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up and kneel down beside them, but she was powerless as a broken reed; and when she thought to join with them in thanksgiving, her voice was gone. Still as death sat all the people in the hut, and one or two who were fathers were not ashamed to weep.
110.-CRABBE AND BURKE.
[In a notice of George Crabbe, (vol. i. page 110,) we have said that he was rescued from poverty by the kindness of Edmund Burke. The circumstances of this kindness are thus detailed in the interesting life of the Poet, by his son, the Rev. George Crabbe.]
It is to be regretted that Mr. Crabbe's Journal does not extend over more than three months of the miserable year that he spent in the city (1781). During the whole of that time he experienced nothing but disappointments and repulses. His circumstances were now, indeed, fearfully critical : absolute want stared him in the face : a gaol seemed the only immediate refuge for his head ; and the best he could hope for was dismissing all his dreams of literary distinction, to find the means of daily bread in the capacity of a druggist's assistant. To borrow, without any prospect of repaying, was what his honesty shrunk from; to beg was misery, and promised, moreover, to be fruitless. A spirit less manly and less religious must have sunk altogether under such an accumulation of sorrows. Mr. Crabbe made one effort more.
In his “sketch " he says:
He did not so far mistake as to believe that any name can give lasting reputation to an undeserving work; but he was fully persuaded that it must be some very meritorious and extraordinary performance, such as he had not the vanity to suppose himself capable of producing, that would become popular, without the introductory probat of some wellknown and distinguished character. Thus thinking, and having now his first serious attempt completed, afraid of venturing without a guide, doubtful whom to select, knowing many by reputation, none personally -he fixed, impelled by some propitious influence, in some happy moment, upon Edmund Burke-one of the first of Englishmen, and, in the capacity and energy of his mind, one of the greatest of human beings."
The letter which the young poet addressed to Burke must have been seen by Mr. Prior, when he composed his life of the great statesman ; but that work had been published for nine years before any of Mr. Crabbe's family were aware that a copy of it had been preserved; nor had they any exact knowledge of the extremity of distress which this remarkable letter describes, until the hand that penned it was in the grave. It is as follows :
To EDMUND BURKE, Esq. Sir-I am sensible that I need even your talents to apologize for the freedom I now take; but I have a plea which, however simply urged, will, with a mind like yours, sir, procure me a pardon ; I am one of those outcasts on the world, who are without a friend, without employment, without bread.
“Pardon me a short preface. I had a partial father, who gave me a better education than his broken fortune would have allowed; and a better than was necessary, as he could give me that only. I was designed for the profession of physic ; but not having wherewithal to complete the requisite studies, the design but served to convince me of a parent's affection, and the error it had occasioned. In April last I came to London, with three pounds, and flattered myself this would be sufficient to supply me with the common necessaries of life, till my abilities should procure me more; of these I had the highest opinion, and a poetical vanity contributed to my delusion. I knew little of the world, and had read books only; I wrote, and fancied perfection in my compositions; when I wanted bread they promised me affluence, and soothed me with dreams of reputation, whilst my appearance subjected me to contempt.
Time, reflection, and want, have shown me my mistake. I see my trifles in that which I think the true light; and, whilst I deem them such, have yet the opinion that holds them superior to the common run of poetical publications.
I had some knowledge of the late Mr. Nassau, the brother of Lord Rochford; in consequence of which, I asked his lordship's permission to inscribe my little work to him. Knowing it to be free from all political allusions and personal abuse, it was no very material point to me to whom it was dedicated. His lordship thought it none to him, and obligingly consented to my request.
" I was told that a subscription would be the more profitable method for me, and, therefore, endeavoured to circulate copies of the enclosed proposals.
“ I am afraid, sir, I disgust you with this very dull narrative, but believe me punished in the misery that occasions it. You will conclude that, during this time, I must have been at more expense than I could afford; indeed, the most parsimonious could not have afforded it. The printer deceived me, and my little business has had every delay. The people with whom I live perceive my situation, and find me to be indigent and without friends. About ten days since, I was compelled to give a note for seven pounds, to avoid an arrest for about double that sum, which I owe. I wrote to every friend I had, but my friends are poor likewise; the time of payment approached, and I ventured to represent my case to Lord Rochford. I begged to be credited for this sum till I received it of my subscribers, which, I believe, will be within one month ; but to this letter I had no reply, and I have probably offended by my importunity. Having used every honest means in vain, I yesterday confessed my inability, and obtained, with much entreaty, and as the greatest favour, a week's forbearance, when I am positively told that I must pay the money, or prepare for a prison.
