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We do not believe that Thucydides himself has | Proposition after proposition enters into the anywhere compressed so much thought into mind, is received not as an invader, but as a so small a space.
welcome friend, and though previously un. In the additions which Bacon afterwards known, becomes at once domesticated. But made to the “ Essays,” there is nothing supe. what we most admire is the vast capacity of rior in truth or weight to what we have quoted. that intellect which, without effort, takes in al But his style was constantly becoming richer once all the domains of science—all the pasi, and softer. The following passage, first pub- the present, and the future, all the errors of lished in 1625, will show the extent of the two thousand years, all the encouraging signs change: “Prosperity is the blessing of the Old of the passing times, all the bright hopes of the Testament, adversity is the blessing of the coming age. Cowley, who was among the New, which carrieth the greater benediction most ardent, and not among the least discernand the clearer evidences of God's favour. ing followers of the new philosophy, has, in one Yet, even in the Old Testament, if you listen of his finest poems, compared Bacon to Moses to David's harp you shall hear as many hearse- standing on Mount Pisgah. It is to Bacon, we like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy think, as he appears in the first book of the Ghost hath laboured more in describing the Novum Organum, that the comparison applies afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. with peculiar felicity. There we see the great Prosperity is not without many fears and dis- Lawgiver looking round from his lonely elevatastes; and adversity is not without comforts tion on an infinite expanse; behind him a and hopes. We see in needleworks and em- wilderness of dreary sands and bit:er waters broideries it is more pleasing to have a lively in which successive generations have sowork upon a sad and solemn ground, than to journed, always moving, yet never advancing, have a dark and melancholy work upon a reaping po harvest and building no abiding lightsome ground. Judge therefore of the city; before him a goodly land, a land of propleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the mise, a land flowing with milk and honey. eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, While the multitude below saw only the flat most fragrant when they are incensed or sterile desert in which they had so long wancrushed; for prosperity doth best discover dered, bounded on every side by a near horizon, vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.” or diversified only by some deceitful mirage, he
It is by the “ Essays" that Bacon is best was gazing from a far higher stand, on a far known to the multitude. The Novum Organum lovelier country-following with his eye the and the De Augmentis are much talked of, but long course of fertilizing rivers, through ample little read. They have produced indeed a vast pastures, and under the bridges of great capi. effect on the opinions of mankind; but they ta!s--measuring the distances of marts and have produced it through the operations of in- havens, and portioning out all those wealthy termediate agents. They have moved the regions from Dan to Beersheba. intellects which have moved the world. It is in the “ Essays" alone that the mind of Bacon It is painful to turn back from contemplating is brought into immediate contact with the Bacor: philosophy to contemplate his life. minds of ordinary readers. There, ne opens Yet without so turning back it is impossible an exoteric school, and he talks to plain men fairly iv estimate his powers. He left the Uniin language which everybody understands, versity at an earlier age than that at which about things in which everybody is interested. most people repair thither. While yet a boy He has thus enabled those who must otherwise he was plunged into the midst of diplomatic have taken his merits on trust to judge for business. Thence he passed to the study of themselves; and the great body of readers a vast technical system of law, and worked have, during several generations, acknow- his way up through a succession of laborious ledged that the man who has treated with such offices to the highest post in his profession. consuminate ability questions with which they In the mean time he took an active part in are familiar, may well be supposed to deserve every Parliament; he was an adviser of the all the praise bestowed on him by those who crown; he paid court with the greatest assihave sat in his inner school.
