« PreviousContinue »
Thus, by his speech on Education in 1820, he got the start of the Ministry in commencing the work of peace, and exhibited himself to the public in the light of a benefactor to mankind. In like manner, in the case of the missionary Smith, he advocated the saints because the public sympathy was with them, although all the world knows that he is no saint. Here we see a strong proof of the tendency which active intellect has towards humanity; we see one who evidently has not from nature much of the milk of human kindness, in his efforts to signalize his talents continually deviating into philanthropy. He does not care to enforce economy, nor to meddle with any question, which, however important, is without éclat; but universal instruction and universal freedom are open fields to an orator, although the discussion of them leads to no practical result.
In like manner the recent publication of Bentham's work on Evidence, of that of Humphrey on Conveyances, as well as Mr. Peel's Amendments of the Criminal Code, clearly showed that the time was come when the public might be brought to think of reforming the law. Mr. Brougham perceived this, and was determined not to be anticipated in the honour of pioneering the way. On the first or second night of the session he gave notice of his motion to that effect. His speech on the Reform of the Law was not, as he himself acknowledged, directed to any specific result; but it was a grand display, and, considered as coming from a practising barrister, shows wonderful activity and independence of mind: if viewed critically, however, and with reference to its subject, its chief merit will be found to be that it was made opportunely.
It is certainly impossible not to admire the activity and versatile taleuts of the man who can make an oration in praise of Greek at Glasgow, and in praise of trade at Liverpool; who in the House can enter into all the details of the Slave Co
20 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series
lonies, and into all the defects of the Law; who can, at the same time, take an active part in the organization of a great public school, and devote eight hours a-day to the duties of his profession.
The style of Mr. Brougham's eloquence may be readily conjectured from his laborious life. The stream of his thoughts is fed by copious springs; his mind is stored with general principles and illustrations; but he wants the fervour, the fulness, and the maturity of sentiment that belong to a concentrated attention. He is not fiery and impetuous, nor close and cogent. Labour is always visible; his sentences are involved and tedious; frequent parentheses, the effect of distraction, entangle himself and his hearers; his delivery is often forcible, but never rapid or impassioned; and his voice, sweet enough at first, becomes unmusical when exerted. He has, however, rather improved of late; his language is more natural, and his manner less boisterous than formerly. The chief fault, however, of Mr. Brougham's eloquence is, that he is encumbered with a pretension to oratory; it is that he views his subjects too abstractedly, and speaks with too much of an ex cathedra air. Whatever qualifications of the orator he may possess, he certainly has not persuasion. He never thinks, like Mr. Peel, of wheedling his auditors into an opinion that they are all really of one mind: on the contrary, he is better pleased with opponents, whom he takes a perverse pleasure in ridiculing or convincing.
As the savage supposes that when he knocks out a man's brains he acquires all his intelligence, so Mr. Brougham seems to imagine that the consequence of the county member whom he tears to pieces becomes his lawful spoil. He thus lowers his senatorial dignity by forensic rudeness, his immediate object in every debate being to show himself formidable. A man thus constituted is obviously better qualified to discuss questions than to deal with his fellow
men. An amiable carriage, suavity
The harshness and callousness of feeling engendered in the courts by constantly witnessing all that is wicked in human nature, destroys all the winning graces of character. Mr. Brougham would be a powerful auxiliary to a party, but he is one whose alliance will never be sought till it is actually wanted. He must first seek to make himself useful on little occasions, instead of thrusting himself forward on great ones. At present the highest praise that can be bestowed on Mr. Brougham is, that he is the first oratorical gladiator of the day, uniting more law, more general knowledge, and more discipline superadded to his clumsy strength, than any one else in the House. Nevertheless, it is from without he meets the warmest applause. He has few enthusiastic admirers about him.
MEMOIRS OF TOM JONES.
[Heard by the late Mr. Colquhoun from the lips of Millar the Bookseller.]
IELDING, having finished the manuscript of "Tom Jones," and being at the time hard pressed for money, went with it to one of your second-rate booksellers, with a view of selling it for what it would fetch at the moment. He left it with this trader in the children of other men's brains, and called upon him the succeeding morning, fu of anxiety, both to know at how high a rate bis labours were appreciated, as well as how far he might calculate upon its producing him wherewithal to discharge a debt of some twenty pounds, which he had promised to pay the next day. He had reason to imagine, from the judgment of some literary friends, to whom he had shown his MS., that it should, at least, produce twice that sum. But, alas! when the Bookseller, with a significant shrug, showed a hesitation as to publishing the work at all, even the moderate expectations with which our Cervantes had buoyed up his hopes seemed at once to close upon him at this unexpected and dis
pressed for the money, and, if you decline, must go elsewhere with my manuscript."—"I will see what I can do," returned the Bookseller: and so the two parted.
