« VorigeDoorgaan »
1. Fontenelle on the signs of Death,
Quarterly Review, 2. There and Back Again-Chap. xvi-xviii,
Tait's Magazine, 3. Growth of the Metropolis,
Spectator, 4. The Saches of the Revolutionists, 5. The Drama of the Criminal Court, 6. Old Bailey Ladies,
Punch, 7. Canadian Annexation,
Spectator, 8. Dismissal of the French Ministry,
Examiner, 9. The Reception due to Kossuth,
Walter Savage Landor,
431 506 513 515 516 517 523 524 525
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LITTELL'S LIVING AGE. -No. 292.-22 DECEMBER, 1849.
From the Spectator.
which arise spontaneously in many minds under BERNARD BARTON'S LIFE AND LETTERS. *
certain conditions of society, and is therefore rather There is more of melancholy about the disap- to be considered as common to many a moderate pearance of the lesser than the greater stars of than peculiar to one original mind. It is natural literature. The author whose works are for "all but obvious. time” is as much alive to posterity as he was to The biographical information in the present his contemporaries; the writer whose name is to volume lets us into part of the secret of Bernard dwindle away through a slow tradition, and only . Barton's acquiescence in a pleasing mediocrity, be preserved for the literary student in literary instead of struggling for excellence. He had little history, comes more home to the feelings of our literature and little leisure ; his genius was dis
mortalia tangunt.” cursive rather than concentrated ; and he had the When accident or satire turns up a name once fatal gift of easy fuency. “ He wrote in numbers frequent in the world's mouth, but now forgotten for the numbers came ;” or if they did not, he save by those whose trade it is to remember such, poured out his thoughts in prose—always agreea feeling arises akin to that which touches the able, it would seem, and with a substratum of mind of the wayfarer who lingers over the memen- reality, but of necessity superficial, and dependent tos of mortality in a country churchyard. for attraction on the subject, or the felicity of the
The feeling is deeper, or at least fuller, in the hour. His rapidity of composition, its injurious case of a contemporary who continually appeared effects upon his poetical character, with the outbefore the public, whose subjects were generally line of his literary career, are well and succinctly associated with the common sentiments and com- told by the friend who arranged and added to the mon feelings of mankind, and whose treatment if autobiographical papers which Bernard Barton left deficient in art and study was always pleasing behind him. not too homely for the refined, not too deep or
In 1812, he published his first volume of poems, lofty for the humble.
Such was Bernard Barton : I called “ Metrical Effusions,” and began a corresome of whose strains yet linger in the memory, spondence with Southey, who continued to give him and who was almost tenderly associated in many most kind and wise advice for many years. minds from his long connection with the Annuals. In 1818 Bernard Barton published by subscripIndeed, to their better spirit his own was appro- tion a thin quarto volume_* Poems by an Amapriate, and they seem to have perished with if not teur;" and shortly afterwards appeared under the before him.
auspices of a London publisher in a volume of
Poeins," which, being favorably reviewed in the The genius of Bernard Barton was probably
Edinburgh,” reached a fourth edition by 1825. capable of achieving greater excellence than his In 1822 came out his “ Napoleon,” which he manpoems exhibit. Although he cannot exactly be aged to get dedicated and presented to George the called the founder of a school, we think he was Fourth. And now being launched upon the public the first in point of time who practised the domestic with a favoring gale, he pushed forward with an or household style of poetry, where the common cagerness that was little to his ultimate advantage. incidents of daily life, the things or circumstances
Between 1822 and 1828 he published five volumes of verse.
Each of these contained many pretty that are familiar to all of us, and the sentiments
many that were very hasty, and written which are colored by a high state of civiliza- more as task-work, when the mind was already tion, if they are not owing to it, are embodied in wearied with the desk-labors of the day ; not waitsmooth and pleasing rather than strong and striking for the occasion to suggest, nor the impulse to ing verse. If this style were carried to the pitch improve. Of this he was warned by his friends, which the style is capable of, the founder might and of the danger of making himself too cheap with be entitled to the praise of an original poet. As
publishers and the public. But the advice of others
had little weight in the hour of success with one so he did not reach, and apparently did not aim at the inexperienced and so hopeful as himself. And there highest excellence, his merit of priority was lost was in Bernard Barton a certain boyish impetuosity in a crowd of imitators ; while Mrs. Hemans and in pursuit of anything he had at heart, that age (perhaps) Miss Landon, by adding the historical and itself scarcely could subdue. Thus it was with his romantic to their humbler themes, have attracted correspondence; and thus it was with his poetry. to themselves some of that reputation which He wrote always with great facility, almost unrerightfully belonged to Bernard Barton.
