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than some other people, who have a better reputation for impartiality than his, seem to have been able to do. No one has written better than he on Pope, who still seems to have the faculty of distorting some critical judgments. His chapter on the English novelists (that is to say, those of the last century) is perhaps the best thing ever written on the subject; and is particularly valuable nowadays when there is a certain tendency to undervalue Smollett in order to exalt Fielding, who certainly needs no such illegitimate and uncritical leverage. I do not think that he is, on the whole, unjust to Campbell; though his Gallican, or rather Napoleonic mania made him commit the literary crime of slighting The Battle of the Baltic. But in truth in criticism of English literature (and he has attempted little else, except by way of digression) he is for the critic a study never to be wearied of, always to be profited by. His very aberrations are often more instructive than other men's right-goings; and if he sometimes fails to detect or acknowledge a beauty, he never praises a defect. It is less easy to sum up the merits of the miscellaneous pieces, for the very obvious reason that they can hardly be brought under any general form or illustrated by any small number of typical instances. Perhaps the best way of sampling' this undisciplined multitude is to select a few papers by name, so as to show the variety of Hazlitt's interests. The one already mentioned, "On Going to a Fight," which shocked some proprieties even in its own day, ranks almost first; but the reader should take care to accompany it with the official record of that celebrated contest between Neate and the Gasman. All fights are good reading; but this particular effort of Hazlitt's makes one sigh for a Boxiana or Pugilistica edited by him. Next, I think, must be ranked 'On Going a Journey,'' with its fine appreciation of solitary travelling which does not exclude reminiscences of pleasant journeys in company. But these two, with the article on Poussin and the "Farewell to Essay-writing," have been so often mentioned that it may seem as if Hazlitt's store were otherwise poor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Character of Cobbett' is the
the style from which, as was noted, Hazlitt perhaps never got free as far as philosophizing is concerned, but of which he is a master. On the Indian Jugglers" is a capital example of what may be called improving a text; and it contains some of the most interesting and genial examples of Hazlitt's honest delight in games such as rackets and fives, a delight which (heaven help his critics) was frequently regarded at the time as low. On Paradox and Commonplace" is less remarkable for its contribution to the discussion of the subject, than as exhibiting one of Hazlitt's most curious critical megrims-his dislike of Shelley. I wish I could think that he had any better reason for this than the fact that Shelley was a gentleman by birth and his own contemporary. Most disappointing of all, perhaps, is "On Criticism, which the reader (as his prophetic soul, if he is a sensible. reader, has probably warned him beforehand) soon finds to be little but an open or covert diatribe against the contemporary critics whom Hazlitt did not like, or who did not like Hazlitt. The apparently promising "On the Knowledge of Character" chiefly yields the remark that Hazlitt could not have admired Cæsar if he had resembled (in face) the Duke of Wellington. But "My First Acquaintance with Poets" is again a masterpiece; and to me, at least, "Merry England" is perfect. Hazlitt is almost the only person up to his own day who dared to vindicate the claims of nonsense, though he seems to have talked and written as little of it as most men. The chapter "On Editors" is very amusing, though perhaps not entirely in the way in which Hazlitt meant it; but I cannot think him happy "On Footmen," or on The Conversation of Lords,' for reasons already sufficiently stated. A sun-dial is a much more promising subject than a broomstick, yet many essays might be written on sun-dials without there being any fear of Hazlitt's being surpassed. Better still is "On Taste," which, if the twenty or thirty best papers in Hazlitt
were collected (and a most charming volume they would make), would rank among the very best. On Reading New Books" contains excellent sense, but perhaps is, as Hazlitt not seldom is, a little deficient in humor; while the absence of any necessity for humor makes the discussion "Whether Belief is Voluntary" an excellent one. Hazlitt is not wholly of the opinion of that Hebrew Jew who said to M. Renan, On fait ce qu'on veut mais on croit ce qu'on peut."
The shorter papers of the Round Table yield perhaps a little less freely in the way of specially notable examples. They come closer to a certain kind of Addisonian essay, a short lay-sermon, without the charming divagation of the longer articles. To see how nearly Hazlitt can reach the level of a rather older and cleverer George Osborne, turn to the paper bere on Classical Education. He is quite orthodox for a wonder perhaps because opinion was beginning to veer a little to the side of Useful Knowledge; but he is as dry as his own favorite biscuit, and as guiltless of freshness. He is best in this volume where he notes particular points such as Kean's Iago, Milton's versification (here, however, he does not get quite to the heart of the matter), " John Buncle,' and "The Excursion." In this last he far outsteps the scanty confines of the earlier papers of the Round Table, and allows himself that score of pages which seems to be with so many men the normal limit of a good essay. Of his shortest style one sample from "Trifles Light as Air" is so characteristic in more ways than one that it must be quoted whole.