Our author, returning homewards from this unpromising visit, met his friend, Thomson, the poet, and told him how the negotiation for the manuscript, he had formerly shown him, stood. The poet, sensible of the extraordinary merit of his friend's production, reproached Fielding with his headstrong bargain, conjured him, if he could do it honorably, to cancel it, and promised him, in that event, to find him a purchaser, whose purse would do more credit to his judgment. Fielding, therefore, posted away to his appointment the next morning, with as much apprehension lest the Bookseller should stick to his bargain, as he had felt the day before lest he should altogether decline it. To his great joy, the ignorant trafficker in literature, either from inability to advance the money, or a want of common discrimination, returned the MS. very safely into Fielding's hands. Our author set off, with a gay heart, to his friend Thomson, and went, in company with him, to Mr. Andrew Millar, (a popular bookseller at that day.) Mr. M. was in the habit of publishing no work of light reading, but on his wife's approbation; the work was, therefore, left with him, and some days after, she having perused it, bid him by no means let it slip through his fingers. M. accordingly invited the two friends to meet him at a coffee-house in the Strand, where, having disposed of a good dinner and two bottles of port, Thomson, at last, suggested, "It would be as well if they proceeded to business." Fielding, still with no little trepidation, arising from his recent rebuff in
another quarter, asked Millar what he had concluded upon giving for his work. "I am a man," said Millar, "of few words, and fond of coming to the point; but really, after giving every consideration I am able to your novel, I do not think I can afford to give you more than two hundred pounds for it."-" What !" exclaimed Fielding; "two hundred pounds!"-"Indeed, Mr. Fielding," returned Millar, " indeed, I am sensible of your talents; but my mind is made up."-" Two hundred pounds!" continued Fielding, in a toue of perfect astonishment: "two hundred pounds, did you say?"—
Upon my word, Sir, I mean no disparagement to the writer or his great merit; but my mind is made up, and I cannot give one farthing more." "Allow me to ask you," continued Fielding, with undiminished surprise," allow me, Mr. Millar, to ask you-whether-you—are—se— rious?"-"Never more so," replied Millar, "in all my life; and I hope you will candidly acquit me of every intention to injure your feelings, or depreciate your abilities, when I repeat that I positively cannot afford you more than two hundred pounds for your novel."-" Then, my good Sir," said Fielding, recovering himself from this unexpected stroke of fortune, "give me your hand; the book is yours. And, waiter," continued he, "bring us a couple of bottles of your best port."
Before Millar died, he had cleared eighteen thousand pounds by "Tom Jones;" out of which he had the generosity to make Fielding presents at different times of various sums, till they amounted to 2000l. And, he closed his life by bequeathing a handsome legacy to each of Mr. Fielding's sons.
Ta late sitting of l'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut, M. Morcau de Jones communicated the
following fact, which was sent to him in an official correspondence. A boat of the Ionian Isles having been met at sea by a Turkish vessel, was
forced to send her captain on board the latter. On her return to Cephalonia, this boat was put under quarantine, and it was discovered that the captain, who had communicated with the Ottoman boat, was already seized with the first symptoms of the plague, Although no one else offered any sign of this contagion, the English physician of the Lazaretto, considering that all the crew, to the number of twelve, having remained together, might have received the germ of this frightful disease, resolved to subject the whole to an active mercurial course, internal and external. The event, said M. Moreau de Jones, proved the wisdom of this precaution. All these individuals were attacked successively with the plague, but with differences extremely remarkable. The captain and another sailor, who had not experienced any sensible effect from the mercury, suffered the disease in all its violence, and died of it. On the contrary, the sailors whom the mercury had salivated, were seized with symptoms attended by no danger, although completely characteristic of the infection. All these sailors recovered, and it is fair to conclude that it was to the mercurial treatment they owed their safety. Mercury was used in the late plague at Malta, but it was only after the commencement of the disease. A means so simple and easy as a mercurial course, which if it does not prevent the plague, prevents at least its mortal effects, is very interesting, as communications with ships infected with the contagion, may, at any instant, be rendered unavoidable, by the events of which the Mediterranean is at this time the theatre.
THE LONDON UNIVERSITY.
