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A MONG dhe ide the pear
, dietingu hey
, ical skete
THOMAS NOON TAL FOURD.
The materials for a biographmen” during the year, few, if any, ical sketch of Talfourd are yet meager ; will be more lamented than that of Justice we hope that some one of his numerous Talfourd. In announcing it, recently, we literary friends (and no Englishman had briefly referred to his literary career; in more or warmer ones) will pay him the presenting now a portrait of him, we have melancholy tribute which he paid so afno additional critical remarks to make, fectionately and worthily to his old literary but confine ourselves to the more grateful associate, Charles Lamb. Meanwhile, task of noticing his rare characteristics we make up from what fragmentary
sources are at our command (chiefly the proceeded to deliver the usual charge London Spectator and Examiner) a brief commenting on the moral indications of estimate of his character.
the district afforded by the calendar. He was born at Reading in 1793. His The offenses were of a very painful father was
a brewer; his mother, the character. There were few cases of daughter of the Rev. Thomas Noon, an offenses against property ; but there were Independent minister. Educated at the seven cases of rape, seven or eight cases Reading Grammar School, under Dr. of stabbing, and no fewer than thirteen Valpy, young Talfourd came to London in cases of manslaughter; not, however, 1813, and was a pupil of the late Mr. entirely from lawless violence, for some Chitty. He was called to the bar, by the deduction must be made of cases showing Middle Temple, in 1821; and he married a different species of criminality arising in the following year. Joining the Ox- from the neglect in the management of ford Circuit, he made his way to the machinery. position of leader in a comparatively short But,” he continued,“ that which points period, and in 1833 assumed the Sergeant's to the deepest moral degradation—which coif. Elected in that year as member for shows what brutal passion, when aroused Reading, he sat for the borough, in suc- and stimulated by strong liquor, will processive Parliaments, till 1841; and he was duce, is the fact that there are no less again elected in 1847. In 1848, while in than eighteen cases of highway robbery, the court-house at Stafford, the telegraph which include about thirty persons not brought him intelligence that he was made charged with that guilt. These crimes a Judge of the Common Pleas. In pri- come—I will not say exclusively, but in vate life he was much beloved ; and among the far greater majority—from that disthe testimonies to his character called trict of this county which is most rich in forth by his death, is one by Mr. Justice mineral treasure, where wages are high, Coleridge, delivered as a preface to his and where no temptation of want can for a charge to the Grand Jury at the Derby moment be suggested to palliate or acAssizes :
count for the crime ; on the contrary, I " He was sitting, as I do now, discharging have observed in the experience which I the same duty in which I am engaged, and in have had of the calendars of Staffordshire, the act of addressing the Grand Jury, when in and which, as many of you are aware, exan instant that eloquent tongue was arrested tends far beyond the period of my judicial by the hand of death, and that generous unselfish heart was cold. Surely nothing can ex
experience, I have observed that in times emplify more strikingly the uncertainty of life. of comparative privation, crime has diminThere he was sitting, as I am now, administer- ished; and at those periods when wages ing justice; people were trembling at the
were high, and work plentiful, and when thought of having to come before him; but in the wages were earned with a less degree a minute his function was over, and he was gone to his own account. Gentlemen, he was
of work, and when there was strong tempthe leader of another circuit, and I believe had tation to vicious indulgence, that then never visited this as a judge; he was probably crime has increased almost in proportion not much known to you at the bar or on the bench. His literary performances you can
to the state of prosperity by which the scarcely be ignorant of; but, indeed, he was
criminals have been surrounded. This is much more than merely a distinguished leader, a consideration which should awaken all an eminent judge, or a great ornament of our our minds, and especially the minds of literature. He had one ruling purpose of his
those gentlemen connected with those life-the doing good to his fellow-creatures in his generation. He was eminently courteous
districts, to ascertain whence it proceeds, and kind, generous, simple-hearted, of great and seek a remedy for so great an evil. modesty, of the strictest honor, and of spotless It is also not to be denied, gentlemen, that integrity.”
