Page images
PDF
EPUB

are poets little enough to envy even a Poet| The intellectual character of Gray is apLaureate." In 1758 he seems to have been parent both from what he did and what he much engaged in the study of architecture. did not. The small number of his works, In 1762 he was an unsuccessful applicant and the many conceptions left unexecuted, for the Professorship of Modern Languages, but shadowing forth forms of beauty which which had been previously promised to might have been, sufficiently indicate the another candidate. In 1705 he made a irresolution and fastidiousness which were short journey into Scotland, to recruit his its prominent defects; while every sentence health, which had now become very feeble. or verse which he did write is polished by At this time he declined the degree of the cultivated taste of the scholar, or sparkles Doctor of Laws which was offered to him with the splendid imagination of the poet. by the University of Aberdeen, “ lest it We shall attempt no eulogy of his genius, should seem a slight upon Cambridge.” or refutation of its detractors. For however The next year was published the last edi- the opinions of individuals may differ upon tion of his poems that appeared during his minor points, the day of harsh and illiberal life. In 1768 the Professorshp of Modern criticism against him has passed, and the Languages again became vacant, and he judgment of all assigns him a lofty place received it unsolicited from the Duke of among English poets. Grafton, who was shortly after chosen Chan- Of his peculiar religious views, we have cellor of the University. The beautiful ode little knowledge. A passage in the Walperformed at his installation was written by poliana speaks of them as skeptical; but its Gray, who "thought it better that gratitude authority would, under any circumstances, should sing than expectation.” It is to be have little weight, and it is entirely counterfound in all the posthumous collections of his balanced by the whole tenor

of his life and works.

writings. The doctrines of Hume, Voltaire, His new office, the income of which he Shaftesbury, and Bolingbroke are indiggreatly needed, was very acceptable, but he nantly rebuked in his correspondence. And never entered

upon its duties. He was pre- the excellence of his private character, tovented partly, perhaps, by indolence and gether with the moral and religious consodiffidence, but chiefly by ill-health. Much lations which he invoked in his own deof his time after his appointment was spent spondency and affiction, and to which he in short journeys. - Travel I must," he beautifully directed his friends, give us reasays, “ or cease to exist.” On one of these son to hope that, whatever may have been trips to Westmoreland and the Lakes, he his intellectual belief, the sentiments of genwas to have been accompanied by Dr. uine piety were alive in his heart. Wharton; but the latter was forced to re- His memoirs were published by Mason, turn home by a sudden illness, and, for his who also edited a complete edition of his amusement, Gray wrote an epistolary de- poems. Many years after Mr. Mitford wrote scription of the tour. The elegance and pic- his biography, which, together with all his turesque merit of this journal called forth literary remains, was published in a large the admiration even of Dr. Johnson. quarto volume. Mr. Mason's book appeared

During all this time his health was too soon after Gray's death, to be in all steadily failing, and his attacks of gout were respects complete. That of Mitford contains becoming more frequent and alarming. But all the materials from which an excellent his death at the last was sudden, and took biography might be compiled, but thrown place after an illness of only five days, July together in an ill-considered and undigested 30, 1771. Of his last hours we have hardly work. Some of the notes with which he ang account, for none of his friends were has illustrated the poems are curious and with him. By his will, Mr. Mason and Dr. valuable. Browne were appointed his executors, and There is no good edition of Gray's life to the former were intrusted all his MSS., and all his works accessible to the public, to be preserved or destroyed at his discre- a deficiency which some of our publishers tion. He was buried, according to his direc- should supply. The object of the preceding tions, by the side of his mother in the church- imperfect sketch will be accomplished if it yard at Stoke.

induce some more able writer to undertake the task,

JUNIUS,

“Podagricus fit pugil."-HORACE.

[CONCLUDED.]

