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at either her or the man; they seemed so like the rats he had seen outside.

'Nobody shall go near her,' said the man, starting fiercely up as the undertaker approached the recess. 'Keep back! d-n you, keep back, if you've a life to lose.'

'Nonsense, my good man,' said the undertaker, who was pretty well used to misery in all its shapes ' nonsense!'

'I tell you,' said the man, clenching his hands and stamping furiously on the floor-I tell you I wont have her put into the ground. She couldn't rest there. The worms would worry-not eat her-she is so worn away.'

'Now, you must put your best leg foremost, old lady,' whispered Sowerberry in the old woman's ear; we are rather late, and it wont do to keep the clergyman waiting. Move on, my men-as quick as you like.'

Thus directed, the bearers trotted on under their light burden, and the two mourners kept as near them as they could. Mr Bumble and Sowerberry walked at a good smart pace in front; and Oliver, whose legs were not so long as his master's, ran by the side.

There was not so great a necessity for hurrying as Mr Sowerberry had anticipated, however; for when they reached the obscure corner of the churchyard, in which the nettles grew, and the parish graves were The undertaker offered no reply to this raving, but made, the clergyman had not arrived, and the clerk, producing a tape from his pocket, knelt down for a who was sitting by the vestry-room fire, seemed to moment by the side of the body. think it by no means improbable that it might be an 'Ah!' said the man, bursting into tears, and sink-hour or so before he came. So they set the bier down ing on his knees at the feet of the dead woman;, 'kneel down, kneel down; kneel round her every one of you, and mark my words. I say she starved to death. I never knew how bad she was till the fever came upon her, and then her bones were starting through the skin. There was neither fire nor candle; she died in the dark-in the dark. She couldn't even see her children's faces, though we heard her gasping out their names. begged for her in the streets, and they sent me to prison. When I came back she was dying; and all the blood in my heart has dried up, for they starved her to death. I swear it before the God that saw it-they starved her!' He twined his hands in his hair, and with a loud scream rolled grovelling upon the floor, his eyes fixed, and the foam gushing from his lips.

The terrified children cried bitterly; but the old woman, who had hitherto remained as quiet as if she had been wholly deaf to all that passed, menaced them into silence; and having unloosened the man's cravat, who still remained extended on the ground, tottered towards the undertaker.

'She was my daughter,' said the old woman, nodding her head in the direction of the corpse, and speaking with an idiotic leer more ghastly than even the presence of death itself. Lord, Lord! well, it is strange that I who gave birth to her, and was a woman then, should be alive and merry now, and she lying there so cold and stiff! Lord, Lord!-to think of it; it's as good as a play, as good as a play!'

As the wretched creature mumbled and chuckled in her hideous merriment, the undertaker turned to go away.

"Stop, stop!' said the old woman in a loud whisper. Will she be buried to-morrow, or next day, or tonight? I laid her out, and I must walk, you know. Send me a large cloak; a good warm one, for it is bitter cold. We should have cake and wine, too, before we go! Never mind: send some bread; only a loaf of bread and a cup of water. Shall we have some bread, dear?' she said eagerly, catching at the undertaker's coat as he once more moved towards the door.

'Yes, yes,' said the undertaker; of course; anything, everything.' He disengaged himself from the old woman's grasp, and, dragging Oliver after him, hurried away.

The next day (the family having been meanwhile relieved with a half-quartern loaf and a piece of cheese, left with them by Mr Bumble himself) Oliver and his master returned to the miserable abode, where Mr Bumble had already arrived, accompanied by four men from the workhouse, who were to act as bearers. An old black cloak had been thrown over the rags of the old woman and the man; the bare coffin having been screwed down, was then hoisted on the shoulders of the bearers, and carried down stairs into the


on the brink of the grave; and the two mourners waited patiently in the damp clay, with a cold rain drizzling down, while the ragged boys, whom the spectacle had attracted into the churchyard, played a noisy game at hide-and-seek among the tombstones, or varied their amusements by jumping backwards and forwards over the coffin. Mr Sowerberry and Bumble, being personal friends of the clerk, sat by the fire with him, and read the paper.

