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called, from the Julian to the Gregorian mask and never claimed reward. His shifts year, the latter being used by most Euro- and disguises, too, laid bare now ; his idenpean nations. The matter was a good deal tity with so many people proved to demondebated; but the necessity for some stand-stration ; his mysterious knowledge both of ard of computation being evident, both with government and private matters--all help a view to history and commerce, it was at to swell our interest in him, and we toil last carried. It is most inconvenient to all through oceans (or marshes) of note-work Russian merchants that the great Autocracy and folly to get at his splendid tirades has not sanctioned the change. Here, how- against statesmen and individuals, for the ever, the calendar was put forward eleven daring, fury, and even ferocity of which his days in September; the to-morrow of the letters stand in English literature without a 2nd inst. being the 14th.
parallel. We skip the next few years as our fathers But it is not so with his contemporary, skipped the eleven days, and now we are Chesterfield. We have no such curiosity in “a time of experiments.” All sorts of wakened for him. “We know his life-while parties had power. They came like the we know nothing of the life of Junius. phantasms on the mirror in the Henriade; There is no romance, like a gauze curtain, they stayed a moment, and departed. The round the Earl, removing him from our Rockingham ministry, which must be recol- immediate inspection, and making him half lected as the nurse of our great Burke, sublime, because half obscure. He was a reigned a little, and then resigned its places perfect gentleman. He lived and adhered to Grafton. He, in turn, was pushed aside to the Proprieties, as firmly as Addison in by Pitt ; who was displaced ere long by the Cato to the Unities. He was part, like extraordinary mixture, the ingredients of ourselves, of the common world," which, which were mainly Bedford and Grafton. according to Schiller and Coleridge, or With their followers we luckily shall not at Coleridge alone, “is all too narrow for the this time have to do.
stricken heart of love,” though, as we think, It was in the second year of the reign of full enough of broad sympathies for a living these people—viz., in 1769, that Junius, the heart. We feel that his flesh and blood most extraordinary writer that perhaps ever were like ours. But it is not so with Junius. addressed a community, burst on the world. There is something cold and fiendish about This Myth-like being set himself to restore him. He has no humanity—he seems to Whig principles and to preach liberty ; to delight to punish. Chesterfield, we admit, reform abuses and watch place-holders; had no genius; while Junius had. The and he applied his lash to all members of Earl had taste, and tact, and talent; he the government, up to the king. He evi- could admire the beautiful, but we doubt if dently brought personal hostility, as well as he had any notion of the sublime. He was hatred on public grounds, to the task. His thankful that he was not a poet, neither the secrecy was impenetrable, and his knowledge father of one. He would most probably, if on private matters far more extensive, while present, have gathered his cloak round him it was also more correct, than that of our and galloped to the nearest inn — in the indefatigable correspondent, Joseph Ady. thunderstorm when Burns on horseback His power over the language, too, was composed his “Scots wha hae.” But if he gigantic ; and every man whose public or had no genius, he had not an evil spirit. private character had holes in it, lived in The great genius of Junius is undeniable, terror of this undiscoverable genius, who but it is also undeniable that he did not use might, in a moment, turn the lightning of it, like Brama, to create and cherish, but, his satire on him and show all those flaws. like Seeva, to destroy. The sun that might
We naturally look with curiosity at this have shone out bright and genial in the "mighty boar of the forest,” aš Burke midst of heaven, to comfort and make glad, called him, when we go back on the trail of descended basely to the things of earth, and our country to the times in which he broke scorched and blasted all it touched. through the “cobwebs of the law," and We will look for a moment at each of foiled or trampled down the hunters. And them, and then hurry on. It is now too that curiosity is heightened when we see late in the intellectual existence of the world him stalking, uncontrollable, about the stage to run a-muck among authors, especially of history for his own time—and with un- foreign ones—like the offensive Privy Counparalleled audacity confronting and rebuking cillor Schlosser. This crabbed body, who his king-especially as he never dropped his speaks of Dr. Johnson as one "who with the enemies of all toleration and improve- | labors of our difficult German neighbors. ment, strove as madly as a monk against all They abound in words, and delight in geneprogress,” darts for an instant on Lord ralities; but being naturally slow and heavy, Chesterfield, and gets rid of his claim to they become ridiculous—like dancing elenotice by saying, “his morality is that of a phants, when they make a show of briskhighly-polished sharper.”