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ing that surrounded bim. In the passages which we have cited, there is nothing which an ordinary speaker might not have said ; it was the manner, and the manner only, which produced the effect.' pp. 121–123.
The parallel between Fox and Pitt, which we next introduce, is loosely drawn, but it contains some discriminating traits of the character of their minds and eloquence.
• On his first separation from the ministry, Mr Fox assumed the character of a whig; and, from this time, uniformly advocated, in consistency with that noble character, the great cause of civil and religious liberty, on their broadest principles.
Almost the whole of his political life was spent in opposition to his majesty's ministers. It may be said of him, as of Lord North, that he had political adversaries, but no enemy. Good nature, too easily carried to excess, was one of the distinctive marks of his character. In vehemence and power of argument 'he resembled Demosthenes; but there the resemblance ended. He possessed a strain of ridicule and wit, which nature denied to the Athenian; and it was the more powerful, as it always appeared to be blended with argument, and to result from it. To the perfect composition, which so eminently distinguishes the speeches of Demosthenes, he had no pretence. He was heedless of method ; having the complete command of good words, he never sought for better; if those, which occurred, expressed his meaning clearly and forcibly, he paid little attention to their arrangement or harmony. This detracts from the merit of his speeches, when they are read; but, when they were delivered, it perhaps added to their effect, as it tended greatly to make the hearers believe that he was above art, and spoke from conviction. Nothing more strongly recommends a speaker to his audience, or gives greater force to his oratory.
The moment of his grandeur was, when, after he had stated the argument of his adversary, with much greater strength than his adversary had done, and with much greater than any of his hearers thought possible, he seized it with the strength of a giant, and tore and trampled on it to destruction. If, at this moment, he had possessed the power of the Athenian over the passions or the imaginations of his hearers, he might have disposed of the house at his pleasure, but this was denied to him; and, on this account, his speeches fell very short of the effect, which otherwise they must have produced.
It is difficult to decide on the comparative merit of him and Mr Pitt; the latter had not the vehement reasoning, or argumentative ridicule, of Mr Fox; but he had more splendor, more imagery, and much more method and discretion. His long, lofty, and
reverential panegyrics of the British constitution, his eloquent vituperations of those, whom he described as advocating the democratic spirit then let loose on the inhabitants of the earth, and his solemn adjuration of the house, to defend and to assist him, in defending their all against it, were, in the highest degree, both imposing and conciliating. In addition, he had the command of bitter contemptuous sarcasm, which tortured to madness. This he could expand or compress at pleasure; even in one member of a sentence, he could inflict a wound that was never healed. Mr Fox having made an able speech, Mr Erskine followed him with one of the very same import. Mr Pitt rose to answer them; he announced his intention to reply to both; “but,” said he," I shall make no mention of what was said by the honorable gentleman who spoke last; he did no more than regularly repeat what was said by the member who preceded him, and regularly weaken all he repeated.”
It was prettily said by the historian of the Roman Empire, that “ Charles's black collier would soon sink Billy's painted galley ;'' but never did horoscope prove more false ; Mr Fox said more truly, “ Pitt will do for us, if he should not do for himself.”
Mr Fox had a captivating earnestness of tone and manner; Mr Pitt was more dignified than earnest. The action of Mr Fox was easy and graceful; Mr Pitt's cannot be praised. It was an observation of the reporters in the gallery, that it required great exertion to follow Mr Fox while he was speaking ; none to remember what he had said ; that it was easy and delightful to follow Mr Pitt; not so easy to recollect what had delighted them. It may be added, that, in all Mr Fox's speeches, even when he was most violent, there was an unquestionable indication of good humor, which attracted every heart. Where there was such a seeming equipoise of merit, the two last circumstances might be thought to turn the scale; but Mr Pitt's undeviating circumspection,-sometimes concealed, sometimes ostentatiously displayed,tended to obtain for him, from the considerate and the grave, a confidence which they denied to his rival; besides, Mr Pitt had no coalition, no India bill to defend.
- Much that awes by power or charms by beauty was heard in the harangues of both; but, while Fox spoke; his argument only was thought of; while Pitt harangued, all his other excellencies had their due measure of attention. Each made better speeches than Lord Chatham ; neither of them possessed oven one of those moments of supreme dominion, which, (he is sensible how very imperfectly, the Reminiscent has attempted to describe' pp. 138— 141.
We trust we shall be pardoned for introducing the following notice of Lord Thurlow, although it contains his cele
brated speech, which is familiar to many of our readers. But however celebrated, or however familiar, sentiments so noble and just can hardly be too often repeated, or too strongly impressed. The occasions have been rare in which the dignity of man could appear in so imposing a light as in this speech, and still more rare in which they have been embraced with a power so tremendous, and an effect sọ astounding.
