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We do not believe that Thucydides himself has | Proposition after proposition enters into the anywhere compressed so much thought into so small a space.
In the additions which Bacon afterwards made to the "Essays," there is nothing superior in truth or weight to what we have quoted. But his style was constantly becoming richer and softer. The following passage, first published in 1625, will show the extent of the change: "Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction and the clearer evidences of God's favour. Yet, even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp you shall hear as many hearselike airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needleworks and embroideries it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground. Judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue." It is by the "Essays" that Bacon is best known to the multitude. The Novum Organum and the De Augmentis are much talked of, but little read. They have produced indeed a vast effect on the opinions of mankind; but they have produced it through the operations of intermediate agents. They have moved the intellects which have moved the world. It is in the "Essays" alone that the mind of Bacon is brought into immediate contact with the minds of ordinary readers. There, ne opens an exoteric school, and he talks to plain men in language which everybody understands, about things in which everybody is interested. He has thus enabled those who must otherwise have taken his merits on trust to judge for themselves; and the great body of readers have, during several generations, acknowledged that the man who has treated with such consummate ability questions with which they are familiar, may well be supposed to deserve all the praise bestowed on him by those who have sat in his inner school.
mind, is received not as an invader, but as a welcome friend, and though previously unknown, becomes at once domesticated. But what we most admire is the vast capacity of that intellect which, without effort, takes in at once all the domains of science-all the past, the present, and the future, all the errors of two thousand years, all the encouraging signs of the passing times, all the bright hopes of the coming age. Cowley, who was among the most ardent, and not among the least discerning followers of the new philosophy, has, in one of his finest poems, compared Bacon to Moses standing on Mount Pisgah. It is to Bacon, we think, as he appears in the first book of the Novum Organum, that the comparison applies with peculiar felicity. There we see the great Lawgiver looking round from his lonely elevation on an infinite expanse; behind him a wilderness of dreary sands and bitter waters in which successive generations have so. journed, always moving, yet never advancing, reaping no harvest and building no abiding city; before him a goodly land, a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey. While the multitude below saw only the flat sterile desert in which they had so long wandered, bounded on every side by a near horizon, or diversified only by some deceitful mirage, he was gazing from a far higher stand, on a far lovelier country-following with his eye the long course of fertilizing rivers, through ample pastures, and under the bridges of great capi tals--measuring the distances of marts and havens, and portioning out all those wealthy regions from Dan to Beersheba.
It is painful to turn back from contemplating Bacer's philosophy to contemplate his life. Yet without so turning back it is impossible fairly to estimate his powers. He left the University at an earlier age than that at which most people repair thither. While yet a boy he was plunged into the midst of diplomatic business. Thence he passed to the study of a vast technical system of law, and worked his way up through a succession of laborious offices to the highest post in his profession. In the mean time he took an active part in every Parliament; he was an adviser of the crown; he paid court with the greatest assi 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 slightest 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 life 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 enaphorisms, 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 impart show a nicety of observation that has never ing of a new direction to the minds of specu been 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 occasionally 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 truly conquers with chalk and not with steel. well knew the better course, and had, at ʊne
ness of the most devoted worshipper of specu lative truth, for the servility of the boldest champion of intellectual freedom. We should not then have seen the same man at one time far in the van, and at another time far in the rear of his generation. We should not then be forced to own, that he who first treated legislation as a science was among the last Englishmen who used the rack; that he who first summoned philosophers to the great work of interpreting nature was among the last Englishmen who sold justice. And we should conclude our survey of a life placidly, honourably, beneficently passed, "in industrious ob servations, grounded conclusions, and profita
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, that I have as vast contemplative ends as I have moderate civil ends." Had his civil ends continued to be moderate, he would have been, not only the Moses, but the Joshua of philosophy. He would have fulfilled a large part of his own magnificent predictions. He would have led his followers, not only to the verge, but into the heart of the promised land. He would not merely have pointed out, but would have divided the spoil. Above all, he would have left not only a great, but a spotless name. Mankind would then have been able to esteem their illustrious benefactor. We should not then be compelled to regard his character with mingled contempt and admiration, with min-ble inventions and discoveries," with feelings gled aversion and gratitude. We should not then regret that there should be so many proofs of the narrowness and selfishness of a heart, the benevolence of which was yet large enough to take in all races and all ages. We should
very different from those with which we now turn away from the checkered spectacie of su much glory and so much shame.
From a Letter of Bacon to Lord Burleigh.
END OF VOL B
MACKINTOSH'S HISTORY OF THE REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND, IN 1688.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1835.]