At length, after the lapse of something more than an hour, Mr Bumble, and Sowerberry, and the clerk were seen running towards the grave; and immediately afterwards the clergyman appeared, putting on his surplice as he came along. Mr Bumble then thrashed a boy or two to keep up appearances; and the reverend gentleman, having read as much of the burial-service as could be compressed into four minutes, gave his surplice to the clerk, and ran away again. 'Now, Bill,' said Sowerberry to the grave-digger, fill up.'

It was no very difficult task, for the grave was so full that the uppermost coffin was within a few feet of the surface. The grave-digger shovelled in the earth, stamped it loosely down with his feet, shouldered his spade, and walked off, followed by the boys, who murmured very loud complaints at the fun being over so soon.

'Come, my good fellow,' said Bumble, tapping the man on the back, they want to shut up the yard.'

The man, who had never once moved since he had taken his station by the grave side, started, raised his head, stared at the person who had addressed him, walked forward for a few paces, and then fell down in a fit. The crazy old woman was too much occupied in bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the undertaker had taken off) to pay him any attention; so they threw a can of cold water over him, and when he came to, saw him safely out of the churchyard, locked the gate, and departed on their different ways.

'Well, Oliver,' said Sowerberry, as they walked home, how do you like it?'

'Pretty well, thank you, sir,' replied Oliver, with considerable hesitation. Not very much, sir.' 'Ah, you'll get used to it in time, Oliver,' said Sowerberry. Nothing when you are used to it, my boy.'

Oliver wondered in his own mind whether it had taken a very long time to get Mr Sowerberry used to it; but he thought it better not to ask the question, and walked back to the shop, thinking over all he had seen and heard.

The atrocities of Sykes in the same tale, particularly his murder of the girl Nancy, are depicted with extraordinary power.

In 1840 Mr Dickens commenced a new species of fiction, entitled Master Humphrey's Clock, designed, like the Tales of My Landlord, to comprise different

to our knowledge on any of the great topics connected with the condition or future destinies of the new world. On one national point only did the novelist dissertate at length-the state of the newspaper press, which he describes as corrupt and debased beyond any experience or conception in this country. He also joins with Captain Basil Hall, Mrs Trollope, and Captain Marryat, in representing the social state and morality of the people as low and dangerous, destitute of high principle or generosity. So acute and practised an observer as Dickens could not travel without noting many oddities of character, and viewing familiar objects in a new light; and we are tempted to extract two short passages from his American Notes,' which show the masterly hand of the novelist. The first is a sketch of an original met with by our author on board a Pittsburg canal boat :

