Зображення сторінки
PDF

which the authors are unknown, or at most only conjectured.

In writing on fame, one cannot help adverting to the author of " Junius's Letters," a work, I apprehend, the celebrity of which is more likely to decline than otherwise. Junius's case is singular, from his apparent contempt of the reputation most people are desirous to attach to their memory. Few works are more popular, yet the author is unknown, and his concealment, in my opinion, after the celebru'y the letters have acquired, is more extraordinary than their composition. They are doubtless the production of a powerful intellect, strong passions, and a cultivated mind, but they are nothing supernatural, and I suspect a dozen persons may be generally found who could write as well, provided they took the pains. If Junius be dead, (as is probable by this time,) it must be the same thing to him now, whether he enjoys his fame under his real or assumed name. I rather think in the end he will be discovered, and I myself know one individual, who says he is in possession of the whole secret, which he shall divulge as soon as certain changes have taken place.

Hamlet says, it is necessary for a man to build churches to preserve his memory, but I doubt in future whether churchbuilding will be sufficient. As the world glows older, the difficulty of obtaining a niche in the temple of fame constantly augments, and those already admitted will be in no small danger of losing their places. Every generation brings forward a new batch of candidates, who either'supersede the old ones, crowd them together, or thrust them into obscure recesses where they are forgotten. Time, in this manner, has the same effect ou works of literature, that distance has on objects, in both the magnitude being diminished. Unless, indeed, this were the case, the stock of intellectual matter would be quite unmanageable, and our encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, and works of imagination exceed all reasonable limits. No library would be large enough to hold them, no person could read them, nor presses print them. Posterity would be overwhelmed with treatises on political economy, bullion, and cor n laws; innumerable quartos of travels and poetry, and clouds of novels and romances. How many of them will be regularly reprinted a hundred years hence, it is impossible to siy, but it is to be feared the biography of many will only fill a small space, and their 'works probably be lost among the hundred novels of Cinthio, the histories .of Saxo Grammaticus, or of William of Malmsbury.

This only holds out a discouraging view of the euthanasia of literature to the candidate for posthumous honour. Though he surmounts the pains of parturition— though he pass unscorched the fiery ordeal of criticism, and get safely through a crowd of competitors, he cannot escape the destructive effects of time, and his folios or quartos will probably vanish at last in an octavo abridgement of beauties, or be entirely superseded by others, to which the changes of fashion give tern* porary notoriety. Many, however, will attempt to go down to posterity, and to assist such adventurers in their voyage. I shall offer a few hints on the description of vessel in which they are most likely to succeed..

There appears little chance for lexico* graphers and compilers; their labours depending on fluctuations in language and knowledge, are necessarily evanescent. Scientific works, too, in consequence of new discoveries, and more improved treatises, will be generally superseded. As the nature of man is not likely to change, whatever illustrates human feeling and character, must be permanently interesting :—hence histories, memoirs, travels, tours, essays on manners and customs, hare a chance of attaining a green old age, provided they be not too numerous. Magazines and Reviews, being mere inventories, and some of them not very accurate, it is not likely these will pass with posterity for the items they enumerate'. Many will attain longevity, few immortality; the last being only the reward of those favoured spirits who adhere to Nature, and such will be as enduring as their subject.

As to myself, whether I shall go down or not, whether my fame will be contemporary or posterior, or neither, the last I think not improbable; it is a matter about which I do not feel deeply concerned. I have, of course, a choice, and I cannot help thinking with the Frenchman, that a little honour in a man's lifetime is most desirable :—

"Those honours come too late
That on our ashes wait."

Which is my opinion. Yet there does not appear any certain means by which a person may assure himself of acquiring present or future distinction. Fame is as capricious in the distribution of her favours as the goddess of love : some she delighteth to honour, others, who sedulously court her smiles, are passed in disdain; and, in genera), I think it may be observed, she is as frequently won by ■ coup tU main, as a mote regular plan of Operationsi It is true, industry will receive Its reward, and toiling mediocrity its desert, but the more dazzling prize of genius can only be enjoyed by a kind of prescriptive inheritance. There is no privileged way to celebrity more than to geometry, and the wreath of immortality has as.frequently adorned the brow of the peasant as of the prince, or of him who sought the honour under the most favourable auspices of fortune and birth.

WEEKLY CALENDAR.

