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violent death. But a thing equally strange, and a blasphemy almost unaccountable, is the fancy of a Prussian or Saxon baron, who wrote a book to prove that Christ committed suicide, for which he had no other argument than that, in fact, he had surrendered himself unresistingly into the hands of his enemies, and had in a manner caused his own death. This, however, describes the case of every martyr that ever was or can be. It is the very merit and grandeur of the martyr, that he proclaims the truth with his eyes open to the consequences of proclaiming it. Those consequences are connected with the truth, but not by any natural link the connexion is by means of false views, which it is the very business of the martyr to destroy. And, if a man founds my death upon an act which my conscience enjoins, even though I am aware and fully warned that he will found my death upon it, I am not, therefore, guilty of suicide. For, by the supposition, I was obliged to the act in question by the highest of all obligations, viz. moral obligation, which far transcends all physical obligation; so that, whatever excuse attaches to a physical necessity, attaches, à fortiori, to the moral necessity. The case is, therefore, precisely the same as if he had said-" I will put you to death if the frost benumbs your feet." The answer is-" I cannot help this effect of frost." Far less can I help revealing a celestial truth. I have no power, no liberty, to forbear. And, in killing me, he punishes me for a mere necessity of my situation and my knowledge.
It is urged that brutes never commit suicide-except, indeed, the salamander, who has been suspected of loose principles in this point; and we ourselves knew a man who constantly affirmed that a horse of his had committed suicide, by violently throwing himself from the summit of a precipice. "But why"- -as we still asked him
"why should the horse have committed felony on himself? Were oats rising in the market?-or was he in love? or vexed by politics? — or could a horse, and a young one rising four, be supposed to suffer from tædium vita?" Meantime, as respects the general question of brute suicides, two points must be regarded,-1st, That brutes are cut off from the vast world of moral and imaginative sufferings entailed upon man; 2dly, That this very immunity presupposes another immunity
"A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain,"
in the far coarser and less irritable animal organization which must be the basis of an insulated physical sensibility. Brutes can neither suffer from intellectual passions, nor, probably, from very complex derangements of the animal system; so that in them the motives to suicide, the temptations to suicide, are prodigiously diminished. Nor are they ever alive to "the sublime attractions of the grave." It is, however, a humiliating reflection, that, if any brutes can feel such aspirations, it must be those which are under the care of man. Doubtless the happiness of brutes is sometimes extended by man; but also, too palpably, their misery.
Why suicide is not noticed in the New Testament is a problem yet open to the profound investigator. VI. Duelling. No one case, in the vast volume of casuistry, is so difficult to treat with justice and reasonable adaptation to the spirit of modern times, as this of duelling. For, as to those who reason all upon one side, and never hearken in good faith to objections or difficulties, such people convince nobody but those who were already convinced before they began. At present, (1839,) society has for some years been taking a lurch to one side against duelling: but inevitably a reaction
not the act of suicide, but a suicidal person. And possibly Donne, who was a good scholar, may so mean it to be understood in his title page. Heliogabalus, says Lampridius, had been told by the Syrian priests that he should be Biathanatos, i. e. should commit suicide. He provided, therefore, ropes of purple and gold intertwisted, that he might hang himself imperatorially. He provided golden swords, that he might run himself through as became Cæsar, He had poisons enclosed in jewels, that he might drink his farewell heeltaps, if drink he must, in a princely style. Other modes of august death he had prepared. Unfortunately all were unavailing, for he was murdered and dragged through the common sewers by ropes, without either purple or gold in their base composition. The poor fellow has been sadly abused in history; but, after all, he was a mere boy, and as mad as a March hare.
will succeed; for, after all, be it as much opposed as it may to Christianity, duelling performs such important functions in society as now constituted we mean by the sense of instant personal accountability which it diffuses universally amongst gentlemen, and all who have much sensibility to the point of honour-that, for one life which it takes away as an occasional sacrifice, it saves myriads from outrage and affronts-millions from the anxiety attached to inferior bodily strength. However, it is no part of our present purpose to plead the cause of duelling, though pleaded it must be, more fairly than it ever has been, before any progress will be made in suppressing it.
