« VorigeDoorgaan »
282 to 286
POETRY. Dream of Argyle, 247; To Lady Franklin, 254.- First Snow Fall; cember, 260; The Hour Glass, 266; Forbear one another, 274; Death in the Battle, 282; My Garden Gate, 286.
SHORT ARTICLES. - Dr. Samuel B. Woodward, 254; R. H. Dana's Writings, 297; Correspondence, 287.
PROSPECTUS. This work is conducted in the spirit of Littell's Museum of Foreign Literature, (which was favorably received by the public for twenty years,) but as it is twice as large, and appears so often, we not only give spirit and freshness to it by many things which were excluded by a month's delay, but while thus extending our scope and gathering a greater and more attractive variety, are able so to increase the solid and substantial part of our literary, historical, and political harvest, as fully to satisfy the wants of the American reader.
The elaborate and stately Essays of the Edinburgh, Quarterly, and other Reviews; and Blackwood's noble criticisms on Poetry, his keen political Commentaries, highly wrought Tales, and vivid descriptions of rural and mountain Scenery; and the contributions to Literature, History, and Common Life, by the sagacious Spectator, the sparkling Examiner, the judicious Athenæum, the busy and industrious Literary Gazette, the sensible and comprehensive Britannia, the sober and respectable Christian Observer; these are intermixed with the Military and Naval reminiscences of the United Service, and with the best articles of the Dublin University, New Monthly, Fraser's, Tait's, Ainsworth's, Hood's, and Sporting Magazines, and of Chambers' admirable Journal. We do not consider it beneath our dignity to borrow wit and wisdom from Punch; and, when we think it good enough, make ase of the thunder of The Times. We shall increase our variety by importations from the continent of Europe, and from the new growth of the British colonies.
The steamship has brought Europe, Asia and Africa, into our neighborhood; and will greatly multiply our connections, as Merchants, Traveliers, and Politicians, with all parts of the world; so that much more than ever it
now becomes every intelligent American to be informed of the condition and changes of foreign countries. And this not only because of their nearer connection with ourselves, but because the nations seem to be hastening, through a rapid process of change, to some new state of things, which the merely political prophet cannot compute or foresee.
Geographical Discoveries, the progress of Colonization, (which is extending over the whole world,) and Voyages and Travels, will be favorite matter for our selectious; and, in general, we shall systematically and very fully acquaint our readers with the great department of Foreign affairs, without entirely neglecting our own.
While we aspire to inake the Living Age desirable to all who wish to keep themselves informed of the rapid progress of the movement -to Statesmen, Divines, Lawyers, and Physicians-to men of business and men of leisure-it is still a stronger object to make it attractive and useful to their Wives and Children. We believe that we can thus do some good in our day and generation; and hope to make the work indispensable in every well-informed family. We say indispensable, because in this day of cheap literature it is not possible to guard against the influx of what is bad in taste and vicious in morals, in any other way than by furnishing a sufficient supply of a healthy character. The mental and moral appetite must be gratified.
We hope that, by "winnowing the wheat from the chaff," by providing abundantly for the imagination, and by a large collection of Biography, Voyages and Travels, History, and more solid matter, we may produce a work which shall be popular, while at the same time it will aspire to raise the standard of public taste.
LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.-No. 300.-16 FEBRUARY, 1850.
mankind was in his own genial nature; to which Dryden's lines might be applied
I have a soul that, like an ample shield, Can take in all, and verge enough for more. This, which approaches rhodomontade as a general proposition, had much reality as regarded Chalmers. Full as he might be, he was always ready to learn, or to do, something beyond. And he brought to his arguments, his actions, or his views, an earnestness and a vividness which were always spirited and forceful, if they sometimes passed into angry invective in earlier life, and at all times had a tendency to wander into exuberance. There was, too, a childlike simplicity about him, that won by its contrast with his massy force.
From the Spectator. LIFE AND WRITINGS OF DR. CHALMERS.* PERHAPS of all the divines who were connected with an establishment, or who observed the decorum of a settled church, Dr. Chalmers was the most widely popular. The great divines of the Anglican Church, and some of the great Nonconformists, were as well known, if not more influential; but their celebrity and their influence originated partly in politics, lay or ecclesiastical. They lived in troubled times; they were persecuted themselves, or, it may be, were occasionally engaged in persecuting others; and in fact were essentially party leaders in periods of violence. Wesley and Whitefield, like many Romanist saints, were not only missionaries but mob orators, who, though belonging to the established Church, set its decorums at defiance. The name of Chalmers, too, was popular beyond his own country; and though it had not in England the same weight that it possessed in Scotland, he was regarded relig-many, in the thirty-fifth year of his age. Future iously by large numbers in the church, as well as by most members of the different denominations. Robertson's name was as widely known, but his repute was literary. And we exclude from our estimate the party use the tories made of Chalmers about the time of the Reform fever, when they ostentatiously patronized his lectures in favor of church establishments.
