« AnteriorContinuar »
BY JOHN ANDERSON.
POWER OF KNOWLEDGE. Whoever is powerful in virtuous faculties, and exer- What is it that mainly distinguishes a man from a cises them as he ought, must necessarily feel a great and brute? Knowledge. What makes the vast difference proud delight from the exertion ; but in the noble em- between savage and civilized nations ? Knowledge. What ployment of the mind there is uniingled delight: hours forms the principal difference between men as they become like minutes, and days like hours. Sitting in appear in the same society ? Knowledge. What raised the humble porch of his humble house, blind, poor, Franklin from the humble station of a printer's boy to meanly clad, unattended, how great must Milton have the first honours of his country? Knowledge. What took felt above all kings and conquerors of the earth-above Sherman from his shoemaker's bench, gave him a seat in the possessors of the wealth of the world, the inhabitants Congress, and there made his voice to be heard among of marble palaces and golden saloons! He knew his own the wisest and best of his compeers ? Knowledge. What dignity; and it was among his glories that he knew it. raised Simpson from the weaver's loom to a place among He never shrunk from the assertion of his own ascend- the first of mathematicians ? and Herschel from being å ancy. It did not lower his self-esteem to hear the popular poor fifer's boy in the army to a station among the first shouts bestowed on his inferiors-on Waller, and Cowley, of astronomers ? Knowledge. Knowledge is power. It is and Denham, and the wits that basked in the sunshine the philosopher's stone-the true alchemy that turns of the court-while he was neglected, and his sublime every thing it touches into gold. It is the sceptre that strains unfelt and untasted; he knew the day would gives us our dominion over nature; the key that unlocks come when all that was wise and great must acknowledge the storehouse of creation, and opens to us the treasures his supremacy.—Sir E. Brydges, Bart.
of the universe.-Dr Hawes. BEN JONSON'S BURIAL-PLACE. The words, 'Oh, rare Ben Jonson !' inscribed on the
STANZAS TO MAY. wall near the Poets' Corner (in Westminster Abbey], remind us that Jonson, though not housed in the Corner, lies in the Abbey, in the north aisle of the nave; and a Come, lovely May-come with thy crown of flowers! curious story is told as to the grave. The Dean of West
Come, nymph of gladness, with thy sunny hours!
Come, sweet enchantress--glorious, gorgeous May Iminster rallied the poet about his burial in the Abbey Come with thy brimming cup of pleasures-come away! vaults. “I am too poor for that,' answered Jonson, and Ten thousand warblers greet thee with their lays, no one will lay out funeral charges upon me. No, sir;
For every wood is vocal with thy praise
Thy annual visit to the glad green earth six feet long by two wide is too much for me; two feet Thrills every tongue with joy, fills every heart with mirth. by two will do for what I want.' “You shall have it,'
Deep in the dells the lambs bleat out their glee, replied the dean, and so the conversation ended. On the And in their sportive gambols welcome thee. poet's death a demand was made for the space promised,
Fair month of promise, jocund blooming queen,
Where'er thy footfalls rest thy cheering power is seen.
What beauties live-asleep before you came,
Waving your wand, to bid the sleepers rise,
Lift now their sweet fair heads and ope their beauteous eyes! | Happiness is the shadow of contentment, and rests or
The mighty hills, with their deep thrilling tone, moves for ever with the original.
Attest thy presence and thy sceptre own ;
And the wide plains, far as the eye can view,
Are weaving laurels, artist month, for you!
