« НазадПродовжити »
hong men oft which, natural anmosphere tha
shook off the idolatrous prejudice, or prestige, of his young inexperience; the habit remained when the moral conviction was gone. It was in this uncongenial atmosphere that he contracted a tinge of formality which, natural and decorous in pedagogues, is held among men of the world to savour of priggism. The indifference manifested by the heads of the family was imitated by the minor branches-no 'avunculus Hector' interposed. His maternal uncle, he writes, 'never took the smallest interest in him, or showed him the smallest kindness.' (Letter 1.) To the unfortunate heir the bitterness of this neglect was aggravated by his own warm disposition and capability to estimate and return affection—yet nothing ever escaped him in word or action, by which his parents could be depreciated ; his whole conduct was a pattern of filial obedience and respect. He is ever praising his father's liberality in money matters, and expressing satisfaction at his approval of his own conduct under circuinstances of doubt. (See Letters 82, 92, 93). To his mother when a widow he became more than a son. He came forward to supply his father's loss; his unceasing and delicate attentions, the small but not the least proofs of affection, manifested that he felt with Gray, that we can have but one mother.
The disadvantages of this plan of education were increased by his eccentric father's want of fixed purpose and constant change of preceptors. He had not time to find a friend even among them. Deprived of the out-of-door pastimes congenial to youth, he was driven to his hooks alone for solace and companionship. The lurking hereditary malady was strengthened by his over studious and sedentary habits. The irritable susceptibility of the brain was stimulated at the expense of bodily power and health, without which pleasure itself ceases to be pleasure. Dear indeed is knowledge purchased at the expense of happiness. His foolish tutors took a pride in his precocious progress, which they ought to have kept back. They watered the forced plant with the blood of life; they encouraged the violation of nature's laws, which are not to be broken in vain ; they infringed the condition of conjoint moral and physical existence; they imprisoned him in a vicious circle, where the overworked brain injured the stomach, which reacted to the injury of the brain. They watched the slightest deviation from the rules of logic, and neglected those of dietetics, to which the former are a farce. They thought of no exercises but in Latin—they gave him a Gradus instead of a cricket-bat, until his mind became too keen for its mortal coil; and the foundation was laid for ill health, derangement of stomach, moral pusillanimity, irresolution, lowness of spirits, and all the Protean miseries of nervou disorders, by which his after life was haunted
and which are sadly depicted in almost every letter now before
One, indeed, of the boy's many instructors observed the silent operation of these morbid causes, and having learnt Latin to some purpose, pursued the golden rule of education—Mens sana in corpore sano. This was a wise man after the manner of Anaxagoras, that respectable ancient, who requested on his death-bed that all the school-boys of Lampsacus might have a month's holidays. He accordingly locked the study-door, threw logic to the dogs, turned his pupil out to grass, and set him to work at the unscholastic pursuit of foxes. He opined that it was bodily exertion and mental inaction which generates the rude health-the
dura ilia' of country squires and hay-makers; who never fatigue their sensoriums, nor fritter away their nervous energy, nor rob their gastric juices, from a mistaken regard to their pia maters. The new instructor therefore took the Aristotelian method in this decided case of perversion-he bent the twig in the contrary direction, in the hope of ultimately bringing it to the perpendicular. But unfortunately the news of this prodigious idling ere long reached the ear of the father, who, never interfering except injudiciously, dismissed the tutor who might have saved his pupil; and people of the old stamp continued in function until the toga quasi-virilis (of undergraduateship) was assumed.
