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lately seen of Noah's Ark, and said the animals were all marching two and two, the little ones first, and that the elephants came last in great majesty and filled up the foreground. “Ah ! no doubt, my lord,” said Canning ; "your elephants, wise fellows ! staid behind to pack up their trunks !” This floored the ambassador for half an hour.-COLERIDGE. Table Talk.
HENRY MARTIN.-His speeches in the house were not long, but wondrous poignant, pertinent, and witty. He was exceedingly happy in apt instances ; he alone had sometimes turned the whole house. Making an invective speech one time against old Sir Henry Vane, when he had done with him he said, But for young Sir Harry Vane-and so sat him down. Several cried out-“What have you to say to young Sir Harry ?” He rises up: Why, if young Sir Harry lives to be old, he will be old Sir Harry! and so sat down, and set the whole house a laughing, as he oftentimes did. Oliver Cromwell once in the house called him jestingly or scoffingly, Sir Harry Martin. H. M. rises and bows, "I thank your majesty, I always thought when you
Ι were king that I should be knighted.” A godly member made a motion to have all profane and unsanctified persons expelled the house. H. M. stood up and moved that all fools should be put out likewise, and then there would be a thin house. was wont to sleep much in the house (at least dog-sleep); Alderman Atkins made a motion that such scandalous members as slept and minded not the business of the house should be put out. H. M. starts up—"Mr. Speaker, a motion has been made to turn out the Nodders ; I desire the Noddees may also be turned out.”—AUBREY'S MSS.
THE DESOLATION OF TYRANNY.—The Khaleefeh, 'Abd El-Melik, was, in the beginning of his reign, an unjust monarch. Being, one night, unable to sleep, he called for a person to tell him a story for his amusement. “O Prince of the Faithful,” said the man thus bidden, “ there was an owl in El-Mósil, and an owl in El-Basrah ; and the owl of El-Mósil demanded in marriage, for her son, the daughter of the owl of El-Basrah : but the owl of El-Basrah said, 'I will not, unless thou give me as her dowry, a hundred desolate farms.' That I cannot do,' said the owl of ElMósil, at present; but if our sovereign (may God, whose name be exalted, preserve him !) live one year, I will give thee what thou desirest.'”—This simple fable sufficed to rouse the prince from his apathy, and he thenceforward applied himself to fulfil the duties of his station.—LANE. Notes to Arabian Nights.
PERFECTION.—A friend called on Michael Angelo, who was finishing a statue ; some time afterwards he called again ; the sculptor was still at his work ; his friend, looking at the figure, exclaimed, You have been idle since I saw you last ; By no means, replied the sculptor, I have retouched this part, and polished that; I have softened this feature, and brought out this muscle ; I have given more expression to this lip and more energy to this limb : Well, well, said his friend, but all these are trifles ; It may be so, replied Angelo, but recollect that trifles make perfection, and that perfection is no trifle.—COLTON. Lacon.
CIVIL WAR.—When the civil wars broke out, the Lord Marshall had leave to go beyond sea. Mr. Hollar went into the Low Countries, where he stayed till about 1649. I remember he told me, that when he first came into England (which was a sercne time of peace) that the people, both poor and rich, did look cheerfully, but at his return, he found the countenances of the people all changed, melancholy, spiteful, as if bewitched.-AUBREY'S MSS.
WALLER.—As his disease increased upon Waller, he composed himself for his departure ; and calling upon Dr. Birch to give him the Holy Sacrament, he desired his children to take it with him, and made an earnest declaration of his faith in Christianity. It now appeared what part of his conversation with the great could be remembered with delight. He related that, being present when the Duke of Buckingham talked profanely before King Charles, he said to him, “ My Lord, I am a great deal older than your Grace, and have, I believe, heard more arguments for atheism than ever your Grace did ; but I have lived long enough to see there is nothing in them, and so I hope your Grace will.”—DR. JOHNSON. Life of Waller.