duity and address to all whose favour was Without any disparagement to the admirable likely to be of use to him; he lived much in treatise De Augmentis, we must say that, in our society ; he noted the slightesi peculiarities of judgment, Bacon's greatest performance is the character and the slightest changes of fashion. first book of the Novum Organum | All the pe- Scarcely any man has led a more stirring lile culiarities of his extraordinary mind are found than that which Bacon led from sixteen to there in the highest perfection. Many of the sixty. Scarcely any man has been better en. aphorisms, but particularly those in which he titled to be called a thorough man of the world. gives examples of the influence of the idola, The founding of a new philosophy, the impartshow a nicety of observation that has never ing of a new direction to the minds of speciibeen surpassed. Every part of the book blazes lators—this was the amusement of his leisure, with wit, but with wit which is employed only the work of hours occasionaliy stolen from the to illustrate and decorate truth. No book ever Woolsack and the Council Board. This conmade so great a revolution in the mode of sideration, while it increases the admiration thinking, overthrew so many prejudices, in- with which we regard his intellect, increases troduced so many new opinions. Yet, no book also our regret that such an intellect should so was ever written in a less contentious spirit. often have been unworthily employed. He It iruly conquers with chalk and not with steel. I,well knew the better course, and had, at uno
time, resolved to pursue it. “I confess," said not then have to blush for the disingenuous. he in a letter written when he was still young, ness of the most devoted worshipper of specu. *that I have as vast contemplative ends as I lative truth, for the servility of the boldest have moderate civil ends.”. Had his civil ends champion of intellectual freedom. We should continued to be moderate, he would have been, not then have seen the same man at one time not only the Moses, but the Joshua of philo- far in the van, and at another time far in the sophy. He would have fulfilled a large part rear of his generation. We should not then be of his own magnificent predictions. He would forced to own, that he who first treated legishave led his followers, not only to the verge, lation as a science was among the last Engbut into the heart of the promised land. He lishmen who used the rack; that he who first would not merely have pointed out, but would summoned philosophers to the great work of have divided the spoil. Above all, he would interpreting nature was among the last Enga have left not only a great, but a spotless name. lishmen who sold justice. And we should Mankind would then have been able to esteem conclude our survey of a life placidly, honourtheir illustrious benefactor. We should notably, beneficently passed, “ in industrious obthen be compelled to regard his character with servations, grounded conclusions, and profitamingled contempt and admiration, with min- ble inventions and discoveries,"* with feelings gled aversion and gratitude. We should not very different from those with which we now then regret that there should be so many proofs turn away from the checkered spectacle of so of the narrowness and selfishness of a heart, much glory and so much shame. the benevolence of which was yet large enough
take in all races and all ages. We should * From a Letter of Bacon tn Lord Burleigh.
END OF VOLA
MACKINTOSH'S HISTORY OF THE REVOLUTION IN
ENGLAND, IN 1688.*
[EDINBURGH Review, 1835.]
It is with unfeigned diffidence that we ven- at mess in Hampshire, or on the Treasuryture to give our opinion of the last work of Sir bench and at Brookes's during the storms which James Mackintosh. We have in vain tried to overthrew Lord North and Lord Shelburne bad perform what ought to be to a critic an easy been passed in the Bodleian Library, he might and habitual act. We have in vain tried to have avoided some inaccuracies; he might separate the book from the writer, and to judge have enriched his notes with a greater number of it as if it bore some unknown name. But of references; but he never would have proit is to no purpose. All the lines of that vene- duced so lively a picture of the court, the rable countenance are before us. All the little camp, and the senate-house. In this respect peculiar cadences of that voice, from which Mr. Fox and Sir James Mackintosh had great scholars and statesmen loved to receive the advantages over almost every English his. lessons of a serene and benevolent wisdom, torian who has written since the time of Bur. are in our ears. We will attempt to preserve net. Lord Lyttleton had indeed the same adstrict impartiality. But we are not ashamed vantages; but he was incapable of using them. to own, that we approach this relic of a virtu- Pedantry was so deeply fixed in his nature, ous and most accomplished man with feelings that the hustings, the treasury, the exchequer, of respect and gratitude which may possibly the House of Commons, the House of Lords, pervert jur judgment.
