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by his reason as the supreme earthly judge. I assailed him, not as the gloomy ministers Whatever might be his topic, or whatever of vengeance, but as the necessary exercise his employment, he never laid aside the of virtues not otherwise to be called into Ermine.
activity. They came as the salutary lesAnd yet, for more than thirty years, he sons of a father, not as the penal inflictions was a member of the unreformed parlia- of a judge. Nor did the Father, to whom ment, representing there that people, so he so meekly bowed, see fit to lay on him few and singular, who dare to think, and those griefs, under the pressure of which speak, and act for themselves. He never the bravest stagger. He never witnessed gave one party vote, was never claimed as the irruption of death into his domestic an adherent by any of the contending fac-paradise, nor the rending asunder by sin, tions of his times, and, of course, neither the parent of death, of the bonds of love won nor sought the favor of any. An im- and reverence which united to each other partial arbiter, whose suffrage was the hon- the inmates of that happy home-a home orable reward of superior reason, he sat happy in his presence from whose lips no apart and aloft, in a position which, though morose, or angry, or impatient word ever it provoked a splenetic sarcasm from Burke, fell; on whose brow no cloud of anxiety commanded the respect even of those whom or discontent was ever seen to rest. Surit rebuked.
rounded to his latest hours by those whom To the great Whig doctrines of Peace, it had been his chief delight to bless and Reform, Economy, and Toleration, he lent to instruct, he bequeathed to them the reall the authority of his name, and occa- collection of a wise, a good, and a happy sionally the aid of his voice. But he was man; that so, if in future life a wider acan infrequent and unimpressive speaker, quaintance with the world should chill the and sought to influence the measures of his beart with the skepticism so often engenday rather by the use of his pen, than by dered by such knowledge, they might be any participation in its rhetoric. His wri. reassured in the belief that buman virtue tings, moral, religious, and political, were is no vain illusion ; but that, nurtured by voluminous, though destitute of any such the dews of heaven, it may expand into mutual dependence as to unite them into fertility and beauty, even in these fat places one comprehensive system; or any such of the earth which romance disowns, and graces of execution as to obtain for them on which no poet's eye will condescend to permanent acceptance. But in a domestic rest. liturgy, composed for the use of his own A goodly heritage! yet to have transfamily, and made public after his death, he mitted it (if that were all) would, it must encountered, with as much success as can be confessed, be an insufficient title to a attend it, the difficulty of finding thoughts place amongst memorable men. Nor, and language meet to be addressed by the except for what he accomplished as the ephemeral dwellers on the earth to Him associate of others, could that claim be who inhabiteth eternity. It is simple, reasonably preferred on behalf of Henry grave, weighty, and reverential; and forms Thornton. Apart, and sustained only by a clear, though a faint and subdued, echo his own resources, he would neither hare of the voice in which the Deity has revealed undertaken, nor conceived, the more noble his sovereign will to man. That will he of those benevolent designs to which his habitually studied, adored, and labored to life was devoted. Affectionate, but passionadopt. Yet his piety was reserved and less—with a fine and indeed a fastidious unobtrusive. Like the life-blood throbbing taste, but destitute of all creative imaginain every pulse and visiting every fibre, it tion-gifted rather with fortitude to endure was the latent though perennial source of calamity, than with courage to exult in the his mental health and energy.
