ePub 版

destroyed my poor dear niece developed so many endearing qualities in her sweet and gentle nature, that her loss is the more sincerely felt. Two months before this last sad event we lost her little girl, that sweet and interesting child whose beauty and intelligence (though, poor thing! she was deaf and dumb) you used to admire. This has indeed been a melancholy year to me.

“Alfred's position, as you may well imagine, would of self fill me with chagrin, and the protracted illness of two beings so dear to me, closed by their deaths, has added the last blow to my troubles. May you, my dear Henry, be long spared from similar trials, and be left health and long life to enjoy your well-merited reputation, in which no one more cordially rejoices than

“ Your sincere, affectionate friend, M. BLESSINGTON."


“ December, 1841. “My dear Lady BLESSINGTON,—I think D'Orsay wrong in these things you refer to: to have asked for London especially, and not to have informed me how near the affair was to its maturity when St. Aulaire went to the Duke of B-—'s, because I might then have prepared opinion for it here ; whereas I first heard the affair mentioned in a room where I had to contend against every person present, when I stated what I think, that the appointment would have been a very good one. But it does not now signify talking about the matter, and saying that I should have wished our friend to have given the matter rather en air of doing a favor than of asking one.

It is right to say that he has acted most honorably, delicately, and in a way which ought to have served him, though perhaps it is not likely to do so. The French embassador did not, I think, wish for the nomination. M. Guizot, I imagine, is at this moment afraid of any thing that might excite discussion and opposition, and it is idle to disguise from you that D’Orsay, both in England and here, has many enemies. The best service I can do him is by continuing to speak of him as I have done among influential persons, viz., as a man whom the government would do well to employ; and my opinion is, that if he continues to wish for and to seek employment, that he will obtain it in the end. But I don't think he will obtain the situation he wished for in London, and I think it may be some little time before he gets such a one as he ought to have, and that would suit him. The secretaryship in Spain would be an excellent thing, and I would aid the marshal in any thing he might do or say respecting it. I shall be rather surprised, however, if the present man is recalled. Well, do not let D'Orsay lose courage. Nobody succeeds in these things just at the moment he desires. With his position here (speaking of a French nobleman), he has been ten years getting made embassador, and at last is so by a fortunate chance. Remember also how long it was, though I was in Parliament, and had some little interest, before I was myself fairly launched in the diplomatic career. Alfred has all the qualities for success in any thing, but he must give the same trouble and pains to the pursuits he now engages in

that he has given to other pursuits previously. At all events, though I speak frankly and merely what I think to him, I am here and always a sincere and affectionate friend, and most desirous to prove myself so.

With respect to for recommending whom you seem to reproach me, my opinion remains unchanged, and I still think him the best person, if not the only one, you could have employed. I know he spoke frequently to Guizot. I believe he also spoke to the king; and, upon the whole, I believe that what he said was partly correct.



In reference to this subject, Sir Henry Bulwer observes, in a recent communication, “It was altogether a great pity D'Orsay was not employed, for he was not only fit to be so, but to make a most useful and efficient agent, had he been appointed.”

“Hotel Douvres, Rue de la Paix, October 2d. “I have been staying very recently at Versailles, roving about those beautiful gardens and woods which I delight in, and have but just now come to Paris, where, however, I hear there are many English ; but, as Landor is going to England, you will probably see him, and hear more than I can tell you.

“In literature there is nothing new here, but a new novel, · Jacques,' from Mde. Dudevant (G. Sand). She is really a curious woman. Mrs. poet, who was said to be on intimate terms with her last year, is now, as it is reported, succeeded by a doctor, the consequence being a new doctrine supported by a new work, demonstrating that the affections of the heart are to be separated from the pleasures of the senses. The poet represents the heart, the doctor the senses.


[ocr errors]

(No date.) “I shall seem an ungrateful man; but I have a head, alas ! as well as a heart, and the former aches at writing what the latter wishes written. A thousand kind things in return for those you say to me. Praise from you is worth having, because it is sincere, and because I have a sincere affection for the person who bestows it. I got here well, and am often thinking of my sojourn under your hospitable roof with the most agreeable recollections, and often wishing that my nest had been built a little nearer to your groves.

“Think sometimes of an absent friend, whom you may ever believe yours most affectionately,


“Hampton. “I just received your note. It is not, as you may suppose, from carelessness and forgetfulness that you have not had my contribution. I have begun twenty tales about that abominable sixteenth century, and none of them have pleased me but one, which I thought would not please you. It was full of horrors, magic, murder, and the East. It is now burned, and I am writing,

as hard as I can, something which you will have to burn, if you like, on Monday evening. But I am a bad contributor, for I can't write at all times nor on all subjects, though you can command me in all things.

“ Henry Bulwer."

[ocr errors]

"May 6th, 1849. “I was very glad to get your letter. I never had a doubt (I judged by myself) that your friends would remain always your friends, and I was sure that many who were not Alfred's when he was away, would become so when he was present. It would be great ingratitude if Prince Louis forgot former kindnesses and services, and I must say that I do not think him capable of this.