By brake and brook, by lake and ruind tower, liar transformations undergone by various insects, and Is seen thy workmanship, and felt thy power; the state of rest and insensibility which precedes those The bursting buds, the insect's glittering wing, transformations : such as the chrysalis or aurelia state
Record thy doings and thy prowess sing. of butterflies, moths, and silk-worms. The myrmeleon
Smile on, kind May, draw out the opening rose;
Unveil the lily, all her charms disclose; formicaleo, of whose larva and its extraordinary history
Send forth the bee upon his humming walk; Reaumur and Roesel have given accurate descriptions, And rear the martial thistle's noble stalk; continues in its invisible or chrysalis state about four
And deck the sward, and sweeten every gale;, weeks. The libellula, or dragon-fly, continues still longer
Let song of bird and scent of flower prevail ;
Make the rich hawthorn, with its silvery plume, in its state of inaction. Naturalists tell us that the worm Hang out its ornaments to tell thou'rt come! repairs to the margin of its pond in quest of a convenient
Welcome, young Summer, song-famed empress, hail ! place of abode during its insensible state. It attaches The streams salute thee; and the odorous gale, itself to a plant or piece of dry wood, and the skin, which
Rich with thy benisons, proclaims thee come,
To gild the picture which the Spring begun ! gradually becomes parched and brittle, at last splits oppo- The lark is in his pulpit near the sky, site to the upper part of the thorax. Through this aper- To tell the world that beauty's passing by, ture the insect, now become winged, quickly pushes its
To claim from all, what all will freely pay,
This name— Flower of the Months,” for lovely Nay! way; and, being thus extricated from confinement, begins to expand its wings, to flutter, and finally to launch into the air with that gracefulness and ease which are peculiar
OUR KNOWLEDGE LIMITED. to this majestic tribe. Now, who that saw for the first time the little pendant coffin in which the insect lay en
While science goes on from step to step in the march tombed, and was ignorant of the transformation of which of her discoveries, it seems as if her grandest result was we are now speaking, would ever predict that in a few the conviction how much remains undiscovered; and weeks, perhaps in a few days or hours, it would become while nations in a ruder state of science have been reads one of the most elegant and active of winged insects? familiarity with knowledge, the most enlightened of mea
to repose on their ignorance and error, or to confound And who that contemplates with the mind of a philoso- have always been the first to perceive and acknowledge pher this curious transformation, and knows that two years before the insect niounts into air, even while it is the remaining obscurity which hung around them; ja living in water, it has the rudiments of wings, can deny as, in the night, the farther a light extends, the sider that the body of a dead man may, at some future period, the surrounding sphere of darkness appears.-R. Hall. be again invested with vigour and activity, and soar to regions for which some latent organization may have pe- Printed and published by JAMES HOGG, 12 Nicolson Stet culiarly fitted it ?-Olinthus Gregory.
Erlinburgh; to whom all communications are to be address
Sold also by J JOHNSTONE, Edinburgh; J. MÅLFOD, Glasgow; W. GREAT MINDS.
M'Comr, Belfast; J. CLANCY, Dublin ; G. & R. KING, Aberdeen; Minds capable of the greatest things can enjoy the most R. WALKER, Dundee; G. PAILIP, Liverpool; FINLAY & CHASLtrivial-as the elephant's trunk can knock down a lion or
Tox, Newcastle ; WRIGHTSON & WEBB, Birmingham; GALT &
Co., Manchester; R. GROON BRIDGE & Sons, London; and a pick up a pin.
CHRISTIANITY AND MEN OF
the causes of things. They deal principally with results:
the processes that may have led to them are too intricate GENIUS.
and perplexing to receive their careful attention. ReaSECRET suspicions against a man may do him far more sons, whether near or remote, for the opinions other men harm than a direct and open attack upon his character hold, are not with them topics of anxious inquiry. Now, Fould. Who has not suffered in some degree from being with this class of persons, the scepticism or total unbelief unjustly suspected? Who has not been placed in circum- of men of superior powers and extensive information, is stances which induced him to wish that parties with apt to produce a most injurious impression. It is casy whom at the time he was dealing would just speak out— to understand how a simple-minded man must feel when tell frankly what they had to say against him—so that told that the religious opinions he holds, or which he is he might have an opportunity of explanation and de- requested to examine, have been spurned as unsound by fence? Who does not know that much mischief might men who were pronounced by their cotemporaries, and often be averted, the fair fame of those around him saved, who are recognised by posterity, as prodigies of intellecthe peace of families and communities spared, were men tual power. How apt is he to reason thus with himself : more candid and straightforward in their intercourse with "These were men of keen discernment; they had a clear one anotherThere is scarcely anything meaner than and piercing intellectual eye; they had access to sources harbouring a suspicion or grudge against a person, when, of information from which I am shut out; they were by a little honest dealing with him, we might ascertain thoroughly versant with the history of the past, they whether these are well or ill founded.
