ePub 版

ed and multifarious. Indeed, it is impos- that, were the mind to be habitually indulsible not to trace in this part of his con- ged, especially in the early part of life, in duct no inconsiderable degree of weakness a course of unrestrained and lawless ramand imperfection. This had early attract- bling, it would soon lose the power of pered the attention of his friend and instruc- severing attention in systematic study, and tor, Mr. Hewlett. 'Were I to suggest a the memory would become a farrago of suhint with respect to his future studies, it perficial and unconnected observation.' should be to guard him against desultory Notwithstanding the frankness of this conpursuits, and disquisitions in science not fession, the same error accompanied him immediately connected with his profession. throughout his life. In laying out a course The avenues of nearly all the sciences are of study for the two years before his enopen to him, and he is acquainted with the trance on his profession as an advocate, he nature and relative importance of the dif- proposed to perfect himself in the Latin ferent kinds of truth. Here is the general and Greek classics, to acquire an elegance object, and when a young man has accom- and facility in English style in writing and plished it, his powers ought to be concen- speaking; to make himself a proficient in trated and directed to the particular profes- the general principles of philosophy; and sion which he has adopted.' We should a complete master, if possible, of law as a very deeply have regretted had Horner science. For this purpose, he proposed limited his pursuits exclusively to profes- reading in Greek, Homer, Demosthenes, sional studies. This would have destroy- Xenophon, and Euripides; in Latin, Livy, ed one of the greatest and most attractive characteristics of his mind-its catholicity, the wideness of its range, its general cultivation, its balance, and its estimate of the just properties and relative value of objects. What we cannot but regret, and that against which we should warn our younger readers, is the indiscreet adoption of successive and gigantic plans of study, which being undertaken lightly, were not, and could not be, practically realized.

Tacitus, Cæsar, and Sallust; together with Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Lucretius, and Tibullus, and the whole works of Cicero, which were almost to be learned by heart. With this were to be combined mathematics, the logic of analysis, both geometric and algebraic. In mixed mathematics and other branches of physics, including chemistry, botany, and natural history, he proposed to read the book of nature. Metaphysics were to be made the elements of legisla All persons, but more especially the tive science. Law, both civil, municipal, young and sanguine, should eschew the and statute, was to be included, and made dangerous readiness with which they are a prominent part of this vast cycle of tempted to undertake more than it lies in knowledge! Our censure does not apply their power to perform. To weaker minds to the failure in comp eting this task, but -to minds less strenuous in exertion and to the want of wisdom in undertaking it. less firm in principle-this error might We are quite willing to admit, that no have been fatal. Every resolution of this young man of twenty would have been able description made and abandoned, inflicts a to execute a scheme like this within two severe blow on the character. From this years; but at the same time, and on that weakness Horner suffered less than most very account, no reasonable man can deothers would have done; but even to him fend it. There is no justification in saying, it is evident, that these varied and succes- with Horner, magnis tamen excidam ausive resolutions, so hastily adopted and sis.' When he meditated on the composiabandoned, could not but have been pro- tion of a commentary on the Instauratio ductive of diminished power of mind, as Magna of Bacon, bearing the somewhat well as of diminished contentedness. In presumptuous title of A View of the Limthe undisguised exhibition of motive and of action, which is contained in these volumes, we cannot discover any other cause of self-reproach; and even in this single instance, the error, such as it was, arose from a noble ambition. Of the error itself he seems to have been fully conscious. In his journal of 1801, after reviewing a day of varied but desultory occupation, he observes 'Such a review, when feebly and If Horner did not equal his own aspiravainly considered, may flatter the con- tions, it was not because he accomplished sciousness of power. But it is manifest | little, but because he aimed at an unattain

its of Human Knowledge,' he remarks upon what he himself terms 'the audacity of his ambition;' but adds, 'that no presumption is culpable while it only stimulates to great undertakings.' This is scarcely true: for the danger he himself admits to be great, when the inadequacy of what is performed can be contrasted with what is attempted.'