"I am by education and conviction inclined to Republicanism and Puritanism. In America they have both. But I confess I feel a little staggered as to the practical efficacy and saving grace of first principles when I ask my self, Can they throughout the United States from Boston to Baltimore, produce a single head like one of Titian's Venetian Nobles, nurtured in all the pride of aristocracy and all the blindness of popery? Of all the branches of political economy the human face is perhaps
the best criterion of value."
If I were editing Hazlitt's works I should put these sentences on the titlepage of every volume; for dogmatist as he thought himself, it is certain that he NEW SERIES.-VOL. XLV., No. 6
was in reality purely aesthetic, though, I need hardly say, not in the absurd sense, or no-sense, which modern misuse of language has chosen to fix on the word. Therefore he is very good (where few are good at all) on Dreams, and, being a great observer of himself, singularly instructive on Application to Study. On Londoners and Country People" is one of his liveliest efforts; and the pique at his own inclusion in the Cockney School fortunately evaporates in some delightful reminiscences, including one of the few classic passages on the great game of marbles. His remarks on the company at the Southampton coffee-house, which have often been much praised, please me less they are too much like attempts in the manner of the Queen Anne men, and Hazlitt is always best when he imitates nobody.
Hot and Cold (which might have been more intelligibly called "North. and South'') is distinctly curious, bringing out again what may be called Hazlitt's fanciful observation; and it may generally be said, that however alarming and however suggestive of commonplace, the titles "On Respectable People," "On People of Sense,' On Novelty and Familiarity," etc., may be, Hazlitt may almost invariably be trusted to produce something that is not commonplace, that is not labored paradox, that is eminently literature.
I know that a haphazard catalogue of the titles of essays (for it is little more) such as fills the last paragraph or two may not seem very succulent. But within moderate space there is really no other means of indicating the author's extraordinary range of subject, and at the same time the pervading excellence of his treatment. To exemplify a difference which has sometimes been thought to require explanation, his work as regards system, connection with anything else, immediate occasion (which with him was generally what his friend, Mr. Skimpole, would have called "pounds") is always Journalism in result, it is almost always Literature. Its staple subjects, as far as there can be said to be any staple where the thread is so various, are very much those which the average newspaper-writer since his time has had to deal with-politics, bookreviewing, criticism on plays and pic
tures, social etceteras, the minor morals, the miscellaneous incidents of daily life. It is true that Hazlitt was only for a short time in the straitest shafts, the most galling traces, of periodical hackwork. His practice was rather that of George Warrington, who worked till he had filled his purse, and then lay idle till he had emptied it. He used (an indulgence agreeable in the mouth, but bitter in the belly) very frequently to receive money beforehand for work which was not yet done. Although anything but careful, he was never an extravagant man, his tastes being for the most part simple; and he never, even during his first married life, seems to have been burdened by an expensive household. Moreover, he got rid of Mrs. Hazlitt on very easy terms. Still he must constantly have had on him the sensation that he lived by his work, and by that only. It seems to be (as far as one can make it out) this sensation which more than anything else jades and tires what some very metaphorical men of letters are pleased to call their PegaBut Hazlitt, though he served in the shafts, shows little trace of the harness. He has frequent small carelessnesses of style, but he would probably have had as many or more if he had been the easiest and gentlest of easywriting gentlemen. He never seems to have allowed himself to be cramped in his choice of his subjects, and wrote for the editors of whom he speaks so amusingly with almost as much freedom of speech as if he had had a private press of his own, and had issued dainty little tractates on Dutch paper to be fought for by bibliophiles. His prejudices, his desultoriness, his occasional lack of correctness of fact (he speaks of "Fontaine's Translation" of Esop, and makes use of the extraordinary phrase, "The whole Council of Trent with Father Paul at their head," than which a more curious blunder is hardly conceivable), his wayward inconsistencies, his freaks of bad taste, would in all probability have been aggravated rather than alleviated by the greater freedom and less responsibility of an independent or an endowed student. The fact is that he was a born man of letters, and that he could not help turning whatsoever he touched into literature, whether