could weigh evidences, they could draw inferences; their These remarks apply to systems as well as individuals. opinions are quoted and admired on other subjects; why As respects Christianity, for example, we are satisfied should they not have the same deference paid to them on that its claims as a revelation from Heaven have suffered the question of religion ?' We greatly mistake if a train nearly as much from insinuations and suspicions as from of thought like this has not made many a professor of direct assaults. The latter may be repelled, as all of Christianity waver in his belief—if it has not filled his them have fully and fairly been. The former are not mind with doubts and misgivings anything but favourable sufficiently palpable; they do not stand out before the to the growth of his Christian graces. And, which is permind's eye with enough of distinctness; they elude our haps still more to be deplored, we greatly mistake if such grasp when we would expose their worthlessness. Who a train of thought has not made many a spurious formalist would not rather debate with an open and ingenuous an- contented with his name to live,' and led him to some tagonist than with a skulking adversary who takes up no such conclusion as this—that though, for the sake of fixed position—the complexion of whose opinions changes conforming to those around him, it may be seemly he as rapidly as the hues of the chameleon ?
should profess attachment to Christianity, there is no The objection, or rather the suspicion, against the necessity why he should be disquieted or uneasy about it, Christian faith, derived from the fact that among its since what many of the most gifted and accomplished of arowed enemies may be found many men illustrious from our race, illustrious as poets, statesmen, and philosophers, their talents and attainments, belongs to the class we have treated as an idle delusion, must really be so. allude to. It may not occupy a very conspicuous place Besides, there is the impression-a most dangerous and in infidel treatises; it may not be appealed to by the seductive one it is—which the fact in question is apt to sceptic as a conclusive answer to all we can say in defence create, that scepticism, or rather a total rejection of the of Christianity; it is not, in truth, what we may call a sacred oracles, is a mark of superior acuteness. We all book objection. It is mooted, however, in a covert shape wish to gain a reputation for mental vigour; we desire to in the social circle, and, which is still more to be re- be considered the possessors of fair talents and accomgretted, there is too much reason for apprehending that plishments. We do not mean to insinuate that all men many secretly feel its force though they do not con- are vain enough to fancy themselves other Newtons or fess it. There are too many in every walk of life who Lockes ; but there are few who do not wish it to be unare apt to be led astray by what we usually call the derstood that they are rather beyond the average in “first blush of the case. They are not in the habit capacity and attainment. And, alas ! for the thousands, of dealing with metaphysical subtleties. They are not among young men especially, who seek to win their readdicted to philosophical investigation. They have com- putation by denying the divine authority of the inspired paratively little sympathy with the saying of the greatest volume! They argue thus with themselves : " The acute of the Latin poets—Happy is the man who can know Hume scouted revelation ; so did the eagle-eyed Voltaire ;
so did those gifted spirits, Shelley and Byron; so, in the ancient philosophers have treated the revelation we short, have scores of men of high intellectual renown. possess had they had such a boon conferred on them? It Why should we want this proof of superior discrimina- were idle, of course, to speak dogmatically on such a tion? Why should we quietly take our place in the point. The fact, however, is worthy of being noticed, credulous throng? Why expose ourselves to be taunted that the most profound of these men not only felt the as the poor dupes of priestcraft and imposture? We can necessity of such a revelation, not only longed for it, but see farther than our neighbours; why not use our powers anticipated its being bestowed, while one of them, with of vision p'
something like prophetical accuracy, pourtrayed the chaThis is no idle fancy on the part of the writer. Would racter of Him whom the Deity, as he imagined, would they frankly declare their feelings, our young and con- probably enıploy as his agent in imparting it to mankind. ceited sophists, the boy-infidels who may be found in The following passage from Plato, about the authenticity every walk of life, would attest the accuracy of the descrip- of which there can be no debate, has always struck the tion. A review, then, of the fact in question, and the writer as truly wonderful, as being, if not the fruit of baleful inference derived from it, may be both profitable prophetic suggestion, one of the shrewdest conjectures, and welcome, and will not surely be regarded as stepping and one of the strongest evidences of a vigorous mind on out of the province this journal professes to occupy. record. Speaking hypothetically, we had almost said
