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TREVELYAN'S

“ EARLY HISTORY OF CHARLES JAMES FOX.”

*

Few men will read this book without in English literature there is an abler a conviction that its author could, if he sketch than Mr. Trevelyan's of this chose, complete his uncle Lord Macau- man, with his imperturbable temper, his lay's work, and make the small sum of worship of his wife, his deep love for his English pleasures greater, by carrying son-a love wholly without judgment or that brilliant history of England down principle or self-control-his incapacity from the death of William III. to the ac- of scruple, his utter callousness to every cession of Queen Victoria. He has consideration of right and wrong, his every qualification for the task. He un- greed to acquire, his lavishness in givderstands men--witness the vivid sketching, and his disregard for all mankind of Charles Yorke, the man who could outside the limited circle to which he not refuse a brilliant bribe, yet could bore a firm, unchangeable regard — a not live under the shame of taking it circle which included only his family, he can indicate manners, he knows one or two female acquaintances and a facts, and he can describe them all in a scamp of position, now forgotten, named style which, though it compels a com- Rigby. Lord Macaulay would have parison with Lord Macaulay's, is his own, described him in a shower of antithesis, and is, in a long volume, more attractive. till men would have first been interestIt is like his uncle's, but though ed, then admiring, then doubtful, and equally lucid and bright, it is devoid of then angry that they should have taken the metallic, or rather vitreous, glitter that bundle of incongruous qualities for which, in any lengthy work, made Lord a human being. Mr. Trevelyan, though Macaulay's antithetic sentences at last he gives us the antithesis, and has a painful to the understanding. Mr. scorn of his subject as fierce as MacauTrevelyan's style, rapid, allusive, and lay's for a pompous poet like Montgomsometimes antithetical as it is, has in it ery or an unprincipled orator like Barthe great qualities of repose and variety ; rère, manages to convey the scorn withit flows, instead of dashing, and it can out exciting disbelief, and leaves us be read when the subject is not exciting charmed with his sketch, disgusted with without an uneasy sense of strain. His his sitter, yet without a doubt that the trout do not talk like gold-fish any more portrait is taken from a man, and a than whales. It is difficult to imagine large one-a veritable Fox, who seemed writing more perfect than the pages, great even to those who knew how he scattered all through this volume, in filched, and whom those who knew little which Mr. Trevelyan describes his of his spoliations could love hard. We hero's father, Henry Fox, first Lord give this illustration of Mr. Trevelyan's Holland, the able, large-brained, large- special quality, which, in this book at natured, easy-tempered, loving brigand, least, is character-painting, because the who regarded office mainly as a means figure of Henry Fox is the one that seems of peculating largely, but had not a to us most novel, and from the intelmiserly fibre in him ; who accumulated lectual side most_attractive, the man some half a million by filchings from who explains the Foxes, and makes us the nation, many of them, no doubt, comprehend how such a man as Charles quite customary, and having made him- James Fox, Liberal statesman and popself a millionaire, was ready to sacrifice ular orator, true citizen and loved politit all, rather than his favorite son should ical leader, was yet a gambler and bon be even worried by his own extrava- vivant to the print at which gambling is gance, and when he paid a debt of 100,- mad viciousness. oool., did it without a reproach or a Of the character-painting there is even bitter feeling for the boy whose waste too much. Mr. Trevelyan delights in had been so reckless. We question if bringing out the characters of the men

who, when Charles Fox was a boy, ruled *"The Early History of Charles James Fox."

or influenced England, till he sometimes By George Otto Trevelyan, M.P. London : Longmans & Co. New York : forgets that his readers desire to be told Harper & Bros.

the facts, as well as the manner of men

1881.

TREVELYAN'S “EARLY HISTORY OF CHARLES JAMES FOX."

79

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who governed when the facts were trans- a private gentleman, his intellectual powers acting themselves. He assumes, for in- would never have made him a Junior Lord of

the Treasury ; but his moral characteristics stance, all through, that the reader knows

were such that, being a king, he had as much fairly well the meaning of the measures influence on the conduct of affairs as all his and transactions of George III.'s early Cabinet together. A Frederick the Great withyears, and devotes his best skill to de- out the cleverness, he loved his own way no

less than his German brother, and got it alscriptions and accounts of the men who then ruled, the group, or rather groups,

most as frequently ; with this difference in the

result, that in the score of years during which of dissolute, self-interested, incompetent he governed according to his favorite theory, nobles and politicians through whom he weakened. England as much as Frederick George III., as a young man, tried to

ever aggrandized Prussia." realize his single idea of being a true That is perfect, though a word might king, ruling behind the shelter of a pur- have been said of the brain-disease which chased Parliament. Mr. Trevelyan re

