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ry 29th, 1848. A whole-length, by Alfred Crowquill, appeared in "Frazer's Magazine" some years prior to 1848; and a portrait of him in very early life, by Drummond, was published in "The Mirror" for January, 1797.
LETTERS FROM I. D'ISRAELI, ESQ., THE AUTHOR OF THE CURI-
"November 10th, 1838.
"MY DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON,-I am the most unworthy receiver of your ever beautiful book, and the kindness of remembering me is
"Plus belle que la Beauté.'
"I hope you read some time ago a note from me to announce to you a Friesic version of some very tender philosophy on life and death, composed by you in the Book of Beauty' of 1834.
"The object was to show the analogy between our Saxon, or Friesic, and our English, freed of all foreign words. I do not know whether you will rejoice to understand that of seventy and seven words, carefully counted, of which your stanzas consist, you have not more than eight foreigners, so that you wrote pure Saxon, which, they say, is the rarest and most difficult affair possible, most of our writers being great corruptors of the morality of words, or, as they say, of language. I put "the eight foreigners" down, like the Polish gentleman's paws, whose patriotism, I see, is in a quarrel:
"Pain,' 'hours,' 'joy,'' scold,' 'vanish,'' sceptered,' 'empire,' ' brief.' "You see, my dear lady, what a charming thing it is to be simple and natural, for then you are sure to write Saxon. Shakspeare wrote Saxon, for he kn how to write; Addison did not know any thing of Saxon, and the consequence is that Addison never wrote English. I hope Saxon will not go out of fashion; but, whether it does or not, you must continue to write such stanzas as these on Life and Death. I. D'ISRAELI."
"1 St. James's Place, 5th of February. "I write to you from the sofa, where I have been laid prostrate by my old enemy, and fairly captured, almost ever since I had the pleasure of being with you.
"Could I have bound these arthritic heels of mine with the small light pinions of the only god who ever wore wings to his, I should, ere now, have made a descent on Gore House; but I have nothing now left, I fear, but to dwell on Imaginary Conversations.' I. D'ISRAELI."
THE RIGHT HON. BENJAMIN D'ISRAELI, M.P.
The eldest son of the distinguished litterateur who was the subject of the preceding notice, Benjamin D'Israeli, was born in
1805. The literary tastes and talents of the father had been transmitted to the eldest son, and had given early promise, in this instance, of intellectual powers of the highest order, which was not disappointed.
He traveled in Germany at an early age, and subsequently, in 1826, in Italy and the Levant. In 1829 and 1830 he visited Constantinople, Syria, and Egypt, accompanied as far as Syria by his sister.*
In 1831, on his return to England, he found the country involved in the Reform agitation. He became a candidate for the borough of Chipping Wycombe, on principles neither Whig nor Tory, but, in general, rather theoretically Radical, and on two points of the charter quite practically so; on the hustings a faradvanced Reformer, an advocate of short Parliaments, and vote by ballot. He was defeated at this election, and also at a subsequent one.
The author of "Vivian Grey," "The Young Duke,” “Henrietta Temple," "Venetia," "Contarini Fleming," "Coningsby," "Sybil," "Tancred,' ," "The Wondrous Lady of Alroy," &c., &c., &c., the former votary of the Muses, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, was one of the most intimate literary friends of Lady Blessington. Many years ago (upward of twenty) I frequently met Mr. D'Israeli at Lady Blessington's abode in Seamore Place. It required no ghost from the grave, or rapping spirit from the invisible world, to predicate, even then, the success of young D'Israeli in public life. Though in general society he was habitually silent and reserved, he was closely observant. It required generally a subject of more than common interest to produce the fitting degree of enthusiasm to animate and to stimulate him into the exercise of his marvelous powers of conversation. When duly excited, however, his command of language was truly wonderful, his sarcasm unsurpassed; the readiness of his wit, the quickness of his perception, the grasp of mind that enabled him to seize on all the parts of any subject under discussion, those only would venture to call in question who had never been in his company at the period I refer to.
*The young lady died on their tour in Palestine.
The natural turn of his mind was then of an imaginative, romantic kind; but his political pursuits were beginning to exert a controlling influence over this tendency, and it then only occasionally broke through the staid deportment of the sombre politician, and the solemn aspect of grave and thoughtful conservatism. The struggles of an early literary career, the strife of a political one in more advanced years, the wear and tear of a mind whose ruling passion was ambition, have now given a premature character of care and weariness of spirit to the outward as well as the inward man of Mr. D'Israeli. I have met few men, in any country, with more unmistakable marks of genius than he possesses. If strong convictions, sound principles, steadfast opinions, and settled purposes in political action were always found associated with exalted intellectual qualities like those of Mr. D'Israeli, there is no man in this country who would be more formidable to his opponents or serviceable to the
A man who sets out in a parliamentary career without birth, fortune, political influence, or commercial interest at his back, determined not to be tabooed, not to be intimidated, discouraged, or run down by any party, or by all factions in the House of Commons, and triumphs solely by his intellectual power over all impediments to his unfailing and undiscourageable efforts, must have the true elements of greatness in his composition. If such a man lends the powers that are in him to any party for objects that are not generous, grand, and good, he is not faithful to himself, or likely to be enabled to be eminently useful to his country.