Attentively considered, the circumstance that the prophetically, of this Heaven-sent Teacher, says the wisest Author of Christianity and its first preachers anticipated of the Athenians—This just person must be poor and the fact whence this suspicion is derived, and distinctly destitute of all qualifications ercept those of virtue : a foretold it, should go far to repel it. They never at- wicked world will not bear his instructions and reproofs; tempted to disguise the melancholy truth that, among and within three or four years after he begins to preach, the scorners of the principles they promulgated, the wise he must be persecuted, imprisoned, scourged, and at lost men after the flesh' would occupy a prominent position. put to death. View it as we may, this is an astonishing This they never concealed. Now, suppose they had ap- passage. We feel in perusing it that we are treading on prehended that this circumstance was dishonourable to the confines of inspiration ; we almost forget the philothem and their cause, would they not have left it to sopher in the prophet; we fancy we are listening to others to make the discovery and propagate it to their Isaiah rather than Plato: and we feel warranted to be. disadvantage ? Let it not be forgotten, in all fairness, that lieve that had this man, with his keen and piercing intelthe existence of unbelievers gifted as Hume and Voltaire, lect, enjoyed the light of the Christian revelation-for he is but a confirmation of the distinct and oft-repeated longed for a clearer light than that he possessed-we statements of the inspired volume.
should have been at liberty to class him with those gifted a Then, while it must be owned that many celebrated for men whom the Christian is glad to claim as his fellowtheir genius and accomplishments have rejected Chris- believers. tianity, it must be borne in mind that many equally, yea, But this apart, it is impossible to recall the many more illustrious, have cordially embraced it, lived in gifted and accomplished men whom we can claim as obedience to its pure precepts, and died sustained by its votaries of the Christian faith, without feeling that its exalted hopes. We know the fascinating influence of advocates may sit lightly under the charge that some great names; we know the deference which all, save such have been its enemies. Among moralists it may minds of the rudest order, pay to genius and learning ; be enough to mention Johnson and Addison. Amour we know there is such a thing as playing the idolater to poets we have Milton, Tasso, Cowper, Young, Blair, mental power and energy-and a far more venial idolatry Crabbe, Southey, and Pollok. Among metaphysicians we think it is, than that of which thousands are guilty, we have Locke, Bacon, Clarke, Edwards, and Brown. who kneel at the shrine of worldly greatness, do homage Among the lights and ornaments of natural science we to wealth and rank, even though these be not associated have Newton, Laplace, Boyle, M‘Laurin, and Gregory. with wisdom and virtue. There is a tendency in most And then of the professional defenders of the Christian minds—in some respects a happy and useful one it is--to faith, how many have been men of shining powers, rich look to other minds, especially to those more acute than and varied scholarship!. There was Butler, to whosa their own, for a confirmation of the views they embrace. sublime industry sacred science owes so much ; and Howe, So that it is a happy circumstance, that, while infidels whose powers were nobly spent in the service of Christ; can quote great names on their side, we can quote others and Bunyan, the mighty dreamer, of whom it may be still greater-names covered with an intellectual as well said, that when he lived the age of inspiration could as a spiritual lustre, beside which those of their proudest hardly be said to be past; and Jeremy Taylor, whese and most gifted champions look dim. If, in this case, imperial fancy laid all nature under contribution to Chrisnecessity of boasting be laid upon us, we need not refrain. tian truth; and Fenelon and Pascal, to whatever church If the enemy will have us show our strength and dignity, they belonged, an honour to the universal church; and we need not hesitate. With the friends of Christianity Paley, with his eagle-eye and richly stored understandare found the most majestic spirits that God has ever ing; and Robert Hall, all but angelic in his strength of sent to grace this terrestrial sphere. We are in sublinie soul, who soared