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affections and unobtrusive rest in which it passions, that he had forgot in what light was passed, exempt alike from the grinding they are viewed by the generality of men ; poverty which too often impelled the he was so deeply imbued with the spirit Genevese watchmaker's son into disgraceful of his hero, that he had come to regard his actions, or the vehement passions which errors and vices as not the least interesting drove the Italian nobleman into brilliant part of his life. That they may be so to crimes. Hence his biography exhibits an that class of readers, unhappily 100 exextraordinary mixture of lofty feelings with tensive, who are engaged in similar pursuits, puerile simplicity, of depth of views with is probably true ; but how small a portion childishness, of divine philosophy with do these constitute of the human race, and homely inclinations. Amidst all his enthu- how weak and inaudible is their applause siasm and effusions of sentiment, he was as when compared to the voice of ages! What much under the influence as any man of has become of the innumerable licentious creature comforts; and never hesitated to works whose existence in antiquity has leave the most lofty efforts of the muse to become known from the specimens disinterparticipate in the substantial advantages of red in the ruins of Herculaneum ? Is there rich preserves or sweet cakes. This sin- one of them which has taken its place beside gular mixture arose in a great measure from the Lives of Plutarch? Whatever is fetid, the habits of his life, and the limited circle however much prized at the moment, is by which, during the greater part of it, he speedily sunk in the waves of time. Nowas surrounded. Living with a few friends thing permanently floats down its stream in the quiet seclusion of a small German but what is buoyant from its elevating tentown, the object of almost superstitious dency. admiration to a few females by whom he Boswell's Life of Johnson is so replete was surrounded, he became at once a little with the sayings and thoughts of the intelgod of his own and their idolatry, and lectual giant, whom it was so much his object warmly inclined, like monks all over the to elevate, even above his natural Patagonian world, to the innocent but not very elevat- stature, that it may be regarded as a sort of ing pleasures of breakfast and dinner. Ma- autobiography, dictated by the sage in bis homet said that he experienced more dif- moments of abandon to his devout worshipficulty in persuading his four wives of his er. It is hardly going too far to say that divine mission, than all the rest of the it is the most popular book in the English world besides ; and this, says Gibbon, was language. Johnson's reputation now mainly not surprising, for they knew best his weak- rests on that biography. No one now reads

Goethe thought, on the the Rambler or the Idler-few the Lives of same principle, his fame was secure, when the Poels, interesting as they are, and adhe was worshiped as a god by his female mirable as are the criticisms on our greatest coterie. He had the highest opinion of his authors which they contain. But Boswell's own powers, and of the lofty mission on Life of Johnson is in everybody's hands ; which he was sent to mankind; but his you will hear the pithy sayings, the adself-love was less offensive than that of mirable reflections, the sagacious remarks Rousseau, because it was more unobtrusive. it contains, from one end of the world to It was allied rather to pride than vanity- the other. The secret of this astonishing and though pride may often be hateful, it is success is to be found in the caustic tone, never contemptible.

sententious brevity, and sterling good sense From the Life of Lord Byron, which of Johnson, and the inimitable accuracy, Moore has published, it may be inferred that faithful memory, and almost infantine simthe latter acted wisely in consigning the plicity of his biographer. From the unoriginal manuscript of the noble poet's bounded admiration with which he was inautobiography to the flames. Assuming spired for the sage, and the faithful memory that a considerable part of that biography with which he was gifted, he was enabled is taken from what the noble bard had left to commit to paper, almost as they were of himself, it is evident that a more com- delivered, those admirable sayings which plete detail of his feelings and motives of have ever since been the delight and adaction would have done anything rather than miration of the world. We almost live with have added to his reputation. In fact, the members of the Literary Club; we hear Moore's Life has done more than anything their divers sentiments, and

can almost else to lower it. The poetical biographer ceive their tones of voice. We see the had thought and sung so much of the gigantic form of the sage towering above

nesses as

a man.


