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course of usefulness, secured to him, ere yet in the vale of years, a dignified leisure, and held out to modest merit, another cheering example of greatness, achieved by self-exertion and sieady performance of duty.
The tale of the Bishop's early pupil was that of an eastern fable, where the good fairy showers over the cradle of the newborn infant blessings without stint, which are converted into curses, through the annexation of one fatal condition by some malevolent genius. He was born to rank, title, and unbounded afluence; his person and manner were agreeable; his intellect, of the highest order, was coupled with an industry, a thirst for knowledge, which might have shamed the poor student whose bread must be earned by the sweat of his brow. He united to the blood of the racer, the sure perseverance of the tortoise. His taste was refined to fastidiousness; his memory was wax to receive, and marble to retain ; his powers of illustration have seldom been rivalled ; the results of his deep reading were parcelled out in such nice order that everything was forthcoming, without effort or ostentation, at the exact moment when it was most wanted. Fulfilling Lord Bacon's grand recipe—his reading made him full; his habits of society, ready; his writing, exact. His wit was prompt, sparkling, and epigrammatic; it was playful and indulgent, not, however, from weakness: it was the giant's strength, which could afford to be generous. To all these qualities of the head, were superadded a gentle and affectionate disposition, a freedom from pride or vanity, a simplicity of habits and tastes; in a word, all the sterling features of that noblest of creations, a real English gentleman. What more could a fond mother ask for an only child ? yet these, and more than these, were lavished on poor Lord Dudley; for poor he was in happiness, though rich in all the elements which apparently would the most conduce to its perfection. The gifts of fortune and intellect were counterbalanced by an organic malformation of the brain, which, riveted by the system of his education, increased with his years, and having embittered his whole existence, buried these brightest prospects in the darkness and solitude of insanity. His intellect might be compared to a delicate piece of mechanism, in which, by some accident, one small pivot is insecure; not, indeed, sufficient at first materially to derange the operation, yet ever and anon indicated, under increased action, by slight jarrings. To this physical cause must be attributed those oddities and imperfections which caught and amused the random glance of unreflecting silliness, but fixed and delighted the evil eye of conscious yet jealous inferiority. Lord Dudley felt acutely these small weaknesses, which no
misconduct misconduct of his own had occasioned, and which no effort of his own could alleviate; yet these peculiarities, which were a subject of sorrow and pity to the generous, were selected by the heartless, with a refinement of cruelty, to poison the sting of their maliciousness : they pressed on the bruised reed, and seethed the kid in its mother's milk. To them may be left the disgrace of their base triumph; therefore let his real friends scatter flowers with more profusion over his premature grave, and draw closer the veil which shrouds his mortal and at worst inoffensive infirmities.
We learn from the preface that some unforeseen and unpleasant circumstances had occurred in regard to this publication: but neither into them, nor into the law of the case, is it our intention to enter at any length. It is impossible for those who have had the good fortune to know either Lord Dudley or the Bishop of Llandaff, to imagine for one moment, either that the former would write, or that the latter would publish, anything unbecoming of the gentleman or the Christian. The character and profession of the editor would have been sufficient guarantees, had he not expressly stated it in the preface, that tenderness and discretion would be his guides in a task of considerable difficulty and doubt. He well knew that mankind are influenced less by what is said than by who it was that said or circulated it. The vulgar scurrility of those who live by slandering is passed with contempt. Not so the opinions of the great and good. The smallest touch of the spear of Ithuriel inflicts a mortal wound. The sayings of Lord Dudley, published by the Bishop of Llandaff, pass from mouth to mouth, stamped with the impress of legitimate authority.
We fully admit the nice difficulty of determining what is the exact portion or period for publication, in regard to a series of private letters which were never meant by the writer to be published at all. If, from a tenderness of feeling towards all mentioned therein, publication be delayed till they are gone where praise or blame fall on the ear alike, the loss of all freshness and interest is risked. In these times the railroad march of events drives incident on incident with such velocity and intensity that one occurrence is almost effaced ere it be succeeded by another. We are so drugged with stimulants that nothing makes a lasting impression. Every page of these letters teaches the sad moral of the rapid transit of this world's glories; the fleeting interest of our petty frets and turmoils, our vanity of vanities. A quarter of a century has scarcely elapsed ere a new generation read with indifference names at which the world grew pale, and pass over convulsions which shook empires to the dust. The downfall of Buonaparte, the double capture of Paris, the salvation of Spain, the Queen's VOL. LXVII. NO. CXXXIII.
trial,-all and each of which in turn harrowed up mankind in breathless expectation, now pall,-gone by as an old almanac. , On the other hand, if confidential letters be published in the nick of time, with all their richness, their raciness, their behindthe-scenes peep, those living personages who have taken part in the spirit-stirring scenes must constantly be pained at the public exposition of keen and cutting remarks.
We have alluded to the doubts entertained by others on the subject of this publication, simply to protect ourselves from the appearance of singularity in our regret. We must be permitted to observe once for all, and without offence, that this volume has generally been received with disappointment, as well by those who knew Lord Dudley as by those who did not.
To those, indeed, who enjoyed his intimacy, he comes unscathed from the ordeal; to adopt the language of the Bishop's excellent preface, they can trace throughout even these letters the unfailing 'marks of the same intellectual and manly character-strong sense, acute yet candid observation on men and manners and political affairs, original and deep reflection combined with a lively imagination and a knowledge of books and of the world, rarely found united in the same individual.' * * * For them they all afford the same evidence of a sincere, virtuous, and honourable mind, intent upon being useful and upon performing his duty well in public and private life, exhibiting in the season of youth, as well as in more advanced age, that most engaging of all compounds, a playful fancy joined with a vigorous understanding and a serious heart.?--p, xii.