often sus

The resemblance between Junius and the to the guidance furnished by the character Earl of Chatham has led a few writers to and design of the letter-writer and other attribute the celebrated Letters to his Lord circumstances of the time. ship. Among these writers the most re- Before we come to them, we have to spectable has been Dr. Benjamin Water- speak of Chatham's mosaic ministry. Scarcehouse, of Cambridge, Mass., who published ly was it put together, when his unrelenting a book on Junius in 1831. This, though ailment, the gout, obliged him to go to rather garrulous and rambling, has its com- Bath and drink the waters, leaving matters pensation in the justness of its views, and at sixes and sevens. His brain at that time what we believe to be the truth of its con- seemed to be as much tormented as his clusions. The Doctor's meaning is better legs. At the close of 1766, Lord Chesterthan his mode. He is too much like the field, writing from Bath, says : “Mr. Pitt advocates of other Juniuses, who argue less keeps his bed here with a very real gout, for truth than for the honor of their own and not a political one, as is very hypotheses, and try to conceal or quietly pected.” About a year afterwards, Decemoverlook every thing which does not make ber 1st, 1787, he writes again from the for their object or which they cannot explain. same place: “Lord Chatham's physician Doubtless the untenable nature of the claims had very ignorantly checked a coming fit they put forward obliges them to a great of the gout and scattered it over his body, deal of this; but the fact is palpable. Dr. and it fell particularly on his nerves, so that Waterhouse has laid himself open to the he is sometimes exceedingly, vaporish. He charge of special pleading in his essay. He would neither see nor speak to any body covers but half the ground; for he omits while he was here. This time twelve months all consideration of the Miscellaneous Letters, he was here in good health and spirits, but which we know to be those of Junius, not for these last eight months he has been abless by their intrinsic evidence than his own solutely invisible to his most intimate friends. admission to Woodfall. The Doctor's book, He would receive no friends, nor so much from this omission, is more calculated to in- as open any packet about business." His jure the hypothesis than to serve it. But own business at that period had begun to his truth is too strong for his weakness to flow into a new channel. In the beginning impair; and in spite of his imperfect way of of this year, 1767, Lord Charlemont writes going over the course, we feel that the old from London: “Lord Chatham is still gentleman has been maundering away upon Minister; but how long he may continue the right track after all. The first of these so is a problem that would pose the deepest Miscellaneous Letters of Junius (under va- politician. The opposition grows more and rious signatures) is undoubtedly à rock on more violent, and seems to gain ground: which all the pretensions urged for Lord his ill-health as yet prevents his doing any Chatham seem to split at the very outset. business. The ministry is divided into as And the second and third and others, as the many parties as there are men in it; all reader proceeds, appear to put the Pittites complain of his want of participation." completely hors du combat. The letters, In another letter of the same month, however, cannot be ignored. They must be Charlemont says: “No member of the ormet, scrutinized, and interpreted, according position speaks without directly abusing

Lord Chatham, and no friend ever rises to, in a letter signed “Mnemon,” “ revived the take his part. Is it possible such a man doctrine of dispensing power, State necescan be friendless ?" Thus, his cabinet in sity, arcana of government, and all that the confusion of Agramont's camp, bis ene- machinery of exploded prerogative that mies loud, his friends silent, and his body bad cost our ancestors so much toil and tormented with disease, it is not to be treasure and blood to break to pieces." wondered at if Lord Chatham would neither But the warfare was to be, like that of see nor speak to any body at Bath at the Palafox in a later day, “to the knife,” close of 1767. His situation was disastrous waged with all the unleavened hatred of and desperate in the extreme. In the mean his disappointed heart; and he saw that to time General Conway had left the ministry, strike effectually, he must do so anonyand Lord Weymouth was made Secretary mously. He accordingly took his resoluin his place. Lord Hillsborough was made tion, which, being so much at variance with Secretary of State for the Colonies, and in the open controversy which is ever conconsequence of several resignations, Chat- sidered the most honorable, shows how deep ham was obliged, as we have said, to make must have been the bitterness of soul that overtures to the Bedfords. His cup of dis- set him on such a course. He began it in gust and disappointment was nearly full

. the beginning of 1767; and during the Being compelled by his gout to stay at eight months in which Chesterfield says he Hampstead on his way to London, he re- was invisible to the world, he was directing ceived while there a letter from His Majesty, with a heated brain the first assaults of his who, either apprehensive of farther resigna- cunningly devised hostility. In January, tions, or anxious to impair the Earl's adminis- 1768, Lord Chesterfield says: “Lord Chattration as much as possible, declared his in- ham is at his repurchased house at Hayes, tention of making more changes, and asked but sees no mortal. Some say he has å fit the advice and assistance of his Lordship. of the gout, which would probably do him To this the stern old man sent a verbal mes good; but many think that his worst comsage to say, that such was the state of his plaint is in his head, which I am afraid is health, the King must not expect from him too true." Chatham's was not the mind 10 any farther aid or counsel in the matter. grow inert in solitude, or All these things show what must have