ris impendant."―(Vol. I. p. 127.) If Horner did not merit to be included inter hos paucissimos, we know not who ever deserved that distinction; not only professing, but acting as he did, on the principle, “that the passions which he sought to encourage

to truth for its own sake, in every speculative research, and an habitual reference of every philosophical acquisition to the improvement of his practical and active character."-(Ib.)

able excess. His mind was continually endo superiores sint; plerique propter luengaged in the most useful and improving crum et victum; paucissimi ut donum rapursuits. The associates with whom he tionis divinitus datum in usus humani genelived were such as at once to appreciate and to improve his character. Many of them are still spared to their country and to their friends; and to them we shall abstain from making any allusion, further than by saying, that we know not a higher tribute that can be paid to man, than the in his mind, were an inviolable attachment friendships Mr. Horner then acquired, and the fidelity with which he maintained them through life to the very last. His principles were not more steadfast and undeviating than his affections. An unspeakable merit! No divergence of pursuit- We have been struck by some whimsical no separation in after life-no change of analogies between Horner and a statesman occupations, ever disjoined the heart of and philosopher, whose works he esteemed Horner from those early companions who highly, and studied much—we mean Turcontinued to deserve his affection. The got. In all respects, however, our counsplendors of political success, the seduc- tryman has a manifest superiority. Turtive attractions of the society of London, got's first destination was the church; he never broke, or even weakened the force was elected Prior of the Sorbonne. Horof his early friendships, where their con- ner had for a time a desire "to be a partinuance was justified by character and con- son," and his mother equipped him in a duct. Pope completes the climax in which gown and bands. He was modest, retiring, he commemorates the virtues of Craggs, and simple-hearted. "Turgot," observes by the encomium "that he lost no friend." the Abbé Morellet, "etait d'une simplicité To no one could this somewhat rare praise d'enfant qui se conciliait en lui avec une be more truly applicable than to Horner. sorte de dignité, respectée de ses camaHis happy associations of friendship rades, et même de ses confrères les plus were founded on a community of principle agés." Turgot abandoned his views of and of mental pursuit. Even when still a entering the church, on conscientious youth, he proposed that he and his much- grounds, and he betook himself to the bar valued friend Mr., now Lord Murray, and to the service of the state. Horner should work together, and "become the was not in a position which required him Beaumont and Fletcher of metaphysics." to make this sacrifice; but he was guided With Lord Webb Seymour, whose friend- by his conscience strictly in all acts, both ship and esteem were no less a privilege in his profession and in Parliament. The than a blessing, he studied Bacon, and Po-writers of the Biographie Universelle inlitical Economy. The origin and the du- form us that Turgot, having studied the rability of this happy and honorable com- classical and modern languages, and alınost munity of pursuits, may, we feel convinced, every branch of science, was accustomed be traced to the purity of motive which to form boundless schemes of future Horner's mind-his unaffected humility, study. "Il s'etait tracé la liste d'un grand that teachableness which in him was unit- nombre d'ouvrages qu'il voulait executer. ed to such vigorous powers-the absence Des poemes, des tragedies, des romans of all vanity, and of all love of personal philosophiques, des traductions, des traités distinction. It was the refined modesty of sur la physique, sur l'histoire, sur la his own nature, that alone could induce geographie, la politique, la metaphysique, him to decline the application to himself of et les langues, entraient dansce cours a splendid passage of Lord Bacon, to which singuliere." Horner, as we have seen, he refers: in which that philosopher des- had to the last a similar weakness. "I cribes the various motives which urge men have indulged myself," he observes, "in onward in intellectual pursuit: "Omnium all the reveries of future achievements, autem gravissimus error in deviatione ab future acquisition, future fame: poetry, ultimo doctrinarum fine consistit. Appe- romantic philosophy, ambition, and vanity tunt enim homines scientiam, alii ex insita conspire to infatuate me in this oblivion of curiositate, et irrequieta; alii animi causa the present; and amid this visionary intoxet delectationis ; alii exisitimationis gratia; ication, I almost feel the powers of actual alii contentionis ergo, utque ut in disser-exertion sink within me." At the age of

