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with no prospect of any immediate professional settlement, his little fortune left him by his father rapidly diminishing, and a wife to provide for.

An opportunity now presented itself which was to give to Mackintosh that prominence in the world of politics which he had so long desired. In 1790, appeared Burke's celebrated "Reflections on the French Revolution," than which no work, probably, ever excited so immediate, intense, and universal an interest in Great Britain. By some it was regarded as the most marvellous union of wisdom and genius that had ever appeared, while to others--those who sympathized more with the efforts of the people of France to rid themselves of monarchy-it seemed inconsistent with the former life and opinions of the author, and to contain much that was exceptionable. Numerous replies immediately appeared; but none, excepting the "Rights of Man" of Thomas Paine, were deemed of any remarkable power, until, in April, 1791, appeared "Vindicia Gallicæ, or a Defence of the French Revolution and its English Admirers against the Accusations of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke." This work had been finished in a great hurry, but, with all its defects and imperfections, it at once placed the author in the very front rank of those who upheld the cause of France, caused him to be courted and caressed on all sides, and made him, as he says, "the lion of London."

In 1795, Mr. Mackintosh was called to the bar, at which he rose with rapid and sure steps. In 1799, he delivered a course of lectures, at Lincoln's Inn, upon the Law of Nature and of Nations, which gained him much credit. He was induced to publish the introductory lecture, which was no sooner from the press than commendations poured in upon him from every quarter. In 1803, an event occurred in his life which gave him the highest fame as an advocate. On the 21st of February of that year took place the celebrated trial of M. Peltier, an emigrant French Royalist, for a libel on the First Consul of France-Bonaparte. Mr. Mackintosh was counsel for the accused, and his address delivered on that occasion has been said to be "one of the most splendid displays of eloquence ever exhibited in a court of justice-a monument of genius, learning, and eloquence."

In 1804, he was appointed by the government to the office of Recorder of Bombay, and, after having received the customary honor of knighthood, sailed with his family for India. By this step he was in hopes of improving his pecuniary resources, and laid out great plans in the walks of literature; but he returned home, in 1812, "with broken health and spirits, uncertain prospects, and vast materials for works which were never to be completed. He soon after entered Parliament, and continued in it to the end of his days-always true to liberal principles. He contributed articles of great value to the Edinburgh Review,' and, in a preliminary discourse to the Encyclopædia,' furnished by far the best history of ethical philosophy that has ever been given to the world. He also published, in three volumes, a popular and abridged History of England,' for Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia,' which has been highly praised for its enlarged and liberal views; and he was engaged in a History of the Revolution of 1688,' when he was suddenly called away, on the 30th of May, 1832, regretted with more sincerity, and admired with less envy, than any other man of his age."

"The intellectual character of Sir James Mackintosh cannot be unknown to any one acquainted with his works, or who has ever read many pages of his 'Memoirs;' and it is needless, therefore, to speak here of his great knowledge, the singular union of ingenuity and soundness in his speculations, his perfect candor and temper in discussion, the pure and lofty morality to which he strove to elevate the minds of others, and in his own conduct to conform. These merits, we believe, will no longer be denied by any who have heard of his name or looked at his writings. But there were other traits of his intellect which could only be known to those who were of his acquaintance, and which it is still desirable that the readers of the 'Memoirs' should bear in mind. One of these was that ready and prodigious memory by which all that he learned seemed to be at once engraved on the proper compartment of his mind, and to present itself the moment it was required; another, still more remarkable, was the singular maturity and completeness of all his views and opinions, even upon the most abstruse and complicated questions, though raised without design or preparation, in the casual course of conversation. * The vast extent of his information, and the natural gayety of his temper, joined to the inherent kindness of his disposition, made his conversation at once the most instructive and the most generally pleasing that could be imagined."



what she was,

Allow me, in justice to her memory, to tell and what I owed her. I was guided in my choice only by the blind affection of my youth. I found an intelligent companion, and a tender friend, a prudent monitress, the most faithful of wives, and a mother as tender as children ever had the misfortune to lose. I met a woman who, by the tender management of my weaknesses, gradually corrected the most pernicious of them. She became prudent from affection; and though of the most generous nature, she was taught economy and frugality by her love for me. During the most critical period of my life, she preserved order in my affairs, from the care of which she relieved me. To her I owe whatever I am; to her whatever I shall be.

The philosophy which I have learned only teaches me that virtue and friendship are the greatest of human blessings, and that their loss is irreparable. It aggravates my calamity instead of consoling me under it. My wounded heart seeks another consolation. Governed by these feelings, which have in every age and region of the world actuated the human mind, I seek relief, and I find it, in the soothing hope and consolatory opinion that a Benevolent Wisdom inflicts the chastisement as well as bestows the enjoyments of human life; that Superintending Goodness will one day enlighten the darkness which surrounds our nature, and hangs over our prospects;

Read a very interesting and able notice of his "Memoirs" in the "Edinburgh Review," lxii. 205.

that this dreary and wretched life is not the whole of man; that an animal so sagacious and provident, and capable of such proficiency in science and virtue, is not like the beasts that perish; that there is a dwelling-place prepared for the spirits of the just, and that the ways of God will yet be vindicated to man. The sentiments of religion which were implanted in my mind in my early youth, and which were revived by the awful scenes which I have seen passing before my eyes in the world, are, I trust, deeply rooted in my heart by this great calamity.