-“ like a sword laid by, been the state of Chatham's mind on this

To eat into itself and rust ingloriously.” occasion. He saw that in the cabinet and in a corrupt Pafliament, he was obstructed It was stung into fierce energy by every and out-generalled by the Tories and parti- circumstance of political and bodily suffersans of the Court. There was little or no ing in the midst of which he stood; and the hope on that side; all his enemies, the gout thought must have been a gratifying one, included, had left him a baffled man, with that he could wreak his vengeance on his an angry, impatient, but still unvanquished adversaries, even from his sick couch or spirit. The cause of Whiggery and the arm-chair, just as he formerly did on the Constitution was not to be given up. The enemies of England. We must not omit Earl of Chatham had more weapons in his to mention here a curious circumstance armory than even Horace Walpole had dis- quoted by Dr. Waterhouse, which gives covered. Wilkes in his “North Briton" strength to wbat we consider a true hypohad established a precedent, which would not thesis. In a work styled “ An Estimate of be lost upon our able and exasperated poli- the Manners and Principles of the Times,” tician,

published in London by the Rev. Dr. Brown Chatham was now resolved, as we are in 1757, the following remarkable passages disposed to conclude, from the new ground occur.

The writer states it to be his opinof the public press, to continue the war of ion that nothing but the power of some constitutional liberty and of his own ambi- great minister could avail to save the countion, (for the latter must form a prominent try; and then goes on to say:

" There feature in any portraiture of this great man,) another character in a lower walk of against the strength of the Crown and that life, which might be no less strange than policy which, to quote the words of Junius | that which has been delineated; I mean the character of a political writer. He To assail the Cabinet of England and all would choose an untrodden path of politics, the measures of the Ministry, was a daring where no party man ever dared to enter. piece of strategy, and a dangerous for a Lord The undisguised freedom and boldnes of his Privy Seal to perpetrate. Discovery would manner would please the brave, astonish the ruin the splenetic old assaulter-would cerweak, and confound the guilty.” It is highly tainly tarnish the laurels he had already probable that Pitt's character, in all its traits gathered in a celebrated career. The risk and propensities, was very well known to was great indeed; not in the handwriting this reverend pamphleteer, who could thus, and the conveyancing, but in the style of ten years before the political writer came, the letters. He could no more change this företell his appearance.

to any purpose, than he could his mind or Passing on, we come to the consideration his face. Hence the last necessity for someDr. Waterhouse shrunk from. Here, in the thing which should neutralize his well-known Miscellaneous Letters, we have the fierce manner; and hence his indirect but intellihearted old statesman of '59 opening his gible attack on Chatham. This attack is masked battery, in revenge of all his defeats calculated to give the curious investigator and disappointments, against the King of pause. It must seem strange that the England, his policy, and his friends; and in scribe in the mask—a Whig and a man of the first place, as the matter touched him popular principles chould begin his undernearest and deepest in his disgusts, he turns taking by abuse of the greatest Whig and his rage against the Cabinet of which he most popular person in England, as if there himself was a part! Very extraordinary was not a Tory of any sort to flesh his this; but not more extraordinary than Wil- maiden sword upon! This falling foul of the liam Pitt himself

. But what a perilous grand and gouty old Earl has a very inconsistundertaking it was for the Lord Privy Seal ent and incredible appearance—is unaccountto fall upon the King's Council with his able, in fact, except under our hypothesis. crutch! The style of Chatham would be “Wo be to you," says Voltaire, “ if you palpable to every eye, and then the exposure say on a subject all that can be said

upón

it!” would follow, such as he himself said would We are less disposed to incur the wo thus procure his attaintment by bill

, or kill him denounced than merely to suggest the chief in three days. His first aspiration in these points in our view of this authorship. In circumstances would be, the reverse of considering the Miscellaneous Letters which Cowley's :)

assail Chatham, we see the first is condi“What shall I do to be for ever unknooon ?"

tional throughout, depending on an if. The

vagueness of it, so unlike the bareness and But he took his precautions with consum-particularity of the author's general style, mate subtlety and forethought. He kept seems to show some secret design. “ Poplihimself secluded at Bath and Hayes, and cola," in the first letter, 28th April, 1767, let the report go abroad that he was in the says: " But if, instead of a man of common jowest state of sickness and incapacity, tot- mixed character, whose vices may be retering on crutches or touched in the head, deemned by some appearance of virtue and thus warding off the suspicion that the viva- generosity, it should have unfortunately cious and forcible letters of “Poplicola," happened, that a nation had placed all their “Veteran," and the rest, could come from contidence in a man purely and perfectly him. But he did fr more than this. bad, what security would the nation," &c. " Poplicola" began the series of letters by a "As the absolute destruction of the Constimeasured and high-sounding denunciation tution would be his great object," &c. "He (conditionally conveyed, however) of Lord must also try how far the nation would bear Chatham himself! Nothing was now to be to see the established laws suspended by said. After such feints as these, the acutest proclamation, and upon such occasions he political critie could not mention the Minis- must not be without an apostate lawyer, ter's name in connection with this authorship. weak enough to sacrifice his own character, Lord Chatham, in spite of sentiment and and base enough to betray the laws of his style, was safe from public imputation and country. But the master-piece of his treachits consequences; and his power to continue ery would be, if possble, to foment such his mighty strokes from behind a mask | discord between the mother country and her remained unimpeded and unquestioned. colonies, as may leave them both a prey to

