Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

mission to the will of God. On Thursday, the 10th of May, I saw him for the last time: and never can I forget the affecting solemnity of voice, and look, and manner, in which he begged my most earnest prayers for his early and easy release. He said little more to me, for his mind seemed wholly absorbed in the near prospect of an eternal world. The following day he was, at his own desire, removed to Fulham and, for a short time, the change of air and scene appeared to cheer and exhilarate him. As he sat the next morning in his library, near the window, the brightness of a fine spring day called up a transient glow into his countenance; and he several times exclaimed, “O, that glorious Sun!" Afterwards, whilst sitting at dinner, he was seized with some slight convulsions, which were happily, however, of short duration; and he then fell, as it seemed, into a gentle sleep. It was the sleep of death. From that time he never spoke, and scarcely could be said to move. Without a pang or a sigh,-by a transition so easy as only to be know by a pressure of his hand upon the knee of his servant, who was sitting near him,-the spirit of this great and good man fled from its earthly mansion to the realms of peace!

"How truly were his own prayers accomplished, thus beautifully expressed many years before, in his poem upon Death:

"At Thy good time

Let Death approach; I reck not:-let him come
In genuine form, not with thy vengeance arm'd,
Too much for man to bear. O rather lend
Thy kindly aid to mitigate his stroke,
Then shed thy comforts o'er me; then put on
The gentlest of thy looks; then deign to cheer
My fainting heart with the consoling hope
Of Mercy. Mercy, at thy hands! And Thou,
Whom soft-eyed Pity once led down from heaven
To bleed for man, to teach him how to live,
And, O, still harder lesson! how to die;
Disdain not thou to smooth the restless bed
Of sickness and of pain. Forgive the tear
That feeble Nature drops; calm all her fears;
Fix her firm trust on thy triumphant Cross,
Wake all her hopes, and animate her Faith;
"Till my rapt Soul, anticipating Heaven,
Bursts from the thraldom of incumb'ring clay,
And, on the wings of ecstacy upborne,
Springs into Liberty and Light and Life."

"In obedience to express directions, which he left in writing, he was removed to Sundridge, and there interred in a vault, in the church-yard, which he had sometime before caused to be erected. The inscription on the tomb simply records, in compliance with his own wish, the dates of his birth and death; the former, on the 8th of May 1731; the latter, on the 13th of May 1809."

The Bishop left by will 3001. to be distributed, within three months after his decease, to the poor of the different parishes with which he was connected; and the reversion of 8,400l. 3 per cent. stock, at the death of Mrs. Porteus, to different public charities. He left to his successors, the Bishops of London, the portraits of his predecessors in that see, together with his own by - Hoppner, his collection of books, and, with the exception of 3001. applied to another purpose, value of the copy-right of his printed works, as the commencement of a fund for the erection of a new wing for an episcopal library, to correspond with what is now the episcopal chapel at Fulham palace.

Numerous were the acts of liberality and benevolence which the Bishop performed in his life-time. Of many of these the public have not, nor ever will be, told. He erected and endowed a chapel of ease at Ide-hill, in the parish of Sundridge, in Kent, and built a house for a resident minister. He transferred the sum of 6,7001. 3 per cents. into the hands of the four archdeacons for the time being of the diocese of London, the interest of which he directed annually to be distributed at their discretion, in sums not exceeding 201. to a certain number of the poorer clergy in that see. He transferred 1,400l. 4 per cents. for the establishment of three prizes, to excite the emulation of the students at the college in Cambridge at which he had been educated. One of the prizes he directed to be given to the best reader of the lessons in the college chapel. These are works which will endear the name of Bishop Porteus to posterity.

1

We have only room to add, that Mr. Hodgson has acquitted himself, in this publication, with great ability; has written in a style worthy of his subject. He has brought together many interesting incidents, and placed them before us with scholar-like perspicuity. His own remarks are sensible and judicious; and his praise of his patron, wherever he bestows it, is extorted from him by the action of which he gives an account. He says, with great candour and feeling, "When the heart overflows with gratitude, such, I trust, as I shall ever feel, for a long course of uninterrupted kindness, friendship, and protection, it is, perhaps, impossible to divest the mind altogether of partiality. I am, not, however, aware that I have overstated any single fact, or ascribed to the Bishop a single quality which he did not possess. All, therefore, I can say is, (and they are his own words as applied to Archbishop Secker) that if he really so lived and acted that the most faithful delineation of his conduct must necessarily have the air of panegyric, the fault is not in the copy, but in the original." A neat engraving is prefixed to this volume; but it does not convey, to our eyes, a strong likeness of the good Bishop,

SPIRIT OF MAGAZINES.

FROM THE MONTHLY ANTHOLOGY.

EXTRACTS

From the Journal of a gentleman on a visit to Lisbon.

(Concluded from page 169.)

THE nobility in this country are as poor as they are proud. Two or three have fortunes of five or six thousand pounds sterling a year. The rest dwindle into insignificant incomes. Titles are not hereditary. A duke or marquis enjoys his title by creation only. The honour is conferred in the same manner as that of knighthood in England. The servility of the Portuguese to their superiors, is exceeded only by their fulsome politeness towards their equals. If they confined their civility to bows and scrapes, it would be well enough. I should have no manner of objection. But when they meet in the streets they embrace with the utmost ardour, and kiss each other. It is extremely pleasant to see two of these cleanly gentlemen hugging one another on a hot day, and it must, I conceive, be still more agreeable to the parties concerned. Peasants, ass-drivers, muleteers, and beggars, manifest in their rencounters a politeness as polished, and an affection equally ardent. They take off their hats, bow down to the ground, embrace, hold each other a long while by the hand, inquire after the healths of themselves and of all their respective families, adding invariably, "Estou a seus ordens, estou seu criado."