struggle with danger-a lover of mankind, A peace, perfect and unbroken, seemed | but not an enthusiast in the cause of our to possess him. His tribute of pain and common humanity—his serene and perspisorrow was paid with a submission so tran-cacious spirit was never haunted by the quil, as sometimes to assume the appear- visions, nor borne away by the resistless ance of a morbid insensibility. But his impulses, of which heroic natures, and they affections, unimpaired by lawless indul- alone, are conscious. Well qualified to gence, and constant to their proper objects, impart to the highest energies of others a were subject to a control to be acquired by wise direction and inflexible perseverance, no feebler discipline. Ills from without he had to borrow from them the glowing
temperament which hopes against hope, county of York, now fairly under the can and is wise in despite of prudence. He vass of his own bright and joyous fancies. had not far or long to seek for such an alli- He moved in obedience to some impulse
like that which prompts the wheelings of On the bright evening of a day which the swallow, or the dodgings of the barbel. had run its course some thirty or forty But whether he advanced, or paused, or summers ago, the usual groups had formed revolved, his steps were still measured by themselves in the library already celebrated the ever-changeful music of his own rich Addressing a nearer circle, might be heard voice, ranging over all the chords expressive above the unbusy hum the voice of the Pre- of mirth and tenderness, of curiosity or lector, investigating the characteristics of surprise, of delight or of indignation Seneca's morality perhaps; or, not improb- Eheu, fugaces! Those elder forms are al ably, the seizure of the Danish fleet; or, now reposing beneath the clods of the valit might be, the various gradations of sanity ley; those playful boys are venerable dignias exbibited by Robert Hall or Joanna taries of the Church; and he who then Southcote; when all pastimes were sus- seemed to read while he listened silently, pended, and all speculations put to flight, to is now, in the garrulity of declining years, welcome the approach of what seemed a telling old tales, and distorting, perhaps in dramatic procession, emerging from the the attempt to revive them, pictures which deep foliage by which the further slopes of have long since been fading from the memothe now checkered lawn were overhung. ry. But for that misgiving, how easy to In advance of the rest two noisy urchins depict the nearer approach of William were putting to no common test the philan- Wilberforce, and of the tail by which, like thropy of a tall shaggy dog, their play-some Gaelic Chief or Hibernian demafellow, and the parental indulgence of the gogue, he was attended! How easy to slight figure which followed them. Limbs portray the joyous fusion of the noisy strolscarcely stouter than those of Asmodeus, iers across the lawn, with the quieter but sustaining a torso as unlike as possible to not less happy assemblage which had that of Theseus, carrie:) him along with the watched and enjoyed their pantomime—to agility of an antelope, though under the trace the confluence of the two streams of weight of two coat-pockets, protuberant as discourse, imparting grace and rapidity to the bags by which some learned brother of the one, and depth and volume to the other the coif announces and secures bis rank as -to paint the brightening aspect of the leader of his circuit. Grasping a pocket grave censor, as his own reveries were volume in one hand, he wielded in the Nashed back on him in picturesque forms other a spud, caught up in his progress and brilliant colors—or to delineate the through the garden, but instinct at his touch subdued countenance of his mercurial assowith more significance than a whole mu- ciate, as he listened to profound contemseum of horticultural instruments. At one plations on the capacities and the duties of instant, a staff on which he leant and listened man! to the projector at his elbow developing his Of Mr Wilberforce, we have had occasion plan for the better coppering of ships' botol to write so recently, and so much at large, toms, at the next it became a wand, point that though the Agamemnon of the host we ing out to a portly constituent from the celebrate—the very sun of the Claphamic Cloth Hall at Leeds some rich effect of the system-we pause not now to describe sunset ; then a truncheon, beating time to him. His fair demesne was conterminous the poetical reminiscences of a gentleman with that of Mr. Thornton ; nor lacked of the Wesleyan persuasion, looking pain- there sunny banks, or sheltered shrubberies, fully conscious of his best clothes and of where, in each change of season, they rehis best behavior; and ere the sacred ca- volved the captivity under which man was dence had reached its close, a cutlass raised groaning, and projected schemes for his in mimic mutiny against the robust form of deliverance. And although such conclaves William Smith, who, as commodore of this might scarcely be convened except in the ill-assorted squadron, was endeavoring to presence of these two, yet were they rarely convoy them to their destined port. But held without the aid of others, especially little availed the sonorous word of com- of such as could readily find their way mand, or the heart-stirring laugh of the stout thither from the other quarters of the sacred member for Norwich, to shape a straight village. course for the volatile representative of the It is not permitted to any Coterie alto