One of the earliest works of fiction of Mr. D'Israeli was "Contarini Fleming," which appeared in 1833, a psychological romance. In 1834 appeared " A Vindication of the British Constitution," a thing that has never been defined or vanquished, but is perpetually vindicated. In 1835, on the establishment of a Conservative ministry, Mr. D'Israeli was a candidate for the borough of Taunton, declared himself in favor of Conservative principles, and was considered a supporter of Peel. At this election he made an attack on Mr. O'Connell, which was not
prudent, nor one likely to pass with impunity. Mr. O'Connell replied, and the result was a challenge to the son of Mr. O'Connell, the offending party having long previously made a declaration, after a rencounter fatal to his antagonist, that he would fight no more. That challenge was declined by O'Connell's son. The correspondence ended with the intimation to O'Connell, "We shall meet at Philippi," the thrashing-floor of the House of Commons being evidently intended by Mr. D'Israeli, by the allusion to the Thracian field of Philippi, a place, no doubt, thus fitly designated, and designed to be the arena of many future tussles of the young Octavius of new England with the elder Dan, the Brutus of old Ireland, the scene of many contemplated Philippics, Peelics, and O'Connell-licks, all in petto.
In 1837, Mr. D'Israeli, the grandson of the worthy Venetian of the Hebrew nation, being highly popular with the ultra-Protestant Tory party generally, and the champions of genuine uncorrupted Christianity of Maidstone, as maintained by the Earl of Winchelsea, of Battersea Fields celebrity, in particular, was returned to Parliament, greatly indebted to Mr. O'Connell's abuse and uncomplimentary genealogical allusions for their favor. Octavius of young England arrived at Philippi, burning with chivalrous ardor in defense of Protestant ascendency and the corn-laws, it may be presumed, took his place on the Conservative side of the great field of politics, vulgarly called the House of Commons. Brutus, of old Ireland, semper paratus for assault or for defense, was on the opposite side fornenst Octavius. And lo! Greek met Greek for many nights, and no great "tug of war" ensued, and not a grease-mark on the floor indicated a spot where any portion of the substance of the Maidstone combatant had been consumed, or so much as the tip of the tail of the Kilkenny animal denoted that any deadly contest had taken place; and the dreadful practice had existed that would prevail, no doubt, more extensively among honorable gentlemen in Philippi, namely, of swallowing up one another in the heat of a debate, if they had not adopted the more discreet plan of swallowing their own words, and dealing with their political principles as tourists do with poached eggs on a fast-day, when they
are traveling, like Mr. Whiteside and Lord Roden, "for their sins," in Romish countries.
But there was a far more remarkable prophecy of Mr. D'Israeli than the one about the meeting at Philippi, on his seizing the first opportunity, after his return, that presented itself of addressing the House. The attempt was a failure; but whether the fault of the audience or the orator, is of little moment. Mr. D'Israeli, with the inspiration of a true man of genius, believed in his own powers, and felt they must ultimately prevail. He turned to the hooters, the groaners, the hissers, the collective wisdom that crows like cocks and neighs like horses, the whitechokered, white-vested young gentlemen of the Lower House, who have dined, and toward midnight are to be found kicking their heels on the benches in the body of the House, and recumbent in the side galleries-the noisy members, the half-drunken, half-dreaming portion of the collective wisdom-and he said to the conscript fathers, calmly and with emphasis, "The time will come when you shall hear me." The man who uttered words like these at the onset of his career in the House of Commons, and set to work right in earnest to verify his prediction, is assuredly no common man. They were words of grave offense to the hereditary governing class, the old English family legislators, who have acquired prescriptive right to rule this land. The literary parvenu was disliked and despised by them. He could not refer to half a dozen grandfathers of great fortunes and large estates in support of his pretensions, to big-wigged progenitors who had been successful lawyers, famous courtiers, or descendants of celebrated courtesans in ancient times. He could only go back to a father who had ennobled himself by the exercise of his genius, and had left a commodity of a great literary name to a son highly gifted to keep in honor and respect.
But the worst of it, in the opinion of the old aristocratic parties who divide the advantages and privilege of governing the country between them, the son of a mere author, who dared to address the words to them, "The time will come when you shall hear me," accomplished his prediction: he compelled them to hear him with profound attention. He forced his way into the