left him the same dreaming schoolboy that It is hardly possible to avoid instituting a they found him. comparison between this work and another When we compare the two interesting works celebrated Fragment. Our readers will easily of which we have been speaking, we have litguess that we allude to Mr. Fox's History of tle difficulty in awarding the superiority to that James II. The two books are written on the of Sir James Mackintosh. Indeed, the supesame subject. Both were posthumously pub- riority of Mr. Fox to Sir James as an orator is jished. Neither had received the last correc- hardly more clear than the superiority of Sir tions. The authors belonged to the same poli- James to Mr. Fox as an historian. Mr. Fox tical party, and held the same opinions con- with a pen in his hand, and Sir James on his cerning the merits and defects of the English legs in the House of Commons, were, we think, constitution, and concerning most of the pro- each out of his proper element. They were minent characters and events in English his- men, it is true, of far too much judgment and tory. They had thought much on the princi- ability to fail scandalously in any undertaking ples of government; but they were not mere to which they brought the whole
power of their speculators. They had ransacked the archives minds. The History of James II. will always of rival kingdoms, and pored on folios which keep its place in our libraries as a valuable had movidered for ages in deserted libraries; book; and Sir James Mackintosh succeeded in but they were not mere antiquaries. They winning and maintaining a high place among had one einınant qualification for writing his- the parliamentary speakers of his time. Yet tory :-they had spoken history, acted history, we could never read a page of Mr. Fox's writlived history. The turns of political fortune, ing, we could never listen for a quarter of an the ebb and flow of popular feeling, the hidden hour to the speaking of Sir James, without mechanism by which parties are moved, all feeling that there was a constant effort, a tug these things were the subjects of their con- up hill. Nature, or habit which had become stant thought and of their most familiar con- nature, asserted its rights. Mr. Fox wrote deversation. Gibbon has remarked, that his bates. Sir James Mackintosh spoke essays. history is much the better for his having been As far as mere diction was concerned, inan officer in the militia and a member of the deed, Mr. Fox did his best to avoid those faults House of Commons. The remark is most just. which the habit of public speaking is likely to We have not the smallest doubt that his cam-generate. He was so nervously apprehensive paign, though he never saw an enemy, and his of sliding into some colloquial incorrectaess, parliamentary attendance, though he never of debasing his style by a mixture of parliamade a speech, were of far more use to himmentary slang, that he ran into the opposite than years of retirement and study would have error, and purified his vocabulary with a scru. been. If the time that he spent on parade and pulosity unknown to any purist. “Ciceronem
Allobroga dixit.” He would not allow Addison, History of the Revolution in England, in 1988. Com- Bolingbroke, or Middleton, to be a sufficien his Accession, to the Enterprise of the Prince of Orange: he would use no word which was not to be found prising a view of the Reign of James the second, from authority for an expression. He declared that by the late Right Honourable Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH ; and completed to the Setuement of the Crown, by the in Dryden. In any other person we should Editor. To which is prefixed a Notice of the Life, Writ- have called this solicitude mere hoppery; and, ings, and Speeches of Sir James Mackintosh. 410. Lons in spite of all our admiration for Mr. Fox..we don. 1834. VOL. III.--37
cannot but think that his extreme attention to parts of the History of James II. fine speci. lhe petty niceties of language was hardly mens of that which we conceive to have been worthy of so manly and so capacious an un- the great characteristic of Demosthenes among derstanding. There were purists of this kind the Greeks, and of Fox among the orators of at Rome; and their fastidiousness was cen- England, -reason penetrated, and if we may sured by Horace with that perfect good sense venture on the expression, made red-hot by and good taste which characterize all his writ- passion. But this is not the kind of excellence ings. There were purists of this kind at the proper to history; and it is hardly too much time of the revival of letters: and the two to say, that whatever is strikingly good in Mr. greatest scholars of that time raised their Fox's Fragment is out of place. voices, the one from within, the other from With Sir James Mackintosh the case was without the Alps, against a scrupulosity so un- reversed. IIis proper place was his library, a reasonable. “ Carent,” said Politian, “quæ circle of men of letters, or a chair of moral scribunt isti viribus et vita, carent actu, carent and political philosophy. He distinguished affectu, carent indole. ... Nisi liber ille himself highly in Parliament. But neverthepresto sit ex quo quid excerpant, colligere less Parliament was not exactly the sphere tria verba non possunt.