it was criticism on books or on pictures, a fight or a supper, a game at marbles, a political diatribe, or the report of a literary conversation. He doubtless had favorite subjects; but I do not know that it can be said that he treated one class of subjects better than another, with the exception that I must hold him to have been first of all a literary critic. He certainly could not write a work of great length; for the faults of his Life of Napoleon are grave even when its view of the subject is taken as undisputed, and it holds about the same place (that of longest and worst) which the book it was designed to counterwork holds among Scott's productions. Nor was he, as it seems to me, quite at home in very short papers-in papers of the length of the average newspaper article. What he could do, as hardly any other man has ever done in England, was a causerie of about the same length as Sainte-Beuve's or a little shorter, less limited in range, but also less artfully proportioned than the great Frenchman's literary and historical studies, giving scope for considerable digression, but coming to an end before the author was wearied of his subject, or had exhausted the fresh thoughts and the happy borrowings and analogies which he had ready for it. Of what is rather affectedly called architectonic," Hazlitt has nothing. No essay of his is ever an exhaustive or even a symmetrical treatment of its nominal, or of any, theme. He somewhere speaks of himself as finding it easy to go on stringing pearls when he has once got the string; but for my part I should say that the string was much more doubtful than the pearls. Except in a very few set pieces, his whole charm consists in the succession of irregular, half-connected but unending and infinitely variegated thoughts, fancies, phrases, quotations, which he pours forth not merely at a particular "Open Sesame, but at "Open barley," "Open rye," or any other grain in the corn-chandler's list. No doubt the charm of these is increased by the fact that they are never quite haphazard, never absolutely promiscuous, despite their desultory arrangement; no doubt also a certain additional interest arises from the constant revelation which they
make of Hazlitt's curious personality, his enthusiastic appreciation flecked with spots of grudging spite, his clear intellect clouded with prejudice, his admiration of greatness and nobility of character co-existing with the faculty of doing very mean and even disgraceful things, his abundant relish of life con
trasted with almost constant repining. He must have been one of the most uncomfortable of all English men of letters, who can be called great, to know as a friend. He is certainly, to those who know him only as readers, one of the most fruitful both in instruction and in delight.-Macmillan's Magazine.
WITH AN OLD MAGAZINE.
BY M. E. W.
THE man who thought twas heaven to lounge upon a couch and read new novels on a rainy day," must have been one who should have lived in the present day. From his heaven he would in all likelihood have excluded those very writers who made the fortunes of a certain old magazine-Charles Lamb, with his quaint and tender thoughts; Hazlitt, with his wonderful imagery and bold unconventional writings; Carlyle, with his work as yet free from personal invective and abuse; De Quincey, with his graphical pen; Tom Hood, with all the bright nonsense of a boy who had not yet entered upon his inheritance of trouble; and a host of other luminaries, among whom John Keats was not the least noticeable. Rather than people our heaven with the novelists, would we name these old-world writers, and pass our time with the half-forgotten pages of the London Magazine.
When in 1820 the publishers, Messrs. Baldwin, Craddock and Joy, formed the idea of starting a new magazine under the title of an old and defunct periodical, they began looking about for an editor. They finally fixed upon the ex-editor of the Champion newspaper, one John Scott-a man in the prime of life, of good average ability, and with the courage of his opinions. He was shrewd and conscientious, with an immense capacity for work, and (what was even more to the point) with an enviable power of reconciling conflicting interests and keeping a very large staff on excellent terms with themselves, with him, and with each other. Scott began his editorship by contributing a series of articles on living authors, which exhib. ited fairly critical taste, and were emi
nently readable. Unfortunately he was very soon lured into the literary quarrels of the day. Lockhart in Blackwood had unwarrantably abused Leigh Hunt and his set, and John Scott thought fit to take up the cudgels on their behalf. A violent altercation ensued, and Lockhart challenged the editor of the London. It may be urged in Lockhart's defence that John Scott had been writing very offensively about the author of the Waverley Novels ;" and as Lockhart had recently married Sir Walter's daughter, he may have felt called upon to fight his battles. Be that as it may, he sent the challenge; but while the matter was still impending, his second used some expression in regard to John Scott, which the latter so promptly resented as to insist on fighting him before meeting the original offender. The duel took place. They met at Chalk Farm, and Christie (Lockhart's over-officious second) fired into the air. Scott did not notice the upward aim, and his second, Patmore, with most culpable negligence, did not inform him of it, so Christie's shot was returned pointblank. He was not hurt, but he was naturally much incensed, and when next he fired, he struck Scott just above the right hip. The poor fellow fell mortally wounded, and the proprietors of the magazine were so distressed at his loss, that instead of finding another editor they instantly sold their paper, which passed into the hands of the publishers, Taylor and Hessey. The former of these gentlemen insisted that Sir Philip Francis was the real author of the much-discussed letters of Junius; while Hessey's great kindness to Keats is sufficient to perpetuate his name.