aloft and breathed freely in every part society when circling round the cross. We are tread of the intellectual empire as in his own native element : ing in the steps of gifted men when, with the Bible as 'a there were these, and a host more we could name, who guide to our feet and a lamp to our path,' we climb the were not ashamed of the cross,' but were humble suphill of immortality. We stand side by side with the pliants for mercy through Him who died on it-livinz really great, the excellent of the earth, when striving realizations of the lovely sentiment that, in the examearnestly for the 'faith once delivered to the saints. We nation of Scripture, then only does reason show herself have proof abundant that there is nothing incompatible noble, when, conscious of the presence of a king, the kne with high powers and co-extensive attainments in receiv- is bent and the head uncovered.' It were easy to swei ing the gospel as a communication from Heaven. A host the catalogue with living names, but sacrifice to herues of bright names rush upon our recollection and dispel the (to borrow a fine mythological allusion), is reserved till idle deception. Among these it would be quite fair to after sunset. reckon many of the Scripture worthies themselves, such The rejection of the gospel besides, it must not be feras David, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, whose genius as well as gotten, by persons famous for their talents and accemtheir inspiration demands our reverence; and many, too, plishments, can easily be accounted for without supposis of the early Christian fathers, whose writings show at that, by dint of these, such as have rejected it discovered once the profundity of their talents and the largeness of any defect in its evidences or any in consistency in its doetheir acquirements. We omit these at present, however. tripes. A candid consideration of fthe causes that usually It were, in relation to this argument, rather an interest- lead to unbelief, will serve to show that literary and sciening question, how probably would the most celebrated of I tific men are liable to be influenced by these as well as
others; nay, that there are some of them apt to operate to this, that there was a point where the finite mind was on their minds with peculiar force. Of these, intellectual lost in the depths and mazes of infinity; a point from pride is perhaps the most prevailing as it is the most beyond which that voice comes, the voice of Him whom seductive. To the humbling tendency of the essential no man hath scen or can see : Hitherto shalt thou come truths of the Christian revelation we need do no more but no farther.' Alas! that forgetfulness here should than allude. The account it gives of our fallen and en- have been so common, and so productive of unbelief among feebled condition, our innate aversion to what is good, our many whose own minds were striking proofs of those very keen relish of evil, our dependence on foreign aid for our truths they dared to gainsay! highest blessings, goes to crucify our vanity. And then Then it will not be denied that the possession of shinthere is one announcement distinctly made in its pages, ing powers is no guarantee against vicious indulgence. at which the pride of unsanctified genius is apt to take The most exuberant gifts are not incompatible with the fire. It is this. Throughout the Bible moral greatness most debasing pursuits. One might almost imagine that is uniformly spoken of as infinitely more valuable than those whose thoughts wander through eternity,' whose mere intellectual greatness. The notice is often pressed tastes and acquisitions are so envied by the rest of manupon us, that it is not the gifts, but the graces, a man kind, would be exempted from every thing low and grovelpossesses that stamp him as one of the nobility of heaven; ling. How long, alas! the catalogue of names which rethat the varied powers of Newton, Locke, Milton, and bukes such a supposition, and attests that the deepest Hall, might meet in one man, and present to the world moral depravity may be found in alliance with the richest a specimen of intellectual grandeur such as it has never genius! We need not quote these here: they are fresh yet beheld; and that, after all, in the arithmetic of the in the recollection of every reader. But vice, by whomskies, the man might be nothing in comparison of her of soever indulged, tends to unbelief. Our wishes have a whom the pious Cowper sung:
powerful influence in moulding our opinions, and when "She knows, and knows no more, her Bible true;
men act as if the verities of Christianity were all exploded, A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew ;
they soon begin to wish it were the case, and their wish And in that charter reads, with sparkling eyes, Her title to a treasure in the skies.'
is the pathway to a settled conviction that it is so.