The very first lines of Lord Dudley's in the Bishop's volume reveal the sad consequences of this system, already fixed and chronic at the early age of nineteen. Affixed to the portrait is this postscript,— The verses go on miserably; yer I neither drink, hunt, shoot, or fish.' On a smaller peg than this Tissot or Combe would hang a quarto treatise; and truly might Lord Dudley point the moral of their tale, the sure effects of the neglect of the organic laws of physiology. The postscript involves the cream of the correspondence, and is indeed the epitome of his life
' The exploits of dexterity, strength, speed,
To him no vanity, no joy, could bring.' We find him invariably lamenting,' as mistakes of his early life' (p. 342), his “ unacquaintance even with the rudiments of agriculture' (p. 202), his ' ignorance of botany or geology;'* that he cannot skate:' in a word, the absence of those out-of-door pursuits which, by bringing us into immediate contact with nature, have a healthy and expanding tendency-and conduce to that exercise which, having an object distinct from a mere constitutional tack, (“studio fallente laborem,') is of all others the most refreshing and invigorating. No pillow is so soft as that earned
* In these autobiographical letters we find no thanking God that he knew nothing of the ologies—the silly congratulation of self-contented commonplace.
by bodily fatigue. Lord Dudleywrites because he is unable to sleep'-(Lett. 4). Well would it have been had the killing “yet of the postseript' been corrected into because! Mr. Sydney Smith's lyrical advice, Fish not, hunt not, shoot not,' may probably be a safe code of guidance for some curates; possibly it may be equally safe for the production of nonsense verses. We prefer the good old classical method of Ennius, Horace, and Anacreon, who practised what they preached, and neither lived nor wrote verses miserably. The Muses, although dwelling near Castalian streams, and we dare say bathing therein, have never conceded to teetotalism immortality of song : nor would it be difficult to demonstrate that those poets who have been the most mixed in the stirring realities of life, up, about, and abroad, have been the best portrayers of man and nature.
Lord Dudley, to his credit, never forgot nor undervalued the one attempt to amend his mistaken education. No sooner was the Viscount dead than he made search for that discarded tutor, and rewarded him with a magnificent donation; thus delicately marking his satisfaction at the first moment when the so doing could not by any chance give umbrage to his father. Spence, bythe-bye, has preserved an anecdote of Pope, which our reader will pardon us for recalling here to his memory. The poet, when about the same age as Lord Dudley, was reduced by his perpetual application to such deplorable ill health, that, giving way to it, he prepared to die. He fell into that state of exhaustion which Smollett too once experienced for half a year, a coma vigil-an affection of the brain, when the principle of life is so reduced that all external objects appear to be passing in a dream -a sort of torpid, indistinct existence. One of his oldest friends, Fatber Southcot, went immediately to the clear-seeing and plain speaking Dr. Ratcliffe, who ordered the patient to apply less, and to ride every day; by following which advice Pope recovered his health. He never forgot this providential interposition, and twenty years afterwards, hearing of a vacant abbey in a delightful part of France, he sent a letter the next morning to Sir Robert Walpole, with whom he had some degree of friendship, and begged him to write to Cardinal Fleury, to get the appointment for Southcot. Southcot was made abbot-perhaps the only time that a primeminister of England wrote to a prime-minister of France to promote a poor Romish priest : nothing short of the ardent and affectionate feelings of Pope could have suggested the project; nor could anything but the regard due to his genius have influenced Sir Robert to move in such a business.* From Paddington Mr. Ward was sent to Oxford, and entered * Quarterly Review, No. xxiii. p. 427.
at Oriel; and here, under the auspices of Dr. Copleston, his classical education may truly be said to have commenced. After profiting for a due time by the lessons of such a teacher, he was transplanted from the fair banks of the Isis to the Athens of the North, with the view of combining with the knowledge of antiquity an insight into sciences which in our day are looked upon as not less useful and interesting, especially that of political economy; thus engrafting on the laurel of the Muses the branch of gold by which inore men are transported to a certain place than Charon would choose to reveal to Virgil or Miss Martineau. Lord Dudley was pleased with and much improved by Edinburgh; but he always retained a lively interest in the welfare and honour of Oriel ; perhaps a somewhat of his collegiate enthusiasm and prejudices might have been suppressed in these letters. The pupil was writing to the provost. The public at large, who are not of that ilk, take little interest in local details—new buildings projected in Magpie-lane-extravagant eulogies of some forgotten fellows and tutors, equally exaggerated dispraise of other similar dignitaries—et hoc genus. The indifferent eye skims over the page, and is only arrested by allusions to names of some higher pretension, sarcasms which strike by their point and adhere from their barb.
