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Sketches of Contemporary Authors, Statesmen, &c.—No. VIII. 27 He could no more ; but stooping down What boots to tell what then befell, He clasped her to his soul,
Or how, in bridal mirth, And from the honey of her lips
Young and old did bound to music's sound, A rapturous kiss he stole:
Beside that simple hearth;
On mountain-side and plain,
And faithful Donald Bane !
SKETCHES OF CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS, STATESMEN, &c.
No. VIII.--THE LATE DUGALD STEWART. DUGALD STEWART was the only son lebrity, the number of students conwho survived the age of infancy, of siderably increased under his son. As Dr. Matthew Stewart, professor of soon as he had completed his twentymathematics in the University of Ed- first year, he was appointed assistant inburgh. He was born in the College of and successor to his father, and in this Edinburgh, on the 22d of November, capacity he continued to conduct the 1753, and his bealth, during the first mathematical studies in the University, period of his life, was so feeble and till his father's death, in the year precarious, that it was with more than 1785, when he was nominated to the the ordinary anxiety and solicitude of vacant chair. Although this continuparents that his infancy was reared. ed, however, to be his ostensible situAt the age of seven he was sent to ation in the University, bis avocations the High School, where he distinguish- were more varied. In the year 1778, ed himself by the quickness and accu- during which Dr. Adam Ferguson acracy of his apprehension ; and where companied the commissioners to Amethe singular felicity and spirit with rica, he undertook to supply his place which he caught and transfused into in the moral philosophy class ; à lahis own language the ideas of the bor that was the more overwhelming, classical writers, attracted the parti- as he had for the first time given nocular remarks of his instructers. Hav- tice, a short time before his assistance ing completed the customary course of was requested, of his intention to add education at this seminary, he was en a course of lectures on astronomy to tered as a student at the College of the two classes which he taught as Edinburgh. In October, 1771, he professor of mathematics. Such was was deprived of his mother, and he, the extraordinary fertility of his mind, almost immediately after her death, and the facility with which it adapted removed to Glasgow, where Dr. Reid its powers to such inquiries, that alwas then teaching those principles of though the proposal was made to him metaphysics which it was the great and accepted on Thursday, he comobject of his pupil's life to inculcate menced the course of metaphysics the and to expand. After attending one following Monday, and continued durcourse of lectures at this seat of learn- ing the whole of the season to think ing, the prosecution of his favorite out and arrange in his head in the studies was interrupted by the declin- morning (while walking backwards ing state of his father's health, which' and forwards in a sinall garden atcompelled him, in the autumn of the tached to his father's house in the following year, before he bad reached college,) the matter of the lecture of the age of nineteen, to undertake the the day. The ideas with which he task of teaching the mathematical had thus stored his mind, he poured classes. With wbat success he was forth extempore in the course of the able to fulfil this duty, was sufficiently forenoon, with an eloquence and a evinced by the event ; for with all Dr. felicity of illustration surpassing in Matthew Stewart's well-merited ce energy and vivacity (as those who have
heard him have remarked) the more
the excellence of his style of compological and better-digested expositions sition-of the extent and variety of of his philosophical views, which he his learning and scientific attainments used to deliver in his inaturer years. -of the singular cultivation and reThe difficulty of speaking for an hour finement of his mind-of the purity extempore, every day, on a new sub- and elegance of his taste-of his warm ject, for five or six months, is not relish for moral and for natural beauty small : but when superadded to the —of his enlightened benevolence to all mental exertion of teaching also, dai- mankind, and of the generous ardor ly, two classes of mathematics, and of with which he devoted himself to the delivering, for the first time, a course improvement of the human species--of of lectures on astronomy, it may just- all of which, while the English lanly be considered as a very singular in- guage endures, his works will continue stance of intellectual vigor. To this to preserve the indelible evidence. season he always referred as the most But of one part of his fame no memolaborious of his life; and such was the rial will remain but in the recollection exhaustion of the body, from the in- of those who have witnessed his exertense and continued stretch of the tions. As a public speaker, he was mind, that, on his departure for Lon- justly entitled to rank among the very don, at the close of the academical first of his day; and, had an adequate session, it was necessary to lift him sphere been afforded for the display of into the carriage.