gether to escape the spirit of Coterie. too confident in the divine reality of their Clapham Common, of course, thought itself cause, to heed much what hostility they the best of all possible commons. Such at might awaken. They had been content to least was the opinion of the less eminent of pass for fools, in a world whose boasted those who were entitled to house-bote and wisdom they accounted folly. In their one dinner-bote there. If the common was at- central and all-pervading idea, they had tacked, the whole homage was in a flame. found an influence hardly less than magical. If it was laughed at, there could be no re. They had esteemed it impossible to inculmaining sense of decency amongst men. cate too emphatically, or too widely, that The commoners admired in each other the truth which Paul had proclaimed indifreflection of their own looks, and the echo ferently to the idolaters of Ephesus, the reof their own voices. A critical race, they vellers of Corinth, the sophists of Athens, drew many of their canons of criticism and the debauched citizens of sanguinary from books and talk of their own parent- Rome. age; and for those on the outside of the Their sons adopted the same creed with pale, there might be, now and then, some equal sincerity, and undiminished earnestfailure of charity. Their festivities were ness, but with a far keener sense of the binnot exhilarating. New faces, new topics, derances opposed to the indiscriminate and and a less liberal expenditure of wisdom rude exhibition of it. Absolute as was the immediately after dinner, would have im- faith of Mr. Wilberforce and his associates, proved them. Thus, eren at Clapham, the it was not possible that the system called discerning might perceive the imperfections. Evangelical, should be asserted by of our common nature, and take up the them in the blunt and uncompromising lowly confession of the great Thomas tone of their immediate predecessors. A Erskine—' After all, gentlemen, I am but more elaborate education, greater familiara man.'
ity with the world and with human affairs, But if not more than men, they were not a deeper insight into science and history, less. They had none of the intellectual with a far nicer discernment of mere concoxcombry since so prevalent. They did ventional proprieties, had opened to them not instil philosophic and political Neology a range of thought, and had brought them
Jadies and officers of the Guards, into relations with society, of which their through the gentle medium of the fashion- fathers were comparatively destitute. Posable novel. They mourned over the ills in- itiveness, dogmatism, and an ignorant conseparable from the progress of society, with-tempt of difficulties, may accompany the out shrieks or hysterics. They were not ep- firmest convictions, but not the convictions icures for whose languid palates the sweets of the firmest minds. The freedom with of the rich man's banquet must be seasoned which the vessel swings at anchor, ascerwith the acid of the poor man's discontent. tains the soundness of her anchorage. To Their philanthropy did not languish with- be conscious of the force of prejudice in out the stimulant of satire; nor did it de- ourselves and others, to feel the sirength of generate into a mere ballet of tender atti- the argument we resist, to know how to tudes and sentimental pirouettes. Their change places internally with our antagphilosophy was something better than an onists, to understand why it is that we proarray of hard words. Their religion was voke this scorn, disgust, or ridicule—and soinething more than a collection of impal still to be unshaken, and still to adhere pable essences; too fine for analysis, and too with fidelity to the standard we have cho. delicate for use. It was a hardy, servicea- sen ;-this is a triumph, to be won by those ble, fruit-bearing, and patrimonial religion. alone on whom is bestowed not merely the
They were the sons, by natural or spirit- faith which overcomes the world, but the ual birth, of men who, in the earlier days pure and peaceable wisdom which is from of Methodism, had shaken off the lethargy above. in which, till then, the Church of England And such were they whom the second had been entranced-of men, by whose generation of the Evangelical party acagency the great evangelic doctrine of faith, knowledged as their secular chiefs. They emerging in its primeval splendor, had not fell on days much unlike those which we, only overpowered the contrary heresies, their children, have known—days less softbut had perhaps obscured some kindred ened by the charities and courtesies, but truths. This earlier generation of the evan- less enervated by the frivolities of life. gelic school had been too ingenuous, and Since the fall of the Roman republic, there
