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DECEMBER 1, 1823.
MEMOIR OF LORD HOLLAND.
THE nobleman whose portrait embellishes our present number has long enjoyed an eminent rank among the members of the opposition in the upper house of Parliament. He is a warm supporter of those political opinions which, for lack of a better name, are called Whig principles, and possesses quite sufficient talent to make his exertions useful. It is so necessary to the welfare of England that there should always be an opposition party in the state, that even those persons who differ from the principles which actuate that party would be sorry to see it entirely defeated; and if it is to exist, as it will be admitted it should, then it will be well that such persons as Lord Holland hold a place in it.
The Right Hon. Henry Richard Fox, Lord Holland, is the only son of the late Stephen, Lord Holland, by Lady Mary Fitzpatrick, and was born on the 13th of November, 1773. His father died while the present lord was a child, and from this circumstance his family fortune, not very large, was much improved by the arrears of a long, minority. He was educated at Eton, and went afterwards to Christ Church, Oxford, where his progress in academical studies was very respectable. He took his degree of Master of Arts, in the due course of the University regulations, in 1792. His health, at this period of his life, was not very good, and he spent some years in travelling abroad. He visited Spain, where he acquired a fondness for Spanish literature, and that knowledge of it, the fruits of which he has since communicated to the world, and upon which his literary reputation is mainly founded.
In the year 1797 Lord Holland married the divorced wife of Sir Godfrey Webster: this lady was the daughter of a very rich planter, whose name was Vassal, which name is now added to that of Holland, and used by the present peer. By this marriage his lordship has had two sons and a daughter.
Lord Holland took his seat in the House of Peers as soon as his age permitted him, and on all occasions supported the views of his uncle, the late C. J. Fox. With him he deprecated the war with France, and strenuously opposed all the measures of Mr. Pitt, untilt he death of that statesman. His friends having then got into power, Lord Holland was no longer in the opposition; but his political opinions remained unchanged, and his parliamentary exertions continued to be directed to the same objects. He was a warm partisan of the Catholic Emancipation Bill, which he still never fails to advocate when an opportunity offers itself.
His eloquence is vigorous, fervid, and striking, displaying evident marks of a cultivated mind, but under too little control ever to command conviction. His speeches are often involved and obscure, a fault which a nervous irritation, to which he seems subject in an extraordinary degree, greatly adds. He is always heard with consider. able attention in the house; and although, from the diffuseness and inaccuracy of his reasoning, he is generally well answered, he would probably, in any assembly of a less deliberative character, be highly popular. If he could restrain a habit of panting and foaming, which at times assumes a ridiculous appearance, his declamation would have greater weight; there is a frankness, a downright John Bull force, and a great deal of good temper, in his manner and matter at most times. His literary pretensions are very respectable; the translation which he has published of the Poems of Lopez de la Vega displays neatness of execution, and a very considerable acquaintance with Spanish lite rature. He has also written a Life of the same poet, and superintended his uncle's History of the earlier Part of the Reign of James II. It is very probable that he would have written much better if his fame had not depended upon something more exalted: he has no pretensions to genius; but he is quite clever enough for a lord, and too rich for a wit.
THE STRANGER'S GRAVE.
A WRITER of the present day can give no greater proof of bad taste and morbid feeling, than in selecting for the exercise of his talents subjects which, from their horrible and unnatural character, have been conventionally proscribed, and consigned to silence and darkness. It might be endured that the gloomy and shadowy descriptions of Dante should tell a tale of incestuous passion, while its incidents were but dimly seen through the twilight of its congenial hell:-the state of society then, so different from its present aspect, might not only have tolerated the allusions, but might have been benefited by the striking punishment which is made to accompany the crime. In our times, how ever, if it could be allowed to men of the greatest genius, it ought not to be permitted to authors of slender talents, to make unholy horrors mischievously familiar by the flippancy with which they treat them. These subjects, which Sophocles or Dante may be permitted to touch, are profaned and made worse than ridiculous by such persons as Horace Walpole and Leigh Hunt; and still more reprehensible do we hold it in small novelists to write such stories as that which lies before us, the matter of which is of a forbidden nature.