There are two canal

tales under one general title, and joined by one connecting narrative. The outline was by no means prepossessing or natural, but as soon as the reader had got through this exterior scaffolding, and entered on the first story, the genius of the author was found to be undiminished in vivid delineation of character and description. The effects of gambling are depicted with great force. There is something very striking in the conception of the helpless old gamester, tottering upon the verge of the grave, and at that period when most of our other passions are as much worn out as the frame which sustains them, still maddened with that terrible infatuation which seems to shoot up stronger and stronger as every other desire and energy dies away. Little Nell, the grandchild, is a beautiful creation of pure-mindedness and innocence, yet with those habits of pensive reflection, and that firmness and energy of mind which misfortune will often engraft on the otherwise buoyant and unthinking spirit of childhood; A thin-faced, spare-figured man of middle age and and the contrast between her and her grandfather, stature, dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured suit, now dwindled in every respect but the one into a such as I never saw before. He was perfectly quiet second childhood, and comforted, directed, and sus- during the first part of the journey; indeed I don't tained by her unshrinking firmness and love, is very remember having so much as seen him until he was finely managed. The death of Nell is the most brought out by circumstances, as great men often are. pathetic and touching of the author's serious pas- The canal extends to the foot of the mountain, and sages-it is also instructive in its pathos, for we there of course it stops, the passengers being conveyed feel with the author, that 'when death strikes down across it by land-carriage, and taken on afterwards by the innocent and young, for every fragile form from another canal boat, the counterpart of the first, which which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred awaits them on the other side. virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity, and love, lines of passage-boat; one is called the Express, and to walk the world and bless it. Of every tear that one (a cheaper one) the Pioneer. The Pioneer gets sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some first to the mountain, and waits for the Express people good is born, some gentler nature comes. In the to come up, both sets of passengers being conveyed destroyer's steps there spring up bright creations across it at the same time. We were the Express that defy his power, and his dark path becomes a company, but when we had crossed the mountain, and way of light to heaven.' In the course of this tale had come to the second boat, the proprietors took it there are many interesting and whimsical incidents into their heads to draft all the Pioneers into it likeand adventures, with fine glimpses of rural scenes, wise, so that we were five-and-forty at least, and the old churches, and churchyards. The horrors of the accession of passengers was not all of that kind almost hopeless want which too often prevails in which improved the prospect of sleeping at night. the great manufacturing towns, and the wild and Our people grumbled at this, as people do in such reckless despair which it engenders, are also de- cases, but suffered the boat to be towed off with the scribed with equal mastery of colouring and effect. whole freight aboard nevertheless; and away we The sketch of the wretch whose whole life had been tested lustily, but, being a foreigner here, I held my went down the canal. At home I should have prospent in watching, day and night, a furnace, until he imagined it to be a living being, and its roaring the people on deck (we were nearly all on deck), and, peace. Not so this passenger. He cleft a path among the voice of the only friend he had ever known, without addressing anybody whomsoever, soliloquised although perhaps grotesque, has something in it as follows:-This may suit you, this may, but it don't very terrible: we may smile at the wildness, yet suit me. shudder at the horror of the fancy. A second story, and men of Boston raising, but it wont suit my This may be all very well with down-easters Barnaby Rudge, is included in Master Humphrey's figure nohow; and no two ways about that; and so 1 Clock,' and this also contains some excellent minute tell you. Now, I'm from the brown forests of the painting, a variety of broad humour and laughable Mississippi, I am, and when the sun shines on me, it caricature, with some masterly scenes of passion does shine a little. It don't glimmer where I live, and description. The account of the excesses comthe sun don't. No. I'm a brown forester, I am. I mitted during Lord George Gordon's riots in 1780 an't a Johnny Cake. There are no smooth skins may vie with Scott's narrative of the Porteous mob; where I live. We're rough men there. Rather. If and poor Barnaby Rudge with his raven may be down-easters and men of Boston raising like this, I considered as no unworthy companion to Davie am glad of it, but I'm none of that raising, nor of Gellatley. There is also a picture of an old English that breed. No. This company wants a little fixing, inn, the Maypole, near Epping Forest, and an old it does. I'm the wrong sort of man for 'em, I am. innkeeper, John Willet, which is perfect in its kind They wont like me, they wont. This is piling of it --such, perhaps, as only Dickens could have painted, up, a little too mountainous, this is.' At the end of though Washington Irving might have made the every one of these short sentences he turned upon his first etching. After completing these tales Mr heel, and walked the other way; checking himself Dickens made a trip to America, of which he pub- abruptly when he had finished another short sentence, lished an account in 1842, under the somewhat and turning back again. It is impossible for me to quaint title of American Notes for General Circu- say what terrific meaning was hidden in the words of lation. This work disappointed the author's ad- this brown forester, but I know that the other pasmirers, which may be considered as including nearly sengers looked on in a sort of admiring horror, and the whole of the reading public. The field had that presently the boat was put back to the wharf, already been well gleaned, the American character and as many of the Pioneers as could be coaxed or and institutions frequently described and generally bullied into going away, were got rid of. When we understood, and Mr Dickens could not hope to add I started again, some of the boldest spirits on board

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made bold to say to the obvious occasion of this im-
provement in our prospects, Much obliged to you,
sir:' whereunto the brown forester (waving his hand,
and still walking up and down as before) replied, "No
you an't. You're none o' my raising. You may act
for yourselves, you may.
I have pinted out the way.
Down-easters and Johnny Cakes can follow if they
please. I an't a Johnny Cake, I an't. I am from the
brown forests of the Mississippi, I am;' and so on, as
before. He was unanimously voted one of the tables
for his bed at night-there is a great contest for the
tables-in consideration of his public services, and he
had the warmest corner by the stove throughout the
rest of the journey. But I never could find out that
he did anything except sit there; nor did I hear him
speak again until, in the midst of the bustle and tur-
moil of getting the luggage ashore in the dark at
Pittsburg, I stumbled over him as he sat smoking a
cigar on the cabin steps, and heard him muttering to
himself, with a short laugh of defiance, I an't a
Johnny Cake, I an't. I'm from the brown forests of
the Mississippi. I am, damme!' I am inclined to
argue from this that he had never left off saying so.
The following is completely in the style of Dickens
-a finished miniature, yet full of heart:-