had not arisen within the bosom, and armed (sist the tyranny with which the earth was with the weapons, of civilization itself, a threatened. power so full of menace to the civilized Nor was it difficult to distinguish or to world as that which then overshadowed grapple with their antagonists. The slave Europe. In the deep seriousness of that trade was then brooding like a pestilence dark era, they of whom we speak looked over Africa; that monster iniquity which back for analogies to that remote conflict fairly outstripped all abhorrence, and baffled of the nations; and drew evil auguries from all exaggeration-converting one quarter of the event of the wars which, from Sylla to this fair earth into the nearest possible reOctavius, had dyed the earth with the blood semblance of what we conceive of hell, reof its inhabitants, to establish at length a versing every law of Christ, and openly demilitary despotism-ruthless, godless, and fying the vengeance of God.' The formation abominable. But they also reverted to the of the holy league, of which we are the advent, even at that age of lust and cruelty, chroniclers, synchronized with that unhapof a power destined to wage successful war, py illness which, half a century ago, withnot with any external or earthly potentate, drew Thomas Clarkson from the strife to but with the secret and internal spring of which he was set apart and consecrated; all this wretchedness and wrong—the pow- leaving his associates to pursue it during the er of love, incarnate though divine--of twelve concluding years, unaided by his love exercised in toils and sufferings, and presence, but not without the aid of his at length yielding up life itself, that from example, his sympathy, and his prayers. that sacrifice might germinate the seeds of They have all long since passed away, a new and enduring life—the vital princi- while he still lives (long may he live!) to ple of man's social existence, of his indi- enjoy honors and benedictions, for which vidual strength, and of his immortal the diadem of Napoleon, even if wreathhopes.
ed with the laurels of Goethe, would be a And as, in that first age of Christianity, mean exchange. But, alas ! it is not given truth, and with it heavenly consolation, to any one, not even to Thomas Clarkson, had been diffused, not alone or chiefly by to enjoy a glory complete and unalloyed. the lifeless text, but by living messengers Far from us be the attempt to pluck one proclaiming and illustrating the renovating leaf from the crown which rests on that energy of the message intrusted to them ; so time-honored head. But with truth there to those who, at the commencement of this may be no compromise, and truth wrings century, were anxiously watching the con- from us the acknowledgment, that Thomas vulsions of their own age, it appeared that Clarkson never lived at Clapham. Not the sorrows of mankind would be best so that comrade in his holy war, whom, assuaged, and the march of evil most effec- of all that served under the same banner, tually stayed, by a humble imitation of that he seems to have loved the best. At the inspired example. They therefore formed distance of a few bow-shots from the house themselves into a confederacy, carefully or- of Henry Thornton, was the happy home ganized and fearlessly avowed, to send in which dwelt Granville Sharpe; at once forth into all lands, but above all into their the abiding guest and the bosom friend of own, the two witnesses of the Church- his more wealthy brothers. A critic, with Scripture and Tradition ;-Scripture, to be the soul of a churchwarden, might indeed interpreted by its divine Author to the de- fasten on certain metes and bounds, hostile vout worshippers-tradition, not of doctri- to the parochial claims of the family of nal tenets, but of that unextinguishable Sharpe; but in the wider ken and more zeal, which, first kindled in the apostolic liberal judgment of the historian, the dignitimes, has not wanted either altars to re-ty of a true Claphamite is not to be refusceive, or attendant ministers to feed and ed to one whose evening walk and morning propagate, the flame. Bibles, schools, mis- contemplations led him so easily and so sionaries, the circulation of evangelical often within the hallowed precincts. books, and the training of evangelical cler Would that the days of Isaac Walton gymen, the possession of well attended pul- could have been prolonged to the time pits, war through the press, and war in when Granville Sharpe was to be committed Parliament, against every form of injustice to the care of the biographers ! His likeness which either law or custom sanctioned from the easel of the good old Angler would such were the forces by which they hoped have been drawn with an outline as correct to extend the kingdom of light, and to re- and firm, and in colors as soft and as
