« НазадПродовжити »
the Honourable William Lamb, whose chief argument was that the people's opinion ought to go for nothing, and his happiest quotation
‘How nations sink by daring schemes opprest,
When vengeance listens to a fool's request !? but indeed Mr. Lamb's whole speech is first rate-our readers should get it by heart (xxxvi. 790). Lord Dudley never spoke with greater animation than in the Lords, October 5, 1831; one of his opening sentences has been too sadly true-This is perhaps the last time I shall ever address this house.' (lxxiii. 1334.) We would cite among his other happiest efforts his speeches on Talavera, on Walcheren (xv. 44), on Barrosa (xix. 671), and on the Papist Question (xxiv. 915). On this he had, we need hardly say, adopted what we consider as the wrong side; but that side was never maintained with more brilliant ability. He did not understand the politicks of Popery—how few of our statesmen then did ! But his local knowledge of Spain gave him a true insight into the unchangeable character of Spanish warfare, their incapability of self-defence, and the disgraceful peculiarity of their revolution, which has never produced one statesman or one general. His speech is the heading of a chapter which is developed by the Duke's despatches, by the victories of Espartero, and the finance of Mendizabal,
Lord Byron, whose letters throw contemporary light on these, has sketched our orator: 'I like Ward-studied, but keen, and sometimes eloquent, piquant.' His speeches were most carefully prepared : he openly avowed and defended the practice by the example of Mr. Canning, and of far greater men even than him in every branch of intellectual excellence. * His opponents admitted their ability, and the excellent delivery. They twitted him with compliments to his memory,' and to his elaborate essays.' He was made the butt of the skirmishers of Brookes's, who raked him with their light artillery. Ward,' says Byron, is in sad enmity with the Whigs about the review of Fox,--all the epigrammatists and satirists are at him. I hope he may beat them, for I hate odds. Byron was most anxious not to be thought to have a hand in these squibs, being all for open war, and no bush-fighting ;' yet he too had his joke: for being asked what it would take to re-whig Dudley, the poet replied, he must first be
* One of Lord Dudley's greatest favourites was Ariosto. His reflections at Ferrara are very characteristic. The inspection of this MS. will greatly confirm the opinion of those who think that consummate excellence united to the appearance of ease is almost always the result of great labour. The corrections are innumerable; several passages, where, as they now stand, the words and thoughts seem to flow along with the most graceful felicity, and the rhyme to come unsought for, have been altered over and over, and scarce a line of the first draught has been allowed to remain' (Lett. 20).
rewarded.' Nor was the object of all this wit in others annoyed overmuch; for he would sometimes quote the well-known distich
Ward has no heart, they say, but I deny it,
He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it.' He admitted the point, and returned, as usual, a Roland for an Oliver. His review on Mr. Rogers's Columbus'* is, though we say it who should not say it,' a master-piece of damning by faint praise.
Yearning for literary occupation, Lord Dudley distrusted his ability and knowledge to undertake any considerable work (Letter 88);—and, fortunately for us, he took Mr. Canning's advice-and refuge in the Quarterly. An article was precisely the class of composition in which, from his habits and turn of mind, he was most calculated to excel. His constitutional indecision, his indolent procrastination, his too often combined bodily and mental languor,' his want of a spirit-stirring sustaining motive, deterred him from sitting down to the continuous exertion of what he called des ouvrages de longue haleine,'t • hammered out invitâ Minervâ. His taste, formed from a constant study and contemplation of great models' (Letter 40), exemplaria Græca, had refined itself into over fastidiousness. The slightest jar grated on his ear. His critical acumen, never so severe as against himself, detected every imperfection. He was always reviewing his own writings. He had acquired such a fund of knowledge that he knew too well how much more was to be known. In his ignorance of the world's ignorance he gave his readers credit for possessing the same information as himself. He was weighed down by his own reputation, by the fear of not coming up to what was expected from him : hence he was never satisfied with himself. This diffidence is indeed an element of excellence, but when carried too far prevents the realization of the noblest intentions. He hesitated on the banks of the troubled pool, while bolder men, unembarrassed with learning which reveals difficulties, with meditative powers which suggest doubt, rushed in. Now the terrors of an article appertain more to the reviewed than to the reviewer. His name is not blazoned on the title-page for daws to peck at. The individual is merged in the corporate ·We;' idiosyncratic timidity takes courage like shy women when their face is covered at a masquerade. The censor is a great unknown; nevertheless, if the paper is successful, there is a sufficient notoriety, among the “fit audience, though few,' whose praise,' as Byron said of Lord Dudley's, is indeed worth having.” If, again, the article be a failure, which has happened in the best
* Quarterly Review, vol. ix. p. 207.