twenty-two, Turgot addressed to the Abbé | self with the reflection of making an effort, de Cicé a Dissertation on Paper Currency. at least, to preserve my mind untainted by At twenty-two, Horner was called on to the illiberality of professional character, if read a paper on the Circulation of Money, not to mould my habitual reflections upon before the Speculative Society of Edin- those extensive and enlightened views of burgh. The free trade in corn was alike a human affairs, by which I may be qualified favorite object of both these distinguished to reform the irregularities of municipal inmen. In one point the analogy wholly stitutions, and to extend the boundaries of fails. We have seen how Horner received legislative science." It was clear that the his earliest moral and religious impressions tenor of these observations marked out the from his mother. Turgot was not so for- chapel of St. Stephen's as his future destunate. The contrast between Paris and tiny, rather than the courts of WestminsterEdinburgh is here manifest. The Abbé Hall. He admits this distinctly in a letter Morellet informs us, "que la mère de Tur- to Lord Murray, written in 1812:—“ A got le trouvait maussade parcequ'il ne fai- very slow and a very quiet walk for a pubsait pas la reverence de bonne grace. Illic life, is the only one for which I feel myfuyait la campagnie qui venait chez elle et se cachait sous un canapé, ou derrière un paravent, où il restait toute la durée d'une visite, et d'où l'on etait obligé de le tirer pour le produire." This distinction in their early impressions may have determined much of the future destiny of the two men. We have been tempted into this digression, for the purpose of tracing an analogy suggested by the deep interest which Horner exhibits so constantly for the writings and opinions of Turgot. He was too prudent to approve of many of his measures of administration.

self fit, though in such a one, with steadiness, I hope I may in process of time find some opportunity of rendering service to the country. One thing I feel more every day, that nothing but the alliance of politics, or the manner in which I take a share in them, would be sufficient to attach me to the legal profession, in which I have. little prospect of eminence, and very mod. erate desire of wealth; but in which, by possessing the opportunities of legislative experience, I do not despair one day of doing some good."

Whether in private, in professional, or in With a mind such as that of Horner, and political life, Horner was resolute in his with the well-regulated but manly ambition determination to secure a perfect indepenwhich made politics and political economy dence of circumstances. To the possesfavorite pursuits, it is not to be wondered sion of wealth as furnishing the means of at that he should ultimately take up his indulgence, he seems to have been totally residence in London, and prefer the bar of indifferent; but his early habits and his England to that of Scotland. To this de- strongest principles all led him to consider termination the attractions of society, of the acquisition and the maintenance of perliterature, and of politics contributed. He sonal independence to be one of his highest applied himself to professional studies, but duties. He felt that his future usefulness he never seems to have considered the bar depended upon it. Even at the age of nineas a primary object. He rather pursued it teen, he appears to have been fully sensible as an honorable mode of acquiring an inde- of this important truth. In a letter to his pendence, than as an avocation acceptable father, he says, "I would not suffer myself to his taste or feelings. Whilst still study- to be tempted by the hopes of what my ing as an advocate in Edinburgh, he admits own industry might in time refund, to incur that the "refreshment of a few chapters the disgrace of dependence on another from Livy became necessary after four person."-(Vol. i. p. 18.) To adhere steadi. hours given to tack and wadset."-(Vol i. ly to these principles, Horner was encour109.) And we can readily believe that aged by his wise and affectionate friend, Dugald Stewart's evening lecture on the Lord Webb Seymour. "Every thing should poor-laws, was an agreeable change from be done to strengthen your resolution of the title in Erskine's Principles on the clinging closely to your profession, till you "Vassal's Right." He was fully sensible have securely laid the humble, but essential of the danger to which he would have been basis on which you may rest the whole exposed from studies purely professional; machinery of that public influence, which and, for his own protection, he laid down the hope hereafter to see you in possession of principle of devoting "one day in the week, In adhering to your plan, you have many at the least, to the study of Lord Bacon's temptations to resist, and those temptations writings, or of works on a similar plan. In are likely to increase. Formerly you had this way," he observed, "I may flatter my-merely to sacrifice the gratification of your VOL. III. No. IV.