his own dark machinations !!" All this, may mention one, the slightness of which would pass for very good hostility; but is only seems to show that the writer thought amusingly disproportioned to the truth of nothing too trifling to help his plan. The the matter, if not palpably groundless. It first letter called forth a defense of Chalwould only suit the rabid Tories and the ham, signed W.D.-William Draper-who secret purpose. During his whole career, afterwards crossed swords with Junius in the war-cry of Pit was, the Constitution; the affair of the Marquis of Granby. But he fought for it on all occasions. The “sus- Poplicola paid so little attention to the depension of the laws” was a proclamation fense of the Earl, it interested or concerned issued by him and Camden, preventing the him so little, that in alluding to the writer exportation of corn at a time of scarcity; in the next letter, he called him C. D.and neither of them, in issuing it, attempted Mr. C. D.; he did not know who the man was to defend its strict legality. Even Junius- in fact. We think this cunning negligence Poplicola, in the second letter, admits it was worthy of observation. Junius seems to a necessary act; but the treason which de- have taken care of the smallest accessories, served the gibbet, as the Tarpeian Rock was as well as the most prominent appearances. not at hand, was, not admitting the uncon- Having thus secured his line of march stitutional nature of the business! This was by these passing charges against Chatham, “an outrage upon the common sense of and by others, growing feebler as he got mankind." He goes on to say, (and the along, the unknown writer directed all praise of the Grenvilles, the brothers of his his fierceness against his real objects—the amanuensis, is remarkable in all Junius has King and his Ministers. The business of written,) that George Grenville deserved government had fallen by degrees into the high honor for confessing the illegality of hands of the King's friends. Chatham was the act which aimed at providing food for still in the cabinet, but a mere cipher. the people, while “the conduct of the Earl At last, towards the close of 1768, the of Chatham and his miserable understrap- Privy Seal, in consequence of his absence, pers deserved nothing but detestation and having been put in the hands of three insecontempt.” The apostate lawyer of the rior persons as commissioners, his Lordship foregoing was Lord Camden, the most con- flung it away in disgust. He sent it back stitutional jurist in England, a man of by Lord Camden, instead of surrendering popular principles almost approaching re- it with the etiquette practised on such occapublicanism, and the dear friend of Lord sions. This was three days before the 48th Chatham-one who would be consistently miscellaneous letter, in which he satirizes the struck at by any foe or pretended foe of the cabinet, all round, passing over Chatham latter. In the third letter the writer, sign- with : “Of the Earl of Chatham I had much ing himself “Anti-Sejanus," wonders why to say; but it were inhuman to persecute, Chatham's spirit or understanding could ever when Providence has marked out the exam.permit him to take office under a pernicious ple to mankind.” How admirably this sugcourt-minion, (but had he a control over gestion of the Earl's disease and imbecility the existing ministry ?) whom he himself saves abuse and serves the purpose of the had affected to despise or detest. “We will concealed writer! His soul being thus libnot condemn him for the avarice of a pen-erated, as it were, he prepared, at the ripe sion, or the melancholy ambition of a title. age of sixty-one, for the forlorn hope," an! They were objects which he perhaps looked the more terible assanlt on his enemies whicla up to, though the rest of the world thought they should not soon forget, and the counthem beneath his acceptance, (law-breaker, try would always remember. traitor, and Cataline as he was !) But to We think it perfectly conclusive that Jubecome a stalking-horse to a stallion—to nius was a man of high station; the lion is shake hands with a Scotchman at the hazard recognized by his foot-prints. He seems to of catching all his infamy; [the fierce ear- have played a predominating part on the nestness of Junius breaks out now! no stage of politics and statesmanship—to lrare feigning here!] to receive the word from a personal interest in all that the Letters him-Prerogative and a Thistle— by the refer to, such as could belong to no mere once respected name of Pitt! it is even literary Swiss, writing in the pay of a patron helow contempt!” Among the tokens of or a party. He talks to and of the greatest close design apparent in these Letters, we i men of England, as to and of those whom

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »