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and that it enters into the composition of every thing, inanimate or animate. If then it be electricity that produces all the chemical changes, we so constantly observe, in surrounding inanimate objects, analogy induces us to believe that it is electricity which also performs all the chemical operations in living bodies; that the universal chemist resides in them, and exercises in some degree peculiar powers, because it possesses a peculiar apparatus.
Sir Humphrey Davy's experiments also lead us to believe, that it is electricity, extricated and accumulated in ways not clearly un. derstood, which causes those sudden and powerful motions in masses of inert matter, which we occasionally witness with wonder and dismay; that it is electricity which causes the whirlwind, and the water spout, and which with its sharp and sulphurous bolt splits the unwedgeable and gnarled oak,' and destroys our most stable edifices; that it is electricity which by its consequences makes the firm earth tremble, and throws up subterraneous matter from volcanos.
• When therefore we perceive in the universe at large, a cause of rapid and powerful motions of masses of inert matter, may we not naturally conclude that the inert molecules of vegetable and animal matter, may be made to move in a similar manner, by a similar cause?
"It is not meant to be affirmed that electricity is life. There are strong analogies between electricity and magnetism; and yet I do not know that any one has been hardy enough to assert their absolute identity. I only mean to prove, that Mr Hunter's Theory is verifiable, by showing that a subtile substance, of a quickly and powerfully mobile nature, seems to pervade every thing, and appears to be the life of the world; and therefore it is probable that a similar substance pervades organized bodies, and produces similar effects in them.
• The experiments of Sir H. Davy seem to realize the specula tions of philosophers, and to verify the deductions of reason, by demonstrating the existence of a subtile, active, vital principle, pervading all nature, as has heretofore been surmised, and denominated the Anima Mundi. The opinions which in former times were a justifiable hypothesis, seem to me now to be converted into a rational theory.' p. 49-52.
If there be any man who believes, that Sir Humphry Davy has really done all this, or who has suffered himself to be so borne away by these whirlwinds' and water-spouts' of Mr Abernethy, as to look upon his body as a Leyden phial, we fear that we should exhaust our vital principle in endeavouring to dispel the illusion. Certainly we shall not make the attempt. We have laid down, of late, a plan of the strictest economy as to the expenditure of that portion of the very quickly and powerfully mobile substance which has fallen to our share; and we are not without hopes that it may thereby be made to last for three
It is part of that plan, not to squander it, splitting gnarled oaks, ' or convincing
score years to come.
ART. VII. The Letters of Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton; with a Supplement of interesting Letters, by distinguished ChaLondon, Lovewell & Co.
2 vol. 8vo.
WE E scarcely remember to have seen a more reprehensible publication; or one in which the frailties of the Mighty Dead have been more wantonly and barbarously unveiled-without the possibility or indeed the pretext of any other motive than that of the sordid and miserable profit that may be made of the exibition. The man who should violate the last hallowed retreat of his war-worn frame, and display, for hire, the naked and festering limbs of the departed hero to the gaze of the brutal multitude, would be guilty, we think, of a less profanation. The outrage against decency, and the offence to all generous feeling, would not at least be aggravated in such a case, as we cannot help fearing they are here, by the strangest ingratitude, and the most incredible breach of confidence: for who but the receiver of these letters could have the means of giving them to the public? who but the obj ct of this guilty, but ardent and devoted love, could have betrayed its follies and its frenzy to our gaze?-We are aware that an advertisement has appeared in the newspapers, which professes to disclaim, on the part of Lady Hamilton, any concern with this lamentable publication: but it is difficult to pay any regard to such an intimation, while the work is allowed to go on. The genuineness of the letters is not denied; nor is any statement given of their having been surreptitiously withdrawn from her keeping. if this had been the case, however, or if the publication had in any other way been undertaken really without her consent, or against her inclination, it is perfectly notorious that she might have stopt it in little more than twenty-four hours, by applying to the Court of Chancery. Instead of this, it is blazoned in every newspaper, and in every shop-window in the kingdom ; and a great and unhallowed profit is daily made by the sale of a work, the manuscript of which was, beyond all question, the property of Lady Hamilton. If this property has actually been stolen from her, never human being had such an interest to reclaim it; for never was any one exposed to more painful imputations by the uses to which it has been turned. The uni
versal impression is, that Lady Hamilton has sold the love-letters-the indefensible and imprudent, but most confidential loveletters-addressed to her by Lord Nelson, to a bookseller for money! and that the only being upon earth by whom he could have borne that they should be seen-the only being, indeed, by whom they could be seen without injuring and lowering his fame-has, for the sake of a few pounds, exposed them to the eyes of the world! It would be an infinite relief to us to be freed from this impression; but, while it remains with us, we cannot avoid saying, that the disgust and indignation which it excites, is only aggravated by the consideration, that it is a woman who has called forth these most uncomfortable sensations.
But though the mischief is done and irreparable-and though all the odious details of these volumes are already in the hands of those from whom it was most important to have withheld them, we should still have hesitated about adding to their publicity by our notice, had we not come to be satisfied, that even the private habits of such a man as Lord Nelson, when they are evidenced, as in this instance, by the undoubted testimony of his own letters, are matter of history, and must pass as such into the records of the age. In noticing them, however, we shall carefully avoid giving circulation to the anecdotes (not, we grieve to say, always the most creditable) which these volumes bring before us, of private individuals, whose connexion with the great man will certainly not prevent their names from returning to the shelter of oblivion immediately after their earthly course is run. To preserve any of these, can serve no good purpose; for the censor, we conceive, has no right to drag into notice the vices or the follies which he may meet on his legitimate field, if it appear that they have been carried unfairly and forcibly thither, out of the shade in which they were naturally doomed to live their little hour.