To these prevailing causes of scepticism among gifted This thought is humbling in the extreme to him who men others might be added. These, however, sufficiently plumes himself on his genius and attainments. The other account for the mournful fact we have been adverting truths of Christianity apart, the admission of this implies to, and show that it casts no suspicion whatever on the a mortification to which it difficult to submit. The Scriptures as a communication from Heaven to manman thinks of his achievements, and how prone is he to kind! spurn the thought that, notwithstanding these, he shall be viewed as inferior to that other man who has with him no community of intellect or feeling. He has written
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. books which charm the men of his own age, and which he believes will engage the attention of posterity. He has earned that name that makes an epitaph. He has en
JOHN GALT. larged and enriched the empire of science. He feels at John Galt was born at Irvine, in Ayrshire, on May 2, home in regions of inquiry to which those with whom he 1779. His father belonged to the merchant service in is brought into contact cannot approach. He possesses, the naval profession, and was captain of a West Indiaman. on a large scale, that knowledge which on all hands is He was a man of excellent dispositions, but of easy naspoken of as a boon of peerless price, compared with which ture, and moderate ability. If genius is to be considered rank, power, and riches are said to be baubles. So the as hereditary, it would appear that Galt owed this to his man reasons with himself; and need we wonder that, as mother, who was a very singular person, shrewd, observ. the result of such reasoning, he is led to reject and treat ant, full of humour, keenly alive to the ridiculous, and with disdain a system which denounces his towering pride, quaintly original in her powers of expression-the last of and rates all his gifts and acquirements as vanity unless which constitutes a marked peculiarity in Galt's works they be consecrated to the glory of the Giver ?
relating to Scottish life. Another and we believe a most prolific source of doubt When young, Galt was of a feeble, or rather sensitive, and unbelief, among minds of a high order, is what, in constitution. Ilis earliest instructions in reading were the absence of a better term, we may call intellectual given at home. Though he showed indications of a clear audacity. It is somewhat akin to intellectual pride, though and tenacious memory, yet his early aptitude for acquireit differs from it too. The arm of the giant may be ment was not great; indeed, during his whole time at broken by attempting that which is beyond its might, school, he was rather considered below par than otherwise. while he of feebler power, and less daring in consequence, while yet a child, he became passionately fond of flowers; retains his energies unimpaired. Let the reader observe but this latterly gave way to a preference for trees and the bearing of this on the point we are discussing. On shrubs. From his natural delicacy, he avoided the more every path of inquiry which Christianity opens up, we bustling exercises of boys of his age, and was fond of arrive at a point where farther speculation is fruitless, lounging in bed, surrounded by all sorts of ballad and where we must sit down meekly and reverentially, and story books. When out of doors, and not with his flowers, Fait for the disclosures to be made to us, when we shall be ferreted out the society of some old women versed in no longer see through a glass darkly. If we try to tale and legend, who lived in the close or alley behind cross this point, this sacred boundary-line, darkness and his grandmother's house, and used to take great delight difficulty will attend every step of the investigation. But in their marvellous narrations. Owing to his rapid growth into this error men, especially of strong imagination, are and consequent tenderness, it was deemed unadvisable to prone to fall. Let it not be supposed that this is a proof send young Galt, at the first, to a public school, and he of their mental strength or acuteness. To know where received private lessons from a teacher in the evenings. to stop in any