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ascribe much of whatever goodness and happiness they possess to the early impressions of his gentle and persuasive eloquence ! He lived to see his disciples distinguished among the lights and ornaments of the council and the senate. He had the consolation to be sure that no words of his promoted the growth of an impure taste, of an exclusive prejudice, of a malevolent passion. Without derogation from his writings, it may be said that his disciples were among his best works.
He, indeed, who may justly be said to have cultivated an extent of mind which would have otherwise remained barren, and to have contributed to raise virtuous dispositions where the natural growth might have been useless or noxious, is not less a benefactor of mankind, and may, indirectly, be a larger contributor to knowledge, than the author of great works, or even the discoverer of important truths. The system of conveying scientific instruction to a large audience by lectures, from which the English universities have in a great measure departed, renders his qualities as a lecturer a most important part of his merit in a Scottish university, which still adheres to the general method of European education.
Probably no modern ever exceeded Mr. Stewart in that species of eloquence which springs from sensibility to literary beauty and moral eloquence; which neither obscures science by prodigal ornament, nor disturbs the serenity of patient attention; but, though it rather calms and soothes the feelings, yet exalts the genius, and insensibly inspires a reasonable enthusiasm for whatever is good and fair.
Few writers rise with more grace from a plain groundwork to the
passages which require greater animation or embellishment. He gives to narrative, according to the precept of Bacon, the color of the time by a selection of happy expressions from original writers. Among the secret arts by which he diffuses elegance over his diction, may be remarked the skill which, by deepening or brightening a shade in a secondary term, by opening partial or preparatory glimpses of a thought to be afterwards unfolded, unobservedly heightens the import of a word, and gives it a new meaning, without any offence against old use. It is in this manner that philosophical originality may be reconciled to purity and stability of speech-that we may avoid new terms, which are the easy resource of the unskilful or the indolent, and often a characteristic mark of writers who love their language too little to feel its peculiar excellencies, or to study the art of calling forth its powers.
THE PROGRESSIVENESS OF THE RACE.
In government, commerce has overthrown that “feudal and chivalrous” system under whose shade it first grew. In religion, learning has subverted that superstition whose opulent endowments had first fostered it. Peculiar circumstances softened the barbarism of the Middle Ages to a degree which favored the ad. mission of commerce and the growth of knowledge. These circumstances were connected with the manners of chivalry; but the sentiments peculiar to that institution could only be preserved by the situation which gave them birth. They were themselves enfeebled in the progress from ferocity and turbulence, and almost obliterated by tranquillity and refinement. But the auxiliaries which the manners of chivalry had in rude ages reared, gathered strength from its weakness, and flourished in its decay. Commerce and diffused knowledge have, in fact, so completely assumed the ascendant in polished nations, that it will be difficult to discover any relics of Gothic manners but in a fantastic exterior, which has survived the generous illusions that made these manners splendid and seductive. Their direct influence has long ceased in Europe ; but their indirect influence, through the medium of those causes which would not perhaps have existed but for the mildness which chivalry created in the midst of a barbarous age, still operates with increasing vigor. The manners of the Middle Age were, in the most singular sense, compulsory. Enterprising benevolence was produced by general fierceness, gallant courtesy by ferocious rudeness, and artificial gentleness resisted the torrent of natural barbarism. But a less incongruous system has succeeded, in which commerce, which unites men's interests, and knowledge, which excludes those prejudices that tend to embroil them, present a broader basis for the stability of civilized and beneficent manners.
Mr. Burke, indeed, forebodes the most fatal consequences to literature from events which he supposes to have given a mortal blow to the spirit of chivalry. I have ever been protected from such apprehensions by my belief in a very simple truth--that diffused knowledge immortalizes itself. A literature which is confined to a few may be destroyed by the massacre of scholars and the conflagration of libraries; but the diffused knowledge of the present day could only be annihilated by the extirpation of the civilized part of mankind.
From the Vindiciæ Gallica.
THE BLESSINGS OF A FREE PRESS.
Gentlemen, there is one point of view in which this case seems to merit your most serious attention. The real prosecutor is the master of the greatest empire the civilized world ever saw; the defendant is a defenceless, proscribed exile. I consider this case, therefore, as the first of a long series of conflicts between the greatest power in the world and the ONLY FREE PRESS remaining in Europe. Gentlemen, this distinction of the English press is new -it is a proud and á melancholy distinction. Before the great earthquake of the French Revolution had swallowed up all the asylums of free discussion on the Continent, we enjoyed that privilege, indeed, more fully than others, but we did not enjoy it exclusively. In Holland, in Switzerland, in the imperial towns of Germany, the press was either legally or practically free.
But all these have been swallowed up by that fearful convulsion which has shaken the uttermost corners of the earth. They are destroyed, and gone forever! One asylum of free discussion is still inviolate. There is still one spot in Europe where man can freely exercise his reason on the most important concerns of society, where he can boldly publish his judgment on the acts of the proudest and most powerful tyrants. The press of England is still free. It is guarded by the free constitution of our forefathers. It is guarded by the hearts and arms of Englishmen, and I trust I may venture to say that, if it be to fall, it will fall only under the ruins of the British empire. It is an awful consideration, gentlemen. Every other monument of European liberty has perished. That ancient fabric which has been gradually reared by the wisdom and virtue of our fathers, still stands. It stands, thanks be to God! solid and entire—but it stands alone, and it stands in ruins! Believing, then, as I do, that we are on the eve of a great struggle—that this is only the first battle between reason and power—that you have now in your hands, committed to your trust, the only remains of free discussion in Europe, now confined to this kingdom; addressing you, therefore, as the guardians of the most important interests of mankind; convinced that the unfettered exercise of reason depends more on your present verdict than on any other that was ever delivered by à jury-I trust I may rely with confidence on the issue-I trust that you will consider yourselves as the advanced guard of liberty, as having this day to fight the first battle of free discussion against the most formidable enemy that it ever encountered !