At times, Lord Thurlow was superlatively great. It was the good fortune of the Reminiscent, to hear his celebrated reply to the Duke of Grafton, during the inquiry into Lord Sandwich's ad. ministration of Greenwich hospital. His Grace's action and delivery, when he addressed the house, were singularly dignified and graceful; but his matter was not equal to his manner. proached Lord Thurlow with his plebeian extraction, and his recent admission into the peerage. Particular circumstances caused Lord Thurlow's reply to make a deep impression on the Reminiscent. His lordship had spoken too often, and began to be heard with a civil but visible inpatience. Under these circumstances, he was attacked in the manner we have mentioned. He rose from the woolsack, and advanced slowly to the place, from which the chancellor generally addresses the house; then, fixing on the duke the look of Jove, when he has grasped the thunder ; “I am amazed," he said, in a level tone of voice, “at the attack which the noble duke has made on me. Yes, my lords,” considerably raising his voice, “ I am amazed at his Grace's speech. The noble duke cannot look before him, behind him, or on either side of him, without seeing some noble peer, who owes his seat in this house to his successful exertions in the profession to which I belong. Does he not feel that it is as honorable to owe it to these, as to being the accident of an accident ?- To all these noble lords, the language of the noble duke is as applicable and as insulting as it is to myself. But I don't fear to meet it single and alone. No one venerates the peerage more than I do; but my lords, I must say that the peerage solicited me, not I the peerage. Nay more, can say and will say, that, as a peer of parliament; as speaker of this right honorable house, as keeper of the great seal; as guardian of his majesty's conscience; as lord high chancellor of England, nay, even in that character alone, in which the noble duke would think it an affront to be considered—but which character none can deny me-as a MAN, I am at this moment as respectable; I beg leave to add, I am at this time, as much respected, as the proudest peer I now look down upon.' The effect of this speech, both within the walls of parliament and out of them, was prodigious. It gave Lord Thurlow an ascendency in the house, which no chancellor had ever po sessed; it invested him, in public opinion, with a character of independence and honor; and this, although he was ever on the unpopular side of politics, made him always popular with the people. pp. 164–166.
Our extracts shall be closed with the Reminiscent's remarks on the care, which certain eminent writers have bestowed on their compositions, before they entrusted them to the public eye. Such rigid practices would alarm the writers of novels, and the reviewers of these modern days. Newton wrote out the first chapter of his Chronology, which is the larger part of that great work, eighteen times with his own hand, and he published nothing which he had not copied many times over. Who can refrain from deploring the degeneracy of these our latter days? To write much and rapidly is now the watchword ; to make one novel a year, and two if possible, or at all events to be always in the press, and running a race with the printers; to indite poetry, with Pegasus at his greatest speed, by inspiration, leaving sense, nature, reason, truth, and such dull things to the poor possession of the uninitiated; to send out reviews quarterly, monthly, weekly, on all sorts of subjects, with some of which the writers themselves are acquainted, and of others as ignorant as the readers, whom they would instruct; these are the feats of modern literature, these the exploits of modern genius, these the trophies of modern learning. But we are revealing secrets. Let us return to the Reminiscent.
"We have mentioned,' says he, “Mr Burke's endless corrections of his compositions; Bossuet, by the account of his Benedictine editors, was equally laborious; but in this they differed ; that Burke appears to have been satisfied with his original conceptions, and to have been fastidious only in respect to words and phrases ; Bossuet ems to have been equally dissatisfied with his first thoughts and his first words. The inequality between those works of Bossuet, which the Benedictine editors published from the drafts of them, and those published by himself, is utterly inconceivable; it is a literary phenomenon; it might be considered impossible that both should proceed from the same pen, or be the thoughts or words of the same person.
Rousseau himself has informed us, that between his first committing of a sentence to paper and his final settlement of it, his obliterations and alterations were countless. That this should have been the case of such writers as Robertson or Gibbon, is not surprising; their eternal batteries and counter batteries of words seem
to be the effect of much reflection and many second thoughts ; but that it should have been the case with writers like Bossuet, Burke, and Rousseau, who appear to pour streams equally copious and rapid of unpremeditated eloquence, appears extraordinary ; it justifies the common remark, that we seldom read with pleasure, what has not been composed with labor. The molle atque facetum, which Horace ascribes to Virgil, indicates a composition which taste has inspired, but which doings and iterated doings have worked into softness. Such are the pages of Addison, such the Offices of Cicero; such also, but in a superlative degree, are many passages of Milton. pp. 209, 210.
A long chapter on the jurisprudence of France, both ancient and modern, and on the English law of property, contains many historical facts and ingenious remarks, not only communicating useful hints to the professional student, but adapted to the understanding and improvement of the general reader. Notices of the author's various writings are interspersed throughout the volume, and so arranged as to enable us to trace the course of his studies. His work, entitled Hora Juridica Subsecivæ, has been highly approved by lawyers, and his Hore Biblica, by theologians, as containing a fund of valuable knowledge, well digested, and compressed within a small compass.
He has written several theological essays, and also the lives of Bossuet, Fenelon, and other eminent persons. He is wayward in some of his poetical criticisms. In preferring Homer to Virgil, and Dryden to Pope, he has our full consent to enjoy his opinion; but we do not agree, that Virgil's language sometimes ceases to be Latin,' nor believe that the works of Gray are more read and admired than those of any other English poet.'
Nor shall we soon be convinced, that the muse of Gray was of a higher order than that of Goldsmith. But the author is so candid and good tempered in all his criticisms, as well as in all his writings, that for our own credit we forbear to quarrel with him on so small a matter as that of extolling a favorite poet, a liberty belonging to every one that chooses to exercise it, and we take leave of his little volume, with grateful feelings toward the Reminiscent, for the sources of entertainment, which he has opened to us.