But the point which we wish to notice at present, is the universal blunder about the Romans and Greeks. They, it is alleged, fought no duels: and occasion is thence taken to make very disadvantageous reflections upon us, the men of this Christian era, who, in defiance of our greater light, do fight duels. Lord Bacon himself is duped by this enormous blunder, and founds upon it a long speech in the Star-Chamber.
Now, in the first place, who does not see that, if the Pagans really were enabled by their religion to master their movements of personal anger and hatred, the inevitable inference will be to the disadvantage of Christianity. It I would be a clear case. Christianity and Paganism have been separately tried as means of self-control: Christianity has flagrantly failed: Paganism succeeded universally; not having been found unequal to the task in any one known instance.
But this is not so. A profounder error never existed. No religious influence whatever restrained the Greek or the Roman from fighting a duel. It was purely a civic influence, and it was sustained by this remarkable usage -in itself a standing opprobrium to both Greek and Roman-viz. the unlimited license of tongue allowed to anger in the ancient assemblies and senates. This liberty of foul language operated in two ways: 1st, Being universal, it took away all ground for feeling the words of an antagonist as any personal insult; so he had rarely a motive for a duel. 2dly, The anger was thus less acute; yet, if it were
acute, then this Billingsgate resource furnished an instantaneous vehicle for expectorating the wrath. Look, for example, at Cicero's orations against Mark Antony, or Catiline, or against Piso. This last person was a senator of the very highest rank, family, connexions; yet, in the course of a few. pages, does Cicero, a man of letters, polished to the extreme standard of Rome, address him by the elegant appellations of "filth," "mud," "carrion;" (projectum cadaver.) How could Piso have complained? It would have been said " Oh, there's an end of republican simplicity, if plain speaking is to be put down." And then it would have been added invidiously— "Better men than ever stood in your shoes have borne worse language. Will you complain of what was toler. ated by Africanus, by Paulus Æmilius, by Marius, by Sylla?" Who could reply to that? And why should Piso have even wished to call out his foulmouthed antagonist? On the contrary, a far more genial revenge awaited him than any sword could have furnished. Pass but an hour, and you will hear Piso speaking-it will then be his turn-every dog has his day; and, though not quite so eloquent as his brilliant enemy, he is yet eloquent enough for the purposes of revenge-he is eloquent enough to call Cicero "filth," "mud," "carrion."
No: the reason of our modern duelling lies deeper than is supposed; it lies in the principle of honour—a direct product of chivalry-as that was in part a product of Christianity. The sense of honour did not exist in Pagan times. Natural equity, and the equity of civil laws-those were the two moral forces under which men acted. Honour applies to cases where both those forces are silent. And precisely because they had no such sense, and because their revenge emptied itself by the basest of all channels, viz. foul speaking and license of tongue, was it that the Greeks and Romans had no duelling. It was no glory to them that they had not, but the foulest blot on their moral grandeur.
How it was that Christianity was able, mediately, to generate the principle of honour, is a separate problem. But this is the true solution of that common casuistical question about duelling.
PICTURE EXHIBITIONS-NATIONAL GALLERY-BRITISH INSTITUTION.
ONE would think that, while private gentlemen are enriching their galleries with new purchases, and others, who never had collections, are making them, there would be no great difficulty in advantageously increasing our National Gallery. There are trustees for the purpose; but we never hear of any competition between them and private purchasers. What is the meaning of this? Cannot the nation afford? Oh, yes!-when they do buy, they give money enough. Are they afraid of the responsibility-of having their knowledge and taste called in question? Then it would be a great virtue in them to retire; and, dismissing them, we would say, as the archbishop said to Gil Blas, we wish you "every success in the world, and a little more taste." Are the markets shut? By no means; there are numerous, and some most respectable dealers, whose merchandise is pictures; there are auctions of pictures; and only a few weeks ago we saw a smart competition at one, and some good pictures, though not in good condition, sold, when a beautiful Gaspar Poussin was knocked down for L.500.