woman herself (who would just as soon have cried) greeted every jest with! At last there were the lights of St Louis, and here was the wharf, and those were the steps; and the little woman, covering her face with her hands, and laughing (or seeming to laugh) more than ever, ran into her own cabin and shut herself up. I have no doubt that in the charming inconsistency of such excitement, she stopped her ears, lest she should hear him' asking for her-but I did not see her do it. Then a great crowd of people rushed on board, though the boat was not yet made fast, but was wandering about among the other boats to find a landing-place; and everybody looked for the husband, and nobody saw him, when, in the midst of us allHeaven knows how she ever got there-there was the little woman clinging with both arms tight round the neck of a fine, good-looking, sturdy young fellow; and in a moment afterwards there she was again, actually clapping her little hands for joy, as she dragged him through the small door of her small cabin to look at the baby as he lay asleep!

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In the course of the year 1843 Mr Dickens entered upon a new tale, Martin Chuzzlewit, in which many of his American reminiscences are embodied, and which evinces no diminution of his powers. Indeed, in freshness and vigour of thought and style, and versatility of character and invention, this story bids fair to rank among the most finished of the author's performances. About Christmas of the same year the fertile author threw off a light production in his happiest manner-a Christmas Carol in Prose-which enjoyed vast popularity, and was dramatised at the London theatres. Thus crowned with unrivalled success, buoyant in genius and spirit, and replete with generous and manly feeling, we may anticipate for Mr Dickens a long and honourable career. The difficulties to which he is exposed in his present periodical mode of writing are, in some respects, greater than if he allowed himself a wider field, and gave his whole work to the public at once. But he would be subjected to a severer criticism if his fiction could be read continuedly-if his power of maintaining a sustained interest could be tested-if his work could be viewed as a connected whole, and its object, plan, consistency, and arrangement, brought to the notice of the reader at once. This ordeal cannot be passed triumphantly without the aid of other qualities than necessarily belong to the most brilliant sketcher of detached scenes. We do not, however, mean to express a doubt that Mr Dickens can write with judgment as well as with spirit. His powers of observation and description are qualities rarer, and less capable of being acquired, than those which would enable him to combine the scattered portions of a tale into one consistent and harmonious whole. If he will endeavour to supply whatever may be effected by care and study-avoid imitation of other writers-keep nature steadily before his eyes-and check all disposition to exaggerate we know no writer who seems likely to attain higher success in that rich and useful department of fiction which is founded on faithful representations of human character, as exemplified in the aspects of English life.'*

There was a little woman on board with a little baby; and both little woman and little child were cheerful, good-looking, bright-eyed, and fair to see. The little woman had been passing a long time with her sick mother in New York, and had left her home in St Louis, in that condition in which ladies who truly love their lords desire to be. The baby was born in her mother's house, and she had not seen her husband (to whom she was now returning) for twelve months, having left him a month or two after their marriage. Well, to be sure, there never was a little woman so full of hope, and tenderness, and love, and anxiety, as this little woman was; and all day long she wondered whether he' would be at the wharf; and whether he' had got her letter; and whether, if she sent the baby ashore by somebody else, 'he' would know it meeting it in the street; which, seeing that he had never set eyes upon it in his life, was not very likely in the abstract, but was probable enough to the young mother. She was such an artless little creature, and was in such a sunny, beaming, hopeful state, and let out all this matter clinging close about her heart so freely, that all the other lady passengers entered into the spirit of it as much as she; and the captain (who heard all about it from his wife) was wondrous sly, I promise you, inquiring every time we met at table, as in forgetfulness, whether she expected anybody to meet her at St Louis, and whether she would want to go ashore the night we reached it (but he supposed she wouldn't), and cutting many other dry jokes of that nature. There was one little weazen-dried, apple-faced old woman, who took occasion to doubt the constancy of husbands in such circumstances of bereavement; and there was another lady (with a lap dog), old enough to moralise on the lightness of human affections, and yet not so old that she could help nursing the baby now and then, or laughing with the rest when the little woman called it by its father's name, and asked it all manner of fantastic questions concerning him in the joy of her heart. It was something of a blow to the little woman, that when we were within twenty miles of our desti- In depth of research and intrinsic value, the histonation, it became clearly necessary to put this baby torical works of this period far exceed those of any of bed. But she got over it with the same good humour, our former sections. Access has been more readily tied a handkerchief round her head, and came out obtained to all public documents, and private collecinto the little gallery with the rest. Then, such an tions have been thrown open with a spirit of enoracle as she became in reference to the localities! lightened liberality. Certain departments of history and such facetiousness as was displayed by the mar- -as the Anglo-Saxon period, and the progress ried ladies, and such sympathy as was shown by the single ones, and such peals of laughter as the little