The Stranger's Grave is the history of an over-indulged youth, the only son of a respectable worthy man, who forms an incestuous intercourse with his niece, a young girl of nearly his own age. The grief which it entails upon his parents bows their heads to the grave in misery and disgrace, and drives him into a foreign land with the partner of his guilt, where the punishment due to their crime, so far as it can be punished on earth, overtakes them. We decline to enter at any greater length upon the particulars of the tale, but we shall extract the latter incidents, which contain the moral, dearly purchased by reading the stuff which precedes them, and are also the best-written
part of the work. The chief actor in, and the relater of the history, is reduced to the most abject distress, and compelled to gain a precarious and scanty subsistence by labouring as a common porter in a town on the coast of Spain. He rises one morning to pursue his avocations:
As usual Edward directed his steps towards the quay, in search of employment. A brig had just come in from England, and her cargo was landing. Edward advanced as he was wont, and besought something to do; whereupon a person who looked like the mate of the vessel immediately set him to work. But the jealousy of the Spanish porters had now risen to its height; they had endured the intrusion of this stranger upon their province till they could endure it no longer. Hitherto they had contented themselves with hooting and hissing the vile heretic, from the moment he came amongst them till he departed; and he had borne it all, if not with indifference, at least without making a display of his indignation. But to-day they proceeded a step further; he was in the act of stooping to lift an huge case or package upon the wheel-barrow, by means of which it was to be transported to the warehouse, when one of the Spaniards who had been most vociferous in his abuse, came softly behind him, and, tripping up his heel, threw him down. He fell with his face upon the edge of the barrow, and hurt himself so severely, that the blood flowed in torrents from his nose and mouth. But the pain of the bruise was scarcely perceived; burning with rage, he sprang upon his feet, and with one blow of his fist knocked his cowardly assailant back wards into the water.
With considerable difficulty the floundering Spaniard was dragged to shore by his comrades, and then the most violent uproar began. Edward scorned to fly, though perfectly aware that he would have to contend with overpowering numbers. He planted his back against a wall, and brandishing a huge beam of wood that chanced to lie within his reach, he effectually kept at bay the whole host of his enemies. On their part, missiles of every description were showered upon their adversary; knives were drawn, and even a musket levelled at his breast; nor is it easy to say what might have been the result of the affray, if a party of soldiers had not promptly interfered, and seized upon Edward as their prisoner.
They conducted him towards the house of the governor, followed by the whole body of porters, and a large concourse of idle persons, whom the noise of the fray had drawn together. To these Edward was of course an object of hatred; he was a foreigner, which of itself was sufficient to secure for him the dislike of every patriotic Spaniard ; and he had moreover knocked one of their countrymen into the water, an offence which the Spanish people could not possibly forgive. As to the provocation given, that was no object of inquiry with the mob; and had it even been known, it would have in no respect lessened the enormity of his guilt. The soldiers had therefore much difficulty in preserving Edward from the summary vengeance of the populace, who followed him with execrations, and occasionally saluted both him and his guard with showers of stones and filth. Of these many took effect upon the body of Edward; and certainly, had the mother who bore him looked at that instant upon her son, it is an even chance if she could
have recognised him, so bruised and beaten was his face, and disfigured with patches of mud; whilst his garments hung upon his back in perfect tatters, having suffered in a still greater degree than his countenance, in the scuffle which preceded the arrival of the military.
'On his way to the house of the Alcala, Edward was dragged beneath the doorway of his own abode. The noise of the crowd, their shouts and yells, had drawn Emily to the window, and looking out, she became a witness to the dreadful condition of her lover. His face besmeared with blood and filth; his hat gone; his linen torn, and his clothes rent; he was dragged, rather than led, by a party of grenadiers, along the street, whilst the fury of the populace, who hung upon his rear, threatened every instant to vent itself, in spite of the soldiers, in tearing his wounded body limb from limb. Edward looked up as he passed: he tried to smile, and shouted as loud as he was able, "Fear not, love!"-but the sound of his voice died away upon her deafened ear-she gave one piercing shriek, and instantly disappeared from the window.
'Edward heard her cry, and saw her sudden disappearance; and the sound, and the sight, drove him almost to madness. He entreated his guards to release him, only for a moment, whilst he ran up stairs and comforted his wife. He besought a file of them to go with him, if they doubted his promise to return; but they were deaf to all his prayers, and hurrying forward with him towards the point whither they were going, the turning of a street soon shut the apartment from his view.