taste for science; you have now to guard against the incitements of literary luxuries, as well as the political ardor of the society in which you live. You will soon have to withstand the direct allurements of power, and of the applause which attends the patriotic statesman."-(Vol. i. p. 351.)

less secure: a circumstance which should make the constitution more estimable to us, showing ficial, even after its forms have been suspended. that its spirit is such as to continue to be beneThere are good grounds to expect that that suspension will be removed by Parliament, when the necessity, real or imaginary, disappears..... When thinking upon this, I often look forward Horner took up his residence in London to a rule of conduct, which I hope no circumat an interesting moment. Fox and Pitt stances may ever induce me to abandon; and it were both living, and in the fullest posses-terests of no political party whatever. A man's is this, to connect myself with the exclusive insion of their powers. The excitement of independence must be best preserved, and his a doubtful peace, and ultimately the renewal duty to the public best performed, by attaching of the war-the complicated state of party, himself, not to any set of political characters, but and the uncertainty of future political com- to that system of measures which he believes binations were all most interesting. That most conducive to the public welfare. It seems a ministry like that of Mr. Addington should a reasonable duty at all times, rather to lean toever have been formed, was wonderful;tion can act with energy, unless it can trust to wards the ruling ministers; for no administrathat it should at first have commanded great the countenance of respectable people."-(Vol. majorities was astounding; that it should i. p. 36.) have been allowed to subsist after giving proof of its inefficiency, was the mere re- We have been induced to make this exsult of the sufferance of its powerful and tract by various motives. In referring combined opponents. So rapid a loss of hereafter to Horner's political principles public confidence and of political strength with a just appreciation, we are desirous never was exhibited; except, perhaps, in of showing that the liberal opinions of his the vast change of opinion towards the manhood were not carelessly adopted, or present Cabinet during the session which subscribed to, from any early prejudice or has just closed. Horner approached the association. Further, we think it not unpolitical arena with opinions rather culti- important to consider the numerous falla. vated than matured. It is worthy of re-cies which are contained in the declaration mark, that his attachment to Whig princi- of faith of our political novice of nineteen ples was the result of calm and cautious-fallacies which it would be less necessary examination, and of the most earnest con- to expose if they were confined to persons victions. He thus gave a double security of his age, and to one occasion. But, unfor his firmness and his consistency. His fortunately, such is not the case. On the opinions had been slow in their growth: they were moderate, and free from all exaggeration. They did not resemble the sappy water shoots of some plants, which rise rapidly into a rank vegetation-produce many leaves, a few flowers, and even promise some fruit, but which are cut back by the first frost, or are broken down by the first squall of wind. On the contrary, a more true resemblance to Horner's opinions may be found in the timber trees of slower growth, but of firmer consistency, which resist alike the dry rot and all extraneous force. Horner's opinions were progressive in their tendencies; they were formed for himself, and not taken readymade from others. So far from adopting in early life very popular doctrines, his first expressions of opinion, strange to say, have somewhat of an opposite character.

"I am of your opinion," he writes to his father in 1799, "as to the propriety of supporting the Government of the country. Undoubtedly, within the few last years, violent attacks have been made on the rights of the subject; but no one finds his comforts impaired, nor his property

contrary, the erroneous, and we may add the mischievous, opinions which Horner advocated when a student, residing with his private tutor Mr. Hewlett, and before he had acquired any practical knowledge of life or politics, are the very opinions which not only men of maturer age, but whole classes, profess, at the present day, to the infinite degradation of our legislative counsels, and the sacrifice of spirit and chivalrous feeling among our public men. A general disposition to support the government, however hostile to public libertyan expectation that the spirit of freedom can ever long survive the overthrow or decay of a free constitution-a credulity which flatters itself that despotism once acquired, will be readily and freely relinquished by its possessors-these opinions still form elements of a Tory creed. We need not say that such principles, though more or less deducible from Horner's early letter above transcribed, could not long be allowed to remain as articles of his political faith. He soon discovered their fallacy, and himself rejected them. When he had at