his oratorical powers, his inerit in this In the summer of 1783 he visited line alone would have sufficed to sethe continent for the first time. On cure him a lasting reputation. Among his return from Paris, in the autumn those who have attracted the highest of the same year, he married Helen admiration in the senate and at the Bannatine, a daughter of Neil Banna- bar, there are still many living who tine, Esq. a merchant in Glasgow. will bear testimony to his extraor
In the year 1785, during which Dr. dinary eloquence. The ease, the Matthew Stewart's death occurred, grace, and the dignity of his action ; the health of Dr. Ferguson rendered the compass and harmony of his voice, it expedient for him to discontinue his its flexibility and variety of intonation, official labors in the University, and the truth with which its modulation he accordingly effected an exchange responded to the impulse of his feelof offices with Mr. Stewart, who was ings and the sympathetic emotions of transferred to the class of moral phi- his audience; the clear and perspiculosophy, while Dr. Ferguson retired ous arrangement of his matter; the on the salary of mathematical profes- swelling and uninterrupted flow of his
In the year 1787, Mr. Stewart periods ; and the rich stores of ornawas deprived of his wife by death ; ment which he used to borrow from and, the following summer, he again the literature of Greece and of Roine, visited the continent, in company with of France and of England, and to inthe late Mr. Ramsay of Barnton. terweave with his spoken thoughts, These slight indications of the pro- with the most apposite application,gress of the ordinary occurrences of were persections not any of them poshuman life, must suffice to convey to sessed in a superior degree by any of the reader an idea of the connexion of the most celebrated orators of the age; events up to the period when Mr. nor do I believe that in any of the Stewart entered on that sphere of ac- great speakers of the time (and I have tion in which he laid the foundation heard them all), they were to an equal of the great reputation which he ac extent united. His own opinions quired as a moralist and a metaphysi- were maintained without any overcian. His Writings are before the weening partiality; his eloquence came world, and from them posterity may so warm from the heart, was rendered be safely left to form an estimate of so impressive by the evidence which
it bore of the love of truth, and was had disembarrassed himself of his own so free from all controversial acrimo- labors, he fulfilled the task which he ny, that what has been remarked of had undertaken. In the course of the purity of purpose which inspired 1793 he published the Outlines of the speeches of Brutus, might justly Moral Philosophy. In March 1796 be applied to all that he spoke and he read before the Royal Society his wrote; for he seemed only to wish, account of the Life and Writings of without further reference to others Dr. Robertson, and in 1802 that of than a candid discrimination of their the Life and Writings of Dr. Reid. errors rendered necessary, simply and By these publications alone he coningenuously to disclose to the world tinued to be known as an author, till the conclusions to which his reason the appearance of his volume of Philohad led him. In 1790, after being sophical Essays in 1810;—a work to three years a widower, he married which a melancholy interest attaches Helen d'Arcy Cranstoun, a daughter in the estimation of his friends, from of the Honorable George Cranstoun, the knowledge that it was in the de-a union to which he owed much of votion of his mind to this occupation the subsequent happiness of his life. that he sought a diversion to his About this time it would appear to thoughts from the affliction he expehave been that he first began to ar- rienced in the death of bis second and range some of his metaphysical papers youngest son. Although, bowever, with a view to publication. At what the fruits of his studies were not given period he deliberately set himself to to the world, the process of intellecthink systematically on these subjects tual exertion was unremitted. The is uncertain. That his mind had been leading branches of metaphysics had habituated to such reflections from a become so familiar to his mind, that. very early period is sufficiently known. the lectures which he delivered very He frequently alluded to the specula- generally extempore, and which varitions that occupied his boyish and even ed more or less in the language and his infant thoughts; and the success of matter every year, seemed to cost him his logical and metaphysical studies little effort; and he was thus left in a at Edinburgh, and