speak of one of the many auctions-at most there is something worth having; but neither at auctions nor at the collections of dealers are the grand trustees for the National Gallery to be seen or heard of, by themselves or by deputy. We have heard it said that they reject all overtures from professed dealers, most of whom now cease to offer them a view of their galleries. Of whom, then, do they purchase, when they do purchase? We will not attribute to them any jobbing-we will not suppose they wish to favour any one by kindly taking pictures of doubtful character off their hands-we will attribute to them nothing worse than a want of confidence in their own judgment, and that perhaps implies a deficiency in the judgment itself. We say they have not taste to cater for the public; and therefore they take what they conceive to be the only safe way to themselves. There are certain persons to whom the world has given a very large share of reputation for their knowledge of pictures. They are persons of acknowledged taste:
let us then prevail upon them to sell, say the trustees, and we shall be sure to be right. Never mind what we give; the sum given will stamp a value-our taste cannot be called in question-we are well backed: and so, with this lion's provider going before them, they make a few purchases, at prices so exorbitant as to strike all the moderate and professional dealers with instant envy, at the mercantile success of the great man who does but spare his treasures. Sometimes, we believe, an ill grace is affected-a disinclination to spare, if the purchase is to be for the National Gallery; and then a system of manoeuvring is set about, the consequences of which are, that two or three pictures are taken together, "the cheese and the grindstones," and both parties are wondrously pleased with the transaction, and the taste of the public astonished. Still the public have the valuable information, in a catalogue, that the pictures came from the celebrated collection of Mr So-and-so. But suppose this lion's provider should, after all, be a person of capricious taste, who so little knows his own mind, that what pleases today must be discarded to-morrow; who has alternately fits of his admirationthe grand of art to-day, and the mere bijouterie and littlenesses of it to-morrow; extravagant in his whims, not reckoning cost; whose very parting with good things should make the steadiness of his taste, and consequently its accuracy, questionable. Let him be one who "diruit, ædificat, mutat quadrata rotundis ;" in such a case, it is to be feared the trustees may sometimes exhibit the vagaries of that ambling light, and not find themselves upon the most certain footing.
There is another method of making a gallery, which might, under restrictions, be well enough-" the legacy system." On this we say, let the nation by all means accept good things bequeathed, but let them also have a power to reject, or they may be, and indeed still are, sadly bur dened with refuse; but to publish, as they are doing by speeches in the House of Commons, a beggarly petition of the kind, is utterly unworthy
the object and the character of a National Gallery.
We quarrel with the trustees; for they do little, and the little they do is with little judgment, and at extravagant cost; but mostly we complain of what they do not do. It is not of very great consequence if we give double or treble the value for what is excellent; but it is vexatious to see continually admirable works, that might ornament the public collection, either irretrievably going out of the country, or being settled in private collections, to which the public can have no access. There is an anecdote which exemplifies the little reliance these persons, whom the nation has ap. pointed to purchase for the collection, can have, or indeed ought to have, upon their own judgment. Plympton, the native town of Sir Joshua, wishing to pay honour to so great a man, and proud, at the same time, to benefit themselves by the honour meant to be conferred, elected Sir Joshua Reynolds as mayor of the town, hinting, at the same time, that, if his personal attendance was inconvenient, he should send his substitute. The great painter did so, and, in time for their feast-day, sent them his own portrait, an admirable picture; we believe Sir William Elford, no bad judge, received it on its arrival, and it was of course honourably welcomed as the substitute. Then "the arts" were "liberal," and bestowed a treasure; but, in process of time, the town became "liberal," and, under the "liberal municipal law," preferred Joseph's arithmetic to Sir Joshua's fame and picture, and their own honour accruing from the possession. The municipal sacrificed the munificent. The gift went to auction with the liberal corporation's other effects. Lord Valletort was the purchaser; and, thinking it a great gain for the National Gallery, offered it to the trustees. They met, not knowing probably the story of the picture, and instantly, as became connoisseurs, they had their misgivings. A nobleman of great influence decided on its being a copy, and a copy it was; and thus they held their inquest over Sir Joshua's person, and delivered in their verdict, non est inventus." When the originality was ascertained, and the whole history known, they made ample amends by more ample offers, in vain; and the walls of the "Na
tional" still re-echo the coroner's verdict, non est inventus." The picture was very pure, in consequence of its having been well preserved in a dry room, and carefully kept from the time it was received from Sir Joshua to the dispersion of the corporation effects of Plympton.