Horum sem-for him. The effect of his most successful per igitur oratio tremula, vacillans, infirma. speeches was small, when compared with the
Quæso ne ista superstitione te alliges. quantity of ability and learning which was
Ui bene currere non potest qui pe- expended on them. We could easily name dum ponere studet in alienis tantum vestigiis, men who, not possessing a tenth part of his ita nec bene scribere qui tanquam de præ- intellectual powers, hardly ever address the scripto non audet egredi.”—“Posthac,” ex- House of Commons without producing a claims Erasmus, “ non licebit episcopos appel- greater impression than was produced by his lare patres reverendos, nec in calce literarum most splendid and elaborate orations. His luscribere annum a Christo nato, quod id nus- minous and philosophical disquisition on the quam faciat Cicero. Quid autem ineptius Reform Bill was spoken to empty benches. quam, toto seculo novato, religione, imperiis, Those, indeed, who had the wit to keep their magistratibus, locorum vocabulis, ædificiis, seats, picked up hints which, skilfully used, cultu, moribus, non aliter audere loqui quam made the fortune of more than one speech. locutus est Cicero ? Si revivisceret, ipse Ci. But "it was caviare to the general.” And even cero, rideret hoc Ciceronianorum genus.” those who listened to Sir James with pleasure
While Mr. Fox winnowed and sifted his and admiration, could not but acknowledge that phraseology with a care, which seems dly he rather lectured than debated. An artist consistent with the simplicity and elevation of who should waste on a panorama, on a scene, his mind, and of which the effect really was to or on a transparency, the exquisite finishing debase and enfeeble his style, he was little on which we admire in some of the small Dutch his guard against those more serious improprie interiors, would not squander his powers more ties of manner into which a great orator, who than this eminent man too often did. His au. undertakes to write history, is in danger of dience resembled the boy in the “Heart of Midfalling. There is about the whole book a ve- Lothian," who pushes away the lady's guineas hement, contentious, replying manner. Almost with contempt, and insists on having the white every argument is put in the form of an inter-money. They preferred the silver with which rogation, an ejaculation, or a sarcasm. The they were familiar, and which they were conwriter seems to be addressing himself to some stantly passing about from hand to hand, to imaginary audience; to be tearing in pieces a the gold which they had never before seen, and defence of the Stuarts which has just been with the value of which they were unacquainted. pronounced by an imaginary Tory. Take, for It is much to be regretted, we think, that Sir example, his answer to Hume's remarks on James Mackintosh did not wholly devote his the execution of Sydney; and substitute “ the later years to philosophy and literature. His honourable gentleman,” or “the noble lord,” for talents were not those which enable a speaker the name of Hume. The whole passage sounds to produce with rapidity a series of striking like a powerful reply, thundering at three in but transitory impressions, to excite the minds the morning from the Opposition Bench. of five hundred gentlemen at midnight, without While we read it, we can almost fancy that we saying any thing that any one of them will be see and hear the great English debater, such able to remember in the morning. His argna: he has been described to us by the few who ments were of a very different texture from can still remember the Westminster Scrutiny, those which are produced in Parliament at a and the Oczakow Negotiations, in the full moment's notice, which puzzle a plain man paroxysm of inspiration, foaming, screaming, who, if he had them before him in writing, choked by the rushing multitude of his words. would soon detect their fallacy, and which the
It is true that the passage to which we have great debater who employed them forgets withreferred, and several other passages which we in half an hour, and never thinks of again. could point out, are admirable, when considered Whatever was valuable in the compositions inerely as exhibitions of niental power. We of Sir James Mackintosh, was the ripe fruit at once recognise that consummate master of of study and of meditation. was the same the whole art of intellectual gladiatorship, with his conversation. In his most familiar whose Speeches, imperfectly as they have been talk there was no wildness, no inconsistency, trarısınitted to us, should be studied day and no amusing nonsense, nn exaggeration for thie Dight by every man who wishes to learn the sake of momentary effect. His mind was a seience of logical defence. We find in severall vast magazine, admirably arranged; every