tarded by that worst labor of correction ; for he But it
was not fastidious himself about exactness of thought must be owned, that if we judge from actual speci
or harmony of numbers, and he could scarce commens, not from possible excellence, the style was prehend why the public should be less easily satisnot striking in itself. It was one of those ideas fied. * Selections from the Poems and Letters of Bernard
One reason assigned by his biographer for the Barton. Edited by his daughter. Published by Hall and Virtue.
poet's “mistaken activity” was, that publishing 34
was the sole event which varied the monotony of celebrity tickles me somewhat. Talk of fame! 18 Bernard Barton's life. His career, indeed, was not this a fame which comes home, not only to uneventful enough. He was born in 1784 ; lost“ men's business and bosoms,” but to children's both his parents in early life ; was sent to a Quaker ist) calls it an indignity, an insult, looks scorny at
noses into the bargain! Tom Churchyard (an artschool at Ipswich, and on leaving it was appren- it, and says he would cuff any urchin whom he ticed to a shopkeeper at Halsted in Essex, where caught blowing his nose on one of his sketches. "he stood behind the counter for eight years." All this arises from his not knowing the complicated
nature and texture of all worldly fame. 'Tis like In 1806 he went to Woodbridge ; and a year after the image the Babylonish king dreamt of, with its married Lucy Jesup, the niece of his former master, golden head, baser metal lower down, and miry clay and entered into partnership with her brother as for the feet.' It will not do to be fastidious: you coal and corn merchant. But she died a year after must take the idol as it is—its gold sconce if you marriage, in giving birth to the only child, who now
can get it—if not, take the clay feet, or one toe of survives them both ; and he, perhaps sickened with another foot, and be thankful, and make what you the scene of his blighted love, and finding, like his can of it. I write verse to be read; it is a maiter father, that he had less taste for the ledger than for of comparative indifference to me whether I am literature, almost directly quitted Woodbridge, and read from a fine bound book on a drawing-room table, engaged himself as private tutor in the family of or spelt over from a penny rag of a kerchief by the Mr. Waterhouse, a merchant in Liverpool. There child of a peasant or a weaver. So, honor to the Bernard Barton had some family connections ; and cotton-printer, say I, whoever he be; that bit of there also he was kindly received and entertained rag is my patent as a household poet. by the Roscoe family, who were old acquaintances of his father and mother.
Bernard Barton was a Quaker and a stanch one, After a year's residence in Liverpool he returned but he was of far too genial a nature to care for to Woodbridge, and there became clerk in Messrs. the fopperies of the Friends, or to circumscribe Alexander's bank-a kind of office which secures salvation to a sect. His elder sister, his daughter, certain if small remuneration, without any of the and other near connections, formally left “the anxiety of business ; and there he continued for forty years, working till within two days of his meeting,” and were baptized in the “steepledeath.
house,” with his regrets, but no other feeling.
He himself did not scruple to attend the church This took place suddenly, on the 19th February service ; and he graciously bore with the surveilin the present year, from disease of the heart.
