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the cries of party-spirit
were lost over a wide and unhearing ocean," to recover from his surprise and from a temporary alienation of mind; and to return in spirit, and in the mild and mellowed maturity of age, to the principles and attachments of his early life.
The appointment of Sir James. Mackintosh to a Judgeship in India was one, which, however flattering to his vanity or favourable to his interests, was entirely foreign to his feelings and habits. It was an honourable exile. He was out of his element among black slaves and sepoys, and Nabobs and cadets, and writers to India. He had no one to exchange ideas with. The “ unbought grace of life,” the charm of literary conversation was gone. It was the habit of his mind, his ruling passion to enter into the shock and conflict of opinions on philosophical, political, and critical questions--not to dictate to raw tyros or domineer over persons in subordinate situations,but to obtain the guerdon and the laurels of superior sense and information by meeting with men of equal standing, to have a fair field pitched, to argue, to distinguish, to reply, to hunt down the game of intellect with eagerness and skill, to push an advantage, to cover a retreat, to give and take a fall
“ And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.” It is no wonder that this sort of frien:lly intellectual
gladiatorship is Sir James's greatest pleasure, for it is his peculiar forte. He has not many equals, and scarcely any superior in it. He is too indolent for an author ; too unimpassioned for an orator : but in society he is just vain enough to be pleased with immediate attention, good-humoured enough to listen with patience to others, with great coolness and selfpossession, fluent, communicative, and with a manner equally free from violence and insipidity. Few subjects can be started, on which he is not qualified to appear to advantage as the gentleman and scholar. If there is some tinge of pedantry, it is carried off by great affability of address and variety of amusing and interesting topics. There is scarce an author that he has not read ; a period of history that he is not conversant with; a celebrated name of which he has not a number of anecdotes to relate ; an intricate question that he is not prepared to enter upon in a popular or scientific manner. If an opinion in an abstruse metaphysical author is referred to, he is probably able to repeat the passage by heart, can tell the side of the page on which it is to be met with, can trace it back through various descents to Locke, Hobbes, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, to a place in some obscure folio of the School-men or a note in one of the commentators on Aristotle or Plato, and thus give you in a few moments' space, and without any effort or previous notice, a chronological table of the
progress of the human mind in that particular branch of inquiry. There is something, we think, perfectly admirable and delightful in an exhibition of this kind, and which is equally creditable to the speaker and gratifying to the hearer. But this kind of talent was of no use in India: the intellectual wares, of which the Chief Judge delighted to make a display, were in no request there. He languished after the friends and the society he had left behind ; and wrote over incessantly for books from England. One that was sent him at this time was an Essay on the Principles of Human Action; and the way in whiclı he spoke of that dry, tough, metaphysical choke-pear, showed the dearth of intellectual intercourse in which he lived, and the craving in his mind after those studies which had once been his pride, and to which he still turned for consolation in his remote solitude. --Perhaps to another, the novelty of the scene, the differences of mind and manners might have atoned for a want of social and literary agrémens : but Sir James is one of those who see nature through the spectacles of books. He might like to read an account of India ; but India itself with its burning shining face would be a mere blank, an endless waste to him. To persons of this class of mind things must be translated into words, visible images into abstract propositions to meet their refined apprehensions, and they have no more to say to a matter-of-fact staring
them in the face without a label in its mouth, than they would to a hippopotamus !–We may add, before we quit this point, that we cannot conceive of any two persons more different in colloquial talents, in which they both excel, than Sir James Mackintosh and Mr. Coleridge. They have nearly an equal range of reading and of topics of conversation : but in the mind of the one we see nothing but fixtures, in the other every thing is fluid. The ideas of the one are as formal and tangible, as those of the other are shadowy and evanescent. Sir James Mackintosh walks over the ground, Mr. Coleridge is always flying off from it. The first knows all that has been said upon a subject; the last has something to say that was never said before. If the one deals too much in learned common-places, the other teems with idle fancies. The one has a good deal of the caput mortuum of genius, the other is all volatile salt. The conversation of Sir James Mackintosh has the effect of reading a well-written book, that of his friend is like hearing a bewildered dream. The one is an Encyclopedia of knowledge, the other is a succession of Sybilline Leaves!
As an author, Sir James Mackintosh may claim the foremost rank among those who pride themselves on artificial ornaments and acquired learning, or who write what may be termed a composite style. His Vindicia Gallicæ is a work of great labour, great in
genuity, great brilliancy, and great vigour. It is a little too antithetical in the structure of its periods, too dogmatical in the announcement of its opinions. Sir James has, we believe, rejected something of the false brilliant of the one, as he has retracted some of the abrupt extravagance of the other. We apprehend, however, that our author is not one of those who draw from their own resources and accumulated feelings, or who improve with age. He belongs to a class (common in Scotland and elsewhere) who get up school-exercises on any given subject in a masterly manner at twenty, and who at forty are either where they were-or retrograde, if they are men of sense and modesty. The reason is, their vanity is weaned, after the first hey-day and animal spirits of youth-are flown, from making an affected display of knowledge, which, however useful, is not their own, and
be much more simply stated ; they are tired of repeating the same arguments over and over again, after having exhausted and rung the changes on their whole stock for a number of times. Sir James Mackintosh is understood to be a writer in the Edinburgh Review; and the articles attributed to him there are full of matter of great pith and moment. But they want the trim, pointed expression, the ambitious ornaments, the ostentatious display and rapid volubility of his early productions. We have heard it objected to his later compositions, that his style is good as far as single