« 上一頁繼續 »
ed pre-eminence, among those whose liter- promise, his mother's excellent qualities ary success was recorded in the Muse had an influence no less beneficial in the Etonenses; he had to win his way among formation of her son's character. the most exclusive and jealous of the aris- united to a gentle nature, great good sense, tocratic circles of the metropolis; he had activity of mind, and an earnest unobtruto contend for the mastery in that most sive piety, which shone forth in her whole fastidious of all assemblies, the House of conduct and in all her sentiments, and Commons; and unaided but by his own which she carefully impressed on the minds powers, standing on no height but that of of all her children.' This influence conhis exalted principles, the Edinburgh stu- tinued unchanged, or rather it seems to dent, almost without a consciousness of the have increased in strength, and to have obstacles which stood in his way, surmount- deepened into greater tenderness, up to the ed them all, and acquired an earlier and a very period of her son's death. During better established reputation as a public his first visit to England, he writes as folman than any one of his contemporaries.lows with reference to his mother's letters But our attention has been too long with--Besides the influence of my mother's drawn from the work immediately before us. injunctions in guiding me to what is proper Mr. Horner was born at Edinburgh in and becoming, I shall derive from her let1778. His parents were highly respect- ters the pleasure of considering myself unable, but not of an elevated class in so- der her immediate direction, and of someciety. His father was a merchant, who ap- times forgetting that I am at distance from pears from his correspondence to have her.'-p. 24. eminently deserved the dutiful affection. One of these letters is so very characterand confidence so strongly evinced in istic in its maternal simplicity, that we canevery page of his son's correspondence. not resist the pleasure of extracting it. This happy result may to a considerable degree, be traced to the mode of his education. As a child, he was not sent away from his home; neither was he at once thrown amidst the temptations of a great public school, among new associates, to whom his home thoughts, his home duties, and his home affections were strange and foreign. He was not thus brought into a circle whose influences, though often exerted for good, frequently detach the child 'You, and all of you, are most fortunate in a from his filial obligations. In his child-most indulgent father, who, instead of having hood and youth, the school and the uni- occasion to be prompted, is willing to deny himversity were bound up with the domestic self, in many instances that his wife and chilcircle. The pursuits of the son, his inti-dren may enjoy the more; and I hope and trust macies, and his habits, were all kept within the reach of his father's observation. That most endearing and useful of all ties-that to which may be traced all the purest, the earliest, and the strongest impulses-the tie
'Edinburgh, 19th October, 1796.
'MY DEAR FRANK,
'I had once and again proposed writing at the very time your father proposed to do it, and as I thought you would consider him and me the same person, it made me yield, as I knew he had something to say to you about your future plans, which he understands better than I do. After my debt, but I do not dispute it with you. I shall all, you rogue, I have a notion that you are in in future be more punctual.