Toward the end of his life, when intercourse with the world had considerably softened his style, he published his "Lives of the English Poets," a work of which the subject insures popularity, and on which his fame probably now depends. He seems to have poured into it the miscellaneous information which he had collected, and the literary opinions which he had formed during his long reign over the literature of London. The critical part has produced the warmest agitations of literary faction. The time may, perhaps, now be arrived for an impartial estimate of its merits. Whenever

understanding alone is sufficient for poetial criticism, the decisions of Johnson are generally right. But the beauties of poetry must be felt before their causes are investigated. There is a poetical sensibility which, in the progress of the mind, becomes as distinct a power as a musical ear or a picturesque eye. Without a considerable degree of this sensibility, it is as vain for a man of the greatest understanding to speak of the higher beauties of poetry as it is for a blind man to speak of colors. To adopt the warmest sentiments of poetry, to realize its boldest imagery, to yield to every impulse of enthusiasm, to submit to the illusions of fancy, to retire with the poet into his ideal worlds, were dispositions wholly foreign from the worldly sagacity and stern shrewdness of Johnson. If this unpoetical character be considered, if the force of prejudice be estimated, if we bear in mind that in this work of his old age we must expect to find him enamored of every paradox which he had supported with brilliant success, and that an old man seldom warmly admires those works which have appeared since his sensibility has become sluggish, and his literary system formed, we shall be able to account for most of the unjust judgments of Johnson, without recourse to any suppositions inconsistent with honesty and integrity.

As in his judgment of life and character, so in his criticism on poetry, he was a sort of freethinker. He suspected the refined of affectation, he rejected the enthusiastic as absurd, and he took it for granted that the mysterious was unintelligible. He came into the world when the school of Dryden and Pope gave the law to Eng

lish poetry. In that school he had himself learned to be a lofty and vigorous declaimer in harmonious verse; beyond that school his unforced admiration perhaps scarcely soared; and his highest effort of criticism was accordingly the noble panegyric on Dryden. His criticism owed its popularity as much to its defects as to its excellencies. It was on a level with the majority of readers-persons of good sense and informatiom, but of no exquisite sensibility; and to their minds it derived a false appearance of solidity from that very narrowness which excluded those grander efforts of imagination to which Aristotle and Bacon confined the name of poetry.

Among the victories gained by Milton, one of the most signal is that which he obtained over all the prejudices of Johnson, who was compelled to make a most vigorous, though evidently reluctant, effort to do justice to the fame and genius of the greatest of English poets. The alacrity with which he seeks every occasion to escape from this painful duty, in observation upon Milton's life and minor poems, sufficiently attests the irresistible power of "Paradise Lost." As he had no feeling of the lively and graceful, we must not wonder at his injustice to Prior. Some accidental impression, concurring with a long habit of indulging and venting every singularity, seems necessary to account for his having forgotten that Swift was a wit. As the "Seasons" appeared during the susceptible part of Johnson's life, his admiration of Thomson prevailed over that ludicrous prejudice which he professed against Scotland, perhaps because it was a Presbyterian country. His insensibility to the higher order of poetry, his dislike of a Whig university, and his scorn of a fantastic character, combined to produce that monstrous example of critical injustice which he entitles the "Life of Gray."

Such is the character which may be bestowed on Johnson by those who feel a profound reverence for his virtues, and a respect approaching to admiration for his intellectual powers, without adopting his prejudices or being insensible to his defects.


The reduction of the law of nations to a system was reserved for Grotius. It was by the advice of Lord Bacon and Peiresk that he undertook this arduous task. He produced a work which we now indeed justly deem imperfect, but which is, perhaps, the most complete that the world has yet owed, in so early a stage in the progress of society, to the genius and learning of one man. So great is the uncertainty of posthumous reputation, and so liable is the fame of even the greatest men to be obscured by those new fashions of thinking and writing which succeed each other so rapidly among polished nations, that Grotius, who filled so large a space in the eye

of his contemporaries, is now, perhaps, known to some of my readers only by name. Yet, if we fairly estimate both his endowments and his virtues, we may justly consider him as one of the most memorable men who have done honor to modern times. He combined the discharge of the most important duties of active and public life with the attainment of that exact and various learning which is generally the portion only of the recluse student. He was distinguished as an advocate and a magistrate, and he composed the most valuable works of his own country; he was almost equally celebrated as an historian, a scholar, a poet, and a divine; a disinterested statesman, a philosophical lawyer, a patriot who united moderation with firmness, and a theologian who was taught candor by his learning. Unmerited exile did not damp his patriotism; the bitterness of controversy did not extinguish his charity; the sagacity of his numerous and fierce adversaries could not discover a blot in his character; and in the midst of all the hard trials and galling provocations of a turbulent political life, he never once deserted his friends when they were unfortunate, nor insulted his enemies when they were weak. In times of the most furious civil and religious faction, he preserved his name unspotted; he knew how to reconcile fidelity to his own party with moderation toward his opponents. Such was the man who was destined to give a new form to the law of nations, or rather to create a science of which only rude sketches and undigested materials were scattered over the writings of those who had gone before him. By tracing the laws of his country to their principles, he was led to the contemplation of the law of nature, which he justly considered as the parent of all municipal law.


To speak of fame and glory to Mr. Wilberforce, would be to use a language far beneath him; but he will surely consider the effect of his triumph on the fruitfulness of his example. Who knows whether the greater part of the benefit that he has conferred on the world, (the greatest that any individual has had the means of conferring,) may not be the encouraging example that the exertions of virtue may be crowned by such splendid success? We are apt petulantly to express our wonder that so much exertion should be necessary to suppress such flagrant injustice. The more just reflection will be, that a short period of the short life of one man is, well and wisely directed, sufficient to remedy the miseries of millions for ages. Benevolence has hitherto been too often disheartened by frequent failures; hundreds and thousands will be animated by Mr. Wilberforce's example, by his success, and by a renown that can only perish with the world, to attack all the forms of corruption and cruelty that scourge mankind. Oh, what twenty years in the life of one

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