The life of this great patriarch of the Scottish Church is brought down in the volume before us to the call of Mr. Chalmers to Glasgow, the first seat of his national popularity; the book closing with his farewell sermon at his first parish, Kil
volumes and coming years may introduce the reader to greater works than Chalmers had hitherto attained, and present him much more prominently before the world's eye; but they can hardly be so important as regards the formation of his character, or contain matter of more biographical interest. That the child is father of the man was especially true of Chalmers. A family feeling, where perhaps religion and ambition pretty equally mingled, early designed him for the pulpit; but Nature had
vocation. Long before he could have formed any idea of the ministerial duties, or comprehended the simplest doctrines of Christianity, he had entered upon his future calling.
The sister of one of his school-fellows at An
struther still remembers breaking in upon her brother and him in a room to which they had retired together, and finding the future great pulpit orator (then a very little boy) standing upon a chair and preaching most vigorously to his single auditor below. He had not only resolved to be a minister he had fixed upon his first text-" Let brotherly
One source of Dr. Chalmers' reputation is to be found in his style, which had all the force and popularity of the platform, without its obvious" formed his genius in the natal hour" for that mechanism, its tiresome mannerism, its labored efforts, and its “damnable iteration." Perhaps, indeed, he was the founder of the modern school of platform oratory; but, in addition to the genius and character of an original, he had strength and fertility of thought, great fluency, and a natural earnestness of feeling. His peculiarities were not professional affectations, but odd habits. The manner of Scottish and dissenting pulpit oratory is so different from that of the Anglican Church, that the introduction of science into Christian discourses by Chalmers had to nonconformists all the effect of novelty. And had the junction been more common even with Anglican divines, they To show how this early bias was trained and of necessity wanted the new and living sci-fashioned, is one of the chief and most interesting ence the chemistry, the botany, the geologywith which Chalmers varied, illustrated, and enforced his discourses. These features, however, were material or formal-such things as could be and were imitated by others when the pattern was given them. The secret of Chalmers' hold upon *Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Chalmers, D.D., LL.D. By his son-in-law, the Reverend William Hanna, LL.D. Volume I. Published (for Mr. Constable) by Sutherland and Knox, Edinburgh; Hamilton and Adams, London. 19
features of Dr. Hanna's volume. Many biographical and family circumstances, and many sketches of Scottish life, are intermingled with it; but the picture of Chalmers' mind, from his childish school-days, through a boyhood careless of learning, a youth sceptical of revealed religion altogether, and an early manhood in which scholastic and scientific ambition overpowered a cold and formal belief in the logic of Christianity, forms the principal figure of the piece, round which alf
other topics are grouped in subordinate, though but ill prepared by previous education for reaping I think that often considerable interest. Luckily, the journals the full benefit of a college course. and correspondence of Chalmers allowed his menduring the first two sessions a great part of his time must have been occupied (as mine was) in tal life to be more fully displayed than is often the boyish amusements, such as golf, foot-ball, and case even with religious men of his eminence and particularly hand-ball; in which latter he was reactivity; while family papers, and the reminis-markably expert, owing to his being left-handed." cences of relations, friends, admirers, and the publicly recorded actions of Chalmers himself, furnish ample materials for the outward life.