the state of education—that is, such educaOf the last scene and especially the last tion as can be provided by Sunday schools speech, referred to by Justice Coleridge- and other schools—in this district is not one of the noblest illustrations of the noble below the average of that to be found in heart of Talfourd—we find a fuller report agricultural districts. One must, therein the London Spectator. He appeared fore, search for other causes of the pecuin good health, and had taken his custom- liar aspect of crime presented by these ary early walk on the morning of his places; and I cannot help thinking that it death. He took his seat on the bench, and may in no small degree be attributed to
that separation between class and class, Christianity to guide and direct them-I which is the great curse of British society, mean the vice of drunkenness. One great and for which we all, in our respective evil of this circumstance is, I think you spheres, are in some degree more or less will find, looking at the depositions one responsible. This separation is more after another, that it is a mere repetition complete in this district, by its very neces- of the same story over again—of some sities and condition, than in agricultural | man who has gone from public house to districts, where there is a resident gentry public house, spending his money and exwho are enabled to shower around them hibiting his money, and is marked out by not only the blessings of their beneficence those who observe him as the fitting oband active kindness, but to stimulate by ject for plunder, when his senses are their example. It is so much a part of our obscured, and who is made the subject of English character, that I fear we all of an attack under those circumstances which us keep too much aloof from those depen- enable the parties to escape from the condent upon us, and they are thus too much sequences; because although the story encouraged to look upon us with suspicion. may be perfectly true which the prosecutor Even to our servants, we think that we in this case tells—although it may be have done our duty in our sphere when we vividly felt by him-yet he is obliged to have performed our contracts with them confess—;" -when we have paid them the wages we As he spoke the last word, the judge contracted to pay them—when we have fell forward with his face upon his book, treated them with that civility which our and then swayed on one side toward Mr. habits and feelings induce us to render, Sansom, his senior clerk, and his second and when we curb our temper and refrain son, Mr. Thomas Talfourd, his marshal, from any violent expression toward them. who caught him in their arms. Dr. HolAnd yet how painful the thought, that we land and Dr. Knight, two magistrates on have men and women growing up around the bench, had rushed to his assistance ; us, ministering to our comforts, supplying and these gentlemen with Lord Talbot our wants, and continual inmates of our and others carried him out, still wearing dwellings, with whose affections and tem- his scarlet robes. But medical assistance pers we are as little acquainted as if they was useless; the attack had been so were the inhabitants of some other sphere. violent that in less than five minutes he This feeling arises from a kind of reserve, was dead. which is perhaps peculiar to the English Sir Thomas Talfourd rose unaided to character, and which greatly tends to pre- very high honors from the middle rank of vent that mingling of class with class— life. He mastered by patient labor and that reciprocation of kind words and gentle incessant industry the desired vantage affections—those gracious admonitions and ground from which to exercise his various kind inquiries which, often more than any and remarkable powers. He was a brilbook education, tend to the cultivation liant advocate, an orator surpassed by of the affections of the heart and the eleva- few; he has connected his name as a tion of the character of those of whom legislator with two important acts of we are the trustees. And if I were asked parliament; he was a liberal and earwhat is the great want of English society, nest politician; he was a working man of I would say that it is the mingling of class letters, a subtle critic, a successful poet; with class ; I would say, in one word, that he was a judge as competent to his high that want is the want of sympathy. functions, and conscientious in discharging
“No doubt that the exciting cause in them, as any who has worn the ermine. the far larger number of these cases—the Notwithstanding such varied successes, exciting cause that every judge has to and the rank to which they bore him, deplore in every county of this land—is there was that in the man himself which that which was justly called in the ad was far beyond them all. He never sank mirable discourse to which I listened yes- in his transitory vocation what in his terday from the sheriff's chaplain, 'the nature was permanent and noblest. He greatest English vice,' which makes us a did not forfeit what a man should live for, by-word and a reproach among nations that he might the better succeed in life. In who in other respects are inferior to us, him it was not possible that mere worldly and have not the same noble principles of success or a selfish and satisfied ambition
should “freeze the genial currents of the feelings in which themselves have origisoul.” There remained with him to the nated. No man ever descended to the last the great art of living happily by the grave more widely honored and respected great means of diffusing happiness. The even by those who did not personally know variety of his own accomplishments quali- him, or more tenderly beloved by those fied him to judge largely of those of others, who did. Well was it said in the Times and he never was more forward to praise that the only pang he ever caused to those than where he had himself gained distinc- who had the happiness of his friendship tion.