There are in Lisbon no literary journals of any kind. One miserable newspaper only, called Diario de Lisboa, is published 'weekly, which usually contains news six months old. All English newspapers are prohibited. The Madrid Gazette, which is but one degree better, is the only foreign paper taken at the Coffeehouses. There are in various parts of the town book-stalls and

[ocr errors]

booksellers' shops. But they seldom contain any books worth buying, unless you are partial to the biography of saints, and lite rature of this kind. I purchased, the other day, a history of the eleven thousand virgins, in the study of which I am now deeply engaged. The pictures and prints exposed at the shop windows for sale, proclaim the arts of painting and engraving to be at an equally low ebb. Those intended for the most serious subjects, resemble caricatures, and those designed for caricatures are with out the least shadow of humour, and remarkable only for the most gross and disgusting indecency. The most popular prints at present are the Prince Regent's portrait, and his departure for the Brazils. A description of the latter could not be read without laughter, and such a face as the former I never saw be fore. It has considerably more resemblance to a baboon than to a man, and not to the most comely of the species either. Yet Bartolozzi has long been here, and languishing in neglect. A Portuguese artist has painted a picture of the battle of Vimeira, in which the English troops are not visible.

The most common sign at a tavern door in this country is a wine bush. "Good wine needs no bush." The old alliance between the two respectable professions of surgeon and barber, which seems in England to have expired with Patridge, still continues here unimpaired. A hair-dresser, or periwig-maker is in quite a distinct vocation, and is looked upon by a professor of the art of shaving and bleeding with sovereign disdain. A taylor, with us, sits cross-legged on a board. Here he sits at work on a stool like a shoemaker.-The "insolence of office" is not more conspicuous than "the law's delay." There is no country where the laws are so iniquitous, and so badly administered. Prisoners often remain many years, without trial, in dungeons, and perhaps are at last capriciously discharged without knowing for what they were confined. The clergy are not amenable, let them commit what crimes they may, to the civil law. Common criminals are hung; but the Fidalgos, whose blood is uncontaminated with base plebian mixture, have an enviable privilege. They are permitted to have their throats cut. A surgeon marks a line with a piece of chalk across the wind-pipe of nobility, which is followed by the hangman with a long sharp sort of a carving-knife. I remember reading when I was a youth, in that philosophical work, the Newgate Calendar, that my lord Ferrars, on being condemned for murdering his servant, petitioned to be beheaded. His request not being granted, he rode to the gallows in his own coach, and was hanged in a silken rope. Lord Lovat, when told that his head should not upon certain conditions be stuck on a pole, manifested rather more indifference, if we may judge by his answer. The gallows in England is a very demo

cratic sort of machine. There is no greater leveller of distinctions. Two offenders were condemned to be hanged at Tyburn on the same day. The first was sentenced for an exploit on the highway. The latter, who was a chimney-sweeper, was about to suffer for a more ignoble robbery. The highwayman was dressed in gay apparel, and mounted the cart with alacrity. Smut followed with slow and reluctant steps. As the clergyman was fervently praying, the former was very attentive, which the chimneysweeper observing, and being willing to participate in the same spiritual benefit, he approached near to his fellow sufferer. This liberty was met with a repulsive look from his companion, which for some time kept him at a distance. But unmindful of this angry check, when he presumed to advance a little nearer still, the gay robber disdainfully said, "Keep farther off, can't you?" "Sir," replied the indignant sweep, "I won't keep off. I have as much right to be here as you." Customs differ strangely in different countries. In Spain and Portugal, a man who is an executioner entails eternal disgrace on his posterity. He is obliged to live by himself. No one will speak to him or associate with him, and his sons, if he is so unfortunate as to have any, are obliged like the tradesmen in China, to follow their father's profession. Now, in Circassia people of quality exercise this office, and deem the employment an honour. So far from being accounted infamous, it reflects lustre on a whole family. A Circassian will boast what a number of Hangmen he has had among his ancestors. Religious executions have of late years become much less terrible than formerly. The authority of the inquisition, which was once so dreadful, is now very seldom exerted. Several years have passed since the Portuguese have been gratified by their national spectacle, an auto da fè. It used to be a principle with the inquisitors, that it was much better for many good catholicks to suffer, than for one heretick or Jew to go unpunished, for, by the life of the latter, numbers might be perverted: whereas, by putting a true believer to death, you only secured his salvation. By means of this christian-like doctrine, many days of amusement were afforded to the good people of Lisbon. Within the last fifty years the burning of a Jew formed their most exquisite delight. They thronged in crowds to behold this triumph of faith, and the very women shouted with transport as they witnessed the writhings of the agonizing martyr. Neither age nor sex could save this race from persecution. The best of the Portuguese dramatic writers, Antonio da Silva, was burnt solely because he was a Jew. The last that suffered by this tribunal was a half crazy Israelite, who probably was more of a fool than rogue.-He pretended to be a magician, and took in several credulous people before he was discovered by the

« AnteriorContinuar »