Speech in Defence of Mr. Peltier.
HANNAH MORE, 1745-1833.
This most excellent and accomplished woman was the daughter of Jacob More, a village schoolmaster at Stapleton, in Gloucestershire, where she was born in the year 1745. Soon after this, Mr. More removed to Bristol, where he was appointed to take charge of the parochial school of St. Mary Redcliff. The family, which numbered four other daughters, soon began to attract notice, as one in which there was an unusual degree of talent; and, shortly after removing to Bristol, they opened a boarding and day school for young ladies, which continued for many years the most flourishing estab. lishment of the kind in the west of England. Hannah was, from early life, the most remarkable of the family. Her first literary efforts were some poetical pieces written for the edification of her pupils. Among these was the “Search after Happiness," a pastoral drama, which she wrote at eighteen, but did not publish till 1773. It met with a very flattering reception. She was thus induced to try her strength in the higher walks of dramatic poetry, and she successively brought forward for the stage her tragedies of the “Inflexible Captive,' Percy,” and “The Fatal Falsehood :" of these, “ Percy" was the most popular, having been acted fourteen nights successively. The reputation which she thus acquired introduced her into the best literary society of London-into the circle in which Johnson, and Burke, and Sir Joshua Reynolds moved. But her dramatic career closed with the production of these tragedies. Shortly after, her opinions upon the theatre underwent a decided change, and, as she has stated in the preface to her tragedies, she did not "consider the stage, in its present state, as becoming the appearance or the countenance of a Christian.” 1 This great change in her spiritual views was followed by a corresponding change in her manner of life.
Under a deep conviction that to live to the glory of God, and for the good of our fellow-creatures, is the great object of human existence, and the only one which can bring peace at the last, she quitted, in the prime of her days, the bright circles of fashion and literature, and, retiring into the neighborhood of Bristol, devoted herself to a life of active Christian benevolence, and to the composition of various works having for their object the moral and religious improvement of mankind. Her practical conduct thus beautifully exemplified the moral energy of her Christian principles.
She retired into the country in 1786, and in two years after published her first prose piece, “ Thoughts on the Manners of the Great,” and a “ Poem on the Slave Trade." These were followed, in 1791, by her “Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World.” In 1795, she commenced, at
· While her mind was in this state of transition, she published, in 1782, a volume of “Sacred Dramas," to which was annexed a poem called “Sensibility;'' all of which were received by the public with great favor,
Bath, in monthly numbers, “The Cheap Repository," a series of most instructive and interesting tales, one of which is the world-renowned “Shepherd of Salisbury Plain.” The success of this publication, so seasonable, at a time when the infidelity of France had too many admirers in England, was extraordinary and unprecedented; for it is said that in one year one million copies of the work were sold.' In 1799, appeared her “Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education," which led to an intention, warmly advocated by Porteus, the Bishop of London, of committing to her the education of Charlotte, Princess of Wales. This, however, was not effected, but it led to the publication of her “Hints towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess,” in 1805. Then came what has, perhaps, been her most popular work, “ Cælebs in Search of a Wife," published in 1809, and which passed through at least six editions in one year. It is a very entertaining and instructive novel, full of striking remarks on men and manners, and portrays the kind of character which, in the estimation of our author, it is desirable that young ladies should possess.
In 1811 and 1812, appeared her “Practical Piety," and "Christian Morals ;" and, in 1815, her “Essay on the Character and Writings of Saint Paul”-a far bolder undertaking than any in which she had previ. ously been engaged, and which she has executed to the delight of every reader. Soon after the death of her sister Martha, in 1819, her literary career terminated with “Moral Sketches," and "Reflections on Prayer." She was now aged and infirm, but still continued to take a great interest in the welfare of charity schools, Bible and missionary societies, and other benevolent and religious institutions. In 1828, she left Barley Wood, a where she had resided from the beginning of the century, and took up her abode at Clifton, very near Bristol, at both of which places she had many valuable friends, though she had outlived every known relation on the earth. Here she spent her last days, supported in the afflictions of age by the consolations of that religion to the service of which she had devoted the vigor of her life, and expired, with the calmness and full faith of the Christian, on the 7th of September, 1833.
1 "Hannah More's eminently useful life manifested itself in nothing more than in the effort she made to instruct the ignorant, through the medium of moral and religious tracts, and by the establishment of schools. These were made a blessing on a wide scale, whilst their good effects are continued to this time, and are likely to be perpetuated.”.
Cottle's Reminiscences of Southey and Coleridge. · A cottage delightfully situated in the village of Wrington, in Somersetshire, a village renowned as ihe birthplace of John Locke.“ Miss Hannah More lived with her four sisters, Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Martha, after they quitted their school in Park Street, Bristol, at a small neat cottage in Somersetsbire, called Cowslip Green. The Misses M., some years afterward, built a better house, and called it Barley Wood, on the side of a hill about a mile from Wrington. Here they all lived in the highest degree respected and beloved, their house the seat of piety, cheerfulness, literature, and hospitality; and they themselves receiving ihe honor of more visits from bishops, nobles, and persons of distinction than, perhaps, any private family in the kingdom.”