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manner as in the enclosed paper. The honour and credit of being his follower all through the ambition of my life, my personal and affectionate respect, and the advantage his opinions have afforded to the work itself, all explain me on this occasion. But if he has the least objection to being so addressed, or to a dedication in any way whatever, I will not press it a moment. I have tamed the address as much as I
possibly could. The girls say I have not said half enough, and I think so too; but I feared to do more, lest I should certainly be refused.”
Having come out at a moment when the probability of Canning's becoming Prime Minister was so strong, considerable attention was excited by the supposed portrait of him. This was further increased by a second notice in the “ Literary Gazette,” headed “Mr. Canning from De Vere.” In this article, while it was assumed throughout, as confessed, that the character of Mr. Wentworth was meant for Canning, the name of Mr. Ward was introduced as (confessedly also) the author. Every passage from the different volumes was culled, which could go to make up a complete portrait; and even the then coming events were supposed to be foreshadowed. Mr. Ward felt an awk. wardness at this public juxtaposition of their names, and, as he was frequently meeting Mr. Canning in society, determined to address a letter to him on the subject. He received the following very characteristic reply, which will be interesting on many accounts, and more particularly as written at the commencement of that bright but too short gleam which preceded the close of his political career.
Right Hon. George Canning to R. Ward, Esq.
“ Tor Cliff, April 9. 1827. “My dear Sir, “If
your letter of yesterday was difficult to write, I assure you
I find it no less difficult to answer at once to your satisfaction and to my own.
“ While I concur with you in regretting the indiscretion of the editor of the · Literary Gazette,' would it be honest in me not to own, that, with the single alloy of that regret (and that chiefly on your own account), the feelings with which I read the extract from ‘De Vere' on Saturday were unmixed with anything of offence or displeasure? Would it be honest not to add, that the avowals of of yesterday are as gratifying as the apologies are superfluous ?
“I must be very sensitive, if, after thirty-three years of party life, any allusions of the press, in good or evil part, could seriously affect my equanimity; but I must be callous beyond all stoicism if I could affect to be indifferent to such allusions as those of the author of De Vere.' “ Believe me, my dear Sir,
* Very sincerely yours,
“ GEORGE CANNING."
"P.S.- Be assured that it is not I who betray your secret. Your name was mentioned to me on Saturday, before I had seen the ‘Literary Gazette,' or opened the volumes for which I am indebted to your kindness."
I will only here add a curious letter upon “De Vere" and its author, which he received anonymously; not, however, without some suspicion as to who was his distinguished correspondent.
“I am delighted with ‘De Vere;' and in collecting from its pages the good feeling, taste, and manners of its author, the purity of his principles, the soundness of his judgment, and the warmth and pious sincerity of his christian faith, I am proud of being able to trace these qualities to an early friend. The internal evidence which empowers me to do so is convincing. Independently of Herbert, and of the collation of a letter once addressed to me from the Pyrenees, I can no more doubt that the author of De Vere' was once my friend, than I can imagine that he still continues to be so, or can admit that I have deserved to forfeit, or even lose ground in, his esteem. It surprises me, I confess, that the feeling, judgment, and sagacity, which sufficed to produce the work that I have been commending, should have suffered the golden opinions of me, which you entertained,
, to be filched and adulterated by mere traducers, whose reports the hearer's own experience could have almost refuted, and whose testimony was so obviously liable to be warped by prejudice.
“We live in a strange world. Before my feelings and dispositions had changed from wavering and transient to permanent and fixed; before the desultory ramblings, which almost became our age, had terminated in a path, and that, I trust, a right and honourable one, and from which, with moderate allowance for human inferiority, I have not deviated since; before my principles had attained their vigour,
; and generated those correct habits which it was their province to produce; in short, while, like most young men, I might be said to have as yet no
' character at all,' I obtained your friendship. How I lost it, I have already told you. When, remains to tell you. I lost it when any fruits which my youth may have promised had appeared ; lost it all at once, under circumstances scarcely more annoying to my feelings, than revolting to my sense of what was right and just.
“I am not seeking to penetrate what is to me, indeed, no secret, neither do I form the unavailing wish that our expired intercourse should revive. C'en est fait. A knot which has been loosened or untied, may be formed again ; but this knot has been cut. Accordingly, I neither address you by your name, nor subscribe my own. My handwriting, though not disguised, is, like yourself, much changed; and, though this were not the case, you could not, after the lapse of so much time, have recognised it.
“My regard you continue to possess, though I am not certain of your title to retain it. But you have, by means of your estrangement, sustained a loss. In ceasing to entertain a feeling of esteem and cordiality towards me, you have lost that which is a source of soothing gratification to the mind in which it is cherished, and which, I flatter myself, I as well deserved to have retained with regard to me, as any other of your early friends, be that other who he may. Again; though you have not lost a friend (for my sentiments towards you continue friendly), you have elected to lose the usual and not unpalatable fruits of friendship in my case; and this at a time of life (for we are much of the same age) when old friends can the less be spared, because new friendships are rarely formed.
“When our earliest meetings and the commencements of a bygone friendship are called up before me by the letter which, I scarcely know why, I am writing, I feel myself softened as well as depressed by the recollection; and, as I write farewell, it gives me pain to think that I might add to it the words
probably for ever. God bless you!”
We cannot better conclude these criticisms, than by the following generous tribute to the merits of a brother author, from one whose literary efforts (however his political views may be dissented from) must always be admired. The extracts here given from a letter written three and twenty years ago by Mr. D'Israeli, then but commencing his successful literary career, are not less valuable for their tribute to the merits of “De Vere,” than for the enlightened remarks they contain on a too common error in criticism.