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Thomas Noon TALPOURD is an eloquent English barrister, and, also, a chaste, clear, and imaginative writer. “He is the author of two classic plays,” says Chambers, “ Ion and The Athenian Captive, remarkable for a gentle beauty, rerinement and pathos."
HENRY BROUGHAM, late lord chancellor of England, the subject of the following sketch, was born in Edinburgh in September, 1778. He was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Review, was for twenty-five years one of its ablest contributors, and is even now one of the most remarkable of public men in England.
SKETCH OF LORD BROUGHAM.
T. NOON TALPOURIA 1. True it is, that this extraordinary man, who, without high birth, splendid fortune, or aristocratic connection, has, by mere intellectual power, become the parliamentary leader of the whigs of England, is, at last, beginning to succeed in the profession he has condescended to follow.
2. But, stupendous as his abilities, and various as his acquisitions are, he does not possess that one presiding faculty imagination, which, as it concentrates all others, chiefly renders them unavailing for inferior uses. Mr. Brougham's powers are not thus united and rendered unwieldly and prodigious, but remain apart, and neither assist nor impede each other. The same speech, indeed, may give scope to several talents; to lucid narration, to brilliant wit, to irresistible reasoning, and even to heart-touching pathos; but these will be found in parcels, not blended and interfused in one superhuman burst of passionate eloquence. The single power in which he excels all others is sarcasm, and his deepest inspiration-scorn!
3. Hence he can awaken terror and shame far better than he can melt, agitate, and raise. Animated by this blasting spirit, he can “bare the mean hearts” which “lurk beneath” a hun. dred “stars,” and smite a majority of lordly persecutors into the dust! His power is all directed to the practical and earthy
It is rather that of a giant than a magician,-of Briareus * than of Prospero.* He can do a hundred things well, and almost at once; but he cannot do the one highest thing; he cannot, by a single touch, reveal the hidden treasures of the soul, and astonish the world with truth and beauty unknown till disclosed. at his bidding. Over his vast domain he ranges with amazing activity, and is a different man in each province which he occupies.
4. He is not one, but legion. At three in the morning, he will make a reply in Parliament, which shall blanch the cheeks and appall the hearts of his enemies; and, at half-past nine, he will be found in his place in court, working out a case in which a bill of five pounds is disputed, with all the plodding care of a most laborious junior. This multiplicity of avocation, and division of talent, suit the temper of his constitution and mind.
5. Not only does he accomplish a greater variety of purposes than any other man,-not only does he give anxious attention to every petty cause, while he is fighting a great political battle, and weighing the relative interests of nations—not only does he write an article for the Edinburgh Review while contesting a county, and prepare complicated arguments on Scotch appeals, by way of rest from his generous endeavors to educate a people —but he does all this as if it were perfectly natural to him, in a manner so unpretending and quiet, that a stranger would think him a merry gentleman, who had nothing to do but enjoy himself and fascinate others.
6. The fire which burns in the tough fibers of his intellect, does not quicken his pulse, or kindle his blood to more than a genial warmth. He, therefore, is one man in the senate, another in the study, another in a committee-room, and another in a petty cause; and, consequently, is never above the work which he has to perform.
* Bri a're us was a fabled giant of old, who is reported to bare had a hundred hands ; Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan, a character in one of Shakspeare's plays [The Tempest), who is represented as having acquired power over "potent spirits” to make them obedient to his will
DEMOS'THENES, the greatest of the Grecian orators, was born at Athens. His principal orations, called “Philippies," were designed to incite his countrymen against the encroachments of Pbilip, king of Macedon, upon the lib erties of Greece. After the death of Alexander the Great, the Athenians revolted, but were subdued; and Demosthenes, to avoid falling into the hands of Antipater, the Macedonian General, took poison, B. 0. 322.
CHER SO NESE', or CHER SO NE' SUS (CHERSO, land, or mainland, ani Nesus, an island), means, literally, a land-island, or an island attached to the mainland, that is, a peninsula. There were several places so called by the ancients; but the one here meant, is that long, narrow strip of land running out in a south westerly direction from the mainland of European Turkey, between the Dardanelles and the Gulf of Melas. It is now called the peninsula of the Dardanelles.