Ir is with unfeigned diffidence that we venture to give our opinion of the last work of Sir James Mackintosh. We have in vain tried to perform what ought to be to a critic an easy and habitual act. We have in vain tried to separate the book from the writer, and to judge of it as if it bore some unknown name. But it is to no purpose. All the lines of that venerable countenance are before us. All the little peculiar cadences of that voice, from which scholars and statesmen loved to receive the lessons of a serene and benevolent wisdom, are in our ears. We will attempt to preserve strict impartiality. But we are not ashamed to own, that we approach this relic of a virtuous and most accomplished man with feelings of respect and gratitude which may possibly pervert our judgment.
at mess in Hampshire, or on the Treasury. bench and at Brookes's during the storms which overthrew Lord North and Lord Shelburne had been passed in the Bodleian Library, he might have avoided some inaccuracies; he might have enriched his notes with a greater number of references; but he never would have produced so lively a picture of the court, the camp, and the senate-house. In this respect Mr. Fox and Sir James Mackintosh had great advantages over almost every English his torian who has written since the time of Bur net. Lord Lyttleton had indeed the same advantages; but he was incapable of using them. Pedantry was so deeply fixed in his nature, that the hustings, the treasury, the exchequer, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, left him the same dreaming schoolboy that they found him.
When we compare the two interesting works of which we have been speaking, we have little difficulty in awarding the superiority to that of Sir James Mackintosh. Indeed, the supe
It is hardly possible to avoid instituting a comparison between this work and another celebrated Fragment. Our readers will easily guess that we allude to Mr. Fox's History of James II. The two books are written on the same subject. Both were posthumously pub-riority of Mr. Fox to Sir James as an orator is Jishe. 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 mouidered 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 eminent 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 writ lived 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 conversation. Gibbon has remarked, that his history is much the better for his having been an officer in the militia and a member of the House of Commons. The remark is most just. We have not the smallest doubt that his campaign, though he never saw an enemy, and his jarliamentary attendance, though he never made a speech, were of far more use to him than years of retirement and study would have been. If the time that he spent on parade and
nature, asserted its rights. Mr. Fox wrote debates. Sir James Mackintosh spoke essays.
As far as mere diction was concerned, indeed, Mr. Fox did his best to avoid those faults. which the habit of public speaking is likely to generate. He was so nervously apprehensive of sliding into some colloquial incorrectness, of debasing his style by a mixture of parlia mentary slang, that he ran into the opposite error, and purified his vocabulary with a scrupulosity unknown to any purist. "Ciceronem Allobroga dixit." He would not allow Addison, History of the Revolution in England, in 1688. Com-Bolingbroke, or Middleton, to be a sufficien prising a view of the Reign of James the Second, from authority for an expression. He declared ha his Accession, to the Enterprise of the Prince of Orange, he would use no word which was not to be found by the late Right Honourable Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH ;
and completed to the Settlement 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 oppery; and, ings, and Speeches of Sir James Mackintosh. 410. Lon-in spite of all our admiration for Mr. Fox, we 2 B
cannot but think that his extreme attention to parts of the History of James II. fine sprok the 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. His 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 neverthepræsto 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 Ut 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 and admiration, could not but acknowledge that he rather lectured than debated. An artist who should waste on a panorama, on a scene, or on a transparency, the exquisite finishing which we admire in some of the small Dutch interiors, would not squander his powers more than this eminent man too often did. His audience resembled the boy in the "Heart of MidLothian," who pushes away the lady's guineas with contempt, and insists on having the white money. They preferred the silver with which they were familiar, and which they were constantly passing about from hand to hand, to the gold which they had never before seen, and with the value of which they were unacquainted.