Something he must have picked up from the common exercises of the place; but it was not till his third session-1793-'94-that his "intelleoDr. Thomas Chalmers was born in 1780, the tual birth-time" took its date. And the first scisixth son of a family of fourteen. His father was ence to which he applied himself was mathemata ship-owner and general merchant of Anstruther, ics. Soon afterwards, ethics and politics engaged a small seaport on the eastern coast of Fife. The family was of a very religious turn; and the his attention; and the family faith, political and light and lax idea Thomas at first entertained of religions, received a considerable shock in the perthe duties of the ministry, and his postponement son of its sixth child, from Godwin's Political Justice. To the toryism of his father he soon reof them to schemes of scientific and literary distinction, were in after years a source of uneasiness turned, scared probably by the atrocities of the French Revolution. His religious scepticism was to his father, as well as a cause of remonstrance. of longer duration, and was strengthened some At a very early age Thomas went off to school, to escape the cruelties of a nurse; and remained years afterwards by the perusal of the Système de there till he became a student of St. Andrew's la Nature. Yet his scepticism was not of the cold and abstract character of his masters; he had University, when only in his twelfth year. At school he had been more conspicuous for a gleenone of the bigoted prejudices which rendered some aptness for play, and the power of doing his some of the infidels of that time as violent as fatasks if he chose, than for any real acquisitions. his aid; had he not been converted, first to an The genial nature of Chalmers came to The lax system of admission in the Scottish unihistorical and logical Christianity, next to Evanversities allowed Master Thomas to become a student when English spelling and grammar were yet gelism, he might have anticipated by half a cen to seek, and his Latin was what Ben Jonson de-tury the kindly philosophy and spiritual Theism scribes Shakspeare's "small;" nor for the first two years did he apply much, or, to speak properly, he was not made to apply much, to study. This sketch of the doings at St. Andrews, by a class-fellow, exhibits a neglect and laxity that may more than vie with Gibbon's picture of Oxford forty years earlier.
that have of late years arisen. Even while at St. Andrews, in his seventeenth year, with unsettled opinions, the student's prayers he offered up in public excited the attention of the "town."
It was then the practice at St. Andrews, that all the members of the University assembled daily in the public hall for morning and evening prayers, which were conducted by the theological students. In November, 1791, whilst not yet twelve years The hall was open to the public, but in general the of age, accompanied by his elder brother William, invitation was not largely accepted. In his first he enrolled himself as a student in the United Col- theological session it came by rotation to be Dr. lege of St. Andrews. He had but one contempo- Chalmers' turn to pray. His prayer, an amplificarary there who had entered college at an earlier tion of the Lord's Prayer, clause by clause consecage, John, Lord Campbell; and the two youngest utively, was so originally and yet so eloquently students became each, in future life, the most dis- worded, that universal wonder and very general tinguished in his separate sphere. However it may admiration were excited by it. "I remember have been in Lord Campbell's case, in Dr. Chal-still," writes one who was himself an auditor, mers extreme youth was not compensated by any "after the lapse of fifty-two years, the powerful prematureness or superiority of preparation. A impression made by his prayers in the Prayer Hall, letter written to his eldest brother, James, during to which the people of St. Andrews flocked when the summer which succeeded his first session at col- they knew that Chalmers was to pray. The wonlege, is still preserved-the earliest extant speci-derful flow of eloquent, vivid, ardent description of men of his writing. It abounds in errors both in the attributes and works of God; and still more, orthography and grammar, and abundantly proves perhaps, the astonishingly harrowing delineation of that the work of learning to write his own tongue the miseries, the horrid cruelties, immoralities, and with ordinary correctness had still to be begun. abominations inseparable from war, which always His knowledge of the Latin language was equally came in more or less in connection with the bloody defective; unfitting him during his first two ses- warfare in which we were engaged with France, sions to profit, as he might otherwise have done, called forth the wonderment of the hearers. He from the prelections of that distinguished philo- was then only sixteen years of age, yet he showed sophical grammarian, Dr. John Hunter, who was a taste and capacity for composition of the most then the chief ornament of St. Andrews Uni-glowing and eloquent kind. Even then, his style versity. My first acquaintance with Dr. Chal-was very much the same as at the period when he mers, ," writes the Reverend Mr. Miller," was in attracted so much notice and made such powerful November, 1791; when we entered the University impression in the pulpit and by the press." of St. Andrews together. He was at that time very young, and volatile, and boyish, and idle in his habits, and, like the rest of us in those days,
For the cultivation of his talent for composition he was largely indebted to debating societies formed among the students. During the session 1793-'4,
person to do.
he had been admitted as a member of the Political After trying in vain to brook the indignities to Society ; and on his entering the Divinity Hall in which he subjected, Thomas Chalmers November, 1795, he was enrolled in the books of
resigned his post, towards the end of the yearthe Theological Society.
