Critical and Miscellaneous Essays

Fb&c Limited, 2015 M06 25 - 629 páginas
Excerpt from Critical and Miscellaneous Essays

From school he went to the university of Cambridge, where he earned reputation by his verses and his oratory, and by his youthful contributions to Charles Knight's Quarterly Magazine. He graduated B.A. in 1822, and M.A. in 1826. He had already entered himself at Lincoln's Inn, and been called to the bar. His real entry into literature was through the gates of the Edinburgh Review, his first effort being a brilliant essay on Milton. During twenty years this first contribution was followed by many others, some upon books, some upon lives of eminent men; of which the best were those on Hastings and Clive, original efforts of his genius working on new material, the gathering of his own eye and ear in the country which they so splendidly describe. His political career was commenced in 1830, under the auspices of Lord Lansdowne, who, seeing an article on the ballot by the young barrister, at once sought him out, and introduced him to Parliament as member for Calne. The Government made him secretary of the Board of Control for India, and thus secured his talents for the service of the Whigs. In 1834 he went to India as a member of the Supreme Council; and having in two years and a half made a considerable addition to his fortune, he came back to England to acquire fame. For a few years he pursued both politics and letters, representing Edinburgh in the House of Commons, and writing articles for the Edinburgh Review. A quarrel with his constituents broke his connection with the House of Commons, and restored him to literature. It is true, the citizens of Edinburgh again chose him as their representative in 1852; but he was little more than a nominal member, for he only spoke once or twice, and then on questions of no public moment. During the last twelve years of his life, his time had been almost solely occupied with the History of England, four volumes of which were completed and published, and a fifth left partly ready for the press, and which afterwards appeared.

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