“I think you will take a house in Paris, or near it, and I hope some day there to find you, and to renew some of the many happy hours I have spent

in your society. I shall attend the sale, and advise all my friends to do so. · From what I hear, things will probably sell well. I am sure that Samson

will execute any commission for you when he goes to Paris, and I gave Douro your message, who returns it. The

of whom you speak, made their appearance at the court ball; the lady dressed rather singularlyher hair à la Chinoise, and stuck with diamonds. All the women quizzed her prodigiously until they found out she was the last Parisian fashion. In fact, she looked remarkably well, and people were quite right in saying nothing could be so becoming directly they ceased thinking that nothing could be so ridiculous.

[ocr errors][merged small]

“My own plans are still very uncertain, but I think of going to .by Paris. What little I hear about the new Chamber and the president's prospects is good, and I liked a letter by Lucien Bonaparte the other day much. It is a pity, however, a great pity, this quarrel with Napoleon; and I can't quite approve of publishing a private letter in the newspaper, and dismissing a man from his post on account of his leaving it, before hearing the reasons he had to give for doing so.



ISAAC D'ISRAELI, ESQ.* The author of "The Curiosities of Literature," Isaac D'Israeli, of honored memory, the literary historian, was born at Enfield,

* The particulars of the career of the elder D'Israeli, given in this sketch, are gathered chiefly from a highly interesting Memoir published in the “ Gentleman's Magazine" for July, 1848, which has been ascribed to his distinguished son, and also from numerous references to him in Lady Blessington's papers.

near London, in May, 1766, and was the only son of Benjamin D'Israeli, a Venetian merchant, of the Jewish persuasion, long established in England.

English literature is therefore indebted to Italy, Judaism, and Venetian commerce for two of its most distinguished sons, and English politics and statesmanship to the same old sources for a public man, who has achieved for himself an eminent position, and the leadership of a great party.

Isaac D’Israeli was sent, at an early age, to Holland: he passed some years of boyhood in Amsterdam and Leyden ; acquired there a great knowledge of languages, and some knowledge, but not a very extensive acquaintance, with the classics.

On his return to England he applied himself a great deal to books, and made his first known appearance in print in the “Gentleman's Magazine” for December, 1786. That article of four

pages, entitled “Remarks on the Biographical Accounts of the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D.,” bore the signature of J.D.I.

But long previously, and subsequently to the date of that essay, his leading passion was a love of poetry and an ambition to write poetry. He began to discover that he was not destined to succeed in that line so early as 1788; but he went on, in spite of fate, wooing the Muses, whom he had made divers vows to abandon, and in 1803 published a volume of “ Narrative Poems" in 4to.

In 1799 appeared "Love and Humility, a Roman Romance;' also “ The Lovers, or the Origin of the Fine Arts;" and in a second edition of these productions in 1801, he introduced “The Daughter, or a Modern Romance."

Another novel, the date of which is unknown, called “Despotism, or the Fall of the Jesuits," was published by him. It would be interesting to know how that subject had been treated by him.

But several years earlier, his predilection for literary criticism had manifested itself in his studies and pursuits. So early as 1791, he published the first volume of “Curiosities of Literature," consisting of anecdotes, characters, sketches, and observations, literary, critical, and historical. In 1793 the second

volume appeared, with“ A Dissertation on Anecdotes." A third volume, some years later, completed the work. In 1823, a second series, however, was published, and up to 1841 went through twelve editions.

In 1795 appeared his “ Essay on the Manners and Genius of the Literary Character;" in 1796, “Miscellanies, or Literary Recreations ;” in 1812 and 1813, his “Calamities of Authors,” in two volumes; in 1814, in three volumes, “ Quarrels of Authors, or some Memoirs of our Literary History, including Specimens of Controversy, to the reign of Elizabeth ;' in 1816, "An Inquiry into the Literary and Political Character of James I.”

These are the great works on which rest the fame of Isaac D'Israeli; but one of his works, entitled “Commentaries on the Life and Reign of Charles the First,” in two volumes 8vo, 1828, obtained more popularity for a time than any of the works abovementioned. For this work, in 1830 increased to four volumes, very eulogistic of Charles the First, the author got from Oxford the honorary degree of D.C.L., the public orator of the University, in conferring it, using the words “ Optimi Regis, optimo defensori."

In 1839, while meditating a more comprehensive and elaborate work on the “ History of English Literature,” he was totally deprived of sight. This terrible calamity was compensated for, to some small extent, by the constant attendance on him of his daughter. With her aid as an amanuensis, he produced “ The Amenities of Literature.” Mr. D’Israeli was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a member of some other learned societies.

He had a literary controversy in 1837 with Mr. Bolton Corney (the author of a production entitled “ Curiosities of Literature Illustrated,” a litterateur who works in the mine of old bookish knowledge), which controversy troubled a good deal the tranquillity of Mr. D’Israeli, and shook a little the implicit confidence which the public reposed in all his statements respecting what is called “ Secret History," the originality of curious matter, alleged to have been discovered in ancient documents, and the authenticity and dates of manuscripts and books referred to by him. Mr. Corney's object was to pull down the fame

« 上一頁繼續 »