† Ib. vol. x. p. 322.
Lord Duarticularly bit Roscoe
This been one o
regulated Reviews, if some passages be too highly spiced, or others too acid, the anonymous culprit creeps into his shell ; nay, the unnatural parent may, if he pleases, not only disown the bantling, but be the loudest in abusing it. Such things occur in this world.
There must be variety of material and variety of cookery, with a little confectionary too, in a well-arranged Review. That which best suited Lord Dudley was the piquant side-dish. In his opinion an article, like an epigram, should be all point, terseness, and brilliancy; no 'dry chapter,' 'no sticking-places,'—no verbose periods like those of Roscoe's Lorenzo, “which put one in mind of a Liverpool coach overladen with outside passengers and luggage. Such articles are like the works of Sappho, Gray, and Rogers, short and few; no profusion of second-rate cornelians; a vast capital invested in one Pitt diamond, a mighty genius condensed into a small vase of gold. And it must be allowed that Lord Dudley not seldom came up to his own ideal. We would notice particularly his papers on Horne Tooke,* Mr. Fox, t Rogers's · Columbus,' I Roscoe's silly letters about Reform, and Miss Edgeworth's · Patronage.’s This last appears to us to be the least successful; yet it should have been one of his best, inasmuch as he had the advantage of the corrections and suggestions of Dr. Copleston—which in the case of Horne Tooke seem to have been of special service to him. Lord Dudley was one of the frequenters of the table d'hôte of Mr. Horne Tooke, and a listener to his ěTTEK A Tepóɛvta. His finished miniatures of the philologist and Mr. Fox will bear comparison with the flattering portraits recently drawn of both by Lord Brougham; even with that magnificent shadowing out of Mr. O'Connell, under the character of Wilkes.
The separate articles, written by friend and foe to reform, illustrate and explain each other; they exhibit both sides of the medal. Lord Dudley's last article and last speech were against reform—the wickedness of demagogues working on the misery of the people. He could not conceive any reforin that would not bring us within the draught of the whirlpool of democracy.' (Letter 43.) Among the last glimmerings of his waning intellect was an idea that Lord · Brougham had cut up his speech in reply; but never mind, I can bear it from him.'
Signal and more enduring than bronze is the monument which his great antagonist has reared over his tomb. It is suicidal in
soke seas one of the free to his énes Will be
* Quarterly Review, vol. vii. p. 313. See particularly Horne Tooke, vol. vii. pp. 14, 15, 16, 27; Fox, vol, ix. p. 322.
t Ibid. vol. ix. p. 313. Ibid. vol. ix. p. 207. Ibid. vol. x. p. 301. || Edinburgh Review, No. cxli. p. 105. VOL. LXVII. NO, CXXXIII.
ourselves to do more than refer to his matchless character of Lord Dudley in the Edinburgh Review. It lies not like an epitaph, for never was truth told in more grateful feeling or more effective language.
We cannot resist presenting to our readers one specimen of Lord Dudley's critical style, an extract from the article on Fox and Wakefield, which entailed such partisan odium upon the noble scribe.