that all of you will amply repay his goodness by being grateful, should it please God to spare you and him together. I bless God we have no reason to complain. May the example of our eldest descend on our youngest branches! I shall ever use my endeavor to promote their
of a mother's love-was not severed. We 'And don't consider it, my dear, as the cant of believe that more of knowledge, as well as of an old woman, when I admonish you, above all happiness and virtue, may be traced to the things, not to neglect your religious duties. I early influence of a well-informed and a well- would much rather see you a good than a great principled mother, than the pride and vanity man, and it is no uncommon thing for learned of Oxford or Cambridge would be quite ready men to neglect what is the most important part to confess. Of the happy effects of this do- of their duty; but be sure, if you do not rememmestic training, the life of Francis Hor- ber your Creator in the days of your youth, you ner presents a striking example. It is evi.need never look for comfort in your old age. 'Farewell, my dear! May health and hapdently no exaggerated praise when the piness attend you wherever you are.' biographer informs us, that whilst his father's cultivated and naturally strong understanding, general information, refined taste, and liberal sentiments, were well qualified to give a right direction to the talents of which his son gave an early
There may be found some, though we hope not amongst our readers, who are disposed to treat this short and simple' letter as trite and commonplace. We doubt whether such observers have a just
appreciation of the elements which form | widely diffused. We see in them the founour national character, or of the influences dation on which the moral superiority of which produce in that national character Horner's character rested, and on which much that is greatest, and all that is best. his moral ascendency over the minds of Though it interferes with the strict others was founded. To us these charchronology of our narrative, we deem this acteristics are as touching as the descrippart of Horner's character to be so import- tions in the Cotter's Saturday Night.' ant, and its development so beautiful and The 'big ha' Bible-the old man's blessing so instructive, that we must be permitted the 'ingle nook'-are not more strictly to carry our illustrations further. Indeed, identified with Scottish feeling, than this the obligations of home duty and the ties duty and affection on the part of a child ;— of affection were with him the foundation continued in his maturer years, forming of every thing else that was good and use- his principles, and influencing his conduct ful. His character did not resemble one of when he has entered into the active conthose substances formed by mechanical ac- tentions of the world. It surely cannot be cretion from without; but rather one of thought a national prejudice to connect those formed by chemical fusion and by these sentiments with a system of educaexpansion from within. This, in fact, is tion which cherishes and maintains family the key to his whole nature and merits, affections and associations. We know full moral and intellectual. With him the heart well that distinguished and numerous exwas the great moving power, and its im- amples may be shown, proving that all pulses seem never to have misled him. At these advantages are perfectly compatible the age of twenty, after the completion of his with the system of public education in studies under Mr. Hewlett, he writes to his England. The chain of family affection. father: The hope on which I am most may be continued unbroken between Casaccustomed to dwell is, that we may all tle Howard or Hagley and Eton; and, ungrow up round you and my mother with der the late estimable Dr. Arnold, we besentiments of active probity and a spirit of lieve that the surest foundation for filial industry, so as never to give you cause to duty was laid, in the cultivation of the regret your care and your indulgence. I feel strongest religious convictions. So far most sensibly how much our success will from weakening the domestic ties, Dr. depend on having your example long before Arnold's instructions could not fail to us, and long enjoying the benefits of your strengthen them, combining with the love counsel and direction. I feel most sensibly felt by his boys for their parents, the afhow much my immediate comfort and en- fectionate reverence which he so well joyment depend on these, in the impatience merited from them himself. But we deal with which I look forward to my return not with exceptions, but with tendencies and home, and to the prospect of coming again to general results. The Indian juggler swaldomestic society and its duties after having lows the naked sword, though he does not been absent so long, and having felt by ex- grow fat on the produce of this iron harperience what a blank those duties leave in vest.' M. Chabert was also accustomed to life.'-(Vol i. p. 39.) At an after period, and take his pastime in a heated oven, and to when considering the expediency of going come out unsinged, though the beefsteak to the English bar, his filial respect and which was placed beside him was broiled tenderness are unabated. 