This Chersonese had been ceded by its sovereign to Athens; but Cardia, one of the principal cities, had put itself under the protection of Philip, king of Macedon. A Grecian general had been sent out to plant a colony in the peninsula. He regarded Philip's conduct towards Cardia, as sufficient to justify hostile action on his part, although he had no orders to that effect. He, accordingly, made a vigorous attack; relying of course on support from the party of Demosthenes at home. The opposite party, however, or Macedonian party, as they were called, inveighed bitterly against the proceedings of the general, and against all who favored them, as being an infraction of the peace nominally subsisting between Athens and Macedon. Hence the admirable speech from which the following extract is taken.
REPLY TO THE PARTY OF PHILIP.
DEMOSTHENES (translated by Lord Brougham). 1. Whence is it, after all, 0 men of Athens, that Philip is thus openly carrying on military operations, doing acts of violence, taking towns, and yet no one of these creatures of his ever thinks of charging him with committing outrages, or even going to war at all, while the whole blame of beginning hostili. ties is cast upon those who are for resistıng such violence, and against abandoning everything to his mercy? I can tell you the reason of all this :—That indignation which you are likely to feel when you suffer by the war, our accusers would fain turn off upon us who gave you the sound advice, in order that you
may condemn us, instead of punishing Philip, and that thein. selves may play the part of prosecutors against us, instead of paying the penalty of their own misconduct.
2. But I perceive that some of our politicians by no means lay down the same rule for themselves and for you. They would have you remain quiet, whatever wrongs are done to you; while they can never remain quiet themselves, though no one is wronging them at all. Then, whoever rises, is sure to taunt me with—“So you will not bring forward a proposition for war; you will not venture upon that, timid and spiritless as you are ?”
3. For my part, self-confident, and forward, and shameless, I am not, and may I never be! Yet do I account myself by a great deal more courageous than those whose counsels are marked with such temerity. He, in truth, Athenians, who, regardless of the interests of the country, condemns, confiscates, rewards, impeaches, by no means proves his courage in all this; for, if he insures his own safety by such speechus and such counsels as are calculated to win your favor, he may be daring with very little hazard.
4. But he who for your good oftentimes thwarts your inclinations; who never speaks to gain your good graces, but consults your interests always; who, should he recommend some course of policy, in which fortune may baffle the calculations of reason, yet makes himself accountable for the event-he is indeed courageous—an invaluable citizen he truly is; not like those who to an ephemeral popularity have sacrificed the highest interests of their country-men whom I am so far from wishing to rival, or from regarding as true patriots, that were I called upon to declare what services I had rendered our common country, although I have to tell, Athenians, of naval commands, and public shows, of supplies raised and of captives ransomed, and other passages of like description, to none of them all would I point but to this one thing, that my policy has never been like theirs.
5. Able I may be, as well as others, to impeach, and distribute, and proscribe, and whatever else it is they are wont to do;
I have persation as com Ponly listened invidiousting an
get on none of these grounds did I ever choose to take my place, or rest my pretensions, either through avarice or ambition. I have persevered in holding that language which lowers me in your estimation as compared with others, yet which must greatly exalt you, so you will only listen to me. Thus much to have said, may, perhaps, not be deemed invidious.
6. Nor do I conceive that I should be acting an honest part, were I to devise measures, which, while they raised me to the first rank in Athens, sank you to the lowest station among the Greeks. But the state ought to be exalted by the counsels of patriots, and it is the duty of us all to render, not the most easy, but the most profitable advice. Towards the former, our nature is of itself but too prone; to enforce the latter, a patriot's lessons and eloquence are required.
7. I not long since heard some one talking as if my advice was always sound enough, but words were all I gave the state; whereas it wanted deeds and actions. Now upon this point 1 will tell you what I think, and without any reserve. I do not hold it to be the province of those who advise you, to do any act whatever beyond giving you sound counsel; and that this is a correct view of the subject, I think I shall easily show You remember how the celebrated Timotheus harangued you upon the necessity of succoring the Eubeans and saving them from the Theban yoke. “What !” he said, “ do you deliberate how to proceed and what to do, when the Thebans are actually in the island ? Men of Athens ! will you not cover the sea with your ships? Will you not instantly arise and fly to the Piræus ?* Will you not draw down your vessels to the beach ?”
8. These were Timotheus' words; this was what you did; and, from both concurring, the work was accomplished. But, had he given, as, indeed, he did, the best of counsels; if you had remained immovable, giving ear to nothing that he said; would any of those things have been performed which were then done for the country ? impossible! And so it is with what I am now urging and what others may urge. For deeds you
* Pi re' us is the name of the celebrated harbor of ancient Athens