with your hopes—to echo bled to let in on the densest population the air back the congratulations which shall be wafted and feeling of mountain solitude, will, in turn, to them even from this place, on each succeedbreathe through the opening wilderness the ing anniversary, if not by yourselves, by your genial refinements of old society; that, as the children and your children's children, and yet forest yields to his stout heart and sturdy arm, more remote descendants, and to bless the the dominion of imagination and fancy will names of those who, amidst the toils, the cares, extend before him, their powers investing the and the excitements of a season of transition glades he opens with poetic visions, shedding and struggle, rescued the golden hours of the the purple light of love through thickets and youth around them from debasing pleasures groves till then unthreaded, and touching the and more debasing sloth, and enabled them to extremest hills, when first disclosed to the set to the world, in a great crisis of its moral human eye, with the old familiar hues of condition, this glorious example of intellectual Christian hope and joy. Then, in the remotest courage and progress.*


(QUARTERLY Review, Dec. 1844.]

Tas remarkable success which has attended thus appreciated, vividly suggests the rememthe publication of Mr. Twiss's Life of Lord brance of a kindred instance of industry, Chancellor Eldon is a striking proof of the worth, and success-less prominently placed deep and enduring interest which attaches to before the world, because less intimately assothe character it develops. More than six ciated with its contests and its changes, but years had then elapsed since Lord Eldon's not less crowned with emolument and honour, death, and many more since he ceased to dig- and hardly less fertile of instruction—that of nify the highest seat of British Justice-or to Lord Eldon's elder brother, Lord Stowell; and influence, except by the weight of reputation if each life is worthy of separate contemplaand age, the discussions and the conflicts of tion, both are attended with additional interest the busy world. The principal incidents of his when considered as springing from one source, life were too well known to leave room for the and fostered in the same nurture. That two gratification of curiosity-the political scenes sons of a reputable tradesman in a provincial in which he moved had passed from the arena town at the extremity of England, devoting of living things without having reached an their powers to different branches of the same historical distance and yet the sale of these profession, should attain the highest honours three massive volumes has exceeded that of which could be achieved in the course which any similar work within our recollection. each had chosen-and that each, after attainThis success has not, we think, been height- ing an age far beyond that usually allotted to ened by the courtly revelations and piquant man, should leave, with a magnificent fortune, anecdotes with which the work is diversified a name indestructibly associated with the desome of which, indeed, so far impair its effect partment in which his work was performedas to suggest the wish we expressed for their is a moral phenomenon not worthy only of excision—but has arisen purely from the inte national pride, but of respectful scrutiny. rest excited by a vigorous, honest, and affec- This similarity in the results of the labours tionate delineation of the character and the of these two brothers is rendered more refortunes of a great Englishman of sturdy na- markable by the points of strong difference ture, by a hand peculiarly fitted for its office. between their intellectual qualities and tastes, This remarkable career, thus depicted and as developed in their mature years : inviting

us to inquire what faculties were inherent in *TO SERJEANT TALFOURD,

their youth ; how far they were affected by On reading his Address to the Manchester Atheneum.

early education ; how far varied by the cirO'er the white urn that held the sacred heart

cumstances of their history. Of great Isocrates of old, was placed

The incidents of Lord Stowell's life, not The marble image of a Syren, graced

supplying materials for voluminous biograWith all the loveliness of Grecian art; Emblem of eloquence, whose music sweet

phy, are laboriously collected and admirably Won the whole world by its enchanting spells;

detailed in an Essay in the “Law Magazine," Oh, with what type shall we our Talfourd greet? apparently from the pen which, in a series of

What Image shall pourtray the spirit thai dwells Within his soul? An angel from the skies

papers, seemed to have done enough for Lord Beaming celestial beauty from his eyes

Eldon's fame, until Mr. Twiss proved how The olden Syren sang but to deceive,

much more might be achieved by happier opTo lure mankind to death her voice was given; But thine, dear Talfourd, thy bright words enweave

portunity and larger scope. Fortunately, howImmortal truths that guide to God and Heaven. ever, the intellectual triumphs of the elder