The firm must have had a healthy belief in young talent, for when they decided they would follow in the steps of William Blackwood, and only employ a kind of sub-editor, who should work under their immediate supervision, they gave the post to a boy of twenty-one. This boy, whose pale face was brightened by a perpetual smile, whose slight figure and feeble voice were constantly shaken with laughter at his own or other people's expense, and who always dressed in sombre black, proved to be the very embodiment of merriment. The space that had been occupied in the magazine to argue over Sir Walter's shortcomings, or to break into fierce invective of Lockhart's unjust criticisms, was now filled by fresh young verse, delicious little essays, and witty answers to correspondents; and Tom Hood's name came to be associated with a quality tolerably rare in those hard-hitting times-he wrote amusingly, and he hurt no one's feelings. It was part of his duties to hunt up dilatory contributors, and De Quincey, who was one of the most uncertain of men, was constantly invaded by the energetic young editor.
"When it was my frequent and agreeable duty to call on Mr. De Quincey, (being an uncommon name to remember, the servant associated it on the memoria technica principle with a sore throat, and always pronounced it Quinsy,) and I have found him at home-quite at home-in the midst of a German Ocean of Literature, flooding all the floor, the table, and the chairs,-billows of books tossing, tumbling, surging open, -on such occasions I have willingly listened by the hour, while the Philosopher, standing with his eyes fixed on
one side of the room, seemed to be less speaking than reading from a handwriting on the wall."
The lodgings here referred to were in York Street, Covent Garden; and it was here that De Quincey wrote his famous Confessions of an English Opium-Eater." It was Charles Lamb who had introduced him to the proprietors of the London; for the friendship that had been commenced in 1804 was gladly renewed when De Quincey settled in London for a time in 1821. Seventeen years before he had taken a note of introduction to the India House in search of the future Elia, whom he had eventually found seated on "the highest possible stool." The kindly fashion
in which the little spare clerk had received his unknown visitor, and the warm hospitality with which he straightway took him back to the Temple to tea, took firm hold of De Quincey's memory: and though he was not famed for tact when speaking of the home life of his contemporaries, and indeed betrayed more than he had any right, he was always especially gentle and honorable when dealing with that whimsical albeit lovable pair in the Temple rooms.
"Many liberal people I have known in this world. . many munificent people, but never any one upon whom, for bounty, for indulgence and forgiveness, for charitable construction of doubtful or mixed actions, and for regal munificence you might have thrown yourself with so absolute a reliance as upon this comparatively poor Charles Lamb."
When in 1821 Lamb introduced his friend to Mr. Taylor, the latter gentleman promptly invited him to accompany Elia to one of the magazine dinners" which he gave monthly to the whole staff of writers at the publishing office in Waterloo Place. De Quincey naturally accepted the invitation, and while at table began speaking of his opium experiences. His fellow guests were exceedingly interested in his account, and his host finally suggested that their first conversation should prove the nucleus of his first contribution. His papers appeared in the September and October numbers, and few magazine articles have produced such a wonderful impression. In the vehement discussion to which they gave rise, their author was greatly annoyed to find his narration was regarded more as clever fiction than as
absolute fact; and he hastened to write a letter to the London, in which he declared the entire Confessions were designed to convey a narrative of his own experiences as an opium-eater, drawn up with entire simplicity and fidelity to facts." His later contributions were signed by the initials X. Y. Z.
De Quincey is not usually considered to be what is called a lovable man; but there is something eminently attractive in the tiny restless being, with his soft voice, colorless face, and marvellously bright eyes. When he was working hard for wife and bairns in distant Westmoreland, living in those lodgings and hedged in by those ponderous German