* Edinburgh Review for 1838.

generally of the English constitution-have also been cultivated with superior learning and diligence. The great works of Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon, still maintain their pre-eminence with the general reader, but the value of the two first has been materially diminished by subsequent investigations and new information.


The most elaborate and comprehensive work we have here to notice, is The History of Greece from the Earliest Period, by WILLIAM MITFORD, Esq. The first volume of Mr Mitford's history came before the public in 1784, a second was published in 1790, and a third in 1797. It was not, however, till the year 1810 that the work was completed. Mr Mitford, descended of an ancient family in Northumberland, was born in London on the 10th of February 1744, and was educated first at Cheam school, Surrey, and afterwards at Queen's college, Oxford. He studied the law, but abandoned it on obtaining a commission in the South Hampshire Militia, of which regiment he was afterwards lieutenant-colonel. In 1761 he succeeded to the family estate in Hampshire, and was thus enabled to pursue those classical and historical studies to which he was ardently devoted. His first publication was an Essay on the Harmony of Language, intended principally to illustrate that of the English Language, 1774, which afterwards reached a second edition. While in the militia, he published a Treatise on the Military Force, and particularly of the Militia of the Kingdom, This subject seems to have engrossed much of his attention, for at a subsequent period of his life, when a member of the House of Commons, Mr Mitford advocated the cause of the militia with much fervour, and recommended a salutary jealousy relative to a standing army in this country. He was nevertheless a general supporter of ministers, and held the government appointment of Verdurer of the New Forest. Mr Mitford was twice elected member of parliament for the borough of Beeralston, in Devonshire, and afterwards for New Romney, in Kent. He died in 1827. The History of Greece' has passed through several editions. Byron says of Mr Mitford as a historian- His great pleasure consists in praising tyrants, abusing Plutarch, spelling oddly, and writing quaintly; and what is strange, after all, his is the best modern history of Greece in any language, and he is perhaps the best of all modern historians whatsoever. Having named his sins (adds the noble poet), it is but fair to state his virtues-learning, labour, research, wrath, and partiality. I call the latter virtues in a writer, because they make him write in earnest.' The earnestness of Mr Mitford is too often directed against what he terms the inherent weakness and the indelible barbarism of democratical government.' He was a warm admirer of the English constitution and of the monarchical form of government, and this bias led him to be unjust to the Athenian people, whom he on one occasion terms the sovereign beggars of Athens.' His fidelity as a reporter of facts has also been questioned. He contracts the strongest individual partialities, and according as these lead, he is credulous or mistrustful-he exaggerates or he qualifies he expands or he cuts down the documents on which he has to proceed. With regard to the bright side of almost every king whom he has to describe, Mr Mitford is more than credulous; for a credulous man believes all that he is told: Mr Mitford believes more than he is told. With regard to the dark side of the same individuals, his habits of estimating evidence are precisely in the opposite

extreme. In treating of the democracies or of the democratical leaders, his statements are not less partial and exaggerated.'* It is undeniable that Mr Mitford has over-coloured the evils of popular government, but there is so much acuteness and spirit in his political disquisitions, and his narrative of events is so animated, full, and distinct, that he is always read with pleasure. His qualifications were great, and his very defects constitute a sort of individuality that is not without its attraction in so long a history.

[Condemnation and Death of Socrates.]