Scott were of a nature capable of preserva- customary severities made more sweet-had tion: as they will be found recorded entire in the same influence at first as at last: no fathe Reports of his judicial decisions, of which vour was shown to the youth of one generaDr. Haggard's form the most interesting spe- tion more than to that of one degree over ancimen, as they relate to a class of cases in other; and the results seem to have been which manners and affections are frequently equally uniform—the insurance of that "holy involved, and were corrected by the judge him- habit of obedience,” which is not only the self with sedulous nicety. It is a subject of most wholesome, but the happiest state of deep regret that his Lectures on History, boyhood; and of a life-long affection to the which he delivered at Oxford from the Chair veteran distributor of justice and praise, which of the Camden Professorship, have hitherto the modern instructor-who, instead of the been withheld from the world. Of these lec- master, governing by old rules, is the instrutures Dr. Parr writes :-" To these discourses, ment of new theories--can never hope to enwhich, when delivered before an academical joy. Each of these celebrated pupils of Mr. audience, captivated the young and interested Moises delighted in the opportunity which the old-which are argumentative without for- after-life afforded him of acknowledging his mality, and brilliant without gaudiness—and obligations to this excellent person; and each in which the happiest selection of topics was testified his gratitude in a manner appropriate united with the most luminous arrangement to his position, and perhaps characteristic of of matter-it cannot be unsafe for me to pay his nature: Lord Eldon, by the substantial the tribute of my praise, because every hearer promotion of their schoolmaster, till the good was an admirer, and every admirer will be a old man declined all worldly favours, and then witness.” The writer of the article in the by transferring them to his son; and Lord “Law Magazine "confirms a rumour we have Stowell, by contributing to his monument an elsewhere heard, that “a copy of those lec- inscription of graceful and just praise, extures, transcribed with all the care and accu- pressed in Latin, which Dr. Parr might envy. racy which their noble author was accustomed Amoug the lawyers who have emerged to bestow on his labours, exists in manu- from that rank which the honest coal-fitter of script;" and we cordially join in this hope Newcastle adorned, few have enjoyed, like his " that no false delicacy will prevent their pub- sons, the blessings of an education completed lication,”—as we feel assured that they will at one of our old English Universities. Many gratify a similar curiosity to that which Gib- youths of such parentage, by means equally bon expressed, and justify even Dr. Parr's ar- honourable to their own ambition and induschitectural praise. It would be interesting, try, have worked and cut their way through for a different reason, to recover the Essay by the impediments of fortune to forensic emi. which the younger Scott, when scarcely twenty- nence-perhaps acquiring, from the difficulties one years of age, obtained the prize of English with which they have struggled, nerve and Composition at Oxford—“On the Advantages courage for the painful controversies in which and Disadvantages of Foreign Travel,”-a they aspired to mingle—and deriving from the subject far removed from his experience, alien varieties of “many-coloured life” with which from his studies, and which, therefore, would they were personally conversant, “a learned seem to have owed its success either to the in- spirit of human dealing," which they were genuity of its suggestions, or the graces of its able forcibly and happily to apply to the sudstyle. As, in after-life, the essayist was never den exigencies of their professional career. distinguished for felicity of expression or fer- But no such advantages can supply, however tility of illustration, and acquired a style not they may sometimes compensate for, the want only destitute of ornament, but unwieldy and of that protective influence, extended over ponderous, this youthful success suggests the opening manhood, which, superseding the question-Whether, in devoting all his powers restraints of school by a more generous and to the study of the law, he crushed the faculty appropriate discipline, delays the fever and of graceful composition with so violent an turmoil of life for a few of life's happiest effort, that Nature, in revenge, made his ear years—which presents to yet unworldly ambi. dull to the music of language, and involved, tion the achievements of praise and fame, bethough she did not darken his wisest words? fore it is compelled to seek the lower rewards

The school-day annals of the brothers dis- of fortune-which, amidst the flutterings of close no trace of difference between them : expectation and beneath the uncertain gleams unless the statement of their various recollec- of fancy, lays the deep and sure foundation of tions of the Sunday sermon-William gives a principle to be cemented in the mind amidst lucid detail of its substance, and John an ex- pliant affections-and which blends the veneact detail of portions may be so regarded : ration for ancient things with the aspirations which may scarcely be, when it is recollected of hope and the quickenings of joy. The that if they were required to perform the ex- youth who, quitting school, has been initiated ercise at the same time, there was a difference at once into the perplexities of the law as in their ages of six years. That interval-practised in the most respectable attorney's long as a section of school-boy life-implies, office, or immersed amidst its more refined however, no variety in the system of their technicalities in the chambers of an eminent education : for Mr. Moises, the master of the pleader, will acquire an earlier aptitude in ancient grammar-school of their native town, some points of practical routine and pigeon-hole one of the best “ of the old leven,” admitted no knowledge; bui, unless gifted with some rare innovations: the stern requisition—the un- felicity of nature, will be less prepared for the spared rod—the hearty commendation, which l systematic acquisition of legal learning, than

be whose mind has been restrained and braced Lord Eldon, and his great opponent in the amidst academical studies. It is, indeed, of State Trials of 1794, Lord Erskine, entered on the greatest importance that he should look the profession which, with far differing powers abroad upon humanity from a Seat of Learn- and in various courses, each exalted, under ing, before he enters on a pursuit which will personal circumstances strikingly similarbe to him either a science or a puzzle, as he is each having the favourite qualifications of prepared to trace its details from its princi- Lord Thurlowa wife, and no hope of fortune ples—or compelled to master them for imme- but in his own exertions and success. To diate use, and to retain them by the painful them that profession presented aspects as disand harassing process of unrefreshed and similar as their capacities and their disposialmost artificial memory.