his intellectual compeers. Burke said that of his private life, the biography of literary Johnson was greater in conversation than men, with a few brilliant exceptions—in the writing, and greater in Boswell than either; foremost of which we must place Sir Walter and it is easy to conceive that this must Scott-consists in great part of a series of have been the case. The Life contains all follies, weaknesses, or faults, which it would the admirable sayings, verbatim as they were be well for their memory could they be delivered, and without the asperity of tone buried in oblivion. We will not say that and manner which formed so great a blot in the labors of their biographers have been the original deliverer. Johnson's sayings the Massacre of the Innocents, for truly were of a kind which were susceptible of there were very few innocents to massacre; being accurately transferred, and with full but we will say that they have, in general, effect, to paper, because they were almost done more to degrade those they intended all reflections on morals, men, or manners, to elevate, than the envenomed hostility of which are of universal application, and come their worst enemies. We forbear to mention home to the senses of mankind in every age. names, which might give pain to many In this respect, they were much more respectable persons still alive. The persons likely to produce an impression in biography alluded to, and the truth of the observation, , than he conversation of Sir Walter Scott, will be at once understood and admitted by which, however charming to those who every person acquainted with the literary heard it, consisted chiefly of anecdotes and history of France and England during the stories, great part of the charm of which last century. consisted in the mode of telling and ex- Vanity and jealousy-vanity of thempression of the countenance, which, of selves, jealousy of others--are the great failcourse, could not be transferred to paper. ings which have hitherto tarnished the char

But it is not every eminent man who is acter and disfigured the biography of literary so fortunate as to find a biographer like We fear it is destined to continue the Boswell, who, totally forgetful of self, same to the end of the world. The qualities recorded for posterity with inimitable fidel which contribute to their greatness, which ity all the sayings of his hero. Nor is it occasion their usefulness, which insure their many men who would bear so faithful and fame, are closely allied to failings which too searching an exposure. Johnson, like every often disfigure their private lives, and form other man, had his failings; but they were a blot on their memory, when indiscreetly those of prejudice or manner, rather than revealed in biography, either by themselves morals or conduct. We wish we could say or others. Genius is almost invariably unithat every other eminent literary man wasted to susceptibility; and this temperament equally immaculate, or that an entire dis- is unhappily too apt to run into irritability. closure of character would in every case

No one can read D’Israeli's essay on The reveal no more weaknesses or failings than Lilerary Character, the most admirable of his have been brought to light by Boswell's many admirable works, without being confaithful chronicle. We know that every vinced of that. Celebrity of any sort is the one is liable to err, and that no man is a natural parent of vanity, and this weakness hero to his valet-de-chambre. But being is in a peculiar manner fostered in poets and aware of all this, we were not prepared for romance writers, because their writings interthe immense mass of weaknesses, follies, est so warmly the fair, who form the great and errors, which have been brought to dispensers of general fame, and convey it in light by the indiscreet zeal of biographers, the most flattering form to the author. It in the character of many of our ablest would perhaps be unjust to women to say literary, poetical, and philosophical charac- that poets and novelists share in their weakters. Certainly, if we look at the details nesses ; but it is certain that their disposition of their private lives, these men of literary is, in general, essentially feminine, and that, celebrity have had little title to set up as the as they attract the admiration of the other instructors, or to call themselves the bene- sex more strongly than any other class of factors of mankind. From the days of writers, so they are liable in a peculiar deMilton, whose divine genius was so deeply gree to the failings, as well as distinguished tarnished by the asperity of his feelings, by the excellencies, by which their female and the unpardonable license in controversy admirers are characterized. We may regret which he permitted to his tongue, to those that it is so: we may lament that we cannot of Lord Byron, who scandalized his country find poets and romancers, who to the genius and the world by the undisguised profligacy I of Byron, or the fancy of Moore, unite the sturdy sense of Johnson, or the simplicity 1 ger at least in a more conspicuous way of character of Scott; but it is to be feared in them than in the other sex, so there is such a combination is as rare, and as little nothing which repels them so effectually as to be looked for in general life, as the union any display of that vanity in men which they of the strength of the war-horse to the fleet- are all conscious of in themselves, and nothness of the racer, or the courage of the mas- ing attracts them so powerfully as that selftiff to the delicacy of the greyhound. Adain forgetfulness, which, estimable in all, is in a Smith long ago pointed out the distinction peculiar manner graceful and admirable when between those who serve and those who it is met with in those whom none others amuse mankind ; and the difference, it is to be can forget? Such a quality is not properly feared, exists not merely between the philos- modesty—that is the retiring disposition of opher and the opera-dancer, but between those who have not yet won distinction. No the instructors of men in every department man who has done so is ignorant of it, as no of thought, and those whose genius is devoted woman of beauty is insensible to her charms. rather to the pleasing of the eye, the melt. It is more nearly allied to good sense, and its ing of the feelings, or the kindling of the invariable concomitant-a due regard for the imagination. Yet this observation is only feelings of others. It not unfrequently exists, generally, not universally, true; and Sir Jo- in the highest degree, in those who have the shua Reynolds remains a memorable proof strongest inward consciousness of the services that it is possible for an artist to unite the they have rendered to mankind. No man highest genius and most imaginative power was more unassuming than Kepler, but he of mind to the wisdom of a philosopher, the wrote in reference to his great discoveries, liberality of a gentleman, the benevolence of and the neglect they at first met with, "I a Christian, and the simplicity of a child. may well be a century without a reader,