1798. In the early part of 1799 he returned to He continued at St. Andrews University till he St. Andrews, and obtained a license to preach the was eighteen ; when he quitted it to take the office gospel as a probationer. of a tutor, being unwilling to remain longer as a
Some difficulties were raised against its being burden to his father. His age, according to south
received. He had completed his nineteenth year, ern nations, was juvenile, though not so in Scot- whereas presbyteries were not wont to take stuJand; but he bore himself with dignity, and (what dents upon probationary trials till they had attained was harder for him) with temper, in a difficult the age of twenty-one. It happily occurred that position. The pupils were ten in number; the one of his friends in the Presbytery fell upon the family had formed a low opinion of a tutor's old statute of the church which ordains " that) office;
his predecessor had succumbed to their none be admitted to the ministry before they be estimate of himself, and had also curried favor twenty-five years of age, except such as for rare with the ladies by allowing some improper indul- eral and Provincial Assembly to be meet and worthy
and singular qualities shall be judged by the Gengences to the pupils, which Chalmers was not the thereof." Under cover of the last clause of this
The consequence was, a series of statute, and translating its more dignisied phrasepetty and irritating annoyances, which the youth-ology into terms of commoner use, his friend ful tutor thus sums up in a letter to his father-a pleaded for Mr. Chalmers' reception as “a lad prudent man, who seems to have feared that his o' pregnant pairts." The plea was admitted ;
and, after the usual formalities, he was licensed as son's impetuosity was carrying hiin too far.
a preacher of the gospel, on the 31st July, 1799.
November 6, 1798. It was one of the tales of his earlier life which he Dear FATHER-I am sorry to think there is any- was in the habit in later years of playfully repeatthing in my last letter to make you suspect any im- ing, that such a title had been so early given to proper reserve on my part towards the family. I him, and such a dispensation as to age had been can assure you their conduct towards me is univer- granted. sally disapproved. I never have yet mentioned particulars to you ; but do you think I can feel
For some time the young candidate for the agreeably from being thought unworthy of supping ministry did little in the way of preaching. He in the same room with the family? My pupils went to Liverpool on a visit to one of his brothoften have this privilege when there is company, ers, who was in business at that place; and whilst I, regarded as inferior to them, have supper there, or rather at Wigan on an incidental excurin my own room. I am sure they would consider sion, preached his first sermon. After some two themselves affronted if any persons in the town were to ask me along with them to their houses. I am in 1801, assistant-minister in the parish of Cavers.
of mixed excursion and study, he became,
years sometimes asked by myself, but never with the family. When there is company, I am on a very infe- He went through the duty properly and satisfacrior footing indeed. I have been frowned upon for torily; so much so, indeed, that in the year folspeaking, as if I were thought unworthy of joining lowing he was appointed minister of the parish in the conversation. To be sure, this does not give of Kilmany. But his heart was not altogether in offence in so high a degree when they are by them- his work; he panted after literary fame and selves; but do you imagine that I am to take ad- academic distinction. In addition to his office in vantage of this privilege, as if I was glad of the favor, and thought myself honored by their conde- the church, he became assistant to the Professor scension? This is what the reserve I spoke of in of Mathematics at St. Andrews-rather with the my last letter chiefly consists in. I would never misgivings of his father ; but for some years it allow myself to do anything rude, to give a morose was a maxim with Thomas that the parish duty and uncivil answer, or fail in any of the attentions of a minister could be discharged in two days of which common discretion or common politeness each week. In his mathematical teaching he was required. I know that there are some people who, impetuous about trifles, take fire at every little as original as in everything else. He sought 10 thing, and make a great fuss about their dignity and stimulate the attention of his pupils by enforcing their respect. But I would ever distinguish be- the utility of mathematics, and the certainty of tween such a silly, contemptible dignity, and that their attainment by diligence, in a style so rich dignity which is never offended but when it has just and copious as to alarm the professor. That grounds of offence; and though I have a strong facundia, coupled with a misunderstanding on a feeling of such a distinction, yet I don't feel that it public day, in which the copia verborum of Chalis incumbent on me to speak, when by so doing I am exposed to careless, neglectful answers, and would mers was used in something like defiance of the show that I gladly catch at the honor of their con
authorities, caused his dismissal. This looked versation. My present treatment has given me a like tyranny to the pastor of Kilmany—a thing disgust at the situation of a tutor. I can assure he could never away with ; he also thought it an you that my place at present is not nearly so eligi- attempt to monopolize education ; and he deterble or respectable as the schoolmaster's at Anster. mined to beard the lions in their dens, by starting I know that I could be in that situation; but I know
a rival course of mathematical lectures. The likewise that it would hurt you and my other friends, authorities, and the townsmen who depended on and I shall be far removed from you before I enter into such a situation.
the anthorities, were aghast at such audacity ; but I am yours affectionately,
some few patronized the opposition lecturer, and THOMAS CHALMERS. had he persisted he might have done the antici
pated mischief; but the dispute involved him in | gospel. The idea of eternity was ever present to troubles and brawls, one of which he thus records his mind, as a motive principle of action; not in his journal.