must always have been lurking in George gards these men with a hatred that is III., and of the honest thoroughness of almost personal, and leaves, perhaps un- his conviction that the Whig consciously, an impression upon his read- tion” would ruin the country, as well as ers not only that they all, Lord Granby enslave the throne. Entertained, howexcepted, were corrupt, but that they ever, and even delighted as we are, an were all incompetent. The reader won- impression is left of imperfect work, of ders how even in that age public affairs sketchiness

as to details, which Mr. could be managed by such councillors at Trevelyan, if he ever undertakes a comall, and longs for some explanation other plete history, must remove. At present than the only one afforded him—that the he can plead that he is a biographer not king bought the members, and that the historian, though he would, we imagine, king governed. Why, at a period when be astonished, if he counted up his own the great nobles really held all power and

pages, to find how few comparatively he nominated a majority of the Lower had devoted to Charles James Fox. House, did they let the king govern ? The future leader of the Whigs was He could not bribe them, if they were born on June 24th, 1749, the third son in earnest ; and he had not in his earlier of the Henry Fox mentioned above, who years the support of the people, which had just finished his suburban palace, he ultimately secured through Pitt, and who made him from his earliest through his own blameless life, and childhood a favorite and a companion. through the horror excited in England He would come home to dine with by the Reign of Terror. We feel that Charles while still a child, brought him all is not explained, even when we have up American fashion, without correction so mordant a sketch as this :

or guidance, and supplied him with “George III. possessed all the accomplish- money till his extravagance actually ments which are required for doing business, affected the tone of Eton. On one ocas business is done by kings. He talked casion Charles declared his intention to foreign languages like a modern prince of the blood, and he wrote like the master of every

destroy a watch. “Well,” said Lord one with whom he corresponded. The mean

Holland, “if you must, I suppose you ing of the brief and blunt confidential notes in must.” In 1763, when the boy was which he made known his wishes to an absent only fourteen minister never failed to stand clearly out, through all his indifferent spelling and careless “Harassed by his dispute with Lord Shelgrammar. Those notes are dated at almost burne, and not unwilling to withdraw himself every minute from eight in the morning to and his new title for a time from the notice of eleven at night ; for, as long as work remained his countrymen, he could think of no better dion hand, all hours were working hours with the version than to take Charles from his books, king. Punctual, patient, self-willed, and self- and convey him to the Continent on a round possessed ; intruding into every department; of idleness and dissipation. At Spa his amuseinquiring greedily into every detail; making ment was to send his son every night to the everybody's duty his own, and then doing it gaming-table with a pocketful of gold ; and (if conscientiously, indefatigably, and as badly as family tradition may be trusted where it tells it could possibly be done ; he had almost all against family credit) the parent took not a litthe qualities which enable a man to use, or mis- tle pains to contrive that the boy should leave use, an exalted station, with hardly any of the France a finished rake. After four months talents by means which such a station can spent in this fashion, Charles, his own acbe reached from below. If he had been born cord, persuaded his father to send him back to a marriage of affection, and remained the fowls according to the directions of a treatise on carving, which lay beside him on “And his romance was of the heart, and not the cloth. As soon as he had finally determined of the fancy. There have been few better husto settle in the country, he devoted himself to bands than Fox, and probably none so delightthe art of gardening, with a success to which ful; for no known man ever devoted such powSt. Anne's Hill still bears agreeable testimony. ers of pleasing to the single end of making a He could hold his own at tennis after he was wife happy. When once he had a home of his well on in years, and of a bulk proportioned to own, the world outside, with its pleasures and his weight in the balance of political power; ambitions, became to him an object of indiffer and when an admiring spectator asked him ence, and at last of repugnance. Nothing but how he contrived to return so many of the diffi- the stings of a patriotic conscience, sharpened cult balls, 'It is,' he replied, because I am a by the passionate importunity of partisans very painstaking man. Whatever hand, or whose fidelity had entitled them to an absolute mind, or tongue found to do, he did it with his claim upon his services, could prevail upon might ; and he had his reward, for the practice him to spend opposite, creven on, the Treasury of working at the top of his forces became so Bench an occasional fragment of the hours, much a part of his nature, that he was never at which were never long enough when passed at a loss when the occasion demanded a sudden Mrs. Fox's work - table, with Congreve or and exceptional effort."

