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ing the mildness of his manner, and the soft, persuasive, and diffusive flow of his words, Lord Liverpool is a man of sanguine temperament; and though his feelings have not the mass or the hardness of those of men of more stern and vigorous character, perhaps there is not in the whole House one whose feelings are keener, or who is so delicately sensible to that which runs counter to his opinion of the principles of right and wrong.'
LORD GREY, says the author, is very much the reverse of all this:
but One cannot help assenting to most of the doctrines which he delivers, and admiring the mode in which they are delivered; really it would require more coaxing than the pride of Earl Grey could be expected to submit to, to make one very much in love with the man. With a better knowledge, perhaps, of the popular rights of Englishmen, more perfect judgment in their defence, and a more commanding, dignified, and forcible declaration of them, than any other man in either of the Houses, the whole bearing of Earl Grey, whether truly or not I take not upon me to determine, proclaims, and proclaims it in such a way as that no one can possibly mistake it, that he does not consider himself one of those people of whose rights he is, notwithstanding, so bold and so able a champion. Earl Grey is an elegant man in his person; and his usual dress is tight and trim, bordering upon priggism. When he sits still, there is a querulous and hectic air about him, which would induce one to believe that he feels sore both in body and mind; and when he first rose to speak, I felt a kind of mixed sensation that never came across me upon first observing any other public man. During the first sentence or two, it seemed as if the subject had been too great for his bodily strength, and too little for his mental feelings as though he had risen to perform an act of duty to which his strength was unequal, and to do a deed of condescension by which his notion of himself was to be humbled. This expression, however, by degrees wore off; and he had not proceeded far, when his strength appeared more than commensurate to the task; and, if his mind had not descended to what seemed at first the level of the subject, he had soon conNever trived to elevate the subject to his own vantage ground. did I hear the parts of an argument chosen with better judgment, or put together with more fitness and force of logical concatenation. His voice, which had at first seemed the voice of a man ready to gasp or to faint through feebleness, caught a peculiar manliness of emphasis, which was in no way diminished by its His language, though simple, and never slightly guttural tone. strained after gaudy ornaments, seemed to me nevertheless to be a perfect model of elegance; while in his air and his gestures there was so much of genteel dignity, and polished loftiness, that I could soon see a reason for his being looked up to as a leader of a party, (since I must mention parties,) in the composition of which pride does not form the smallest ingredient.'
The portrait of LORD HOLLAND is happy:
If Earl Grey seems the portraiture of the haughty Baron, who, with circumstances a little changed, might exist in any country, Lord Holland is the express image of John Bull himself, and could neither have been produced, nor could exist, out of England. Every thing about him is English. You would tell a secret to Liverpool with perfect confidence, and, touching your hat to Grey, as a highly respectable and respected personage, you would pass by on the other side; but the moment that you sce Lord Holland, a very strong disposition comes across you to walk up to him, and shake him by the hand with as much cordiality as you would a twenty years' friend after a thirty years' absence. He is so perfectly plain, and even homely, though certainly without the least trace of vulgarity, in his dress, his person, and his there sits such a demonstration of good feelings, good intentions, good heart, and good cheer, every where about him, and there are withal so many "wreathed smiles" about his mouth, and such a glee, and a desire to be happy and to make happy, in his eye, that, instead of meeting with him in the cold solemnity of the House of Lords, you would far rather that he and you should retire and crack a bottle and a joke together, after the business of the House were over.'
The oratorical portraits taken from the House of Commons are still more vividly sketched. The author, we think, very considerably under-rates Mr. Plunkett. His description of Mr. Brougham is labored and bombastical. That of Mr. Canning is in a much better style.
Without having a single trace of pedantry, of foppery, or affectation about him, Mr. Canning has more of the real art of the orator than any man in the House. In the range of his powers, and in depth of knowledge, more especially on philosophical subjects, he is inferior to Brougham; but in all those qualities which are calculated to dazzle and to win an enlightened audience, he is decidedly superior. Canning's head is about the finest that you can meet with. It does not, to be sure, indicate that depth or that power which are indicated by some others; but there is so much symmetry and grace, so perfect a balancing of all its faculties, and so total an absence of every thing harsh, or mean, or vulgar, that if he were not a very able man, the anticipation is so great that his speeches would appear to be fables. But his manner, and, generally speaking, his matter, are every way worthy of the Stanary (so to speak) of his eloquence. His voice is not so tremendously loud when elevated, neither can it sink into the curious under-tone which seems peculiar to Brougham; but it is deep and musical, and accords with his open and manly expression; and though his action be somewhat more theatrical than it would be safe for inferior men to undertake, yet no man knows Dd 'better
REV. AUG. 1825.
better how to suit the action to the word. The language which Mr. Canning employs is exceedingly showy; and his style, though never tiresome, is very elaborate. One cannot pronounce that he is the most acute and close of logicians; but he is generally so clear, and always so specious, that one follows him with pleasure. But though he succeeds well in the establishment of his own positions, his forte obviously lies in sacking and demolishing those of his antagonists. He does this with a wit and a sprightliness which are truly Horatian; and when he lets loose the arrows of his wit against any personage, that personage must have previously got far into your esteem, if he do not, the while, appear an object of
In the second volume there is a very considerable falling off for a work so ambitious in title and design. It is chiefly occupied with details concerning the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly press.