'Before I obtain to a turn. As we prefer more nourishing your concurrence,'-he writes to his father food than steel, and a milder temperature I cannot give the name of resolution to than that of the furnace, we are inclined to the inclination I entertain.'--Ibid. p. 189. think that the risks of an education, wholly These feeli..gs were uninterrupted to the separating the child from the parental roof, last; and we shall have occasion hereafter under the ordinary and very imperfect systo remark, that his latest effort at corres- tem of our public schools, are greater than pondence was addressed to his father four can be compensated by the most miraculous days only before his lamented death. master over longs and shorts. We shall We trust there are none of our readers not speak of the cases in which public eduwho are scoffers on a subject like this; and cation fails in its own more peculiar course who will think that we have dwelt too of study. We refer to instances of classimuch on what may appear so simple and cal success, and ask whether this success commonplace as filial duty and affection. is not too often dearly purchased. Let us We could wish that these feelings were suppose the following to be the summing even more commonplace, if by such ex-up by a father of the school life of his pression is meant more general and more child:-'My son is wholly estranged from
his family-but then he has written a learn- as for the most valuable impressions on all ed essay on the philosophy of the Stoics; subjects of political opinion.' Having, at he has ruined himself, and has half ruined the age of nineteen, translated the greater me, at Newmarket-but has acquired im- part of Euler's Algebra into English, he mortal honor by his version of Pindar; his declined claiming any right in the publicaarrangements of the Greek chorusses are tion, but transferred it altogether to his tu lauded by German critics of the deepest tor, the Rev. Mr. Hewlett-' modestly but learning and unpronounceable names and resolutely opposing even any recognition this must console me for his elopement of his share in the task, and desiring that with a French opera-dancer.' We know whatever merit or emolument might be not whether this balance of account would attached to the work, might be given to his be satisfactory to many parents. We are instructor.' That he should have felt the satisfied to receive less, if we are convinced deepest gratitude and affection for Dugald that less is risked. Dealing with the future Stewart, is only stating that he participated prospects of our children as if they resem- in those feelings which that truly great bled a stake at hazard or the price of a lot- philosopher, and excellent man, inspired tery ticket, is a gambling too desperate for in the minds of all who approached him; our nerves or consciences. We feel strong- and more especially in the minds of those ly the importance of the development of who had the benefit of his instructions. the manly character which public education Horner applied to him a characteristic senis calculated to produce, and has produced, tence extracted from one of his own works: in many instances. We are far from re. It is with no common feeling of respect commending a system that, by injudicious and gratitude that I recall the name of one restraint, prevents the formation of habits to whom I owe my first attachment to of decision, and of a sense of responsibil- those studies, and the happiness of a libity. Safety itself may be too dearly purchased, if the character is dwarfed and stunted. It should be allowed to grow freely and vigorously. Above all, we must be understood as dealing with public schools as they are, and not as they ought to be.
But to return. We left Horner pursuing his education at Edinburgh. There he formed many early and valuable associations with men who have since risen to the highest distinction in various walks of life. His earliest friend was Henry Brougham. Before the year 1780, the two boys used to run together on the pavement before his father's house.' How little could the future destiny of these boys have been anticipated-how little could it have been foreseen that the one was to become the most brilliant and powerful rhetorician of his day was to rise to the highest eminence of his profession, and, as Lord Chancellor to preside over the House of Lords; and that the other was to exercise over the House of Commons a moral influence even greater than that produced by his acknow. ledged intellectual superiority!
The gratitude which Horner felt towards all those from whom he derived instruction, is but an exhibition in another form of the strength of his affections. Of his old master, Dr. Adam, the Rector of the High School, he writes thus in 1809-I have always felt a most agreeable debt of gratitude to him for the love he gave me in early life for the pursuits which are still my best source of happiness, as well
eral occupation superior to the more aspiring aims of a servile ambition.' At a subsequent period (1804) he again reverts to the same subject, and speaks of the effect produced by Professor Stewart's lectures, in sending out every year a certain number who had imbibed a small portion of his spirit, as being so great that he could not consent to any suspension of it.' But it was at a later period (1809), when Mr. Stewart was suffering under the grievous calamity of the death of a most promising son, that all the tenderness of Horner's nature manifested itself— I know not when I should venture to write to him,' he says in a letter to Lord Webb Seymour: 'I have abstained doing so during the period of his poor son's illness, except at that momentary interval of ap parent recovery which is always so delusive in this disease
