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refuse the requests even of those whom they know to be in distress : it is, therefore, with a distant hope I venture to solicit such favor; but you will forgive me, sir, if you do not think proper to relieve. It is impossible that sentiments like yours ean proceed from any but a humane and generous heart,
I will call upon you, sir, tomorrow, and if I have not the happiness to obtain credit with you, I must submit to my fate. My existence is pain to myself, and every one near and dear to me are distressed in my distresses. My connections, once the source of happiness, now embitter the reverse of my fortune; and I have only to hope a speedy end to a life so unpromisingly begun: in which (though it ought not to be boasted of), I can reap some consolation from looking to the end of it. I am, sir, with the greatest respect, your obedient and most humble servant,
JAMES MACKINTOSH, 1765-1832.
JAMES MACKINTOSU, one of the most distinguished men of his time, and who attained eminence in literature, philosophy, history, and politics, was born in Aldourie, on the banks of Loch Ness, Scotland, on the 24th of October, 1765. At a very early age, he exhibited a remarkable fondness for abstruse speculations, and read such books as fell in his way; among which were the works of Pope and Swift. In 1780, he went to the College of Aberdeen, where he was recognized, by common consent, as the first scholar there ; whilst his courteous demeanor, refined manners, playful fancy, and easy flow of elocution, rendered him a general favorite among his companions. His chief associate was the Rev. Robert Hall, whom the exclusive system of the English universities had forced to seek, in this northern seminary, that academical education which was denied to him, as a “Dissenter," in his own country. The society and conversation of Hall had great influence on Mackintosh's mind, and their intellectual combats were almost unceasing.
• In 1803, he received the "honor (?) of knighthood," and was then “the Right Honorable Sir James Mackintosh."
« Behold the child, by nature's kindly law
In 1784, having taken his degree, he set out for Edinburgh to commence the study of physic, which he had made choice of as a profession. Here a new world was opened to him, and he was introduced into the first literary society of that renowned metropolis. But metaphysical, and political and scientific speculation, rather than the study of his profession, engrossed his attention, and, after three years spent in irregular application, he became a candidate for a degree. Having obtained his diploma, he quitted Edinburgh in September, 1787, with a large stock of miscellaneous information, but without having concentrated his powers upon any one pursuit, or given to professional subjects that systematic attention which is indispensable to the attainment of professional eminence.
Early in 1788, he set out for London, and arrived at that great theatre of action at one of the most critical periods of the world's history. “An ardent enthusiast for political amelioration, he came in contact with society when it was already heaving with the first throes of that great convulsion which was soon to overturn all the institutions of a neighboring country, and to shake those of every other to their lowest foundations." In the discus. sions which were then going on, he was eager to take a part, and his failure to receive a medical appointment, which he had expected, led him to think seriously of abandoning the profession he had chosen. Early in 1789, he was married to Miss Catharine Stuart, a young lady of a respectable Scotch family, and, at the age of twenty-four, he found himself with no prospect of any immediate professional settlement, his little fortune left him by his father rapidly diminishing, and a wife to provide for.
An opportunity now presented itself which was to give to Mackintosh that prominence in the world of politics which he had so long desired. In 1790, appeared Burke's celebrated “Reflections on the French Revolution," than which no work, probably, ever excited so immediate, intense, and universal an interest in Great Britain. By some it was arded as the most marvellous union of wisdom and genius that had ever appeared, while to others—those who sympathized more with the efforts of the people of France to rid themselves of monarchy-it seemed inconsistent with the former life and opinions of the author, and to contain much that was exceptionable. Numerous replies immediately appeared, but none, excepting the “Rights of Man" of Thomas Paine, were deemed of any remarkable power until, in April, 1791, appeared “Vindiciæ Gallicæ, or a Defence of the French Revolution and its English Admirers against the Accusations of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke." This work had been finished in a great hurry, but, with all its defects and imperfections, it at once placed the author in the very front rank of those who upheld the cause of France, caused him to be courted and caressed on all sides, and made him, as he says, “ the lion of London."
In 1795, Mr. Mackintosh was called to the bar, at which he rose with rapid and sure steps. In 1799, he delivered a course of lectures, at Lincoln's Inn, upon the Law of Nature and of Nations, which gained him much credit. He was induced to publish the introductory lecture, which was no sooner from the press than commendations poured in upon him from
every quarter. In 1803, an event occurred in his life which gave him the highest fame as an advocate. On the 21st of February of that year took place the celebrated trial of M. Peltier, an emigrant French royalist, for a libel on the First Consul of France-Bonaparte. Mr. Mackintosh was counsel for the accused, and his address delivered on that occasion has been said to be “one of the most splendid displays of eloquence ever exhibited in a court of justice a monument of genius, learning, and eloquence."
In 1804, he was appointed by the government to the office of Recorder of Bombay, and, after having received the customary honor of knighthood, sailed with his family for India. By this step he was in hopes of improving his pecuniary resources, and laid out great plans in the walks of literature ; but he returned home, in 1812," with broken health and spirits, uncertain prospects, and vast materials for works which were never to be completed. He soon after entered Parliament, and continued in it to the end of his days—always true to liberal principles. He contributed articles of great value to the 'Edinburgh Review,' and in a preliminary discourse to the 'Encyclopædia,' furnished by far the best history of ethical philoso. phy that has ever been given to the world. He also published, in three volumes, a popular and abridged History of England' for 'Lardner's Cabi. net Cyclopædia,' which has been highly praised for its enlarged and liberal views; and he was engaged in a ‘History of the Revolution of 1688,'? when he was suddenly called away, on the 30th of May, 1832, regretted with more sincerity, and admired with less envy, than any other man of his age."