“ You will guess the purpose of so long an introduction. I appeal you, sir, as a good, and, let me add, a great man. I have no other pretensions to your favour than that I am an unhappy one. It is not easy to support the thoughts of confinement; and I am coward enough to dread such an end to my suspense. Can you, sir, in any degree, aid me with propriety? Will you
ask any demonstrations of my veracity? I have imposed upon myself, but I have been guilty of no other imposition. Let me, if possible, interest your compassion. I know those of rank and fortune are teased with frequent petitions, and are compelled to refuse the requests even of those whom they know to be in distress; it is, therefore, with a distant hope I ventured to solicit such favour; but you will forgive me, sir, if you do not think proper to relieve. It is impossible that sentiments like yours can proceed
but a humane and generous heart. “I will call upon you, sir, to-morrow, and if I have not the happiness to obtain credit with you, I must submit to my fate. My existence is a 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,
“ GEORGE CRABBE."
Mr. Burke was, at this period, (1781,) engaged in the hottest turmoils of parliamentary opposition, and his own pecuniary circumstances were by no means very affluent: yet he gave instant attention to this letter, and the verses which it enclosed. He immediately appointed an hour for my father to call upon him at his house in London; and the short interview that ensued entirely, and for ever, changed the nature of his worldly fortunes. He was, in the common phrase, “a made man” from that hour. He went into Mr. Burke's room, a poor young adventurer, spurned by the opulent, and rejected by the publishers, his last shilling gone, and all but his last hope with it; he came out virtually secure of almost all the good fortune that, by successive steps, afterwards fell to his lot-his genius acknowledged by one whose verdict could not be questioned—his character and manners appreciated and approved by a noble and capacious heart, whose benevolence knew no limits but its power—that of a giant in intellect, who was, in feeling, an unsophisticated child—a bright example of the close affinity between superlative talents, and the warmth of the generous affections. Mr. Crabbe had afterwards many other friends, kind, liberal, and powerful, who assisted him in his professional career; but it was one hand alone that rescued him when he was sinking. In reflecting upon the consequences of the letter to Burke—the happiness, the exultation, the inestimable benefits that resulted to my father, ascribing, indeed, my own existence to that great and good man's condescension and prompt kindness, I may be pardoned for dwelling upon that interview with feelings of gratitude which I should but in vain endeavour to express.
But, sensible as I am of the importance of Mr. Burke's interference in my father's behalf, I would not imply that there was not ample de sert to call it forth. Enlarged as was Mr. Burke's benevolence, had not the writings which were submitted to his inspection possessed the inarks of real genius, the applicant would probably have been dismissed with a little pecuniary assistance, I must add that, even had his poems been eminently meritorious, it is not to be supposed that the author would have at once excited the strongest personal interest in such a mind, unless he had, during this interview, exhibited the traits of a pure and worthy character. Nay, had there appeared any offensive peculiarities of manner and address—either presumption or meannessthough the young poet might have received both kindness and patronage, can any one dream that Mr. Burke would have at once taken up his cause with the zeal of a friend, domesticated him under his own roof, and treated him like a son? In mentioning his new protégé, a few days afterwards, to Reynolds, Burke said, "He has the mind and feelings of a gentleman." Sir Joshua told this, years later, to my grateful father himself.
[Nicolo MACHIAVELLI was born at Florence in 1469. He died in 1527. We are accustomed to hear people talk and write of Machiavellian policy, by which they mean something most abominably tyrannical and dishonest, and hence infer that Machiavelli had the unenvi. able distinction of being the systematic propagator of such principles. His active life was wholly occupied with missions connected with the politics of the Florentine Republic. His numerous writings are chiefly upon subjects which we may describe as political philosophy. An eminent critic has said that, although it is “scarcely possible for any per son not well acquainted with the history and literature of Italy to read without horror and amazement, the celebrated treatise (* The Prince ') which has brought so much obloquy on the name of Machiavelli ;” yet, “ few writings exhibit so much elevation of sentiment, so pure and warm a zeal for the public good, or so just a view of the duties and rights of citizens, as those of Machiavelli." To those who would rightly understand the nature and causes of the contradictions which are so perplexing in the writings of Machiavelli, we would recommend an article of Mr. Macaulay's, in the 'Edinburgh Review,' reprinted in his
Critical and Historical Essays.' The following specimen, which we give from the Discourses of this celebrated writer, is entitled, “ How he that would succeed must accommodate to the times.” There are several translations of Machiavelli: our extract is from the folio of 1680.]