JOHN KEMBLE.— I always had a great liking -I may say, a sort of nondescript reverence--for John Kemble. What a quaint creature he was ! I remember a party, in which he was discoursing in his measured manner after dinner, when the servant announced his carriage. He nodded, and went on. The announcement took place twice afterwards ; Kemble each time nodding his head a little more impatiently, but still going on. At last, and for the fourth time, the servant entered, and said, “Mrs. Kemble says, Sir, she has the rheumatise and cannot stay." “Add ism!” dropped John, in a parenthesis, and proceeded quietly in his harangue.
Kemble would correct any body at any time, and in any place. Dear Charles Matthews-a true genius in his line, in my judgment-told me he was once performing privately before the king. The king was much pleased with the imitation of Kemble, and said, "I liked Kemble very much He was one of my earliest friends. I remember once he was talking, and found himself out of snuff. I offered him my box. He declined taking any—'he, a poor actor, could not put his fingers into a royal box.' I said, 'take some, pray; you will obleege me?' Upon which Kemble replied, -' It would become your royal mouth better to say, oblige me;' and took a pinch."-COLERIDGE. Table Talk.
THE INVENTOR OF THE STOCKING FRAMES.—Mr. William Lee, A. M., was of Oxon (I think Magdalen Hall). He was the first inventor of the weaving of worsted stockings by an engine of his contrivance. He was a Sussex man born, or else lived there. He was a poor curate, and, observing how much pains his wife took in knitting a pair of stockings, he bought a stocking and a half, and observed the contrivance of the stitch, which he designed in his loom, which (though some of the instruments of the engine be altered) keeps the same to this day. He went into France, and there died before his loom was made there. So the art was not long since in no part of the world but England. Oliver, Protector, made an act that it should be felony to transport this engine. This information I took from a weaver (by this engine), in Pear-poole Lane, 1656. Sir J. Hoskyn, Mr. Stafford Tyndale, and I, went purposely to see it.--AUBREY'S MSS.
SAINT BARTHOLOMEW.—The deputies of the reformed religion, after the massacre that was upon St. Bartholomew's day, treated with the king and queen-mother, and some other of the council for a peace. Both sides were agreed upon the articles. The question was, upon the security of performance. After some particulars propounded and rejected, the queen-mother said, “Why, is not the word of a king sufficient security ?” One of the deputies answered, “No, by Saint Bartholomew, madam."-BACON.
THE AGE BEFORE NEWSPAPERS.— I am so put to it for something to say, that I would make a memorandum of the most improbable lie that could be invented by a viscountess dowager ; as the old duchess of Rutland does when she is told of some strange casualty, "Lucy, child, step into the next room and set that down.”—“Lord, Madam !” says Lady Lucy, "it can't be true!"-"Oh, no matter, child; it will do for news into the country next post.”—HORACE WALPOLE.
BURNING OF WICKLIFFE'S BODY BY ORDER OF THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE.—. Hitherto (A. D. 1428] the corpse of John Wickliffe had quietly slept in his grave about forty-one years after his death, till his body was reduced to bones, and his bones almost to dust. For though the earth in the chancel of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, where he was interred, hath not so quick a digestion with the earth of Aceldama, to consume flesh in twenty-four hours, yet such the appetite thereof, and all other English graves, to leave small reversions of a body after so many years.
But now such the spleen of the Council of Constance, as they not only cursed his memory as dying an obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones (with this charitable caution,-if it may be discerned from the bodies of other faithful people) be taken out of the ground, and thrown far off from any Christian-burial. In obedience hereunto, Richard Fleming, Diocesan of Lutterworth, sent his officers (vultures with a quick sight scent at a dead carcass) to ungrave him. Accordingly Lutterworth they came, Sumner, Commissary, Official, Chancellor, Proctors, Doctors, and their servants (so that the remnant of the body would not hold out a bone amongst so many hands), take what was left out of the grave, and burnt them to ashes, and cast them into Swift, a neighbouring brook, running hard by. Thus this brook has conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, then into the main ocean ; and thus the ashes of Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.-FULLER. Church History.