We are not at all surprised at the intoxi- since God Almighty has been six thousand cation which seizes the literary men and ar- years without such an observer as me.” Yet tists whose genius procures for them the fa- this is universally felt to have been no unvor or admiration of women. Everybody worthy effusion of vanity, but a noble expresknows it is the most fascinating and transport- sion of great services rendered by one of his ing flattery which the mind of man can re- most gifted creatures to the glory of the ceive. But we confess we are surprised, and Almighty. Such men as Kepler are proud, that too not a little, at the want of sense but not vain, and proud men do not bring which so frequently makes men even of the their feelings so prominently or frequently highest abilities mar the influence of their forward as vain ones ; for pride rests on the own genius, and detract from the well-earned consciousness of superiority, and needs no celebrity of their own productions by the in- external support ; vanity arises from a secret discreet display of this vanity, which the ap- sense of weakness, and thirsts for a perpetual plause they have met with has produced in solace from the applause of others. their minds. These gentlemen are charmed It is in the French writers that this inorwith the incense they have received, and of dinate weakness of literary men is most course desirous to augment it, and extend conspicuous, and in them it exists to such an the circle from which it is to be drawn. extent as, on this side of the Channel, to be Well, that is their object; let us consider altogether ridiculous. Every Frenchman what means they take to gain it. These thinks his life worth recording. It was long consist too often in the most undisguised dis- ago said that the number of unpublished play of vanity in their conduct, manner, and memoirs which exist in France, on the war conversation. Is this the way likely to aug- of the League, would, if put together, form a ment the admiration which they enjoy so large library. If those relating to the war much, and are so solicitous to extend ? Are of the Revolution were accumulated, we have they not clear-sighted enough to see, that, no doubt they would fill the Bibliotheque du holding this to be their aim, considering fe- Roi. The number already published exceeds male admiration as the object of their private almost the dimensions of any private collecaspirations, they cannot in any way so