We are not informed when Socrates first became distinguished as a sophist; for in that description of men he was in his own day reckoned. When the wit of Aristophanes was directed against him in the theatre, he was already among the most eminent, but his eminence seems to have been then recent. It was about the tenth or eleventh year of the Peloponnesian war, when he was six or seven-and-forty years of age, that, after the manner of the old comedy, he was offered to public derision upon the stage by his own name, as one of the persons of the drama, in the comedy of Aristophanes, called The Clouds, which is yet extant. Some antipathy, it appears, existed between the comic poets collectively and the sophists or philosophers. The licentiousness of the former could indeed scarcely escape the animadversion of the latter, who, on the contrary, favoured the tragic poets, competitors with the comedians for public favour. Euripides and Aristophanes were particularly enemies; and Socrates not only lived in intimacy with Euripides, but is said to have assisted him in some of his tragedies. We are informed of no other cause for the injurious representation which the comic poet has given of Socrates, whom he exhibits in The Clouds as a flagitious yet ridiculous pretender to the occult sciences, conversing with the clouds as divinities, and teaching the principal youths of Athens to despise the received gods and to cozen men. The audience, accustomed to look on defamation with carelessness, and to hold as lawful and proper whatever might amuse the multitude, applauded the wit, and even gave general approbation to the piece; but the high estimation of the character of Socrates sufficed to prevent that complete success which the poet had promised himself. The crown which rewarded him whose drama most had so often won, was on this occasion refused him. earned the public favour, and which Aristophanes

Two or three-and-twenty years had elapsed since the first representation of The Clouds; the storms of conquest suffered from a foreign enemy, and of four revolutions in the civil government of the country, had passed; nearly three years had followed of that quiet which the revolution under Thrasybulus produced, and the act of amnesty should have confirmed, when a young man named Melitus went to the kingtion against Socrates, and bound himself to prosecute. archon, and in the usual form delivered an informaThe information ran thus:- Melitus, son of Melitus, of the borough of Pitthos, declares these upon oath against Socrates, son of Sophroniscus, of the borough of Alopece: Socrates is guilty of reviling the gods whom the city acknowledges, and of preaching other new gods: moreover, he is guilty of corrupting the youth. Penalty, death.'

with declaring his wonder how the Athenians could Xenophon begins his memorials of his revered master, have been persuaded to condemn to death a man of such uncommonly clear innocence and exalted worth. Elian, though for authority he can bear no comparison with Xenophon, has nevertheless, I think, given the

*Westminster Review for 1826.

solution. 'Socrates,' he says, 'disliked the Athenian constitution; for he saw that democracy is tyrannical, and abounds with all the evils of absolute monarchy.' But though the political circumstances of the times made it necessary for cotemporary writers to speak with caution, yet both Xenophon and Plato have declared enough to show that the assertion of Elian was well-founded; and farther proof, were it wanted, may be derived from another early writer, nearly cotemporary, and deeply versed in the politics of his age, the orator Eschines. Indeed, though not stated in the indictment, yet it was urged against Socrates by his prosecutors before the court, that he was disaffected to the democracy; and in proof, they affirmed it to be notorious that he had ridiculed what the Athenian constitution prescribed, the appointment to magistracy by lot. Thus,' they said, 'he taught his numerous followers, youths of the principal families of the city, to despise the established government, and to be turbulent and seditious; and his success had been seen in the conduct of two of the most eminent, Alcibiades and Critias. Even the best things he converted to these ill purposes: from the most esteemed poets, and particularly from Homer, he selected passages to enforce his anti-democratical principles.'

Socrates, it appears, indeed, was not inclined to deny his disapprobation of the Athenian constitution. His defence itself, as it is reported by Plato, contains inatter on which to found an accusation against him of disaffection to the sovereignty of the people, such as, under the jealous tyranny of the Athenian democracy, would sometimes subject a man to the penalties of high treason. You well know,' he says, 'Athenians, that had I engaged in public business, I should long ago have perished without procuring any advantage either to you or to myself. Let not the truth offend you: it is no peculiarity of your democracy, or of your national character; but wherever the people is sovereign, no man who shall dare honestly to oppose injustice-frequent and extravagant injustice-can avoid destruction.'