OCH CLO.—The other day I was what you would call floored by a Jew. He passed me several times, crying for old clothes in the most nasal and extraordinary tone I ever heard. At last I was so provoked, that I said to him, “Pray, why can't you say 'old clothes ’ in a plain way as I do now ?” The Jew stopped, and looking very gravely at me, said in a clear and even fine accent, “Sir, I can say old clothes as well as you can ; but if you had to say so ten times a minute, for an hour together, you would say Och Clo as I do now; and so he marched off. I was so confounded with the justice of his retort, that I followed and gave him a shilling, the only one I had.-COLERIDGE. Table Talk
MERCIFUL Law.—The book of deposing King Richard the Second, and the coming in of Henry the Fourth, supposed to be written by Doctor Hayward, who was committed to the Tower for it, had much incensed Qucen Elizabeth: and she asked Mr. Bacon, being then of her learned council, “Whether there were any treason contained in it ?” Mr. Bacon intending to do him a pleasure, and to take off the queen's bitterness with a merry conceit, answered, “No, Madam, for treason I cannot deliver opinion that there is any, but very much felony.” The queen, apprehending it gladly, asked, “ How, and wherein ?” Mr. Bacon answered, “ Because he has stolen many of his sentences and conceits out of Cornelius Tacitus." -Bacon.
PARLIAMENTARY DESPATCH.—Mr. Popham, when he was Speaker, and the lower house had sat long, and done in effect nothing ; coming one day to Queen Elizabeth, she said to him, “Now, Mr. Speaker, what has passed in the lower house?” He answered, “ If it please your Majesty, seven weeks.”—Bacon.
OPINIONS.-Charles the Fifth, when he abdicated a throne, and retired to the monastery of St. Juste, amused himself with the mechanical arts, and particularly with that of a watchmaker. He one day exclaimed, “What an egregious fool must I have been to have squandered so much blood and treasure, in an absurd attempt to make men think alike, when I cannot even make a few watches keep time together!"-COUTON. Lacon.
11.--SPEECH AT PLYMOUTH IN 1823.
CANNING. (GEORGE CANNING belongs to our country's history. He was born in 1770, and died in 1827.)
Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen, I accept with thankfulness, and with greater satisfaction than I can express, this flattering testimony of your good opinion and good-will. I must add, that the value of the gift itself has been greatly enhanced by the manner in which your worthy and bonourable Recorder has developed the motives which suggested it, and the sentiments which it is intended to convey.
Gentlemen, your Recorder has said very truly, that whoever, in this free and enlightened state, aims at political eminence, and discharges political duties, must expect to have his conduct scrutinised, and every action of his public life sifted with no ordinary jealousy, and with no sparing criticism ; and such may have been my lot as much as that of other public men. But, gentlemen, unmerited obloquy seldom fails of an adequate, though perhaps tardy, compensation. I must think myself, as my honourable friend has said, eminently fortunate, if such compensation as he describes, has fallen to me at an earlier period than to many others : if I dare flatter myself (as his partiality has flattered me), that the sentiments that you are kind enough to entertain for me, are in unison with those of the country ; if, in addition to the justice done me by my friends, I may, as he has assured me, rely upon a candid construction, even from political opponents.
But, Gentlemen, the secret of such a result does not lie deep.
It consists only in an honest and undeviating pursuit of what one conscientiously believes to be one's public duty-a pursuit which, steadily continued, will, however detached and separate parts of a man's conduct may be viewed under the influence of partialities or prejudices, obtain for it, when considered as a whole, the approbation of all honest and honourable minds. Any man may occasionally be mistaken as to the means most conducive to the end which he has in view ; but if the end be just and praiseworthy, it is by that he will be ultimately judged, either by his contemporaries or by posterity.
Gentlemen, the end which I confess I have always had in view, and which appears to me the legitimate object of pursuit to a British statesman, I can describe in one word. The language of modern philosophy is wisely and diffusively benevolent; it professes the perfection of our species, and the amelioration of the lot of all mankind. Gentlemen, I hope that my heart beats as high for the general interest of humanity -I hope that I have as friendly a disposition towards other nations of the earth, as any one who vaunts his philanthropy most highly; but I am contented to confess that, in the conduct of political affairs, the grand object of my contemplation is the interest of England.