It is universally acknowledged that the building of the National Gallery is a national disgrace-an utter failure. It has no beauty in itself, and it would be difficult to design rooms more unfit, both as to light and dimensions, for the exhibition of pictures. You have perpetually to shift and manage the blinds, and yet can scarcely get a light for any picture; nor do we think the attempt of hanging them forward, for the purpose, at all successful. The pictures, indeed, excepting some few which are improved by varnishing alone, looked infinitely better in the old rooms in Pall-Mall. Nothing can be more absurd than the practice of suiting pictures to rooms. Surely, if it be of moment to the nation to give thousands for a picture, it ought to be worth while to have it seen to the best advantage; and this is, generally speaking, impossible, where many are together, and in evil and incongruous juxtaposition in a large room. lovely would the Claudes be-and probably they are the finest in the world— were they each in a room with a single and most appropriate light; or, if this may not be practicable, let there be no more than three or four in one apartment. We were surprised, knowing well their real beauties, to see them look so very ill: we will not give their effect epithets, because the fault is not in the works. It is lamentable to see such wonders of art sacrificed. The fact is, long galleries, and large galleries, and high galleries, are all absurd things. There is an architectural difficulty to be overcome, without doubt; but architectural genius should overcome that. We would see pictures and not rooms; and therefore would have a great number and a great variety of apartments. Leave "showrooms" to milliners and upholsterersand such show-rooms! There is no end to mounting the "Gradus ad Parnassum," where the Muses are lodged as in an hospital of invalids. And why should Mr Wilkins allow fifty years for filling these rooms? Fifty years! Why, one single collection might be
purchased at once, and so might the building be filled without delay. Such a calculation is most absurd. The whole will, however, doubtless be given up to the Academy, in spite of Hum and Fum ;" and then, as Sir Robert Peel proposed, a proper gallery might be built, and in a proper place.
When such a scheme is entertained, we sincerely hope a few plain hints will be laid before the architect-as, to have variety of rooms of all heights and dimensions-that no picture may be in a bad light-nor hung too high. They should be rather below than above the eye; for not only so are they badly seen, but they are uncomfortably seen.. The eye, and the mind through the eye, is offended by the upward posi tion, and by losing the shelter from glare, which the eyelash and brow afford, when pictures are seen below the eye.
If there be difficulties in making required arrangements, and at the same time in preserving the beauty of an architectural plan, let at least the pictures be the first consi deration; do not let them be sacrificed to external show. Indeed, such a building should avoid, as much as may be, any precise plan for its ultimate effect, because it should be constructed to admit of the most numerous and largest additions.
The catalogue now contains only 172 pictures. We believe that, with due exertions, the trustees might in a few months double the number; before doing which, there should be the preliminary step of weeding the collection. The new rooms contain some additions. The bequest of Lord Farnborough is a great thing. He had not one bad picture. He has enriched the gallery in landThe Gasscape, which was wanted. par Poussin, 161, is one of the very best of the master. It is wonderfully free, and has a very grand simplicity. It is what some may call slightly painted, for there is no elaborate finish, but there is that which is much betterexecution. It is painted off at once, with great purity and freshness of colour. It is a lovely pastoral subject: a small town among the mountains, with which distance and foreground are in a masterly manner connected. There is a great variety of lines; but they so assist each other by his peculiar art of composition, which we have elsewhere endeavoured to de
velop, that the eye is not at all aware