“ The intellectual character of Sir James Mackintosh cannot be unknown to any one acquainted with his works, or who has ever read many pages of his ‘Memoirs ;' and it is needless, therefore, to speak here of his great knowledge, the singular union of ingenuity and soundness in his speculations, his perfect candor and temper in discussion, the pure and lofty morality to which he strove to elevate the minds of others, and in his own conduct to copform. These meriis, we believe, will no longer be denied by any who have heard of his name or looked at his writ. ings. But there were other traits of his intellect which could only be known to those who were of his acquaintance, and which it is still desirable that the readers of the Memoirs' should bear in mind. One of these was that ready and prodigious memory by which all that he learned seemed to be at once engraved on the proper compartment of his mind, and to present itself the moment it was required; another, still more remarkable, was the singular maturity and completeness of all his views and opinions, even upon the most abstruse and complicated questions, though raised without design or preparation, in the casual course of conversation. * * The vast extent of his information, and the natural gayety of his temper, joined to the inherent kindness of his disposition, made his conversation at once the most instructive and the most generally pleasing that could be ima.
· Read a masterly account of this fragment in the sixty-second volume of the “ Edinburgh Review ;" also, “ Memoirs of his Life,' by his son Robert.
• Read a very interesting and able notice of his “ Memoirs” in the “ Edinburgh Review," vol. lxii. p. 205.
DEATH OF HIS WIFE-GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MAN.
Allow me, in justice to her memory, to tell you what she was, and what I owed her. I was guided in my choice only by the blind affection of my youth. I found an intelligent companion, and a tender friend, a prudent monitress, the most faithful of wives, and a mother as tender as children ever had the misfortune to lose. I met a woman who, by the tender management of my weaknesses, gradually corrected the most pernicious of them, She became prudent from affection; and though of the most generous nature, she was taught economy and frugality by her love for me. During the most critical period of my life, she preserved order in my affairs, from the care of which she relieved me. Το her I owe whatever I am; to her whatever I shall be.
The philosophy which I have learnt only teaches me that virtue and friendship are the greatest of human blessings, and that their loss is irreparable. It aggravates my calamity instead of consoling me under it. My wounded heart seeks another consolation. Governed by these feelings, which have in every age and region of the world actuated the human mind, I seek relief, and I find it, in the soothing hope and consolatory opinion that a Benevolent Wisdom inflicts the chastisement as well as bestows the enjoyments of human life; that Superintending Goodness will one day enlighten the darkness which surrounds our nature, and hangs over our prospects; that this dreary and wretched life is not the whole of man; that an animal so sagacious and provident, and capable of such proficiency in science and virtue, is not like the beasts that perish; that there is a dwelling-place prepared for the spirits of the just, and that the ways of God will yet be vin. dicated to man. The sentiments of religion which were implanted in my mind in my early youth, and which were revived by the awful scenes which I have seen passing before my eyes in the world, are, I trust, deeply rooted in my heart by this great calamity.
CONVERSATION AND LETTERS.1
When a woman of feeling, fancy, and accomplishment has learned to converse with ease and grace, from long intercourse
· "Some, when they write to their friends, are all affection; some are wise and sententious; some strain their powers for efforts of gayety; some write
with the most polished society, and when she writes as she speaks, she must write letters as they ought to be written; if she has acquired just as much habitual correctness as is reconcilable with the air of negligence. A moment of enthusiasm, a burst of feeling, a flash of eloquence may be allowed; but the intercourse of society, either in conversation or in letters, allows no more. Though interdicted from the long-continued use of elevated language, they are not without a resource. There is a part of language which is disdained by the pedant or the declaimer, and which both, if they knew its difficulty, would dread; it is formed of the most familiar phrases and turns in daily use by the generality of men, and is full of energy and vivacity, bearing upon it the mark of those keen feelings and strong passions from which it springs. It is the employment of such phrases which produces what may be called colloquial eloquence. Conversation and letters may be thus raised to any degree of animation, without departing from their character. Anything may be said if it be spoken in the tone of society; the highest guests are welcome, if they come in the easy undress of the club; the strongest metaphor appears without violence, if it is familiarly expressed; and we the more easily catch the warmest feeling, if we perceive that it is intentionally lowered in expression, out of condescension to our calmer temper. It is thus that harangues and declamations, the last proof of bad taste and bad manners in conversation, are avoided, while the fancy and the heart find the means of pouring forth all their stores. To meet this despised part of language in a polished dress, and producing all the effects of wit and eloquence, is a constant source of agreeable surprise.
JOHNSON'S LIVES OF TIIE POETS.
Towards the end of his life, when intercourse with the world had considerably softened his style, he published his “Lives of the English Poets," a work of which the subject insures popularity, and on which his fame probably now depends. He seems to have poured into it the miscellaneous information which he had collected, and the literary opinions which he had formed during his long reign over the literature of London. The critical part has produced the warmest agitations of literary faction. The
news, and some write secrets; but to make a letter without affection, without wisdom, without gayety, without news, and without a secret, is doubtless the greal epistolic art."
Johnson's Letter to Mrs. Thrale,