. Such expedition ness. The following is a passage containin the dispatch of his victims may show well ing, we think, the essence of Chesterfield's in a German executioner, and command writing : German applause; an English mob, however, would cry « shame.” He is of course “ It may be objected,” he says to his son, “ that wrong. Chesterfield had many faults, and I am now recommending dissimulation to you. I so, we doubt not, had the immaculate both own and justify it. It has been long said, Schlosser, though he throws so many stones; Qui nescit dissimulare nescit regnare: I go stili but we like that man best who states what farther, and say, that without some dissimulation
no business can be carried on at all. It is simuhe thinks right, and not the man who only lation that is false, mean, and criminal; that is knows to run against what he thinks wrong: the cunning which Lord Bacon calls crooked or Chesterfield had learned the world, and left-handed wisdom, and which is never made of seen its hollowness and falseness ; few could use but by those who have not true wisdom. And teach that learning to his boy, and so he the same great man says that dissimulation is tried to teach it. He might surely have only to hide our own cards, whereas simulation is gone farther, and counselled his son rather to put on in order to look into other people's. how to turn and reform the world, than to
Lord Bolingbroke says that simulation is a stiletto,
not only an unjust but an unlawful weapon, profit by its depravity. But what has the whereas dissimulation is a shield, as secrecy is Privy Councillor to do with this ? Had the armor, and it is no more possible to preserve seEarl published any letters himself, the case crecy in business without some degree of diswould have been different. The most simulation than it is to succeed without secrecy." wooden-beaded of Germans might have then had some
excuse-as it is, he has none. If this is sharper's morality, all men of Chesterfield did not publish his letters; he business, and all statesmen too, are sharpers. never authorized their publication; had he Volto sciolto ; pensieri stretti may not be the been asked, he probably would have refused precept, but it is the practice, of the world, permission. It was with him, as with the and all who live in it must find the secret of works of some modern royal authors—a its practice out, or fail in getting on. We stranger published them. His son's wife, do not wish our readers to suppose we rewho had never the virtue to declare herself commend dissimulation; but a man who during her husband's life, and probably only paints the world must paint it as it is, and did so after his death, on cash accounts, not as he could wish it to be. printed them after the old gentleman had Had Chesterfield issued his letters in the left the scene. He was no party to it. He form of a book, he would have excised with had watched over his son's education with a more liberal hand than even the present the greatest care. He had supplied him judicious and talented editor. While, howreligious tutors, and linguist tutors, tutors ever, it would be most unjust to judge him en tous genres, and with natural anxiety for as an ordinary author, we must be suffered a clumsy boy, whose masters were defective to say of his letters as those of a man, that in the Graces, he had chosen to write him they are not such as should have been writletters upon Men and Manners, which were ten by a Christian man. It was well and afterwards dishonorably (we think) pub- praise worthy in him to engage professors and lished. Why should a foggy foreigner, ig- teachers for his son, but he should have asnorant most likely of all these facts, run sisted them himself in the matter of religion. against that father, and style him “sharp- It is no excuse for the heathenism of London
Even an enemy who might wish that that we pay tithes and rates enough to buy the Earl had written a book, would not instructors for all its inhabitants. It is nehave profited by such an one as this. That cessary to give something more than money. would be as unjust as to judge the brilliant Religion is not like cotton, or indigo, or stock, parliament-man by his parlor sayings, when that can be bought, and sold, and transferhe is in undress, away from his stilts, and red. The father should have spoken often among his children.