thing was there, and every thing was in its We have no hesitation in pronouncing this place. His judgments on men, on sects, on Fragment decidedly the best history now exbooks, had been often and carefully tested and tant of the reign of James the Second. It conweighed, and had then been committed, each tains much new and curious information, of to its proper receptacle, in the most capacious which excellent use has been made. The acand accurately constructed memory that any curacy of the narrative is deserving of high human being ever possessed. It would have admiration. We have noticed only one misbeen strange indeed, if you had asked for any take of the smallest importance, and that, we thing that was not to be found in that immense believe, is to be laid to the charge of the editor, storehouse. The article which you required who has far more serious blunders to answer was not only there. It was ready. It was in for. The pension of 60,000 livres, which Lord its own proper compartment. In a moment it Sunderland received from France, is said to was brought down, unpacked, and displayed. have been equivalent to 2,500l. sterling. Sir If those who enjoyed the privilege-for privi- James had perhaps for a moment forgotten,-lege indeed it was--of listening to Sir James his editor had certainly never heard,—that a Mackintosh, had been disposed to find some great depreciation of the French coin took fault in his conversation, they might perhaps place after 1688. When Sunderland was in have observed that he yielded too little to the power, the livre was worth about eighteen impulse of the moment. He seemed to be pence, and his pension consequently amounted recollecting, not creating. He never appeared to about 4,5001. This is really the only inacto catch a sudden glimpse of a subject in a curacy of the slightest moment that we have new light. You never saw his opinions in the been able to discover in several attentive pemaking,-still rude, still inconsistent, and re- rusals. quiring to be fashioned by thought and discus- We are not sure that the book is not in some sion. They came forth, like the pillars of that degree open to the charge which the idle cititemple in which no sound of axes or hammers zen in the Spectator hrought against his pudwas heard, finished, rounded, and exactly suit ding. “Mem. too many plums, and no suet." ed to their places. What Mr. Charles Lamb There is perhaps too much disquisition and has said with much humour and some truth, too little narrative; and, indeed, this is the of the conversation of Scotchmen in general, fault into which, judging from the habits of was certainly true of this eminent Scotchman. Sir James's mind, we should have thought him He did not find, but bring. You could not cry most likely to fall. What we assuredly did halves to any thing that turned up while you not anticipate was, that the narrative would be were in his company.
better executed than the disquisitions. We The intellectual and moral qualities which expected to find, and we have found, many just are most important in an historian, he possessed delineations of character, and many digres. in a very high degree. He was singularly sions full of interest, such as the account mild, calm, and impartial, in his judgments of of the order of Jesuits, and of the state of men and of parties. Almost all the distin- prison discipline in England a hundred and guished writers who have treated of English fifty years ago. We expected to find, and we history are advocates. Mr. Hallam and Sir have found, many reflections breathing the James Mackintosh are alone entitled to be spirit of a calm and benignant philosophy. called judges. But the extreme austerity of But we did not, we own, expect to find thai Mr. Hallam takes away something from the Sir James could tell a story as well as Voltaire pleasure of reading his learned, eloquent, and or Hume. Yet such is the fact; and if any judicious writings. He is a judge, but a hang- person doubts it, we would advise him to real ing judge, the Page or Buller of the high court the account of the events which followed the of literary justice. His black cap is in con- issuing of King James's famous declarationstant requisition. In the long calendar of the meeting of the clergy, the violent scene at these whom he has tried, there is hardly one the Privy Council, the commitment, trial, anii who has not, in spite of evidence to charac. acquittal of the bishops. The most superficial ter and recommendations to mercy, been sen- reader must be charmed, we think, by the live. tenced and left for execution. Sir James, liness of the narrative. But no person "vho is perhaps, erred a little on the other side. He not acquainted with that vast mass of intractaliked a maiden assize, and came away with ble materials, of which the valuable and inte. while gloves, after sitting in judgment on resting part has been extracted and condensed, batchrs of the most notorious offenders. He can fully appreciate the skill of the writer. had a quick eye for the redeeming parts of a Here, and indeed throughout the book, we fine character, and a large toleration for the infir- many harsh and careless expressions, which mities of men exposed to strong temptations. the author would probably have removed if he But this lenity (lid not arise from ignorance or had lived to complete his work. But, in spite neglect of moral distinctions. Though he al- of these blemishes, we must say that we should lowed, perhaps, too much weight to every ex- find it difficult to point out, in any modern histenuating circumstance that could be urged in torian, any passage of equal length, and at the favour of the transgressor, he never disputed same time of equal merit. We find in il:he the authority of the law, or showed his inge- diligence, the accuracy, and the judgment of puity by refining away its enactments. On Hallam, united to the vivacity and the colour. pvery occasion he showed himself firm wnere ing of Southev. A historv of England, written principles were in question, but full of charity througnout in tnis manner, woud be the mos towards individuals.
fascinating book in the language. It would be