intellectual pursuit-to know, in fact, the When in his eighth year, he was sent to the grammarextent of our own powers, and their legitimate sphere, is school at Irvine, which he entered the same year that the one of the highest attainments. In this lay the glory, as present Lord President Boyle left it; and among his well as the safety, of men like Newton, Locke, and Bacon. schoolfellows was Eckford, who afterwards distinguished They knew what it was vain in them to attempt. They himself as the grand architect and builder of the American knew when to have dreamed of advancing a step farther navy. Shortly after, the family removed to Greenock, would have been the wildest arrogance. They recognised where Galt was again placed at school, and received inand submitted to the condition imposed on mind in its struction in penmanship and arithmetic, mathematics and present state. They knew how far the torch of sacred French. truth flung light on their path here. They were alive Galt gave early indications of a propensity for rhyming; and, when only six years old, had strung together proceeded northwards through Greece to Constantinople, some couplets on the sad fate of two young larks that had passing on his way through scenes of surpassing interest been given him. He used also to take great delight in to every classical reader-winding through the pass of listening to nursery tales and ballads, especially such as Thermopylæ; looking on the plain of Pharsalia ; and ridpartook of the wild and wonderful. Besides his taste for ing, by moonlight, across the lovely vale of Tempe. Regardening, he acquired, as he grew older, a predilection turning from an arduous excursion through the northern for music and mechanics. Several of his musical attempts limb of Asia Minor to the shores of the Black Sea, Galt at this time were published in after years, and one of them, visited Adrianople and Philippi, and though the Russians • Lochnagar,' adapted to the words of Lord Byron, at- and Turks were then at war, crossed Mount Hæmus with tained an extensive popularity. An Æolian harp, a an escort of horsemen; and then travelling along the hurdy-gurdy, and an edephusion, were the result of his banks of the dark-rolling Danube,' arrived once more at mechanical studies.
Constantinople. He thence proceeded homewards by Shortly after completing his literary studies, Galt was sea-paying, in his way, a chance visit to Missolonghi, entered in the mercantile office of Messrs James Miller since famous and familiar to British ears as the deaihand Co., where his attendance at the desk was regular, place of Byron. and, to all outward appearance, he had enlisted himself For some time after his return to this country, Galt's among the votaries of sale and barter. But his mind prospects continued gloomy and uncertain; but at last he required some other outlet for its energies; and a new was appointed to a mercantile situation in Gibraltar. The bias began to show itself in a turn for antiquarian lore, in disappointment of many cherished hopes had by this time which he indulged with much delight. "He at length damped his sanguine temperament; youth, too, had lost nursed the wish to expend the knowledge thus acquired something of its irritability along with its golden colourupon some fitting subject; and the perusal of Pinkerton's ing; and he determined henceforward to fret less against
Essay on the Goths' at last determined him to enwreath the bars of the fate that encaged him. Before setting • The Battle of Largs' with the flowers of verse. This out for Gibraltar, Galt paid a farewell visit to the scenes poem, which was afterwards published on his going to of his boyhood, — a journey,' he says, 'which, in one London, was the most important of his poetical efforts. respect, was not pleasant.' His former friends were Its plan is somewhat daring, and not altogether unfortu- changed, and he himself no less so. Especially did be nate: as a composition, it displays more power than taste; feel the change in his hopes-formerly so luxuriant and it is an unequal performance, but contains many vigorous blooming, now gloomy and well-nigh blighted. The Gibpassages, and is much beyond the range of a common- raltar speculation was unsuccessful; Galt's health had place versifier.