We sometimes fer- of it, with the other things. His letters vently wish that our literary hackneys would not have been of less value in this rewould spare us their versions of the critic- spect, because of more value in that. But
this, we must remember, was an error of /public, let me be permitted to consider your charjudgment, as regarded his son's education, acter and conduct merely as a subject of curious not of authorship with regard to us. For speculation. There is something in both which his own personal religion, we believe it to
distinguishes you, not only from all other minis
ters, but all other men. It is not that you do have been of that genteel sort of which his
wrong by design, but that you should never do whole walk and conversation and writing was right by mistake. It is not that your indolence an example. He never went to a chapel and your activity have been equally misapplied, where there was a church, but we do not but that the first principle, or if I may call it the find him, as the fashion was in his days, genius, of your life should have carried you openly scoffing at either. There was none of through every possible change and contradiction the tomfoolery of atheism about him, though color of a 'virtue ; and that the wildest spirit of
of conduct, without the momentary imputation or we doubt if there was much belief ; neither inconsistency should never have betrayed you into did he incline to those who, with poor modern
a wise or honorable action. Fox, “ look to Nature, not the God of Na- “ The character of the reputed ancestors of ture," as George Herbert sings it, and who, some men has made it possible for their descendwhen they worship, attend the ministry of ants to be vicious in the extreme, without being Dr. Greenfield, in the universal sky-built degenerate. Those of your Grace (Charles II.) temple.
left no distressing examples of virtue even to
their legitimate posterity, and you may look back On turning to Junius, we come, as said
to an illustrious pedigree, in which heraldry has before, to quite a different thing. Chester- not left a single good quality on record to insult field was always under restraint, though, like or upbraid you. You have better proof of your our ladies with their chatelaines, he gave his descent, my Lord, than * or any trouble. chains an air of grace. Junius acknowledged
some inheritance of reputation. There are some none.
He was a literary Arab—his hand hereditary strokes of character by which a family against every one. He assailed whom he may be as clearly distinguished as by the blackest
features of the human face. Charles I. lived and pleased, and if his victims turned on him, he died a hypocrite. Charles II. was a hypocrite of either silenced them by invective, or when another sort, and should have died upon the same they answered back too sharply (as Horne scaffold. At the distance of a century, we see Tooke did,) took no notice of his defeat, but their different characters happily revived and set on some one else. His look, however, blended in your Grace. Sullen and severe withfor the most part, like the look of Lorrinite, out religion, profligate without gaiety, you live,
like Charles II., without being an amiable com“ had crippling in it.” He rarely spared a foe. His object was the ruin of the coalition father did, without the reputation of a martyr."
panion, and, for aught I know, may die, as his government, and almost reversing Portia's recommendation to the Bankruptcy Court in Or what triumphs in policy could satisfy Venice, to do a little right, he did great the Duke of Bedford, when the hand of this wrong. He had no notion of justice. The fiery pen, outliving them all, could pass him opposition was always criminal. He did not to the eyes of successive generations in such know worth if it did not agree with him—in “ words that breathe, and thoughts that a word, he was a bigot preaching liberty - burn,” as these : and a mighty genius degraded to the taskwork fitted only for a hack.
“ Let us consider you then as arrived at the The Dukes of Grafton and Bedford were summit of worldly greatness. Let us suppose probably talented men. No doubt they that all your plans of avarice and ambition are merited as much finger-pointing as most accomplished, and your most sanguine wishes statesmen ; more than the majority of us, gratified, in the fear as well as the hatred of the their judges, would deserve, if we were call people. Can age itself forget that you are now
in the last act of life? Can grey hairs make folly ed to fill such seats as they did. But their venerable ? And is there no period to be reserved fame in their own days was little to be wish- for meditation and retirement ? For shame, my ed; they have none now to be envied. What Lord ! let it not be recorded of you that the latest place-holding, or hurrahing through the moments of your life were dedicated to the same streets could compensate the Duke of Graf- unworthy pursuits, the same busy agitations in ton if he had had his fill of them, when, de
which your youth and manhood were exhausted. siring to be applauded by posterity, he knew Consider that although you cannot disgrace your
former life, you are violating the character of age, that he was handed down by such a pen as
and exposing the impotent imbecility after you this :
have lost the vigor of the passions.
