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standing, he was so remarkable. The forehead was an oblong square, of no great breadth, and retired considerably. The countenance altogether was one of uncommon benignity; it had all the serenity of the finest summer's eve, shaded with a slight expression of sadness. The eye was soft and lustrous; it sparkled from beneath his dark brows, distinctly bespeaking the benevolence that glowed within. All his features were rounded. This absence of every thing angular about his countenance strikingly indicated the cast of his mind and manners ; while there was nothing in his face highly expressive of either intelligence or feeling, every feature evinced simplicity of character, tranquillity of heart, and honesty of purpose. The entire visage, in fact, was so deeply stamped with the impress of good nature and good-will, as to inspire every beholder with immediate confidence.
The intellectual corresponded to the corporeal part of Mr. Williams. He was decidedly a man of genius– of great genius—but of genius wholly mechanical. He was also strongly marked by the chief intellectual infirmity of most men of that class. His judgment, although sound, was neither strong, comprehensive, nor exact. Its moral movements closely resembled those of his bulky frame; they were heavy and lagging-wanting in rapidity, dexterity, and decision. He arrived at conclusions by a slow and circuitous process, and yet his long deliberation seldom added to the strength of his convictions. Like most men of great mechanical genius, he was unskilful in the collection, analysis, and balancing of moral evidence; and hence, at times, he had great difficulty in making up his mind to any particular course of conduct. He occasionally lingered long amid
the tortures of suspense. Even after dropping his anchor, he was often driven from his moorings, and tossed on the billows of a painful uncertainty. He was for these reasons much at the mercy of counsellors; and often found that among their “multitude" there was fully as much distraction as “safety." This infirmity arose in part from the “fatal facility” of his disposition. To few able men was the description of the poet less applicable,
“Justem et tenacem propositi virum,
It is a settled law, in the economy of human affairs, that only decided men can be successful rulers. This fact has been, in all ages, exemplified by the dominant spirits of our race. Mr. Williams was not suited greatly to influence the deliberations, and still less to sway the counsels, of civilized and cultivated men. For this work he was too humble, too modest, and too amiable. There was very little of the agonistic in him, He was too much loved to be sufficiently an object of reverence and of fear. His extreme softness gave him at times an air of weakness. Social influence and severe self-discipline had done nothing towards rectifying this defect; he was, indeed, scarcely conscious of its existence. Previous to his departure for Polynesia, he had received but little moral or mental culture, and his situation there precluded the possibility of much intense application to such pursuits as tend to discipline the will and the understanding. He was too busily employed about still more important matters. The intellectual stature
of those around him, too, was such as had a perpetual tendency to depress rather than to elevate him; and it is wonderful that, under such a combination of adverse circumstances, he not only kept his ground, but even made considerable advancement in general knowledge and mental improvement. The evil consequence, however, on his arrival in England, was apparent in all his public efforts. On nearly all subjects, except that of Missions, his views were narrow and superficial. His reading had not been excursive, and his reflections on general subjects had not extended much beyond his reading. Images cannot be multiplied in the absence of objects. The relations and qualities of objects cannot be understood, where the objects themselves are hid from vision. Comparison implies knowledge of the individual as well as of the species; and comparison must be limited to what is known. In proportion to the extent of Mr. Williams's acquirements, however, his powers of comparison and of contrast, of deduction and description, were considerable. His faculty of analysis was greatly inferior to his faculty of combination. In the former he was very deficient, and still more deficient in the power of generalization. This was very obvious in his sermons and speeches. His great excellence consisted in detail-a quality in which he was seldom equalled. Generalization is a leading attribute of the true philosopher ; detail, of the popular orator. An illustration of these points is supplied in Dr. Philip and Mr. Williams. · Dr. Philip is, in my view, by far the most philosophic missionary at this moment in the field. Mr. Williams, in his time, was the most interesting narrator of facts. The province of the one is, reason ; that of the other,
observation. This is full of interest to the multitude ; that engages the reflecting minority. The Liberator of the Hottentots, like the immortal Burke,
“Who, too deep for his bearers, still went on refining,
frequently talks an assembly of shallow men into marked and ill-mannered impatience, while discoursing with a depth of thought, a compass of view, and a force of argument that would suffice to interest, enlighten, and convince an assembly of philosophers or a congress of statesmen! The Great Light of Polynesia, on the contrary, with his simple facts, touching tales, and tragic scenes, could keep the same people, and people of all sorts, for hours together, and for days in succession, riveted and charmed as if by enchantment. I have heard no man who, in my humble opinion, even approaches Dr. Philip for sublime and glorious conceptions of the philosophy of missions ; and Mr. Williams as far outstripped all his contemporaries in narrating the details of their history.
In the soul of Mr. Williams there was not a single element of true poetry ; but, notwithstanding his want of imagination, he occasionally painted the scenery and society of the South Seas with great, though literal, effect. The performance was clearly that of an artist, though somewhat of the Flemish school. The observant critic seemed to hear him say, “ fetch me the pencils and the colours ;" then, by rule, the process went on, and, although there was nothing poetic in the thought, or in the language, there was a touching, often a glowing, always an accurate and impressive, description of places, persons, and actions. Without having the poet's eye, which Mr. Moffat so eminently possesses, he was often not inferior to that remarkable man in the felicity of his portraits. Mr. Moffat sees every thing through the medium of the imagination ; and genius stands by ready to robe his perceptions in the most beautiful attire. The sovereignty of his spirit is immediately confessed by his hearers; and, in spite of a very defective manner, and a most barbarous elocution, made up of the worst Scottish dialect, disguised in divers African intonations, he reigns supreme in every audience, whether metropolitan or provincial.
The spoken style of Mr. Williams, like his person and mind, was simple, but strong,-rough, but manly. He was wholly destitute of the arts of eloquence; the selection of words, and the construction of phrases, the preparation of paragraphs, and the polish of periods, made no part of his study. His written style is more correct, and, at times, somewhat ornate ; but for these graces it was indebted to other pens more practised than his own. The truth is, that the noble-minded man, in all his exhibitions, whether of spoken or of written language, was wholly indifferent to self. His own existence, for the most part, seemed to be forgotten. He was utterly regardless what men thought or said of himself, if they would but hear his statement of the work of God among the heathen; he asked no more. Never was there, in a pulpit or upon a platform, a more entire absence of every symptom of vanity, a more complete neglect of the arts of popularity. Intent only upon his Master's honour, and utterly heedless of personal considerations, he became wholly engrossed with his subject. A great critic has truly said, “the Rhetoric of Fox was his Logic;" and it may with equal truth be affirmed,