transparent, as the portraits of Hooker or of thought, combined with profound reverence Herbert, of Doune or of Watton. A nar- for hoar authority—a settled conviction of rative, no longer than the liturgy which the wickedness of our race, tempered by an they all so devoutly loved, would then have infantine credulity in the virtue of each superseded the annals which now embalm separate menuber of it—a burning indignahis memory beneath that nonconforming tion against injustice and wrong, reconprolixity which they all so devoutly hated. ciled with pity and long-suffering towards
The grandson of an Archbishop of York, the individual oppressor-all the sternness the son of an Archdeacon of Northumber- which Adam has bequeathed to his sons, land, the father of a Prebendary of Durham, wedded to all the tenderness which Eve Granville Sharpe, descending to the rank has transmitted to her daughters. from which Isaac Walton rose, was appren As long as Granville Sharpe survived, it ticed to a linen-draper of the name of Hal- was too soon to proclaim that the age of sey, a Quaker who kept his shop on Tower chivalry was gone. The Ordnance clerk Hill. When the Quaker died, the inden- sat at his desk with a soul as distended as tures were transferred to a Presbyterian of that of a Paladin bestriding his war-horse ; the same craft. When the Presbyterian re- and encountered with his pen
such giants, tired, they were made over to an Irish Pa- hydras, and discourteous knights, as in festpist. When the Papist quitted the trade, ed the world in the eighteenth century. they passed to a fourth master, whom the He found the lineal representative of the apprentice reports to have had no religion Willoughbys de Parham in the person of a at all.
At one time a Socinian took up his retired tradesman; and buried himself in abode at the draper's, and assaulted the pedigrees, feoffments, and sepulchral infaith of the young apprentice in the mys- scriptions, till he saw his friend enjoying teries of the Trinity and the Atonement. his ancestral privileges among the peers of Then a Jew came to lodge there, and con- Parliament. He combated, on more than tested with him the truth of Christianity it- equal terms, the great Hebraist, Dr. Kenself. But blow from what quarter it might, nicott, in defence of Ezra’s catalogue of the storm of controversy did but the more the sacred vessels, chiefs, and families. He endear to him the shelter of his native labored long, and with good success, to denest, built for him by his forefathers, like feat an unjust grant made by the Treasury that of the swallow of the Psalmist, in the to Sir James Lowther, of the Forest of Incourts and by the altar of his God. He glewood, and the manor and castle of Carstudied Greek to wrestle with the Socinian-lisle. He waged a less fortunate war against he acquired Hebrew to refute the Israelite- the theatrical practice of either sex appearhe learned to love the Quaker, to be kind ing in the habiliments of the other. He to the Presbyterian, to pity the Atheist, moved all the powers of his age, political and to endure the Roman Catholic. Charity and intellectual, to abolish the impressment (so he judged) was nurtured in his bosom by of seamen, and wound up a dialogne, with these early polemics, and the affectionate Johnson, on the subject, by opposing the spirit which warmed to the last the current scriptural warning, woe to them thai call of his maturer thoughts, grew up, as he be- evil good, and good evil,' to what he delieved, within him, while alternately mea- scribed as the plausible sophistry and imsuring crapes and muslins, and defending portant self-sufficiency of the Sage. Prethe faith against infidels and beretics. senting himself to the then Secretary of
The cares of the mercer's shop engaged State, Lord Dartmouth, he denounced, with no less than seven years of a life destined propheric solemnity, the guilt of despoiling to be held in grateful remembrance as long and exterminating in the Charib war that as the language or the history of his na- miserable remnant of the aboriginal race live land shall be cultivated among men. of the Antilles. As a citizen of London, The next eighteen were consumed in the he came to the rescue of Crosby, the Lord equally obscure employment of a clerk in Mayor, in his struggle with the House of the office of Ordnance. Yet it was during Commons. As a citizen of the world, he this period that Granville Sharpe disclosed called on earth and heaven to stay the to others, and probably to himself, the na-plugues of slavery and the slave-trade, and ture, so singular and so lovely, which dis- advocated the independence of America tinguished him—the most inflexible of hu- with such ardor as to sacrifice to it his own. man wills, united to the gentlest of human Orders had reached his office to ship muhearts-an almost audacious freedom of nitions of war to the revoltcd colonies. If