lance and remonstrances of the straitest of his sect. The volume before us contains the memoir from Besides its other features, his correspondence is which we have already quoted, a selection from curious for occasional glimpses of the arbitrary inthe correspondence of Bernard Barton, and a selec- terference of Quakers with the personal conduct tion from his poems; forming altogether a volume of one another. Here are his pleadings on the of much interest. The memoir is one of the best waistcoat and the bell. things of the kind we have seen, both as regards
9 mo. 12, 1846. judgment and execution. The poet and the man
And now, my dear old friend of above twenty are thoroughly appreciated, and, what is rare when years' standing, I have two points on which I must the biographer is a friend, are rated at their true iry to right myself in thy good opinion—the swansvalue--the good qualities of each perceived, the down waistcoat, and the bell with the somewhat unfailings not overlooked but touched gently. The quakerly inscription of " Mr. Barton's bell” graven facts of the life are narrated rapidly; the habits above the handle thereof. I could not well supand peculiarities of the subject are presented as both are true to a certain extent, though I do not
press a smile at both counts of the indictment, for only personal knowledge can present them; and know that I should feel at all bound to plead guilty Bernard Barton is allowed to tell his own story to either in a criminal one. It is true that prior to when his letters are biographical. The selection my birthday, now nearly two years ago, my daughfrom the poet's correspondence is perhaps a little ter, without consulting me, did work for me in overdone, some of the letters being on personal worsted work, as they do now-a-days for slippers, topics or matters of mere opinion : in general, a piece of sempstress-ship or needle-craft, forming however, they are full of character ; especially being rather larger than I should have chosen had
the forepart of a waistcoat; the pattern of which those from Charles Lamb, who comes out genially choice been allowed me, gave it some semblance of rich, and from Bernard himself, who in his way is the striped or flowered waistcoats, which, for aught almost as rich as Lamb, and not unlike him--such I know, may be designated at swansdown ; but ihe as Charles might have been had fate made him a colors, drab and chocolate, were so very sober, that Quaker. This letter on fame, which explains ! put it on as I found it, thinking no evil
, and wore
it first and week days all last winter, and may probitsell, is a sober “ Elia."
ably through the coming one, at least on week days. 9 no. 1, 1915.
It is cut in my wonted single-breasted fashion ; and Many years ago I wrote some verses for a child's as my collarless coat, coming pretty forward, allows annual to accompany a print of Doddridge's mother no great display of it, I had not heard before a word teaching him Bible history from the Dutch tiles of scandal, or even censure, on its unfriendliness. round their fireplace. I had clean forgotten both Considering who worked it for me, I am not sure the print and my verses ; but some one has sent me had the royal arms been worked thereon, if in such a child's penny cotton handkerchief, on which I sober colors, but I might have worn it, and thought find a transcript of that identical print, and four of it less fine and less fashionable than the velvet and my stanzas printed under it. This hauckrehief silk ones which I have seen, ere now, in our gal
leries, and worn by Friends of high standing and
From the Specialor. undoubled orthodoxy. But I attach comparatively DR. CHALMERS' PRELECTIONS. * little importance to dress, while there is enough left in the tout ensemble of the costume to give ample
Tais concluding volume of the edition of the evidence that the wearer is a Quaker. So much Posthumous Works of Dr. Chalmers contains the for the waistcoat; now for the bell! I live in the lectures, notes, or comnientaries, delivered by hack part of the bank premises, and the approach the great preacher of the Scottish Church from to the yard leading to my habitat is by a gate open the Theological chair, on Butler's Analogy, Paing out of the principal street or thoroughfare ley's Evidences, and Hill's Lectures in Divinity. through our town ; the same gate serving for an There are two modes, as Dr. Chalmers lays it approach to my cousin's kitchen-door, to a large bar-iron warehouse in the same yard, and I know down, of teaching that “most voluminous of all not what besides. Under these circumstances, some
the sciences, theology." “ One method is notification was thought needful to mark the bell for the professor to describe the whole mighty appertaining to our domicil, though I suppose nearly series of topics in written compositions of his a hundred yards off; and the bell-hanger, without own.” Another, and our author thinks a better any consultation with me, and without my knowl. way, is to take certain classics in theology, to preedge, had put these words over the handle of the scribe a given portion to be read and digested by bell, in a recess or hole in the wall by the gate the students at home, to subject them to examination side ; and they had stood there unnoticed and unobserved by me for weeks, if not months, before I ever in the lecture-room on what they have thus perused saw them. When aware of their being there, hav- and mastered, and then for the professor to give ing had no concern whatever in their being put prelections” on the successive parts so read, as there, having given no directions for their inscrip- Dr. Chalmers has done in the volume before us. tion, and not having to pay for them, I quietly let them stand ; and, until thy letter reached me, I have tion—the student will not be surrounded by the
The plan has this objection, if it is an objecnever heard one word of comment on said inscription as an unquakerly one ; for I believe it is well theologico-literary atmosphere of his own day, known among all our neighbors that the job of mak- nor will the latest novelties in theology be preing two houses out of one was done by contract sented to his mind, unless the teacher add a kind with artisans not of us, who executed their com- of supplement to his commentaries. In other mission according to the usual custom, without points of view the method is a very good one. taking our phraseology into account. Such, my The student has the printed text of an established good friend, are the simple facts of the two cases.