"Visa tamen tardi demum inclementia morbi Cessare est, reducemque iterum roseo ore salutem Speravi"
a passage which I have heard Mr. Stewart read with the most touching expression, but which he will never be able to read again! About writing to him, I wish you, who are on the spot, to direct me; after a while, he may take some interest in the details of public news, or be tempted to amuse himself with new books; and as soon as there would be any real kindness, and no unpleasant intrusion, in supplying him with these, I should be happy to
make a duty of such attentions to him.' | teen, was directed to a subject to which he It was thus that the same warmth and sin- afterwards owed his highest reputationcerity of affection, which we have already the question of the Currency. Being in seen so strongly and beautifully exhibited London at the time of the memorable Bank towards his own family, were in a like restriction, he mentions the fact that for measure shown in relations, which, being some time subsequently to that event Paper often considered as purely soholastic and money exhibited no signs of depreciation. academical, too seldom take any perma- Where he observes on the relief given to nent root in the heart. trade by the enlargement of discounts, his opinions seem still unfixed and confused; but he concludes very justly, that all political reasonings point out the increase of paper money as a most pernicious evil; from which the country could only escape provided this remedy were used merely as a temporary expedient. It is thus that in the meditations of the youth we can discover the germs of the future reasonings of the philosopher. The accidental coincidence of his residence in London with this event, may have been to Horner what the Jesuit's Treatise on Perspective is considered by many to have been to Sir Joshua Reynolds; or what the accidental task of binding a volume of an Encyclopædia, containing an article on Electricity, was to Professor Faraday. But we must not overrate the import of these coincidences. Such casualties excite attention, but cannot be held to create an intellectual power, any more than the application of lime to a clay soil creates the plants of white clover, the seeds of which it causes to germinate.
Partly with the view of learning the important art of acting for himself, and of acquiring habits of self-reliance, and partly also for the secondary purpose (though not a trivial one) of correcting any provincial accent or idiom, Mr. Horner was placed for two years in the neighborhood of London, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Hewlett, who justly appreciated the abilities and qualities of his pupil, and rendered him very essential services in the prosecution of his studies. His industry seems to have been most unremitting and persevering, though somewhat too diffuse; and in some few instances was not, seemingly, very wisely directed by his instructor. In the cultivation of English style M. Hewlett directed his pupil's attention most particularly to the inaccuracies of Hume, and gave him as models of composition the 'Letters of Junius.' We can scarcely imagine a more dangerous recommendation of the kind than the latter, for a young and enthusiastic student. At a later period Horner seems to have been captivated by the orientalisms and amplification of Gibbon. But fortunately he was not betrayed into adopting the style of either of these writers as his model. From this danger he was protected by the severity and simplicity of his own taste.
The suspension of cash payments, by Order in Council, was, however, an event of such startling novelty and magnitude, as to have been calculated to awake the attention of a mind even less observant and active than Horner's. We happen to be in possession of some curious particulars conIt is very interesting to observe, at this nected with 'that wonderful event,' as it was early period of life, how the natural ten- well called by Mr. Fox in the debate on the dencies of his mind exhibited themselves 28th of February, 1776;--affecting, as it did, in their early process of development. His not only the finances and commerce of first visits to the House of Commons seem England, but bearing upon the whole comto have disappointed him much. The best bination of European policy, and of which speakers,' he observes, and the good are event the consequences are still experienbut few, speak with such an unaccountable ced. The facts which we are about to retone, they have so little grace in their ac- late were communicated to us by one of tion and delivery, and such a set of cant the parties to the transaction; and, as we phrases have crept into use, that he who are not aware that they have ever been achas previously formed ideas of eloquence curately given to the public, we do not from what he has read of Greece and think that they can be more fitly recorded Rome, must find the speeches even of Fox than in this notice of the life of that and Pitt miserably inferior.' Here we find statesman whose name is identified with an instance, very rare in Horner, of youth- the great work of the restoration of our ful rashness. He evidently referred Parlia- Currency. We shall not stop to examine mentary oratory to a very false standard. the causes which led to the difficulties of He might almost as well have condemned the Bank; at present, we deal with the Kemble for not assuming the sock and bus-events only. On Saturday the 25th of Febkin. His attention, now at the age of nine-ruary, 1797, the late Mr. Samuel Thornton,