tion of books. The composition and style effectually mar their desires as by permitting of these memoirs is for the most part as cuthe vanity, which the portion of it they have rious, and characteristic of French character, already received has produced, to appear in as their number is descriptive of their ruling their manner of conversation ? Are they so passion. In the age of the religious wars, little versed in the female heart, as not to every writer of memoirs seems to have placed know that as self-love acts, if not in a stron- himself in the first rank, Henry IV. in the second; in that of the Revolution, the greater | here than an accidental diversity: there is a part of the autobiographies scarcely disguise difference arising from a difference of national the opinion, that, if the first place must be character. The Englishmen devoted their reluctantly conceded to Napoleon Buona- lives to the public service, and bestowed not parte, the second must, beyond all question, a thought on its illustration by themselves ; be assigned to themselves. The Abbé de the French mainly thought of themselves Pradt expressed the feeling almost every when acting in the public service, and conone entertained of himself in France, not the sidered it mainly as a means of elevation and sentiment of an individual man, when he said, self-laudation to themselves. There was one who overturned Napoleon, In justice to the literary men of France, and that man was me.” Most persons in however, it must be stated that, of late years this country will exclaim, that this statement at least, they have been exposed to an is overcharged, and that it is incredible that amount of temptation, and of food for their vanity should so generally pervade the wri- self-love, much exceeding anything previously ters of a whole nation. If they will take the seen among men, and which may go far to trouble to read Lamartine's Confidences and account for the extraordinary vanity which Raphael, containing the events of his youth, they have everywhere evinced. In England, or his Histoire de la Révolution de 1848, literary distinction is neither the only nor recently published, they will find ample con- the greatest passport to celebrity. Aristofirmation of these remarks ; nor are they less cratic influences remain, and still possess the conspicuously illustrated by the more elabor- deepest hold of the public mind ; statesmen ate Mémoires d'Outre Tombe of Chateaubri-exist, whose daily speeches in parliament and, the name of which is prefixed to this render their names as household words. essay.

Fashion exercises an extraordinary and alOne thing is very remarkable, and forcibly most inexplicable sway, especially over the illustrates the marked difference, in this re- fairest part of creation. How celebrated spect, between the chracter of the French and soever an author may be, he will in London the English nation. In France all memoirs soon be brought to his proper level, and a assume the form of autobiographies; and so right appreciation of his situation. He will general is the thirst for that species of com- see himself at once eclipsed by an old nobleposition, that, where a man of any note has man, whose name is fraught with historic not compiled his own life, his papers are put glory; by a young marquis, who is an obinto the hands of some skillful bookmaker, ject of solicitude to the mothers and daughwho speedily dresses them up, in the form ters in the room ; by a parliamentary orator, of an attractive autobiography. This was who is beginning to acquire distinction in done with the papers of Brissot, Robespierre, the senate house. We hold this state of Marshal Ney, Fouché, and a great many things to be eminently favorable to the others, all of which appeared with the name right character of literary men; for it saves of their authors, and richly stored with these them from trials before which, it is all but private papers, though it was morally cer- certain, both their good sense and their virtue tain that they could not by possibility have would succumb. But in Paris this salutary written their own lives. In England nothing check upon individual vanity and presumption of the kind is attempted. Scarcely any of is almost entirely awanting. The territorial the eminent men in the last age have left aristocracy is confiscated and destroyed ; their own memoirs ; and the papers of the titles of honor are abolished; historic names most remarkable of them have been published are almost forgotten in the ceaseless whirl without any attempt at biography. Thus of present events; parliamentary orators we have the Wellington Papers, the Marl- are in general unpopular, for they are for borough Papers, the Nelson Papers, the the most part on the side of power. Nothing Castlereagh Papers, published without any remains but the government of mind. The autobiography, and only a slight sketch, intellectual aristocracy is all in all. though in all these cases very ably done, of It makes and unmakes kings alternately; the author's life by their editor. The lives produces and stops revolutions ; at one time of the others eminent men of the last age calls a new race to the throne, at another have been given by others, not themselves : consigns them with disgrace to foreign lands. as that of Pitt, by Tomline and Gifford ; that Cabinets are formed out of the editors of of Fox, by Trotter ; that of Sheridan, by newspapers, intermingled with a few bankers, Moore ; that of Lord Eldon, by Twiss ; that whom the public convulsions have not yet of Lord Sidmouth, by Pellew. There is more / rendered insolvent; prime ministers are to be found only among successful authors. | that there are some exceptions to the genThiers, the editor of the National and the eral frailty; and in one enchanting performer, historian of the Revolution ; Guizot, the our admiration for talents of the very highest profound professor of history ; Villemain, the order is enhanced by respect for the simplicity eloquent annalist of French literature ; La of character and generosity of disposition martine, the popular traveler, poet, and histo- with which they are accompanied. We rian, have been the alternate prime ministers might desiderate in the men who aspire to of France since the revolution of 1830. Even direct the thoughts of the world, and have the great name of Napoleon cannot save his received from nature talents equal to the task, nephew from the irksomeness of bending to the unaffected singleness of heart, and sterthe same necessity. He named Thiers his ling good sense, which we admire, not less prime minister at the time of the Boulogne than her admirable powers, in Mademoiselle misadventure, he is caressing him now in the Jenny Lind. saloons of the Elysée Bourbon. Successful The faults, or rather frailties, we have authors thus in France are surrounded with alluded to, are in an especial manner cona halo, and exposed to influences, of which spicuous in two of the most remarkable in this country we cannot form a conception. writers of France of the present centuryThey unite in their persons the fame of Mr. Lamartine and Chateaubriand. There is Fox and the lustre of Sir Walter Scott; of- some excuse for the vanity of these illustrious ten the political power of Mr. Pilt with the men. They have both acquired an enduring celebrity of Lord Byron. Whether such a fame—their names are known all over the concentration is favorable either to their world, and will continue to be so while the present utility or lasting fame, and whether French language is spoken on the earth ; the best school to train authors to be the and they have both, by their literary talents, instructors of the world is to be found in that been elevated to positions far beyond the which exposes them to the combined influ