I cannot conclude the subject without observing that, in my opinion, much misery ^arises from an injudicious or too ardent pursuit of celebrity. The love of' fame <is doubtless a noble passion, and ought to be cherished, especially in youth; still there is in this, as in every thing else, a medium which we should do well to observe. At most, it is an honour few can attain, for were it otherwise, it would cease to be a distinction. From the examples that have been mentioned, it is clear, that chance as well as desert has a share in conferring notoriety. Besides who can tell, whether some natural catastrophe may not in the end overwhelm all record of human excellence, and the world be born again with a sort of rasa tabula, containing no traces of previous existence :—a supposition neither contrary to Scripture nor Philosophy, and which certainly ought to moderate the feverish desire to transmit our names to posterity. At airevents, "it is a God send" sort of thing, which, if a man receive, let him be thankful, but it is neither wise nor philosophical in my opinion to pursue it with so much anxiety. It is really painful to see what a race men are running against each other, what toil and contention, what fantastic tricks they play; yet it is all vanity and vexation, for though many may feel a call, few can be chosen.

JBtarg of <©«urwn«s,

June 11.— Arernethy versus The Lancet.—This business is still in Chancery. That terrible man, Mr. Brougham, was brought down to argue the case for the Lancet. The lord chancellor treated him much more civilly than could be expected, and gave him the lead of the learned brahmin, Mr. Home. I have no doubt, myself, that Mr. B. will at last obtain a silk: gown, notwithstanding lord Eldon. It seems the duke of Devonshire has been speaking a good word for him to the king, and his majesty has expressed no objection whatever. Why then should lord Eldon refuse: no man has higher professional claims than Mi, Brougham; and

for his politics, they certainly ought not to interfere in a question of this sort. It is contrary to the maxims which the judges are almost daily enforcing:—namely, that in the administration of justice, the court ought to take cognizance only of such facts as are brought before it.

To return to the Lancet. Mr. Abernethy is determined, if possible, to prevent the publication of his lectures, and this for more reasons than one. First, the doctor is known to indulge in certain freedoms and eccentricities in his discourses, which pass very well viva voce, in the theatre of Bartholomew's hospital, but which do not appear quite so seemly in print. Another reason is, " Othello's occupation would be! gone"—partly at least; the jokes and drolleries, which are annually repeated to every new crop of medical students, would lose much of their novelty and interest, were a tolerably correct and verbatim report of the lectures to be published.

Parliament, it is said, will be prorogued on the 7th of July.—It appears from the official returns of Livoma, in 1823, that the wolves devoured 1,841 horses, 1,243 foals, 1,807 horned cattle; besides an immense number of calves, sheep, lambs, swine, sucking pigs, geese, &c.—Fifty-seven protestant peers have already signed the resolutions in favour of catholic emancipation.

13.—The Weather.—How intensely hot it is to be sure, and it seems likely to continue, too. I wish some of our medical advisers would publish a few short hints on the art of refrigeration. I have tried two ways myself—low living and high living. The first certainly tends to keep the body cool, but it is accompanied with an increased susceptibility, and depression of spirits far from agreeable. High living, on the other hand, is heating, but exhilarates the mind, and causes an dtourderie that enables one to pass the time more pleasantly. On the whole, I think, in cold, or hot weather, a generous diet is best; in the last in particular, it supplies that exhaustion of spirits and fluids, produced by evaporation, and other processes of nature.

OTecfetg Caleno'ar.
Bunt XVIII.—Saturday.

High Water, Mom. IJI. 24 m.-Even. IJl.K m.
Sun rises III. 43 m.; sets VIII. 17 m.

Chronology. — 1805. Expired at Knightsbridge, near London, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, Arthur Murphy, author of Several esteemed dramatic compositions, a much-admired translation of Tacitus, and some able '.political pamphlets. which often falls in sunshine, and left it with its spirit withered, and a canker at the heart. Poor Emily! from the hour of his departure she held not up her head; and the kindness and pity of friends, whom she had deceived, only struck arrows of remorse into her heart, and she sauk away, and away, her fine form withering and sinking gradually into the grave, like leaves from the fiowers of autumn, till nothing but a fragile stem remained! That, too, is now snapped, and the bells are tolling lost Emily's knell! Ought I now to be merry, though they are bringing to our memories the glories of Waterloo?

"* 1815.—Anniversary of the victory of Waterloo.

Stone XtX.—Sunday.

High-Water. Morn.IV. 0m.—Even. IV.17m. Sflnuay Lessons: Morn. 1 Sam. 2; Luke 3. Even. 1 Sam. 3;'Gal. 3.

On this day, 1215, Magna Chahta,

the great charter of the liberties of England, and the basis of our laws and privileges, was extorted from the arbitrary and capricous king John. It was signed on Runny-mead, a meadow on the banks of the Thames," between Staines and Windsor. '. , .'

3,ttnt XX.—Monday.