classic before him to study at leisure, instead of We close our extracts from this agreeable vol- listening to a spoken lecture that may be far from ome with a story from the memoir, throwing light classical, and of which he, however attentive, can upon a prime minister as well as the poet. only carry a portion away. A full knowledge of In 1845 came out his last volume, which he got tion of the pupils, especially if their teacher look
his author will be secured by a proper examinapermission to dedicate to the queen. He sent also a copy of it to Sir Robert Peel, then prime minis- into their note-books to see whether they have ter, with whom he had already corresponded slightly really made the species of analytical abridgment on the subject of the income tax, which Mr. Barton Dr. Chalmers recommended to his class. Any thought pressed rather unduly on clerks and others errors in the original author may be pointed out whose narrow income was only for life. Sir Rob- by the prelector, any obscurities cleared up, and ert asked him to dinner at Whitehall.
“ Twenty years ago," writes Barton, “ such a summons had any deficiencies supplied, even to the extent of elated and exhilarated me--now I feel humbled and whole topics if such should be omitted in the orig
inal. depressed at it. Why, but that I verge on the period when the lighting down of the grasshopper No objection can be taken to Dr. Chalmers' is a burden, and desire itself begins to fail.” He choice of books. Butler shows the consistency went, however, and was sincerely pleased with the of revelation with creation such as we see it, and courtesy and astonished at the social ease of a man the probability of the scriptural revelation ; thus who had so many and so heavy cares on his shoulders. When the Quaker poet was first ushered into placing Christianity on the basis of nature. Paley the room, there were but three guests assembled, rightly comes next in order, with historical and of whom he little expected to know one.
But the logical evidences in support of that Christianity mutual exclamations of “George Airy!” and whose possibility Butler had argued for, while he “ Bernard Barton!” soon satisfied Sir Robert as had shown the probability of some revelation. to his country guests feeling at home at the great Hill, unfolding a professor's system of what may town-dinner.
be called clerical theology, properly closes the On leaving office a year after, Sir Robert recom- series, and winds up with the professional, as it mended him to the queen for an annual pension of 1001.; one of the last acts, as the retiring minister were, in opposition to the general character of the intimated, of his official career, and one he should preceding writers. always reflect on with pleasure. B. Barton grate- In a scholastic sense, the execution is not equal fully accepted the boon. And to the very close of life he continued, after his fashion, to send letters of Christianity, and Hill's Lectures in Divinity: With
* Prelections on Butler's Analogy, Paley's Evidences and occasional poems to Sir Robert, and to receive two Introductory Lectures, and four Addresses delivered a few kind words in reply.
in the New College, Edinburgh. By the late Thomas Chalmers, DD.,
LL.D. (Chalmers' Posthumous Works, Volume IX.). Published by Hamilton and Adams, Los don ; and Sutherland and Knox, Edinburgh.