rank in society to which they were born, ence of its greatest temptations, are questions and which might well make an ordinary on which it is not necessary now to enter, head reel from the giddy precipices with but on which posterity will probably have no which it is surrounded. Chateaubriand powdifficulty in coming to a conclusion. erfully aided in crushing Napoleon in 1814,

But while we fully admit that these extraor- when Europe in arms surrounded Paris : with dinary circumstances, unparalleled in the still more honorable constancy he resistpast history of the world, go far to extenuate ed him in 1804, when, in the plenitude of his the blame' which must be thrown on the power, he executed the Duke d'Enghien. He French writers for their extraordinary vanity, became ambassador to London for the Resthey will not entirely exculpate them. Or toration-minister of foreign affairs and repdinary men may well be carried away by resentative of France at the Congress of such adventitious and flattering marks of Verona. He it was who projected and their power ; but we cannot accept such an carried into execution the French invasion of excuse from the first men of the age—men the Peninsula in 1823, the only successful of the clearest intellect, and the greatest ac- expedition of the Restoration. Lamartine's quisitions—whose genius is to charm, whose career, if briefer, has been still more dazzling. wisdom is to instruct the world through He aided largely in the movement which every succeeding age. If the teachers of overthrew Louis Philippe ; by the force of men are not to be above the follies and his genius he obtained the mastery of the weaknesses which are general and ridiculous movement, “struggled with democracy when in those of inferior capacity, where are we it was strongest, and ruled it when it was to look for such an exemption ? It is a wildest ;" and had the glory, by his single poor excuse for the overweening vanity of a courage and energy, of saving the character Byron, a Goethe, a Lamartine, or a Cha- of the revolution from bloodshed, and coerteaubriand, that a similar weakness is to be cing the Red Republicans in the very tumult found in a Madame Grisi or a Mademoiselle of their victory. He has since fallen from Cerito, in the first cantatrice or most admired power, less from any known delinquencies ballerina of the day. We all know that the imputed to him, than from the inherent fickleprofessors of these charming arts are too of- ness of the French people, and the impossiten intoxicated by the applause which they bility of their submitting, for any length of meet with ; we excuse or overlook this weak- time, to the lead of a single individual. The ness from respect due to their genius and autobiography of two such men cannot be their sex. But we know, at the same time, other than interesting and instructive in the

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