High Water, Morn. IV. 36 m.r-Even. IV.56 m. Hay Harvest.—The country is nowenlivened by the gambols.'of the hay harvest. It is one of the busiest and most agreeable of rural occupations; both sexes," and all ages, are engaged in it: the fra-: grance of the new mown grass, the gaiety; of surrounding object?, and . the. genial! warmth of the weather,: all. cbnspjre to render it a season of delight and pleasure to the beholder. Milton, in his l'Allegro,, beautifully expresses hay-time and its frolics:—1 < -..- -,...*• i .!--. i

-: . •' ,• '• !" '. 1

, " Or, if the earlier season lead. '•..

'To the taon'd haycock in the mead..

Sometimes 'with.secure delight ,"„'.

The uplarfd hamlets will invite,

When tlie merry bells i;ing rounds'

And the jocund rebecks sound

To many a youth,' and many a maid,

Dancing in the chequer'd shade.

And young and old come forth to play,.

On a sunshine holiday;

'Till the livelong daylight fail,

Then to the spicy nuthrown ale."

3JutU XXL—Tuesday.

High Water, Morn. V.17 m.—Even.V. 37 m.

Longest-day.—This day is, in London, 16 h. 34 m. 5 sec.; allowing 9 m. 16 sec. for refraction.

Sunt XXII.—Wednesday.

High Water, Morn. VI. 2 m.—Even. VI. 26 m. Trinity Term ends.

Sum XXIII.—Thursday.

HighWater|Morn.VI. 53 m.—Even. VII. 20 m.

Chronology'. — Expired Catharine Macaulay Graham,,a celebrated English historian, and political and didactic writer.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

Yet, though they clamour at our birth, and moan over us in death, there is a season when it would be warring with duty not to listen and obey the call of my village bells. It is when we are commanded to "do no manner of work f for it is the Lord's day, and we should honour it. When I behold the sons of labour, they, from whose brows have fallen, for six days, great drops of sweat, fertilizing the lands they till, dressed on the seventh morn in their Sunday suits, congregating in the church-yard beneath the time-hallowed yew-trees, or resting upon the tombstones beneath which the " forefathers of the hamlet sleep," and waiting anxiously, but not impatiently, the arrival of the minister, accompanied, it may be, with the Addison, and the Roger de Coverley of the little community, I do then think that there is something more than mortal, something that passeth into the soul, as it were, through the imagination in the chiming of my village bells, and I am ready to exclaim—

"Oh! still for me let merry bells peel out

their holy chime, Or minstrels, on the village green, attune

their rustic rhyme; And let the church I lov'd so well ne'er

crumble and decay, Nor all its happy choristers fall—fall—from

earth away."

Come then, for after all we know, the world, like the seasons, has its hours of sunshine as well as cloud—smiles as well as tears—come then, though Jessy lost her brave soldier in the battle-field, and the earth is just heaped upon wronged Emily's grave, and we have seen the "mourners follow after them," we will yet believe that they are in those happy realms—" where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest;" and, as we listen to the merry music that comes from the church-belfry, we will

cheerfully mingle In the revelry of the marriage feast, and consider how joyous, at this moment, is the old corporal, at the squire's lodge ; and how rejoiced are Mary and Charles Wilton that it is the anniversary of Waterloo, and that for them the winds are filled with the melody of my village bells. June 18, 1825.

MR. M'CULLOCH'S LECTURES.

LECTURE XXV

Taxes on IncomeTithesTheir Oppressiveness on all ClassesTaxes on CommoditiesOn Wages and ProfitsAbsenteeism,

Having in the last lecture explained the general principles of taxation, Mr. M'Culloch proceeded to show the effect of particular taxes on income, on commodities, wages, and profits.

It has been argued by M. Say, and other able economists, that an income-tax ought not to bear the same relation to all incomes. A tax of 10/., for example, is more felt by the possessor of an income of 100/., than a tax of 100/. on the possessor of an income of 1000/. Mr. M. could not concur in this opinion; every tax ought to leave individuals in the same relative situation it found them, and it can only do this by taking the same proportion of their incomes from each. That such a tax will be more acutely felt by the poorer than the wealthier classes is undeniable; but the same is true of taxes on commodities : it is one of the evils of poverty, and not of equal taxation.

The objection, that the income-tax makes no distinction between individuals having a numerous family to support and the retired bachelors and maidens, is not less void of foundation. In fact, the peculiar excellence of the income-tax consists in making no such distinction—in sweeping with indiscriminate severity its equal demands from all.

If the income-tax could be /airly collected, it would be one of the most impartial and least objectionable taxes that it is possible to impose. It may, however, be laid down as an axiom, that every tax which affords great facility of evasion is essentially defective; and there are good reasons for thinking that this must always be the case with the income-tax. The income derived from land, houses, and real property, may be learned without much difficulty ; but it is impossible to ascertain the wages of professional per

« НазадПродовжити »