Not, Gentlemen, that the interest of England is an interest which stands isolated and alone. The situation which she holds forbids an exclusive selfishness; her prosperity must contribute to the prosperity of other nations, and her stability to the safety of the world. But, intimately connected as we are with the system of Europe, it does not follow that we are therefore called upon to mix ourselves on every occasion, with a restless and meddling activity, in the concerns of the nations which surround us. It is upon a just balance of conflicting duties, and of rival, but sometimes incompatible, advantages, that a government must judge when to put forth its strength, and when to husband it for occasion yet to come.
Our ultimate object must be the peace of the world. That object may sometimes be best attained by prompt exertions—sometimes by abstinence from interposition in contests which we cannot prevent. It is upon these principles, that, as has been most truly observed by my worthy friend, it did not appear to the government of this country to be necessary that Great Britain should mingle in the recent contest between France and Spain.
Your worthy Recorder has accurately classed the persons who would have driven us into that contest. There were undoubtedly among them those who desired to plunge this country into the difficulties of war, partly from the hope that those difficulties would overwhelm the administration ; but it would be most unjust not to admit that there were others who were actuated by nobler principles and more generous feelings, who would have rushed forward at once from the sense of indignation at aggression, and who deemed that no act of injustice could be perpetrated from one end of the universe to the other, but that the sword of Great Britain should leap from its scabbard to avenge it. But as it is the province of law to control the excess even of laudable passions and propensities in individuals, so it is the duty of government to restrain within due bounds the ebullition of national sentiment, and to regulate the course and direction of impulses which it cannot blame. Is there any one among the latter class of persons described by my honourable friend (for to the former I have nothing to say) who continues to doubt whether the government did wisely in declining to obey the precipitate enthusiasm which prevailed at the commencement of the contest in Spain ? Is there any body who does not now think, that it was the office of government to examine more closely all the various bearings of so complicated a question, to consider whether they were called upon to assist a united nation, or to plunge themselves into the internal feuds by which that nation was divided—to aid in repelling a foreign invader, or to take part in a civil war ? Is there any man that does not now see what would have been the extent of burdens that would have been cast upon this country? Is there any one who does not acknowledge that, under such circumstances, the enterprise would have been one to be characterized only by a term borrowed from that part of the Spanish literature with which we are most familiar—Quixotic ; an enterprise, romantic in its origin, and thankless in the end ?
But while we thus control even our feelings by our duty, let it not be said that we cultivate peace, either because we fear, or because we are unprepared for, war; on the contrary, if eight months ago the government did not hesitate to proclaim that the country was prepared for war, if war should be unfortunately necessary, every month of peace that has since passed has but made us so much the more capable of exertion. The resources created by peace are means of war. In cherishing those resources, we but accumulate those means. Our present repose is no more a proof of inability to act, than the state of inertness and inactivity in which I have seen those mighty masses that float in the waters above your town, is a proof they are devoid of strength, and incapable of being fitted out for action. You well know, Gentlemen, how soon one of those stupendous masses, now reposing on their shadows in perfect stillness—how soon, upon any call of patriotism or of necessity, it would assume the likeness of an animated thing, instinct with life and motion-how soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling plumage—how quickly would it put forth all its beauty and its bravery, collect its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder. Such as is one of these magnificent machines when springing from inaction into a display of its might--such is England herself, while apparently passive and motionless she silently concentrates the power to be put forth on an adequate occasion. But God forbid that that occasion should arise. After a war sustained for nearly a quarter of a century—sometimes single-handed, and with all Europe arranged at times against her or at her side, England needs a period of tranquillity, and may enjoy it without fear of misconstruction. Long may we be enabled, Gentlemen, to improve the blessings of our present situation, to cultivate the arts of peace, to give to commerce, now reviving, greater extension and new spheres of employment, and to confirm the prosperity now generally diffused throughout this island. Of the blessings of peace, Gentlemen, I trust that this borough, with which I have now the honour and happiness of being associated, will receive an ample share. I trust the time is not far distant, when that noble structure of which, as I learn from your Recorder, the box with which you have honoured me, through his hands, formed a part, that gigantic barrier against the fury of the waves that roll into your harbour, will protect a commercial marine not less considerable in its kind, than the warlike marine of which your port has been long so distinguished an asylum, when the town of Plymouth will participate in the commercial prosperity as largely as it has hitherto done in the naval glories of England.