It could not escape a person of Mr. Fox's sagacity that Mr. WakeGeld was a pure unadulterated Jacobin, a deadly fanatical enemy to the whole established order of this country, civil and ecclesiastical. Yet we find him talking of the opinions we profess, as if he had been a politician of exactly the same school-but these were unhappy years of Mr. Fox's life, when long disappointment had ended in despair, and when, unmindful of all that was due to himself and to his country, he was content to purchase a short-lived hollow popularity among miscreants whom he must have abhorred, and fanatics whom he must have despised, by sacrificing for ever the confidence of the sound, the judicious, and the governing part of the community; hence that strange anti-patriotic feeling by which, in the discussion of all questions betwixt England and any other power, he seemed to be actuated. He had come at last to feel a prejudice against the nation which had preferred his rival, and he had learned to look with indifference at least to the subversion of that order of things in which he found no place proportioned to his talents. Yet if ever there was a man far removed by nature from that sect, with which he now formed a preposterous union, it was Mr Fox. He was unfitted for playing the part of a Jacobin, by the absolute want of all the necessary qualifications. He had neither the coarseness, the ferocity, nor the ignorant insolent contempt of all that is ancient and established. He was in everything a gentleman of the highest class ;-his education -the connexions he had formed in life-- his habits and feelings—all purely liberal and aristocratic. He was the creature of polished society, such as it existed under the ancient monarchies of Europe. He belonged originally to the good old school of Walpolian Whigs--prudent practical persons, a little too find of jobbing-quite contented with the constitution as they found it, and disposed to hold high the honour of the country in their intercourse with foreign nations. He had not a single point of contact with the philosophising assassins who, about twenty years ago, first appeared as candidates for the government of the world. He was neither bold nor hasty in his application of general principles, and no man was ever less inclined, of his own nature, to sweep away present liberty, present comfort, and present security, in order to lay a foundation for ideal perfection at a distant period.
His eloquence too was of that chaste argumentative sort which can only be addressed with success to an educated and intelligent audience; from the loftiness and simplicity of his mind, the delicacy of his taste, a certain natural shyness which at first might be mistaken for coldness and reserve, he was utterly incapable of condescending to those paltry
artifices, and performing those mountebank tricks which are necessary to captivate the multitude. In the art of cajoling a mob he was infinitely surpassed by persons whom, in point of talents, it would be quite ludicrous to compare with him. He was an awkward unpractised demagogue and a lukewarm unwilling reformer. From justice and humanity he was anxious for the happiness of the lower orders, that is of the bulk of mankind, but no minister would ever have been less disposed to admit them to a large share in swaying public measures ; when his friends absurdly called him the man of the people, they seemed to have forgot that the great act of his life was a struggle against the people. He made his stand against them upon the forms of our government-upon that constitutional fiction by which the House of Commons is supposed always to speak the sense of the nation. An appeal to the country was that which he affected to execrate as a crime, and the man of the people spent ten years in an ineffectual endeavour to persuade them that one half of the aristocracy, with himself at their head, ought to rule, in spite of them and of the other half.
Such was Mr. Fox, who by the power of circumstances which it required something more of firmness and high political virtue than he possessed to resist, was led, in the most important crisis of his political life, to play a part directly opposite to the natural bent of his own inclinations and character. Formed to hold with a high hand the reins of government in a tempered monarchy, he became an apologist of an insane and flagitious revolution, an advocate for the public enemies of the state in all its contests with foreign powers, the rallying point of disaffection, the terror of good, the hope and support of bad citizens.' -Quarterly Review, vol. ix. p. 321.
From reviews the transition is easy to the dinner-table. Lord Dudley's hospitality was unbounded; temperate himself, in his own words, as a general of Franciscans,' his delight was in the assembling round his board des gens d'esprit, ou, ce que vaut encore mieux, des vrais amis.' This social feeling, always strongly developed, became, in later life, the pivot of his existence I shall try,' writes he in the last letter of this volume, 'what literature and society will do for me during the remainder of my days.' It was so from the beginning. He enlarges on the importance of a good set' at college; he thinks one of the advantages of being in Parliament is that it keeps one in good company;' but this, we need not say, was written before the Reform Bill came into operation. The early desolation of his youth taught him the value of good friends; every page evinces how capable he was of • returning affection:' he did unto others as he wished them to do to him; the true ethics of those synonyms, a gentleman and a Christian. He carried this social feeling to such an extent, that those who did not dine with him asserted that his days were spent in writing dinner invitations: at all events, H 2