the Essay on great degree at liberty to apply the Dreaming, wbich forms part of the larger part of his day to the prosecufirst volume of the Philosophy of the tion of his farther speculations. AlHuman Mind, composed while a stu- though he had read more than most of dent at the College of Glasgow in those who are considered learned, his 1772, at the age of eighteen, are life, as he has himself somewhere reproofs of the strong natural bias which marked, was spent much more in rehe possessed for such pursuits. It is flecting than in reading; and so unprobable, however, that he did not ceasing was the activity of bis mind, follow out the inquiry as a train of and so strong his disposition to trace thought, or commit many of his ideas all subjects of speculation that were to writing, before his appointment in worthy to attract his interest up to 1785 to the professorship of moral their first principles, that all important philosophy gave a necessary and steady objects and occurrences furnished fresh direction to his investigation of meta- matter to his thoughts. The political physical truth. In the year 1792 he events of the time suggested many of first appeared before the public as an his inquiries into the principles of poauthor, at which time the first volume litical economy ;-his reflections on of the Philosophy of the Human Mind his occasional tours through the counwas given to the world. While en- try, many of his speculations on the gaged in this work he had contracted picturesque, the beautiful, and the the obligation of writing the Life of sublime;
-and the study of the chaAdam Smith, the author of the Wealth racters of his friends and acquaintof Nations ; and rery soon after he ances, and of remarkable individuals
with whom he happened to be thrown pare his works for the press with the into contact, many of his most pro- assistance of his daughter as an amafound observations on the sources of nuensis, and to avail himself with the varieties and anomalies of human cheerful and unabated relish of all the nature. The year after the death of sources of gratification which it was his son, he relinquished his chair in the still within his power to enjoy, exhiuniversity, and removed to Kinneil biting, among some of the heaviest inHouse, a seat belonging to his grace firmities incident to age, an admirable the Duke of Hamilton, on the banks example of the serene sunset of a well of the Firth of Forth, about twenty spent life of classical elegance and remiles from Edinburgh, where he spent finement. In general company his the remainder of his days in philoso- manner bordered on reserve; but it phical retirement. From this place was the comitate condita gravitas, and were dated, in succession, the Philo- belonged more to the general weight sophical Essays in 1810; the second and authority of his character, than to volume of the Philosophy of the Hu- any reluctance to take his share in the man Mind in 1813; the Preliminary cheerful intercourse of social life. He Dissertation to the Encyclopædia; the was ever ready to acknowledge with a continuation of the second part of the smile the happy sallies of wit ; and no Philosophy in 1827 ; and finally, -in man had a keener sense of the ludi1828, the third volume, containing the crous, or laughed more heartily at gePhilosophy of the Active and Moral nuine humor. His deportment and Powers of Man,—a work which he expression were casy and unembarrasscompleted only a few short weeks ed, dignified, elegant, and graceful. before his career was to close fore. His politeness was equally free from
Here he continued to be visited all affectation and from all premeditaby his friends, and by most foreigners tion; it was the spontaneous result of who could procure an introduction to the purity of his own taste, and of a his acquaintance, till the month of heart warm with all the benevolent January 1822, when a stroke of palsy, affections, and was characterised by a which nearly deprived him of the pow- truth and readiness of tact that accomer of utterance, in a great measure in- modated his conduct with undeviating capacitated him for the enjoyment of propriety to the circumstances of the any other society than that of a few present moment, and to the relative intimate friends, in whose company he situation of those to whom he addressfelt no constraint. This great calami- ed himself. From an early period of ty, which bereaved him of the fac- life he had frequented the best soulty of speech, of the power of exer- ciety both in France and in this councise, of the use of his right hand,- try, and he had in a peculiar degree which reduced him to a state of al- the air of good company. In the somost infantile dependence on