become so affected, that to return to London for surgical A singular circumstance attended-for it need not have assistance was imperative; and after some hesitation, as occasioned-Galt's departure from Greenock. A mer- he considered this step in some degree humiliating, the chant in Glasgow, it appears, wrote, on a matter of busi- love of life assumed the ascendancy. On his return, Galt ness, in a most abusive and improper manner; Galt hap- married the daughter of Dr Tilloch, editor of the · Philopened to be the person in the counting-office into whose sophical Magazine,' and she afterwards became the mother hands the letter fell. His young blood boiled at the in- of his three sons-John, Thomas, and Alexander. sult; and taking the whole weight of the house upon his Previous to 1815, Galt had published several works ; shoulders, nothing would satisfy him but to set out and but for the most part they were off-hand effusions, in demand an apology. He left, accordingly, early next which much, doubtless, is of unequal merit. Now, howmorning for Glasgow, but found that the object of his ever, circumstances almost compelled him to look upon pursuit had gone to Edinburgh. Thither was he followed himself as an author ; and his vigour did not fail him in with the same eagerness; and, being discovered in one of this hour of need. One of his first works that attracted the hotels, the door of the parlour was bolted from within, public attention was “ The Wandering Jew,' a striking and an apology not only dictated, but obtained by the fiction ; it went through several editions. Sereral other volunteer knight-errand.
works followed, but were not of equal merit. A change, After this, instead of returning to Greenock, Galt re- however, and a happy one, now came over the character solved to try his fortunes in London, where he arrived, of our author's genius; and the delightful series of letters, accompanied by his father, in June, 1804, with no fixed the 'Ayrshire Legatees,' attracted so much popularity, plans. A few months afterwards, he formed a partner- | that a paternity not lower than that of Waverley was asship with a Mr M‘Lachlan. But his partner's bills, in- cribed to them. The ‘Annals of the Parish'—that exquistead of being paid off, as he had represented them to be, site picture of Scottish character, manners, and feelings had only been renewed; and after struggling on for three —followed, and was equally successful. This work was years, the difficulties of a correspondent involved the composed ten or twelve years before the date of its publihouse in ruin. A subsequent mercantile connexion was cation, and consequently anterior to the appearance of entered into between Galt and his brother Thomas. But * Waverley' and 'Guy Mannering,' to which some would neither of them liked the business: Thomas soon sailed fain attribute its origin. Of his larger novels, the · Entail' for Honduras, and Galt entered himself at Lincoln's Inn, and “Sir Andrew Wylie' are Gall's masterpieces. The with the view of studying for the bar. Early in 1809, he latter, we believe, has been the more popular in England, began his life of Wolsey,' and prosecuted the necessary doubtless from the delineation of English life in the meresearches with his wonted ardour and enthusiasm; but moirs of that amusing little baronet. Taken as a whole, the state of his health soon after compelled him to desist however, and considered merely as a novel, it is not equal from all study, and he went abroad. Afterwards, when at to the • Entail,' which is full of originality, and is more Palermo, the Jesuits gave him access to their splendid vivid and striking in its pictures of human life. Claud library, and the information thus acquired seems to have Walkinshaw, and Wattie the natural, are each in his way been of considerable importance to him in writing the life inimitable ; and old Leddy Grippy was pronounced by of this celebrated statesman.
Lord Byron as surpassed for truth, nature, and indiOn the day of his arrival at Gibraltar, Galt met Lord / viduality, by no female character since the days of ShakByron, who was then travelling with Sir John Cam Hob- speare. The · Provost' may exhibit some bolder sketchhouse; an acquaintance was subsequently formed, and ing, and it may contain some deeper touches of pathos, the three sailed in the same packet to Sardinia and Malta. as well as some more ethereal flashes of imagination ; Parting company, Galt repaired to Sicily, where he spent but, as a whole, we consider the . Entail' Galt's greatest a season, during which his health gradually improved. work. By a curious coincidence, it was known to have After visiting Corinth, our traveller next bent his course been thrice read through by Lord Byron and by Sir to Athens, where his acquaintance with Byron was re- Walter Scott. newed—both, for some time, having apartments in the Galt was now (1823) in his forty-fourth year, of her. Propaganda Monastery in that city. Leaving Athens, he culean frame, and in the full vigour of health; his height