Your friends will ask, perhaps, Whither shall “Relinquishing, therefore, all idle views of this unhappy old man retire? * Whichever amendment to your Grace, or of benefit to the way he flies, the hue and cry of the country pur
* * * It is in vain to shift the dead ; if they remember him at all, it is
You can no more fly from your enemies generally as a poor fellow that after all had than from yourself. Persecuted abroad, you look
some good points ; but if he should excite into your own heart for consolation, and find nothing but reproaches and despair. But, my Lord,
more notice, and friends bray and enemies you may quit the field of business, though not the bray about him, the great world, which is field of danger ; and though you cannot be safe, eager about other things, listens to the loudyou may cease to be ridiculous. I fear you have est, or neglects both. New great men rise; listened too long to the advice of those pervicious the present and the future are the theme of friends with whose interests you have sordidly anxiety; the past is left to chance, and the united your own, and for whom you have sacrificed everything that ought to be dear to a man of
away into history, with euhonor. They are still base enough to encourage
logium, if a friend writes, and with condemthe follies of your age, as they once did the vices nation, if an enemy. of your youth. As little acquainted with the It is not so with a writer. He can take rules of decorum as with the laws of morality, his own part, and, the braying over, althey will not suffer you to profit by experience, though dead, speak for bimself. Chateaunor even to consult the propriety of a bad charac- briand made not a little noise at one time in ter. Even now, they tell you that life is no more than a dramatic scene, in which the hero should the world of politics, but long before he preserve his consistency to the last, and that, as
died the finger-pointing veered away from you lived without virtue, you should die without him ; his fame is only got now by his books. repentance."
A man, however, who would thus live after
death, must write upon a general, and not a While there is nothing that can be excused momentary theme. He must touch humanin such writing as this, there is nothing which ity, and not its accidents. Politics do not can be envied (and this is more to our pres- supply an enduring subject. They are so ent purpose) in the position of him at whom variable, that the most conservative meait is launched. Better that he had remained sures may be suddenly yielded, or the most a quiet country gentleman, and hunted deer, radical and so-called glorious reforms reand not ambition. This observation recalls versed forever—when the writing is tossed us to our subject, and to our last observa- by. This makes us reflect for a moment on tion about politics with reference to fame. the constitution of books, and how some of
A statesman is never rightly judged. He the most promising die young, while others is at a bar where justice is unknown; before that looked dull and heavy from childhood, a court from whose decisions it is vain to reach a green old age, and threaten, like the make appeal. Like a national debt, he is well-known aunt whose nieces were valetunever estimated. During his life, the bench dinarians of fourscore, but hoped for health is filled with either friends or enemies; the when they were married on the fortunes she jury, too vast to pack-in any case, as Hood would leave—to live forever. said, are alike divided, and an honest verdict Satire, read by all, and praised by all on cannot be obtained. He may have spent its appearance, is but short-lived. It shoots himself in public slavery; he may have giv- follies as they fly, but follies, after being en up his private happiness, and perhaps shot, die, and are soon forgotten. Who public and private virtue, that he may decree now, of the quoting hundreds, reads Hudilaws to nations, or carry his own to the pitch bras or Tristam Shandy; and Colman and of glory, yet he will always find some entry poor Hook, not to speak of living satiriststo the debit side of the account, the world where will they stand in the future history divided, and the finger-pointing part con- of literature ? Not high up, we fear. Ficdemnatory. Some approve him for virtues tion, too, that thousands read, but tens of he never practised, and some condemn him thousands write, has very little life in it. for errors he never committed. It is worse Some innovator is always at work. Cerif, hungering for fame, he appeals from an vantes displaces the knights errant in Spain, ungrateful present to the future. Besides and Scott displaces Minerva in England. that he cannot hear the verdict of posterity, The transformations are constantly in prothere is often no verdict to be heard. When gress—to the chrysalis, the butterfly, orhe dies, the question of his merits mostly the corpse. Poetry, of course, which scans falls sick, and ere long dies too. The world the heavens and earth, and moulds all nagoes on regularly without him; the sun ture into one great and glorious whole, has rises, though a king dies; the mill still clat- longest life of all. It is allied to music, ters round, although the miller is chopped which we know to be eternal. But in prose, up. Few people vex their heads about the a book to live should have a very strong backbone and healthy sinews; so that when But it is not so with Chesterfield. Disapit is among future generations it may not proving, as we must, of much that he has look old and ricketty. There should be written, but regretting more what he has nothing false about it; no stuffing or quilt- not written, we yet see a principle of life in ing; no stay-work or crutches. If it hob- his letters. All those to Dayrolles and about bles now, it will soon halt. If accidental politics, and also those two on his father's circumstances keep it on its legs now, when death, which have no claim whatever to be they are removed it will fall flat. If, to preserved, might as well have been omitted, alter the figure, it has cnly waxen show for they will be but little read, and even wings, they will melt in the sun-heat of when read but little relished. But his letters trial, and, like Icarus, it will some day come to his son, now that Lord Mahon has revised down from its eminence with a run.