deputy governor of the Bank of England, conceded to Mr. Pitt by his colleagues as waited on Mr. Pitt, to explain to him the well as by Parliament. The Order of Counimminent dangers to which that corpora- cil was issued; it was communicated to the tion was exposed. Mr. Pitt appointed to Bank of England; it was dispersed throughreceive him at dinner that very day, for the out the metropolis at the earliest hour on purpose of examining into the facts, and of Monday morning. We are aware that this determining upon the line to be adopted. statement does not altogether agree with At that dinner there were present but three the declarations made on the occasion, as persons-The Chancellor of the Exchequer, well as subsequently; but our information the deputy governor of the Bank of Eng. came from the lips of one of the parties to land, and Mr. Steele, then Secretary to the the whole transaction, from its commenceTreasury. The presence of the latter was ment to its close-a man who would not soon dispensed with, and the authorities of deceive, and who could not be mistaken. the Treasury and Threadneedle Street were To this great event the attention of the left to discuss confidentially the most im- practical statesman cannot be too often and portant proposition that had ever been too earnestly directed. What constitutes mooted between those 'high contracting its danger, is the facility with which the powers. Mr. Thornton demonstrated to greatest of all financial revolutions was efthe Minister, that it was utterly hopeless fected; the false popularity which it acfor the Bank to continue its specie pay-quired; the instantaneous ease it afforded ments; and that, early on the following not only to Government, but to various Monday, it was necessary that same deci- classes suffering under extreme pressure; sive resolution should be formed and acted the slow and gradual development of its on. The interview was long. Mr. Pitt fatal consequences, for a time undetected, examined into the case with the deepest and almost unsuspected, in the midst of anxiety and minuteness. In dismissing that false prosperity produced by increased Mr. Thornton, he directed him to attend a meeting of the Council to be held the following morning, on Sunday. Mr. Thornton was in waiting even before the arrival of Mr. Pitt. Having sent in his name to the Council, he was asked by some of the official persons present what was the object of his attendance-an object which did not appear to have been communicated to them. He replied, that he attended by the command of Mr. Pitt, and on behalf of the Bank of England. On the arrival of Mr. Pitt, But to return to our immediate subject. Mr. Thornton was called in and examined; The relative importance of that education he explained the state of the Bank, and the which an enlightened and active mind imminent peril to which it was exposed of works out for itself, as compared with all an immediate stoppage. The persons present that can be acquired in the mere routine were the Chancellor (Lord Loughborough,) course of study, was never more strongly the Duke of Portland, Marquis Cornwallis, exemplified than in the interval of Horner's Earl Spencer, Earl of Liverpool, Earl of life from 1797 to 1802, during his resiChatham, and Mr. Pitt. The latter shortly, dence at Edinburgh, and after his first visbut conclusively, stated his reasons for the it to the South. It is after instruction in instant adoption of an Order of Council di- its more limited sense has ended, that edrecting the suspension of Cash payments ucation, properly so called, in many inby the Bank of England. The Lord Chan- stances commences. Yet no mistake is cellor expressed the strongest objection to more common than that which substitutes such an act, as being wholly contrary to the means for the end, and considers that law. The reply of Mr. Pitt was conclusive: technical acquirement and mere accom-My Lords, it must be done the public plishment can do more than furnish the safety requires it; and I lay before your tools which a sound understanding is afLordships a minute, directing the proper terwards to apply to practical purposes. steps to be taken. To that minute I affix The five years of Horner's life subsequentmy own name, and I assume the whole re- ly spent at Edinburgh, were devoted not sponsibility of the proceeding.' The minute was adopted, as might have been expected, from the authority, almost supreme,
issues of paper; the artificial increase of production, the artificial demand for labor, followed by that fearful collapse, which, exhibiting the practical difference between money wages and real wages, imposed the greatest amount of suffering on the most laborious and industrious classes: and, in its ultimate effects, produced a national bankruptcy for a season, and the payment of the public creditor by a dividend on the amount of his just demand.
only to the study of the law, the profession for which he was destined, but to other intellectual pursuits, the most vari