The charge of bookmaking, to which this publication is liable beyond even the ordinary run of such works, may appear but trifling, after the grave accusations we have been alluding to. It is proper, however, to notice, that the letters of Lord Nelson occupy only about 230 pages of the whole. The rest are letters of various persons to Lady Hamilton--introduced under the pretence of illustrating Lord Nelson's letters, but, in reality, bearing little or no reference to them; and a very few letters of Lady Hamilton herself-not half a dozen, and such as create no sort of wish to see more of them.
The advertisement prefixed is a curious production. The mutual attachment, it is said, of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton is so generally known, that any notes, however desire
able and explanatory, might not have been deemed perfectly decorous!' Then, it seems, some parts of the correspondence have been suppressed from the most honourable feelings to individuals, as they would certainly have given pain. Now, though we cannot prove by quotations how little regard has been paid to such a principle in this compilation, without renewing the offence, and giving additional pain to private individuals, we will venture to say, that there are many of the pages now before us, which the persons who figure in them would give no small portion of their whole worldly possessions to have suppressed. A sort of apology is made for not dedicating to the British Navy these volumes-containing the sad monunient of the frailties and follies of its brightest ornament; and a promise, probably intended as a threat, is held out, that a mass of other letters from Lord Nelson, on public and private affairs, is preparing for the press; which, it seems are to throw light on political transactions at present very imperfectly understood.'
The letters of Lord Nelson, now published, exhibit the picture of a warm, affectionate and generous nature-little under the guidance of reason, not at all controuled by prudence, giving way to every gust of feeling or passion, and prone to pour forth, without the least restraint, the most hearty expressions of the sentiments that inspire it. We should, however, ill discharge our duty if we stopt here. But extreme, and more than seaman like imprudence, is not the amount of the charge which these effusions convey against his conduct. There is perceptible also a culpable disregard of domestic ties, and a neglect, approaching to cruelty, of one whom he was bound by honour, as well as religion, morality, and law, to cherish. This neglect, the consequence of an improper passion, seems (as frequently happens in minds otherwise virtuous) to have rankled to a degree of hatred, from the workings of self-reproach. Nor can a more melancholy instance be found of the maxim, that we are apt to dislike those whom we have wronged, and thus preposterously to visit on them the sins of our own injustice. Lord Nels son was married to a most amiable woman; of his own free choice, his equal in birth and fortune, and of suitable years; whose character through life is allowed to have been wholly without reproach. His letters to her were formerly published, we believe by his own permission; and we remeniber to have read one, written in the year 1798, in some religious Magazine, where it was recorded for edification cake. It breathed a pure spirit of piety and self-humiliation; and a warm affection to his fair correspondent. Just about that time he fell in love with Lady Hamilton; and we very soon find him not merely wholly alienated
from his wife, but expressing a dislike of her, and in pretty plain terms hinting that she stood in the way of his happiness. After Sir William Hamilton's death, this feeling seems to grow stronger; and these volumes contain undoubted proofs, that a desire to be relieved from the impediment was familiar to his mind, and, by a strange inconsistency, sometimes present even in its devotional moods.
The effusions of his passion, with such trifles as lovers write about, and a pretty indiscriminate abuse of every man, woman and child, whom he has occasion to mention, except Sir William and Lady Hamilton and one or two of their common friends, not amounting in the whole to quite six privileged persons, make up the bulk, if not the whole, of his letters. Such of our readers as are familiar with this species of composition, will judge for themselves, and correct us if we are wrong; but we, who have no knowledge of it except what we have gleaned from the specimens occasionally exhibited in parliamentary and judicial proceedings, should pronounce Lord Nelson's to be equal to the average of love-letters in point of literary merit. And although there is scarcely one observation to be found in them of any depth or acuteness, or even pleasantry, in short, above the level of the most empty talking, yet it would be ridiculous to doubt, that they might all have been produced by a person, who, when the fit was off, could correspond upon business which he understood like an able and a great man. He sat down to throw upon his paper all that was in his heart-and left his head pretty much out of the party. Had Dr Johnson written down the expressions of fondness which Garrick used to repeat from his hours of endearment with his Telty, perhaps the result would have been worthy of a place in this publication. It is a common saying, that Nelson was nothing ashore;' and the present volumes will be cited in support of the remark. If, by this, it is only meant that he spent his hours of relaxation as all great men do, in a luxurious enjoyment of freedom, and a playful indulgence of all his feelings and fancies, voluntarily refraining from any severe exercise of his faculties, and purposely idling his time away, there is perfect truth in the statement. His hours on shore were merely his hore subsecive; intervals of absolute vacancy and remission, such as other men have by half hours or minutes, or once a weck; and we imagine any other man of talents, taken unawares in one of his idle intervals, would be found much such a man as Nelson. But the statement, we are persuaded, is altogether erroneous, if it is intended to insinuate that had Nelson braced his mind to any object, though not on his own element, be