tions-on each of which we will glance for a Lord Eldon—who, although so much the moment, before accompanying Lord Eldon to younger of the brothers, was the first impelled his choice, his career, and his reward. to enter on the study of the law, by the pres There is no section of this world's hopes sure of need, consequent on an early and and struggles which is replete with so much happy marriage-had not forestalled, by any animation of contest and such frequent recurdirect preparation, the weight of professional rence of triumphant result, as the practice of labour; but he was eminently fitted by the the Common Law Bar before juries, as it was constitution of his moral nature, and by the exulted in by Erskine-graced by Scarlettdiscipline with which it had been trained, for variegated by Brougham-and elucidated by the arduous path he selected. It is delightful Lyndhurst. The grotesque and passionate to contemplate him, in the pages of Mr. Twiss, forms of many-coloured life with which the as first settled in his dark and obscure abode advocate becomes familiar; the truths stranger in London, engaged in gigantic labours-ex- than fiction, of which he is the depositary, cited only by the prospect of far-distant suc- and which, implicitly believing, he sometimes cess, seen through a long avenue of toil, and thinks too improbable to offer to the belief of cheered only by the unwearied affection of her others; the multitude of human affections for whose sake he had relinquished learned and fortunes of which he becomes, in turn, ease, and who watched through the hours of not only the representative, but the sharer, midnight study by his side. As he had been passioned for the hour, even as those who fortunate above most youths of his rank in have the deepest stake in the issue ;-render life in the achievement of University associ- his professional life almost like a dazzling ations, so he was favoured in the constancy, chimera, a waking dream. For let it not or perhaps in the inaptitude, which withheld be supposed, that because he is compelled, him from seeking those aids to his scanty re- by the laws of retainer, to adopt any cause sources which many honourable aspirants to which may be offered to him in the regular professional honours have sought and found course of his practice-with some extreme in literary exertions. Without meaning dis- exceptions—that, therefore, he is often the paragement to those who have availed them- conscious advocate of wrong. To him are selves of such assistance, and, unseduced by presented those aspects of the case which it the premature gratifications of anthorship, wears to the party who seeks his aid, and who, have won the rewards of graver toil, we may therefore, scarcely appears to him as stripped regard it as a happiness to an incipient law- of claim to an honest sympathy. Is the rule yer to be able and willing to hold his course of law, too, probably against him—there are without them. It too often happens that the reasons, which cannot be exhibited to the immediate gifts of early praise fascinate and court, but which are the counsel's "in pridazzle the mind so as to indispose it for pa- vate," why, in this instance, to relax or evade tient labour; that the pleasure of imbodying it will be to attain substantial justice. Does the cherished thoughts of boyhood, and recog- the client, on the other hand, require of his nising the sympathy of many with them, advocate that he should insist on the “rigour prompts to their imperfect development; and of the game,”—he only desires to succeed by that the feelings which should spread freshly a course apparently so odious, because techthrough the whole course of life become nicality will, for once, repair some secret inoutworn and faded in the process of ren- jury, and make even the odds of fortune. Is dering them intelligible to the world, and con- he guilty of some high crime,-he has his own fused to the writer himself by their pale reflec- palliations—his prosecutor seeks his conviction in the quivering mirror of the public tion by means which it is virtue to repel,-or mind. No such mental dissipation weakened some great principle will be asserted by his the intellectual frame of either of the brothers. acquittal. In all cases of directly opposing Even Lord Stowell, whose occupations and testimony, the counsel is necessarily predistastes, pursued and enjoyed and cherished at posed to believe the statements which have Oxford, presented the temptation to seek lite- first occupied his mind, and to listen to those rary fame, which the success of his lectures which would displace his impression with heightened-even he thought it better to “bide incredulity, if not with anger. And how many his time;" resisted all importunities to seek cases arise in which there is no absolute right reputation beyond the University he adorned or wrong, truth or falsehood-cases dependent and charmed; and preserved undeveloped his on user ; on consent; on waiver ; on mental variety of knowledge and exquisite felicity of competency,—and in which the ultimate quesexpression, until they were felt exalting and tion arises less from disputed facts, than from refining the happiest efforts of his advocacy, the arguments to be deduced from them; and and shedding new lustre on judicial wisdom. all these perplexed, distorted, or irradiated by

« 上一頁繼續 »