I have certain information of Dr. R. giving the impression that I broke faith with him. Wednesday, Nov. 9.-Wrote yesterday to Dr. R., respecting an impression he had given to my prejudice. No answer to-day.
gloomily, but ardently and according to his genial
Thursday, Nov. 10.-Received an evasive answer from Dr. R. My reply sent back in an insulting manner, without any answer, though opened, and with a message that he wished no journal. more lines from me.
Friday, Nov. 11.-Went to Dr. R. on the street between ten and eleven, A. M., and said to him, that I was sorry, from the proceedings of last night, to be under the necessity of pronouncing him the author of a false and impudent calumny. Called W. V. to witness, and repeated before him the same words. W. V. said that I ought to be prosecuted. Dr. R. left me in great agitation, saying, "I will prosecute him."
Monday, Nov. 14.-Heard James Hunter say that Dr. R. met him at twelve on Friday much agitated. He said that I had called him a notorious liar, both to himself and in W. V.'s hearing. Hear of advice having been sent for to Edinburgh on the subject of me and Dr. R. in consequence of his having consulted the society.
August 21st.-Have conceived the idea of abandoning severe mathematics, and expending my strength upon theological studies. Eminence in two departments is scarcely attainable. Let me give my main efforts to religion, and fill up my evenings with miscellaneous literature. The sacrifice is painful, but I must not harass and enfeeble my mind with too much anxiety; and let me leave myself entire for all those discussions which are connected with the defence of Christianity, the exposition of its views, and the maintenance of its interests as affected by the politics or philosophy of the times. The business of our Courts and the dignity of our Establishment will of course afford a most animating subject for the joint exercise of speculation and activity. O my God, prosper me and the good of mankind be the uttermost concern in all my laudable undertakings, and let Thy glory of my heart. Political economy touches upon religious establishments, and a successful or original speculation in this department may throw an éclat over my ccclesiastical labors.
When Chalmers had done enough for honor, the versatility of his genius carried him to other studies. He gave a course of lectures on chemistry, which excited so much attention and attained so much popularity that they were repeated in several places: he entered upon geology, and at that early stage defended the science from the and extraordinary energy upon one subject, gave The employment of his varied acquirements charge of infidelity brought against it-broadly Chalmers more fame than he might perhaps have laying down the rule, that "the writings of Moses acquired had he continued to disperse his powers. do not fix the antiquity of the globe; if they fix His reputation as a pulpit orator grew apace; anything at all, it is only the antiquity of the while he had, in the Bible Society, the managespecies." Chemistry and geology were followed by the study of botany and political economy. church, enough to give stimulus to his mind, and ment of the poor, and the public business of the He was also involved in a practical and theoreti- to bring him before the public in a larger capaccal controversy. Some of the clergy of his ity than that of parish minister. The consePresbytery determined to proceed against him for non-residence. The effort failed, and Chalmers quence was, his removal to Glasgow, under circumstances of great independence on his part; was victorious; having in the course of the dis- for he refused to give his friends a promise that pute published a pamphlet, which, after his con- he would accept if elected. He left the decision version, and he felt it his duty to treat others as to "the Lord" when the time came; though, we he had been treated, he tried to suppress. His literary as well as his clerical reputation gradu- in favor of the great city. It was, however, a suspect, with something of a foregone conclusion ally extended. He was engaged in one or two momentous decision, in which his friends and reviews; he published a volume on political family had their say. His elder brother, James, economy; and he wrote the article "Christianity" who had settled in London and forsaken the Presfor Dr. Brewster's Encyclopædia. For eight or byterian for the Episcopalian Church, addressed to nine years, however, his activity was out of relig-him a manly and sensible letter; but could not ion. Deaths in his family, and a severe illness see the future in the instant"-he saw what which brought himself and death face to face, Mr. Chalmers was, not what Dr. Chalmers was to induced more serious thoughts. On his recovery
he took new views of the sinfulness of man's nature and the necessity of justification; but he only emerged into the meridian light of Evangelism after a mental struggle (in the beginning of which he thought grace might be dispensed with) that endured from November, 1809, to December, 1810. Henceforth, literary and scientific fame were subordinate to his efforts as a minister of the
London, Nov. 26, 1814
DEAR THOMAS-I am much concerned to learn that the allurements of the perishable mammon are likely soon to have an effect upon you, and make quiet; but I still hope that you will look before you resign all your earthly comforts and domestic you leap, and think better of the business before you accept of any nonsense that may be offered.