Without this proof, indeed, we might reasonably believe, that though Socrates was a good and faithful subject of the Athenian government, and would promote no sedition, no political violence, yet he could not like the Athenian constitution. He wished for wholesome changes by gentle means; and it seems even to have been a principal object of the labours to which he dedicated himself, to infuse principles into the rising generation that might bring about the desirable change insensibly. His scholars were chiefly sons of the wealthiest citizens, whose easy circumstances afforded leisure to attend him; and some of these zealously adopting his tenets, others merely pleased with the ingenuity of his arguments and the liveliness of his manner, and desirous to emulate his triumphs over his opponents, were forward, after his example, to engage in disputation upon all the subjects on which he was accustomed to discourse. Thus employed, and thus followed, though himself avoiding office and public business, those who governed or desired to govern the commonwealth through their influence among the many, might perhaps not unreasonably consider him as one who was or might become a formidable adversary, nor might it be difficult to excite popular jealousy against him.

Melitus, who stood forward as his principal accuser, was, as Plato informs us, no way a man of any great consideration. His legal description gives some probability to the conjecture, that his father was one of the commissioners sent to Lacedæmon from the moderate party, who opposed the ten successors of the thirty tyrants, while Thrasybulus held Piræus, and Pausanias was encamped before Athens. He was a poet, and stood forward as in a common cause of the

poets, who esteemed the doctrine of Socrates injurious to their interest. Unsupported, his accusation would have been little formidable; but he seems to have been a mere instrument in the business. He was soon joined by Lycon, one of the most powerful speakers of his time. Lycon was the avowed patron of the rhetoricians, who, as well as the poets, thought their interest injured by the moral philosopher's doctrine. I know not that on any other occasion in Grecian history we have any account of this kind of party-interest operating; but from circumstances nearly analogous in our own country-if we substitute for poets the clergy, and for rhetoricians the lawyers we may gather what might be the party-spirit, and what the weight of influence of the rhetoricians and poets in Athens. With Lycon, Anytus, a man scarcely second to any in the commonwealth in rank and general estimation, who had held high command with reputation in the Peloponnesian war, and had been the principal associate of Thrasybulus in the war against the thirty and the restoration of the democracy, declared himself a supporter of the prosecution. Nothing in the accusation could, by any known law of Athens, affect the life of the accused. In England, no man would be put upon trial on so vague a charge-no grand jury would listen to it. But in Athens, if the party was strong enough, it signified little what was the law. When Lycon and Anytus came forward, Socrates saw that his condemnation was already decided.

By the course of his life, however, and by the turn of his thoughts for many years, he had so prepared himself for all events, that, far from alarmed at the probability of his condemnation, he rather rejoiced at it, as at his age a fortunate occurrence. He was persuaded of the soul's immortality, and of the superintending providence of an all-good Deity, whose favour he had always been assiduously endeavouring to deserve. Men fear death, he said, as if unquestionably the greatest evil, and yet no man knows that it may not be the greatest good. If, indeed, great joys were in prospect, he might, and his friends for him, with somewhat more reason regret the event; but at his years, and with his scanty fortune-though he was happy enough at seventy still to preserve both body and mind in vigour-yet even his present gratifications must necessarily soon decay. To avoid, therefore, the evils of age, pain, sickness, decay of sight, decay of hearing, perhaps decay of understanding, by the easiest of deaths (for such the Athenian mode of execution-by a draught of hemlock-was reputed), cheered with the company of surrounding friends, could not be otherwise than a blessing.

Xenophon says that, by condescending to a little supplication, Socrates might easily have obtained his acquittal. No admonition or intreaty of his friends, however, could persuade him to such an unworthiness. On the contrary, when put upon his defence, he told the people that he did not plead for his own sake, but for theirs, wishing them to avoid the guilt of an unjust condemnation. It was usual for accused persons to bewail their apprehended lot, with tears to supplicate favour, and, by exhibiting their children upon the bema, to endeavour to excite pity. He thought it, he said, more respectful to the court, as well as more becoming himself, to omit all this; however aware that their sentiments were likely so far to differ from his, that judgment would be given in anger for it.

Condemnation pronounced wrought no change upon him. He again addressed the court, declared his innocence of the matters laid against him, and observed that, even if every charge had been completely proved, still, all together did not, according to any known law, amount to a capital crime. But,' in conclusion he said, 'it is time to depart-I to die, you to live; but which for the greater good, God only knows.'

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