All this is true; but strangers want the key to the cipher in which the Bishop finds nothing to puzzle him.
There are various circumstances in the case, and features in the work, which we can easily suppose to have perplexed and vexed the executors. We ourselves stumbled over the very threshold ere we reached the title-page; the tnhauyès apównov, the lithograph, meant, we presume, to be a portrait, was calculated to give customers no better prospect of good entertainment within, than the sign-post daub of a road-side country inn: as a print, it is beneath criticism; as a likeness, it is a libel--the exaggeration of an angle, the forehead pared of its intelligence in order to swell the caricature of nose and nostril! Lord Dudley entertained a singular objection to having his portrait taken at all. It was only after repeated solicitations that he was induced to sit to Mr. Slater, by whom most of his fellow-members of Grillon's had been done for Sir Thomas Acland, and when the finished drawing was shown him, he crunched it up, put it into his pocket, went away, and, as it was supposed, destroyed it. The whole affair, with the manner in
bes since hielon' galler forms one
which it was finally recovered after his death, forms one of the most curious anecdotes of the Grillon’ gallery; yet it was admirably executed, and has since his death been admirably facsimiled. Hanging now before us, it recalls his not-forgotten features, his serious, gentle, King Charles-like expression, the peculiar, sloping lid of his mild thoughtful eye, the prospect of his soul, and prescient of calamity; and we wonder why it was not republished here. Stewart Newton's avowed scratch of a caricature would have been much more welcome than this grave, imbecile absurdity.
In the second place, the letters now presented to the public range over nine years only, of more than thirty years of constant correspondence. They are selected, we venture to think, from that portion of his career which was least calculated to exhibit him to full advantage, either in a political or literary point of view. These nine years were a period of transition, when a lull had come over his greatest exertions, and before the death of his father had opened a new field for him in private life, and high official situation under Mr. Canning. A large portion of them, too, are written from the continent, and treat of foreign concerns which seldom arouse in English bosoms that degree of intense interest which home questions never fail to create.
Moreover, the executors, in resisting the publication, felt that they were acting in accordance with all Lord Dudley's opinions espressed in his writings* when alive, and by his last testamentary directions. The law of the case appears simply to be, that the receiver of letters has only a qualified property in them; he cannot publish them without the consent of the sender, who, in case of decease, can only be legally represented by his executors. Lord Dudley had directed that all his writings, letters, and papers of every kind, found in his own repositories, should be burnt unread, and immediately after his death. The solemn injunction was, as we collect from the preface, most rigidly obeyed; and the executors might well be pardoned for hesitating to sanction any procedure at variance with that which they had felt it their own painful duty to adopt.
The Bishop informs us, in his preface, that another volume of letters had been prepared for publication, when, should it be permitted to appear, there would be an opportunity of giving a general view of the incidents and the course of Lord Dudley's life.' From the uneasy tone, which we grieve to see, of the conclusion, we fear that this opportunity will be lost. • Recent communications and fresh restraints have occurred, which he will not seek by solicitation to remove. The question is not to be • See his remarks on this subject in the Quarterly Review, No. ix., p. 313.
determined by his own judgment; and he confesses, whatever construction may be put on the avowal, that he cannot submit either to solicit permission as a favour, or to recognise the duty of the executors in such a case to forbid the publication. It is not for us to decide, in a question of taste, between persons so worthy and eminent, who could have had but one and the same feeling towards the memory of Lord Dudley; but in the absence of the editor's far abler pen, we shall attempt, not indeed to write a full biography, but to set down a few of such incidents in his noble friend's education and life as may suggest the just view of some of those peculiarities and infirmities which must excite the wonder and curiosity of readers that did not know the man.
The Earl was the only child of William, third Viscount Dudley and Ward - one of those ordinary mortals on whom capricious fortune takes a pleasure in lavishing worldly advantages. The obscure existence of the old Lord was passed in the society of those who, like himself, preferred portwine and fiddling to the pursuits either of politics or literature. His companions, generally selected from grades beneath his own, were chiefly remarkable for that convenient obsequiousness which noblemen and gentlemen of large landed estates delight to honour. The Viscountess, a beauty in her youth, took refuge in later life in cards and strong waters. Comparative anatomists, we understand, account for so distinguished a man's being the produce of such an untoward combination, on the grammar principle of two negatives making an affirmative. Be this as it may, the father and mother seem to have anticipated the discreditable contrast which their son's eminence would subsequently cast on their own comparative nothingness; their conduct from the cradle was marked by want of parental affection. They sent him from his home to strangers, not indeed to a public school, that preparatory world in miniature, but to a private tutor, and under circumstances which enhanced the objections of that objectionable system, one that Lord Dudley never failed to deplore and condemn.* A house was taken for him at Paddington, and a separate establishment maintained with liberality: such a sacrifice was nothing to their affluence—it was their time and affection that was grudged. The solitary boy, without brothers, sisters, or playfellows of his own age, became a man in habits while yet a child. Associating with his elders and with those in authority over him, he grew up in a constitutional distrust of his own powers, in an habitual reliance for guidance and support on other men's minds, though not possessed of one title of his own good qualities or talents. He never completely
The defects of those that have had the misfortune to receive a private education, or, what is sometimes the same thing, no education at all.' (Letter 36.)