Eton, where he passed another year, with more Fox returned to England in 1768, to be advantage to himself than to the school. His welcomed by the élite of the noble and Parisian experiences, aided by his rare social talents and an unbounded command of cash,

the dissolute, and took his seat for Midproduced a visible and durable change for the hurst, purchased for him in his absence, worse in the murals and habits of the place. without, in his biographer's opinion,

a political conviction. He attached The result was the worse, because himself, however, to the Duke of GrafCharles had that engagingness which

ton and Lord North, and the road was belongs to some lads like a separate speedily opened to him. His place in quality, and is independent of all the society, which was higher than that of virtues, except truthfulness, and mas- his father, though enemies still taunted tered everybody, from the head of Eton him with the original lowness of his downward. At fifteen he went to Ox family, his regal profusion in expendiford, where he read hard--a habit which ture, and his audacious cleverness in he retained more or less through life- debate, made him by thirty a political but when nearly seventeen his father took personage. In 1769, he accepted office him to Naples, whence he made the tour

as Junior Lord of the Admiralty ; and in of Italy, with companions who, like 1772, when he resigned, on the Royal himself

Marriage Act--an act which, as coming “Sauntered Europe round, from a king who had proposed to Lady And gathered every vice on Christian ground; Sarah Lennox, he regarded as shameful Saw every court ; heard every king declare

-Lord North used every effort to atHis royal sense of operas, or the fair ; Tried all hors d'auvres, all liqueurs defined,

tract him back to his ranks. He was Judicious drank, and greatly daring dined." successful for a moment, and Fox en

tered the Treasury ; but the king hated He came back a consummate linguist him, and in February, 1774, he was and a rake, with singular and separate finally turned out. He had up to this capacities both for work and pleasure : time shone rather as an audacious and

fluent speaker, apt in inventing good “The third Lord Holland, who knew his uncle far better than all other people together

reasons for bad measures, than as a who have recorded their impressions of his statesman, and was regarded rather as character, tells us that the most marked and en- an unscrupulous but formidable debater during feature in his disposition was his in- than as a serious politician. He had His rule in small things, as in great, was the acquired among the people, however homely proverb that what is worth doing at all though he was unpopular, a sort of reis worth doing well. His verses of society pute, as a man from whom something were polished with a care which their merit not might be hoped, owing partly to his inunfrequently repaid. He ranked high among dependence, partly to his personal charm, chess-players, and was constantly and eagerly but chiefly, we fear, to his reputation extending his researches into the science of the game. When Secretary of State, he did some

me for mad extravagance. Though probthing to improve his hand, by taking lessons, ably not an anchoret as a lad, Fox made and writing copies like a schoolboy. At the head of his own table, he helped the turbot and through life tenderly devoted to his wife ·

Molière as a third in company."

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The popular idea of him as a spendthrift good Samaritan, no one was a penny the and gambler was, however, correct. worse for having helped and trusted his His early initiation into play had been favorite boy. Much was paid on the his ruin. He gambled like a madman, spot, much was extinguished by annuities and spent-like a prince, we were going which gradually fell in, and by the time to say, only princes in our day are gen- that all was clear, the Fox property was erally mean-and in the three years pre- less by a hundred and forty thousand ceding 1794 he wasted all his own means, pounds as the consequence of three years and incurred debts to the amount of a of childish giddiness and misbehavior." hundred and twenty thousand pounds. Strange to say, the lavishness of his The Jews, who knew his father's im- father was the only part of his pecuniary mense wealth, always trusted him ; but viciousness which adhered to Charles in 1773 the birth to his elder brother of Fox, for throughout life, while squandera child, afterward the third Lord Hol- ing treasure on a personal indulgence, land, and the human being whom Fox, he never once swerved to pursue his pernext to his wife, loved best of mankind, sonal fortune, or sought an end which brought down on him utter ruin. His could be fairly reckoned self-interested. creditors rushed on him in a body, till The world will wait with eagerness for he said, in bitter blasphemy, that his the completion of this biography, and will brother's son was a new Messiah, born not be the less interested if Mr. Trevelfor the destruction of the Jews. The yan will give his readers a few more facts were laid before his father, and facts, a reference now and then to his Lord Holland, the selfish peculator, authorities, and above all, ten times as “ confronted the portentous situation many dates. He seems to hate these like the man of honor and courage which, latter, and time after time quotes letters with all his faults, he was. High or low, without even mentioning the year in exacting or considerate, grasping Jew or which they were written.

RECENT SCIENCE.

SUPERVISED BY PROFESSOR HUXLEY.