A general meeting of the suscribers to this important Institution was held on Wednesday at Freemasons' Hall; Lord Auckland in the chair. A very favourable report of its progress was read by the Secretary; and it appeared, in the course of some discussion, that the building was nearly completed, so as to promise the ac
tive commencement of the system of instruction, lectures, &c. &c. in October next; that most of the professors had been elected, from among caudidates of great acknowledged abilities; that the plan of a botanical garden had been abandoned; and that of a subscription amounting to 71,2057. (on Dec. 31st), 58,1157. 12s. had been expended, leaving a balance of above 13,000l. in the treasury. A voluntary subscription was opened for the erection of an hospital, rather than that the funds of the University should be diminished for that needful appendage. Upon the whole, the affairs of the University appear to be as prosperous as its friends could desire.
DEATH OF YOUNG PARK.
We lament to see it stated that this interesting individual has become another victim to African enterprise. A letter from Cape Coast Castle to Mr. Secretary Hay, announces that he died in the Akimboo country, a little to the south-east of Accoa, some time in October. This melancholy event, we are sorry to learn, was produced by a want of due consideration on the part of our countryman; for it is related, that on the occasion of the annual festival or yam custom, which the natives were assembled on a large plain to celebrate, he would not be dissuaded by the king from mounting a fetish, or sacred tree, for the purpose of sketching the scene. The consequence of this profanation was, that within two days he was poisoned by the marabouts or priests.
The island of Java, which is distinguished by some of the largest volcanoes in the eastern hemisphere, also presents the phenomenon of a volcano of bitumen, or black mud, forming a crater of about sixteen feet in diameter. The tenacity of the bituminous mass is so great that the gaseous exhalations from beneath drive it up in a conical form from twenty to thirty feet above the surface of the crater, when it explodes
with a dull report, scattering a black unctuous fluid having the odour of naptha, in all directions. After the interval of a few seconds, the surface of this boiling cauldron again becomes covered with a film or crust, and the phenomenon is repeated.
The powerful currents on the western coast of Africa, and especially near the Canaries, are the cause of frequent shipwrecks. A hundred and sixty passengers, embarked in a vessel bound for Chili, but wrecked off the coast of the desert of Sahara, were lately miraculously saved from falling into the hands of the savage people who inhabit that inhospitable region, by the sudden appearance of some European ships; a rare occurrence in those latitudes.
before Peter the Great, all people were much like gypsies." There were many curious circumstances which I deduced from his information: first, the identity of the gypsy race in Europe and India, and their connecting link seemed established by a very observant witness, and certainly one unprejudiced by system. Secondly, on further inquiry, I found the people whom he identified with our gypsies in Persia, were the wandering tribes of Louristan, Curdistan, &c. whom he described with truth as being of "good caste," valiant, and wealthy. It therefore follows, that these tribes, whose existence in Persia seems to be traced down from before the time of Cyrus, and whose language is generally understood to differ from the Persians of the plains and cities, resemble in countenance and person the gypsies, and that their ancient language has been a dialect of Hindoostanee. The probability is indeed that Persia, not India, has been the original centre of this nomadic population.-Bishop Heber's Travels in India.
On the other side of the river Ganges was a large encampment of wretched tents of mats, with a number of little hackeries, panniers, ponies, goats, &c. so like gypsies, that on asking what they were, I was not much surprised to hear Abdullah say they were gypsies; that they were numerous in the upper provinces, living exactly like the gypsies in England; that he had seen the same people both in Persia and Russia, and that in Persia they spoke Hindoostanee the same as here. In Russia he had had no opportunity of ascertaining this fact; but in Persia, by Sir Gore Ousley's desire, he had spoken with some of the wandering tribes, and found that they understood and could answer him. I told him of Lord Teignmouth's conversation in Hindoostanee with the old gypsy on Northwood, and he said that in Persia it was not every gypsy who spoke it, only old people. He said they were so like each other in all the countries where he had seen them, that they could not be mistaken, though in Persia they were of much better caste, and much richer than here, or in England, or Russia. But he added, "I suppose in Russia,
"Two New Inventions, by either of which, it is presumed, a man of enterprise might speedily accumulate a princely fortune," have been offered to us through a printed paper, the contents of which, (as we are not likely to attain the desired fortunate end) we liberally communicate to the world at large. The first invention is "A Method of Instantaneous Communication, over land, by day or night, between any Towns, at whatever Distance." The instrument, it seems, consists of two small boxes, connected with each other by rods of a peculiar kind, (not electric, magnetic, or galvanic) and so constructed, that the precise words of any piece of reading or writing may be communicated from box to box; and that any conversation may be held on any subject, and in any language, with the utmost facility and correctness !! "The Secrct
The second offer is,