'The Alcala, or mayor, of Fontarabia, was exactly such a person as the mayor of a small Spanish town usually is; proud, ignorant, and bigotted. He listened with apparent avidity to the complaints of the porters, who stated to him the hardship of having their bread taken out of their mouths by a foreigner and a heretic, and who demanded the most summary chastisement to be inflicted upon the prisoner, for the violent assault which he had made upon one of their number. It was in vain that Edward stated the whole facts of the case; that he dwelt upon his own poverty, and upon the obligation which he was under of doing something for the support of his wife, now near her confinement. It was in vain that he recapitulated all the insults which he had borne from his accusers, and related the nature of the attack first made upon himself. The worthy magistrate was deaf to his arguments, in support of which, after all, no other evidence was adduced beyond his own individual assertion. Edward was accordingly pronounced guilty of a heinous misdemeanor; he was condemned to receive one hundred lashes upon the bare back, with a whip of cow-skin, and to be placed in the stocks for six hours, as a disturber of the public peace.
'As soon as the sentence was passed, Edward assumed a different tone, and called upon the Alcala to beware how he violated the person of an English subject. "Though my dress and appearance be mean," continued he, "I hold some rank in my own country; and were the contrary the case, a British ambassador will at all times listen to the complaint of the poorest subject of his master. I warn you, Senor Alcala, to look well to what you do, for as sure as you inflict this degrading punishment upon me, so surely will a representation of the
whole matter be forwarded to the British resident at the court of Madrid."
"The mayor was startled at the tone of dignity in which the above was uttered, and evidently hesitated for some moments, whether or not he should order Edward's sentence to be carried into execution; but his indecision was soon set aside, by the vehement gesticulations and outcries of an irritated mob. "Carracho, Coramba," and all sorts of -other vulgar oaths, instantly issued from the heart of the crowd. "Will a Spanish magistrate be intimidated by the idle threatenings of a fellow like this, of one who was probably banished from his own country for some heinous crime; who, when he first arrived, behaved to the noble Spanish people with all the insolence peculiar to these haughty islanders; and now seeks to take away the bread of honest men? Shame, shame on the coward who for one moment could weigh the bravadoes of such a one against the united wishes of his townsmen." These outcries, accompanied as they were with certain threats of vengeance, somewhat obscurely worded, determined the prudent magistrate no longer to oppose the tide of popular fury; so he commanded Edward to be dragged to the public market-place, and then and there to undergo the punishment which had just been awarded him.
The culprit was instantly seized, and in spite of a vigorous resistance, handcuffed by the guard. He was dragged to a square in the very heart of the town, and there his jacket and shirt were torn from his back, and himself fastened with ropes to the stone cross which stands in the middle of the area. The whole tale of blows was then inflicted upon him, with all the violence which personal hatred could create; and his feet being afterwards fastened in the stocks, he was left, bruised, wealed, and bloody, to endure with what equanimity he could command the insolent jests and opprobrious epithets, heaped upon him by the triumphant populace.
Wild with the consciousness of utter degradation, and smarting under the agony of the lashes which he had endured, Edward vainly struggled to release his arms from their manacles, and his legs from the state of confinement to which they were subjected. But his struggles were altogether unavailing; the thongs with which his arms were bound proved too strong for him to burst, whilst the stocks being stoutly padlocked over each ancle, bade defiance to the desperate pulling, which served no other purpose than to strip the skin from his own legs. The more vehemently he strove, likewise, to free himself, the louder were the shouts and laughter raised at his expense; till at last he clenched his teeth firmly together, and ceasing any longer to exert the strength which was exerted in vain, he waited in calm desperation the arrival of that moment which was to bring with it his release.
'It came at length; though, whether from accident or design he cared not to inquire, five hours after the expiration of the six, during which his sentence had doomed him to confinement. As soon as his arms and legs were released, he rose, stiff and feeble; and without exhibiting any sign of anger, or uttering a single threat of vengeance, made directly towards his home. The sun had just gone down, and the shades of night were not yet beginning to supersede the twilight; when Edward, in a state of mind which beggars all description, arrived