While Mr. Fox winnowed and sifted his phraseology with a care, which seems hardly consistent with the simplicity and elevation of his mind, and of which the effect really was to debase and enfeeble his style, he was little on his guard against those more serious improprieties of manner into which a great orator, who undertakes to write history, is in danger of falling. There is about the whole book a vehement, contentious, replying manner. Almost every argument is put in the form of an interrogation, an ejaculation, or a sarcasm. The writer seems to be addressing himself to some imaginary audience; to be tearing in pieces a defence of the Stuarts which has just been pronounced by an imaginary Tory. Take, for example, his answer to Hume's remarks on the execution of Sydney; and substitute "the honourable gentleman," or "the noble lord," for the name of Hume. The whole passage sounds like a powerful reply, thundering at three in the morning from the Opposition Bench. While we read it, we can almost fancy that we see and hear the great English debater, such as he has been described to us by the few who can still remember the Westminster Scrutiny, and the Oczakow Negotiations, in the full paroxysm of inspiration, foaming, screaming, choked by the rushing multitude of his words. It is true that the passage to which we have referred, and several other passages which we could point out, are admirable, when considered merely as exhibitions of mental power. We at once recognise that consummate master of the whole art of intellectual gladiatorship, whose Speeches, imperfectly as they have been transmitted to us, should be studied day and Dight by every man who wishes to learn the science of logical defence. We find in several
It is much to be regretted, we think, that Sir James Mackintosh did not wholly devote his later years to philosophy and literature. His talents were not those which enable a speaker to produce with rapidity a series of striking but transitory impressions, to excite the minds of five hundred gentlemen at midnight, without saying any thing that any one of them will be able to remember in the morning. His argu, ments were of a very different texture from those which are produced in Parliament at a moment's notice,-which puzzle a plain man who, if he had them before him in writing, would soon detect their fallacy, and which the great debater who employed them forgets with in half an hour, and never thinks of again. Whatever was valuable in the compositions of Sir James Mackintosh, was the ripe fruit of study and of meditation. It was the same with his conversation. In his most familiar talk there was no wildness, no inconsistency, no amusing nonsense, no exaggeration for the sake of momentary effect. His mind was a vast magazine, admirably arranged; every
We have no hesitation in pronouncing this Fragment decidedly the best history now extant of the reign of James the Second. It contains much new and curious information, of which excellent use has been made. The accuracy of the narrative is deserving of high admiration. We have noticed only one mistake of the smallest importance, and that, we believe, is to be laid to the charge of the editor, who has far more serious blunders to answer for. The pension of 60,000 livres, which Lord Sunderland received from France, is said to have been equivalent to 2,5001. sterling. Sir James had perhaps for a moment forgotten,his editor had certainly never heard, that a great depreciation of the French coin took place after 1688. When Sunderland was in power, the livre was worth about eighteen pence, and his pension consequently amounted to about 4,500l. This is really the only inaccuracy of the slightest moment that we have been able to discover in several attentive pe
thing was there, and every thing was in its place. His judgments on men, on sects, on books, had been often and carefully tested and weighed, and had then been committed, each to its proper receptacle, in the most capacious and accurately constructed memory that any human being ever possessed. It would have been strange indeed, if you had asked for any thing that was not to be found in that immense storehouse. The article which you required was not only there. It was ready. It was in its own proper compartment. In a moment it was brought down, unpacked, and displayed. If those who enjoyed the privilege-for privilege indeed it was--of listening to Sir James Mackintosh, had been disposed to find some fault in his conversation, they might perhaps have observed that he yielded too little to the impulse of the moment. He seemed to be recollecting, not creating. He never appeared to catch a sudden glimpse of a subject in a new light. You never saw his opinions in the making, 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 brought 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 has said with much humour and some truth, of the conversation of Scotchmen in general, was certainly true of this eminent Scotchman. He did not find, but bring. You could not cry halves to any thing that turned up while you were in his company.
There is perhaps too much disquisition and too little narrative; and, indeed, this is the fault into which, judging from the habits of Sir James's mind, we should have thought him most likely to fall. What we assuredly did not anticipate was, that the narrative would be 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 that 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 read 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 declaration,-stant 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, andl who has not, in spite of evidence to charac-acquittal of the bishops. The most superficial ter and recommendations to mercy, been sentenced and left for execution. Sir James, perhaps, erred a little on the other side. He liked a maiden assize, and came away with white gloves, after sitting in judgment on batches of the most notorious offenders. He had a quick eye for the redeeming parts of a character, and a large toleration for the infirmities of men exposed to strong temptations. But this lenity did not arise from ignorance or neglect of moral distinctions. Though he allowed, perhaps, too much weight to every extenuating circumstance that could be urged in favour of the transgressor, he never disputed the authority of the law, or showed his ingenuity by refining away its enactments. On every occasion he showed himself firm wnere principles were in question, but full of charity towards individuals.
reader must be charmed, we think, by the liveliness of the narrative. But no person who is not acquainted with that vast mass of intractable materials, of which the valuable and inte. resting part has been extracted and condensed, can fully appreciate the skill of the writer. Here, and indeed throughout the book, we find many harsh and careless expressions, which the author would probably have removed if he had lived to complete his work. But, in spite of these blemishes, we must say that we should find it difficult to point out, in any modern nistorian, any passage of equal length, and at the same time of equal merit. We find in it the diligence, the accuracy, and the judgment of Hallam, united to the vivacity and the colour. ing of Southev. A history of England, written througnout in tnis manner, would be the mos fascinating book in the language. It would i