"Political adventure," he observes, "is a game which I am disqualified from playing by many circumstances of my character, and which I am resolved to decline. But some share in public business, acquired by reputation, and supported on an independent footing, is a fair object, and law. Without belonging to a party, there can almost the only reward that stimulates me to the be no efficient participation in public affairs. If an honorable man sees no formed party amongst the factions of the state, by whom his general views of policy are maintained he will shrink from them all, and attempt only individual efforts to explain and enforce his views. But in the general maxims and principles of Mr. Fox's constitution, to foreign policy, and to the modes party, both with regard to the doctrine of the of internal legislation, I recognize those to which I have been led by the results of my own reflection, and by the tenor of my philosophic education. And I am ambitious to co-operate with that party in laboring to realize those enlightened principles in the government of our own country. However I lament some violences and mistakes in the conduct of opposition, and however much I suspect the characters of some who have at times been very near Mr. Fox's person, all my feelings carry me towards that party, and all my principles confirm the predilection. Into that party, I therefore resolutely enlist myself, with very feeble hopes of its ever being for any long period triumphant in power. There is a low prudence in rearing the fabric of one's fortunes, which fixes the ambition (if it may be called by so proud a name) on the actual possession of place and emolument. But there is a affluence in its prospect, but ventures to include more elevated prudence, which does not stop at

tained his twenty-first year we find a mani- | adopted and avowed that political preferfest improvement to have taken place. We ence to which with such honorable concan trace this progress as early as in his stancy he adhered to the close of his life. journal of February 1799. "I find it daily The following remarks were entered in his more necessary to be anxious about the journal, after deliberate reflection and conformation and expression of my political sultation with three of the most acute and opinions. In such times as the present, experienced of his friends :there is some merit in setting about it in a manly and open manner. On the one hand, the majority of the country runs strongly and implicitly in favor of the minister who has made the greatest inroads on the constitution; on the other hand, there is a set of people who undoubtedly, some from wicked and ambitious, others from honest views, pant after a new and republican order of things. Between these two fires there is some courage in pleading the cause of our neglected constitution." (i. 70.) Here we observe a considerable progress already made; there is no longer manifested that trust in the government, and that kind of epicurean apathy which tends to unfit mankind for active political duty. On the contrary, the social obligation of withdrawing support from an unconstitutional government, and the necessity of discovering some safe middle way, is strongely expressed. What that safe middle way was to be, Horner seems to have suspected, if not discovered, during the course of the same year; for we find him speaking of his " veneration, some of which he admits may be prejudice, for the ancient Whig politics of England, which he states to have been at that time (1799) so much out of fashion, being hated by both parties." Horner soon felt the necessity and the duty of proceeding steadily onwards in this task of forming his political opinions. In 1800, he observes, solvendum est problema difficillimum; "to ascertain the maximum of absolute and enlightened independence, and the happy medium between the prostitution of faction and the Attached as Horner was to the principles selfish coldness of indifference." Thus he of Fox, he yet comments on his public charmeditates on a second step-something to acter with the utmost freedom. The great be done as well as to be demonstrated; error of Fox, in the late years of oppoa problem rather than a theorem. In 1803, sition,' he remarks, appears to have condismissing his apprehensions of party assisted in that favorable expectation of the sociation, he perceives the necessity of issue of the French Revolution, natural to purifying it. He no longer suggests that young and speculative minds, but hardly to the obligation of party should be disregard- be permitted in a practised statesman. He ed; but he recommends that party should felt too much, and reflected too little; perbe freed from all that could lower or con- haps he did not take sufficient pains to intaminate its nature. Depend upon it," he quire into facts. He gave an indolent inobserves, "that liberal opinions will never dulgence to his benevolent and quiet feelagain be popular till we shake off all those ings. An error of an inferior description, who have brought disgrace upon them."- but of fatal influence on the opposite party, (i. 234.) It was in 1804, when in his twen- was the countenance given to the Jacobin ty-sixth year, that his matured judgment party in England by Mr. Fox. He was


the chance of lasting service to mankind, and of
times."-(i. 253.)
a good name impressed on the history of the

« 上一頁繼續 »