Lord Dudley never forgot the instruction and society which he enjoyed under the roof of Dugald Stewart. He was singularly fortunate in his co-pupils, all distinguished men in their high order-Lords Lansdowne, Palmerston, Kinnaird, and the late Lord Ashburton. He maintained a good fellowship with them all in after life, while with the two former it was his lot to sit at the same council-board, as minister of state.—But neither to Professor Stewart, nor to the younger associates of his own sex, did he owe the chief pleasures or the chief advantages of his residence in the North. Mrs. Stewart, equal to her husband in intellect, was bis superior in blood. She was the sister of the Countess Purgstall and of Lord Corehouse, the friend of Walter Scott, who has emhalmed the name of Cranstoun in his immortal · Lay.' Though the least beautiful of a family in which beauty is hereditary, she had the best essence of beauty, expression, a bright eye beaming with intelligence, a manner the most distinguished, yet soft, seminine, and singularly winning. On her ill-favoured professor she doted with a love-match devotion;* to his studies and midnight lucubrations she sacrificed her health and rest; she was his amanuensis and corrector. But she was free from the slightest tinge of pedantry; the world, for anything she displayed, knew nothing of her deep acquisitions, so gracefully did her long-draped robes conceal even the suspicion that aught lurked beneath of azure hue. No one felt this more than Lord Dudley, who thus expresses himself in one of these letters (p. 41):- She has as much knowledge, understanding, and wit, as would set up three foreign ladies as first-rate talkers, in their respective drawing-rooms, but she is almost as desirous to conceal as they are to display their talents.' No wonder, therefore, that her saloons were the resort of all that was the best of Edinburgh, the house to which stran. gers most eagerly sought introduction. In her Lord Dudley found indeed a friend. She was to him in the place of a mother. His respect for her was unbounded, and continued to the close; often have we seen him, when she was stricken in years, seated near her for whole evenings, clasping her hand in both of his. Into her faithful ear he poured his hopes and fears, and unbosomed his inner soul ; with her he maintained a constant correspondence to the last. That series of his letters was, we doubt not, the most valuable as well as the most extensive; but it is said to be no more. She burnt the whole, we are told, when dying herself. She would not trust the holocaust to accident, neither would she deprive herself of a sad pleasure in reading over the expressions of a whole existence devoted to her, until she felt distinctly that the last days of her own drew near.
* Her marriage was after this wise. When Miss Cranstoun, she had written a poem, which was accidentally shown by her cousin Lord Lothian to Mr. Stewart, then his private tutor and unknown to fame. The philosopher was so enraptured with the perusal, and so warm in his commendations, that authoress and critic fell in love by Scotch second-sight before their first, and in due time were made one.
It is impossible not to see in the correspondence now before us that the writer was mistrustful of himself; “thin-skinned,' to use his own word (p. 291); apologising in the very first letter for 'incorrect expressions,' complaining in one of the last (p. 366) of his 'slowness and unreadiness of composition'—the composition of familiar letters - There is somewhat of a cramped, almost of a particular tone, a recurrence to local subjects, to themes agreeable to his friend. The letters are not written `currente calamo;' the pen dips not into his flowing thoughts: nervously sensitive, he trembled before the high educational position, critical acuteness, and logical perception of Dr. Copleston. He felt that he was writing to his literary superior, the very eminence of whom weighed down the pupil-artes infra se positas-he was never quite at his ease. This is not merely a conjecture of our own; we have seen many notes and letters written by him to male friends of less lofty station and character. These were, comparatively speaking, rien-pas même académicien-but their nothingness set this shy, sensitive correspondent at his ease. Notwithstanding, we feel that his letters to Mrs. Dugald Stewart must have been far superior still. The false pride which