to the plan. Probably it was some misgiving as nor of servile compliance with authority; but a to how far his previous habits and studies had faith which has a substantial and vindicable ground fitted him for the task of unfolding an entire sys- and vindicable though not one word about the vin
of evidence to rest upon, and not the less substantial tem of theology, that suggested 10 Dr. Chalmers dication ever passes betwixt you and the people the course we have described ; since, however whom you are the instrument of Christianizing, generally preferable his method may be, there The most striking example of the inapplicable was no reason why a man of ambition and ability introduction of an academic subject into the pulpit should not have given a course of lectures adapted that I remember to have heard of, occurred many to his own times. Even in the humbler and more years ago in the west of Scotland, when a preach
; discursive path he has chosen, there is some want er, on receiving a presentation to a country parish, of the clearness and closeness of the well-trained preached his first and customary sermon previous
to the moderation of the call. The people were scholar and divine. There is something of the not, even from the first, very much prepossessed in platform orator in the manner in which he his favor ; und he unfortunately did not make now and then needlessly heaps illustration upon ground amongst them by this earliest exhibition of illustration, and smothers an argument by avoid- his gifts, he having selected for the topic of his ance or by words, rather than settles it in a close pulpit demonstration the immateriality of the soul. grapple. Occasionally he appears to be averse to
This had the effect of ripening and confirming their “ close quarters," and keeps firing long shots, as ried them so far, that they lodged with the Presby
disinclination into a violent antipathy, which carmuch round as at the mark. It should be ob- tery a formal complaint against him, containing a served, however, that these observations apply series of heavy charges ; where, among other artimore to Paley's Evidences than to the other cles of their indictment, they alleged that he told authors ; and Dr. Chalmers' Notes on Paley are them the soul was immaterial—which, according only fragments, the choicer matter having been to their version of it, was tantamount to telling used in other works. The peculiarities, though them that it was not material whether they had
souls or no. not adding to the value of the prelections in a scientific sense, have attraction from their display
This passage is from the Notes on Hill; which of the genius of the author, and his well-stored, are closer than those on Paley, probably for the various, and discursive mind. They also very
reason already suggested. We, however, rate often contain useful advice to the young divine; the commentary on Butler the highest. The and, when impressed by Chalmers' earnest yet clear, close logic of the bishop keeps Dr. Chalmplayful manner, they might be more serviceable in ers closer to his subject, and the Analogy may fact than they may seem in print. The follow- have been an old and familiar companion. He ing hints on preaching may be advantageously takes large views of its subject and treatment ; his pondered by young pulpit orators ; though they criticism is sounder and firmer; though he is more are not likely to repeat the good story that closes successful in impugning the evangelism than the them.
logic of Builer. The last century was deficient,
no.doubt, in vital religion ; but perhaps Dr. I doubt if the literary or argumentative evidence Chalmers may not have sufficiently discriminated is a befitting topic for the pulpit at all. The ten- between an argument addressed under an assumed dency of the youthful preacher, when warm from the hall, is to prepare and preach sermons on the state of things, and an opinion held absolutely. leading topics of the Deistical controversy, and At the same tiine, it must be allowed that Butler sometimes even to come forth with the demonstra- and many of his contemporaries (very pious men tions, the merely academic demonstrations, of nat- too) did not partake of the views of the Puritans, ural theology. It is not stripping the expositions or of the Methodists of the last century, and might of the pulpit of evidence, and of sufficient evidence, not have gone the more sober length of some modeven though the historical argument, or indeed any ern sects as 10 new birih and the instantaneous formal argument whatever, should forin no part of
effects of grace. them. If, as we believe, the main credentials of Christianity lie in its substance and contents, then Butler, in one brief paragraph of this chapter, you, in the simple unfolding of these contents, are exceeds the usual aim and limit of his argument, in fact presenting them with the credentials, al- and aspires to an absolute vindication of the ways though you never offer them to their notice as cre- of God. He tells us that, in regard to religion, dentials, but simply as truths which do in fact carry there is no more required of men than what they the belief by their own manifestation to the con- are well able to do and well able to go through. sciences of the people. In making demonstration We fear that he here makes the first, though not of their guilt, in making proposal to them of the the only exhibition which occurs in the work, of offered remedy, in representing the danger of those his meagre and moderate theology. There seems who reject the Saviour, in urging the duty of those no adequate view in this passage of man's total inwho have embraced him—when thus employed, ability for what is spiritually and acceptably good; you are dealing with what I would call the great for, by the very analogy which he institutes, the elements of preaching ; and it is a mistake, that doctrine of any special help to that obedience which because not formally descanting on the evidence, qualifies for heaven is kept out of sight. We are you are therefore laboring to form a Christianity represented as fit for the work of religion, in the among your people without evidence. In the lan- same way that we are fit, by a moderate degree of, guage of the Apostle, what you thus preach can care, for managing our temporal affairs with tolercommend itself to every man's conscience, and the able prudence. There is no account made here of resulting faith is neither the faith of imagination that peculiar helplessness which obtains in the mat