them, will be more read than ever. They Looking to these letters of Junius and should not, however, be perused by any one Chesterfield—which we should have said whose moral and religious principles are unwere like each other in one respect viz., formed. Their highest merit is, that they that neither were intended for posterity contain vivid pictures of life, and to those when written—and asking which is worthi- who look on them with the right light, they est to survive, we cannot hesitate. It is the show how the world lies in wait to deceive. modern fashion to judge style before senti. They do nothing towards the encouragement ment, sound before sense ; even our congre- of men to set their thoughts on things above, gations criticise our manner rather than our but they should prevent men from fixing them matter ; if we fall into this fashion, there- on things below. They do not point towards fore, we must allow that for style Chester- the glories of Eternity, but they tell of the field cannot be compared with Junius. But emptiness of Time. then, it is his style only which keeps Junius And now a new breeze blows: and we before us. His letters would have been suddenly put up helm. We gladly stretch dead long since but for their style. He had the sails, and leave the worldly-wise behind; no message for humanity, or if he had he our hearts grow glad in us as we speed on, did not deliver it; while Chesterfield has for this new breeze is fresh, and seems to brought truths to us, and lessons, that will breathe of heaven. For a little while, though, affect our children. Who cares now if Bed- waves and breakers are about us; we go ford was a knave or a fool ; or if Grafton painfully among them, tossing and perplexed, was a sensualist and a scoundrel ; what is but we are sure that there is safety near, and Sir William Draper to us, or Bute, or so sail on. Granby ? Junius's letters have done their Contemporary both with Chesterfield and work, though they did not do bis, for he put Junius, yet as different from them as light down his pen in despair, and left the coun- from twilight, William Cowper lived sixtytry. The abuses which he attacked are for nine years in the most eventful century the the most part done away; and as for the world had seen—without mixing in its excitePreliminary Essays, windy notes, disputes ments. We have hinted at some incidents concerning authorship, (which are only in the first half of it; to do more, and comworthy of Coventry-except when a man of press a history of it in a short article, would genius, like Macaulay, gives additional inter- need powers such as Houdin's, who can roll est to the life of Hastings by a few conclusive an orange in his hands till it is smaller than paragraphs on Francis,) private common pla- a pea. A paragraph or two will tell enough ces to Wilkes and Woodfall—and those other about the life of this most worthy man to puffings which art has bestowed upon them bring it to remembrance; this done, we must hitherto_these things will get dismissed ere close. long; the bags will be struck and burst, and His father was one of George the Second's the wind let loose into space. Had not the chaplains; his mother descended by four style of this Mysterious Myth been splendid, ways from royalty. He lost the latter parent and his sarcasm unequalled, he would not in his sixth year, from which to his eighteenth have reached us at all; had he produced he passed his time like other boys, in buffeting nothing but political fireworks, the sting of through various schools, though physically his squibs and the report of his crackers unequal to his boisterous troubles. He, was would have died away long since, and his then apprenticed to law, and became an idler, volumes would have been deposited in our not, however, a vicious one, as is the modern butter-shops beside those of Wilkes, or in fashion among law and medical students. our lumber rooms by those of B-nth-m. In his bitterest moments of self-reproach, we