Although the invention of such in- that the new instrument is quite as restruments as the telephone, the phono- markable as its predecessor. An appagraph, and the microphone, has pre- ratus of extreme simplicity transınits the pared the way for other acoustical mar. spoken words, another of equal simvels, no one will be the less disposed to plicity receives them, and between the admire the remarkable instrument which two instruments there is nothing, save a Professor Graham Bell has lately de- line of light, to act as a connecting mescribed under the name of the Photo- dium. The method by which this exphone. This is an instrument for the traordinary result has been attained was transmission of articulate sounds to dis- first disclosed to the scientific world durtant stations, not by means of an elec- ing the recent meeting of the American tric wire or indeed of any material me- Association for the Advancement of Scidium, but simply by a beam of light. ence, at Boston. From Professor Bell's Wherever a beam of light may be flashed communication to that meeting, it apfrom one point to another, there the pears that the photophone is the direct photophone can be worked. Such an outcome of experiments upon the curiinstrument may evidently become of ous action of light in affecting the elecgreat value in establishing rapid commu- tric conductivity of selenium. nication between distant surveying sta

Selenium is one of the rarer chemical tions, and especially in military signalling, where it promises to displace the * For descriptions of the photophone see heliograph. Possibly the field of utility the Illustrated Scientific News, Sept. 15; the of the photophone may not be so wide Scientific American, Sept. 18 and Oct. 2; Sup.as that of the telephone, but in point of Nature, Sept. 23, 1880 ; and American Journai

plement No. 246 ; Engineering, Sept. 17 : scientific interest there can be no doubt of Science, Oct. 1880, p. 305.

NEW SERIES.-VOL. XXXIII., No. I

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elements, found only in a comparatively putting the crystalline selenium to the few minerals, which are but sparingly test at Valentia Bay, it was found by distributed The substance was dis- Mr. May-who was acting for Mr. Smith covered in 1817 by the famous Swedish —that the electrical resistance was far chemist Berzelius. In examining a de- from constant, and a few experiments posit which had been obtained from revealed the startling fact that the consome oil of vitriol works at Gripsholm, ductivity was controlled by the action of near Falun, in Sweden, he was perplexed light. When exposed to light, the conby the presence of a disturbing element ductivity of the selenium was much which he was unable to identify with any greater-or what comes to the same known substance. It presented many thing, its resistance was much less-than points of resemblance to a rare metal- when kept in the dark. This fact was like body which Klaproth, a few years communicated by Mr. Willoughby Smith previously, had named tellurium; yet to Mr. Latimer Clark in a letter which the strange substance from the Swedish was read before the Society of Televitriol chambers was certainly not tel- graphic Engineers on February 12th, lurium. Careful investigation ultimately 1873.* led to the conclusion that it was a dis- So unexpected were the results of Mr. tinct kind of elementary matter which Smith's experiments that the subject was had not previously been recognized by soon taken up by other investigators. chemists; and to mark its relation to One of the carliest to repeat and extend tellurium — which had been so named these experiments was Lieutenant Sale, from tellus, the earth—the new element who found that the selenium was not was termed selenium from celávn, the affected by those rays which are most moon.

active chemically, while the greatest While selenium closely resembles, in effect was produced by the red rays, or some of its properties, certain of the those of low refrangibility. + metals, in other characters it is inti- Electricians had long been familiar mately allied to sulphur. Like sulphur with the fact that heat has considerable it is capable of assuming several distinct influence on the resistance which various physical conditions, or allotropic modi- bodies offer to the passage of a current ; fications. Thus, if the selenium be but until the publication of Mr. Wilfused and then rapidly cooled, it forms loughby Smith's letter no instance had a dark brown glassy mass which, like sul- been recorded in which light exerted an phur, does not conduct electricity. But influence of this kind. It was conseif the melted selenium be allowed to cool quently pardonable to suggest that the with extreme slowness, it solidifies as a variability in the conducting power of granular crystalline mass, having a dull the selenium might be due to variations leaden color, and being capable, as Hit- of temperature rather than of luminosity. torff first showed, of conducting electric- To determine this point some experiity to a limited extent. The former ments were conducted by the Earl of . variety may be termed, for distinction's Rosse. I In these experiments it was sake, vitreous selenium ; the latter crys- found that the selenium remained comtalline or metallic selenium. It is paratively, if not absolutely, insensible to notable that, if the vitreous variety be radiant heat of low refrangibility. The exposed for some time to about the dark heat from a vessel of hot water, for temperature of boiling water, it slowly instance, failed to affect the selenium. passes into the crystalline condition. Researches of a more extended char

Since crystalline selenium can acter were soon afterward carried out by duct electricity, but nevertheless offers Professor W. G. Adams, of King's Colconsiderable resistance to its passage, it occurred to Mr. Willoughby Smith that

* “The Action of Light on Selenium." a bar of this substance might be used

Journ. of the Soc. of Telegraph Engineers, vol. with advantage in cases where a high re- ii. 1873, p. 31. sistance is required, as at the shore-end f "The Action of Light on the Electric Reof a submarine cable in connection with

sistance of Selenium. Proceedings of the

Royal Society, May 1, 1873, vol. xxi. p. 283. his system of testing and signalling while

# “On the Electric Resistance of Selenium." the cable is being submerged. But, on Philosophical Magazine, March, 1874, p. 161.

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