those ciety of ladies he appeared to great around him, and subjected him ever advantage ; and to women of cultivatafter to a most abstemious regimen,- ed understanding his conversation was he bore with the most dignified forti- particularly acceptable and pleasing. tude and tranquillity. The malady The immense range of bis erudition, which broke his health and constitu- the attention he had bestowed on altion for the rest of his existence, hap- most every branch of philosophy, his pily impaired neither any of the facul- extensive acquaintance with every delies of his mind, nor the characteristic partment of elegant literature, ancient vigor and activity of his understand- or modern, and the fund of anecdote ing, which enabled him to rise supe. and information which he had collectrior to the misfortune. As soon as ed in the course of his intercourse with his strength was sufficiently reëstab- the world, with respect to almost all lished, he continued to pursue his stu- the eminent men of the day, either in dies with his wonted assiduity, to pre- this country or in France, enabled him
to find suitable subjects for the enter- grace or his dignity. As a writer of tainment of the great variety of visit- the English language,—as a public ers of all descriptions who at one pe- speaker,-as an original, a profound, riod frequented his house. In his do- and a cautious thinker,—as an exmestic circle his character appeared pounder of truth,—as an instructer of in its most amiable light, and by his youth, -as an elegant scholar, -as an family he was beloved and venerated accomplished gentleman; in the exalmost to adoration. So uniform and emplary discharge of the social duties, sustained was the tone of his manners, -in uncompromising consistency and and so completely was it the result of rectitude of principle,-in unbending the habitual influence of the natural independence,- in the warmth and elegance and elevation of his mind on tenderness of his domestic affections, his external demeanor, that when -in sincere and unostentatious piety, alone with his wife and children, it -in the purity and innocence of his hardly differed by a shade from that life,-few have excelled him; and, which he maintained in the company take him for all in all, it will be of strangers ; for although his fond- difficult to find a man who to so ness, and familiarity, and playfulness, many of the perfections has added were alike engaging and unrestrained, so few of the imperfections of human he never lost anything either of his nature.
MR. ROTHSCHILD, THE LONDON BANKER.
SCEPTIC, go to the Royal Exchange that of the skin of a dead frog. almost any morning that you please, There is a rigidity and tension in the and among some score of persons, features, too, which would make you whose appearance will not very great- fancy, if you did not see that that ly elevate your
notions of the dignity were not the fact, that some one from and grace of human nature, you will behind was pinching it with a pair of see one, whose face and figure hot tongs, and that it were either alike baffle your powers of description; ashamed or afraid to tell. Eyes are and his whole man and inanner make usually denominated the windows of you instinctively repeat the vulgar the soul; but here you would conclude tetrastich,
that the windows are false ones, or “ I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
that there is no soul to look out at The reason why, I cannot tell :
them. There comes not one pencil The fact itself í feel full well
of light from the interior, neither is I do not like thee, Doctor Fell."
there one scintillation of that which The thing before you stands cold, comes from without reflected in any motionless, and apparently specula- direction. The whole puts you in tionless as the pillar of salt into which mind of “a skin to let ;” and you the araricious spouse of the Patriarch wonder why it stands upright, without was turned; and while you start with at least something within. By and wonder at what it can be or mean, by another figure comes up to it. It you pursue the association, and think then steps two paces aside, and the upon the fire and brimstone that were most inquisitive glance that ever you rained down. It is a human being of saw, and a glance more inquisitive no very Apollo-like form or face. than you would have thought of, is Short, squat, with its shoulders drawn drawn slowly out of the erewhile fixup to its ears, and its bands delved ed and leaden eye, as if one were into its breeches-pockets. The huę drawing a sword from a scabbard. of its face is a mixture of brickdust The visiting figure, which has the apand saffron, and the texture seems pearance of coming by accident and