was by his untimely death. Nor should To say
that he had no self-love would we perhaps call that untimely which folbe to place him above human weakness, lowed fifty-nine years of glad endeavor for this is a quality which resides in all and high success; which was withheld men, with the difference that while it in till enough had been done for fame, and clines some to please others, it inclines enough for at least the moderate wants of others only to please themselves. But those most dear to him ; and which came with no less truth than feeling has a broth- when he was solemnly engaged in his er judge remarked of him, that the ruling highest duties, and when words of mercy purpose of his life was to do good to his and peace were on his lips. The latest fellow-creatures in his generation ; and breath of one whose whole life was kindthat it was this which made him always ness, was spent in a solemn enforcement courteous and kind, generous, simple of the duty of kindness to others. He hearted, of great modesty, of the strictest was urging upon his countrymen, on behonor, and of spotless integrity.
half of the fallen and the falling, the need What it was he left most impressed in which we all stand of "a reciprocation upon his listeners, in his displays as an of kind words and gentle affections," advocate, was the grace, the charm, the when, as we have said, his voice was interest with which his own character and hushed forever. temperament invested his subject, no mat Noble indeed would such a doctrine have ter how dull it might be, how dry and un been, and most fit to be delivered, if it had inviting. Nor was he ever a slave to been no more than it was meant to be, a that kind of advocacy which merges all | voice of mercy from the judgment seat, a sense of right, and the reserves of personal voice of justice perhaps more true than honor, in the mere interest or the mere speaks in many a judicial sentence. But passions of his client. He never aspired the lofty pleading of the judge was also to take rank among the bravoes of the bar. the true and personal conviction of the He did not hold that any sort of duty to man. He was discharging his official duty; his client could ever so absolve him from but he was urging not less the lesson of his duty to himself as to justify either the his own generous life, when he attributed wicked perversion of truth or the solemn the frequency of crimes to the denial of asseveration of falsehood.
In common that best education which is given by the with the greatest ornaments of his pro- sympathy that should exist between high fession he had a sense of its strict respon- and low, by the active kindnesses and the sibilities, which entered into every part of gracious admonitions that ought to bind his practice of it. Even while his own us more nearly to classes from which feelings and sympathies were in most habits of reserve keep us now too proudly eager unison with the hopes and fears he aloof. He was speaking that which he represented, the most susceptible feelings knew, and his breath, were it to cease forin an adversary might trust themselves to ever during his grave utterance of that his delicacy and forbearance.
warning, could not expire in a strain more those rare occasions in a professional life, sweetly accordant with the whole life's of which he had his share, when a really music that had gone before. That such high issue challenged him to corresponding should be the end was the will of God; exertion, his courage was as remarkable and never did robed and ermined judge, as his genius.
dying thus in open court the fulfillThe world is seldom unjust to such a ment of his duty, meet a death so like man as Talfourd. It welcomes freely that of a hero. With Talfourd's name what is so frankly and generously offered, the memory of his last hour can never and such qualities go far to inspire the ceas to live.
A TRIP FROM ST. PETERSBURGH TO CONSTANTINOPLE. EFORE leaving St. Petersburgh for far as personal safety is concerned, no
servations, hastily and casually, but not It is very rarely that any disturbance the less truthful on that account; for how takes place, though thefts are almost inelse can we daguerreotype a great metro- numerable. The paternal consideration politan panorama like this?
shown to thieves by the police is really At every corner of the streets and touching; only let a robbery be politely squares of St. Petersburgh is a station- done without noise, or quarreling, and house, as it would be called in New York. nothing is to be feared from these guardHere it is called a boutki ; and it is quite ians of the city. We doubt if there exists a snug, little domestic establishment, with a genteeler set of thieves ; they seem to cooking and sleeping accommodations for be entirely ignorant of those vulgar resorts three policemen, or boutschniks, whose of blows and brutalities which characterize home it is while they are in the service. their class elsewhere. They take your Each of them alternately acts as house- purse as delicately as your friend would keeper for his companions, providing the take your hand; and the loss of your meals and keeping the fires in good order. watch is not discovered till you wish to Meanwhile the others are not idle: one ascertain the hour, when you find, inpatrols his round, wrapped in a gray cloak, stead, that a dainty little instrument has and armed with a halberd ; while his com- gently filched it from its resting-place. rade stands ready to take any offender If the possessor does not detect his loss, arrested by him to the general office. can he complain that the police fails to do None of these situations are sinecures in it for him? Nevertheless, they are not Russia, for there are superior officers always on as good terms as might be supwhose duty it is to see that every bout- posed from this state of things. Knowing schnik is at his post. The streets are ones in St. Petersburgh would explain this faithfully watched during the night; and, as seeming inconsistency with the old proverb,