With respect to Babylonian education the author observes, that the great aim of the men in London is to be successful in business; and that of the women to be agreeable in manner and fascinating in person. The education of both sexes, therefore, bears most upon those particular points. The consequence, necessarily, must be, that education, to insure those results, must be light, shewy, and superficial.
That which London demands,' says our author, is action: the bustle, the hurry, and the necessities of its society will not admit of that long, laborious, industrious, and retired preparation, which is the foundation of that eminence which it attracts. In such a place, human life is too valuable, and human time too precious, for being occupied about any thing that cannot be turned immediately to account; and therefore the system of education which prevails in and about London scarcely comes under the denomination of what may strictly be termed moral discipline, or mental culture.'
From all which the writer would infer, that London, however favorable it may be for the exercise, or reward, of talent, is not, and cannot, be favorable for its production. The concluding chapter of this volume gives some curious items of expence, arising out of a suit in Chancery, which would be really amusing, were not the general theme too serious to be made the subject of laughter. The author is said to be a Mr. Moody, a gentleman connected with the newspaperpress.
ART. VII. The History of Chivalry; or, Knighthood and its Times. By Charles Mills, Esq., Author of "The History of the Crusades." 2 Vols. 8vo. Longman and Co. 1825.
THIS HIS was an appropriate undertaking for the able historian of the Crusades; and he has executed it with equal learning, fidelity, and elegance. The histories of the crusades and of chivalry are kindred subjects. They belong to one great epoch of the world, and one constitution of society: their peculiarities and consequences are to be sought in the same storehouse of chronicle and legend; and it appertained to the same historical diligence and to the same accomplished mind to describe their origin, progress, and fall, to observe their influence, and to estimate their value and results.
If the manners of chivalry were not always as pure as its precepts, we are still bound to remember the institution rather for its utility, which cannot be questioned, than for its abuses, which have been exaggerated. Upon the severest scrutiny, we shall find that the Christian chivalry of Europe was, at least, purer than any preceding condition of society; for it drew many of its principles of action from a divine source, of which classical antiquity could never boast. That it threw grace over the ruggedness of barbarism, tempered the ferocity of rude man, and dignified the loveliness of woman; that it seconded the exhortations of religion, and insisted on the charities of life, the sternest moralist will be free to admit; and the chain of evidence is unbroken, which deduces the humanity, the polished courtesy, and the decent refinement of modern manners from the code of chivalric observances.
But, taken as a distinct subject of inquiry, chivalry is attended with many contradictions and difficulties. It existed rather as a principle in the manners, than as an intelligible episode in the history of the middle ages. It ran as a silken and devious thread through the coarser texture of society. It is not easy to separate its realities from its romance, still less to give it a decided historical character; and here it is that we think Mr. Mills has shown most tact and ability. Hitherto the subject had been too much abandoned to dry antiquarians, or used only for the mere meretricious purposes of fiction. But he has succeeded in presenting it in a tangible shape and substance; preserving the severe simplicity and form of history, and yet investing his inquiries with the grace and attraction which were proper to the theme. At the same time, we must complain that, in the enchantment of his fancy, he has sometimes forgotten his philosophy. His
veracity as an historian is unquestionable; his facts are undeniable and clear; but, in his comments upon them, he more frequently appears as the advocate than the judge of
The work opens with some remarks on the origin and first The occupations and appearances of chivalry in Europe. every-day life of knighthood, the education, the martial equipment, the military, religious, and social qualities of the preux chevalier, are considered in successive chapters; and then we are led to his gentler and more romantic attributes. We are next introduced to the splendid and dazzling scene of the joust and tournament; and, lastly, in a digression, we are presented with a highly interesting account of the religious and military orders of knighthood.
Having thus skilfully described all the circumstances and appurtenances of chivalry, our author resumes his historical office. His inquiries into the progress of chivalry are conducted successively through England, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. In each of these countries the general train of chivalric events is narrated with fulness and care: the growth, meridian, and decline of the chivalric spirit are accurately traced; and the work concludes with a general estimate of its merits and its effects upon the frame of European society.
Such is an abstract of the plan which Mr. Mills has adopted. It is obviously the best and most judicious arrangement which he could have chosen; and he has evinced equal ingenuity in the use of his materials. In a theme which constantly borders upon the province of romance, he seems to have been laboriously careful to work rather by authentic illustration than didactic assertion. As may be supposed, the Chronicle of Sir John Froissart is his principal text-book. But he has been able to enrich its ample stores, and to verify The its lively pictures, with numerous other authorities. mere metrical romances of the middle ages he has used only as fair evidence of manners and feelings. It is amusing to perceive how completely he has saturated his diction with the sterling and genuine English of the olden time. In his pages we can almost fancy that we are poring again over the tomes of other days; and we frequently recognize the racy manner and detect the forcible epithets of Lord Berners' version of Froissart. This quaintness of chivalric phrase beseems the subject; and Mr. Mills has here safely imbued his style with a coloring which, any where else, might have borne too much the hue of antiquated conceit.