Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

doom. And Gainsborough bad it, but it was attention of thinking men, and does not so the true British imagination that possesed much enforce this as assume it. This is, afhim. It was that swelling, glowing, heaven- ter all, one of the chief uses of the pen in ly-solemn faculty, that dwelt in the author the region of art. The medium of pictoof “The Seasons,

rial art is not words. It would be possible

to render the most exact account in words “For ever rising with the rising mind,”

of what a picture ought to be, without havto which the cultured Englishman most ing the least perception of what it is, or readily responds, as he hears the sweep of the least power to judge it aright. The autumnal gales in his own island, or through most valuable practical utterances are the glades whose leafage is yellowing to the fall simple dicta of great painters as to the relalooks westward at his misty sunsets, exalted tive status and qualities of pictures. The by the pleasing Miltonic melancholy with moment verbal analysis is attempted, the which he would “ choose to live.”

utter poverty of language in that sphere is Reynolds had it not. He fished for such made apparent. The finest criticisms are ideas as did not walk in the daylight. They mere finger-posts to mark the road on which never rose spontaneous from the deep, and they do not travel. Where a painter takes the genii, caught by guile, sulk and are un- the pen, however, he is amenable to the easy on his canvas. There is a touch of pen. Reynolds was a pioneer in the directhe terrible in the picture of Cardinal Beau- tion of statements on art. The laws which fort, and we wish the anecdote of the grin- govern art - and here is one of its charms ning coal-heaver who sat for it had been sup- to those who pursue it- are those common pressed. Yet the anecdote only proves to all the great pursuits of life. - So close,' that Shakespeare himself in his awfully- writes Erskine, " is the analogy between all minute delineation could not quicken the the operations of genius, that your Dissterile fancy of Reynolds without the help course is the best dissertation upon the art of the coal-heaver.

of public eloquence that ever was or ever In the highest subjects of all, his failure will be witten.” But, when these laws are was the most signal. Of the Oxford win- discovered and laid down, the materials dow, our only intuition is that it is abomina- amongst which they work, the phenomena ble in theory, in conception, in style. The of aspect, line, form, colour, light, shade, lubberly angel above, the smirking faces be- effect, have all to be learnt and understood low, the vapid rows of Virtues between the before a man can become a good critic of mullions, scarcely higher in invention than painting; and the full meaning of Reythose blindfold white women with scales, nolds' discourses, inaccurate as they may be and idiotic Hopes with anchors, which sup- in some of their reasonings, may be misport the dignity of a “ Perpetual Grand understood if the painter and the literaMaster” of the Order of Odd Fellows, on ry critic do not intend the same thing. The his engraved diploma, are all bad togeth- true painter reasons with his brush, and

It is a wonder that Reynolds should can afford but little leisure to help forward be so anxious to have his name “hitched that correct statement of the functions and in ” in connection with so aimless, tasteless, laws of art which, in a verbal form, enter and absurd an attempt. There were ten little into his meditations, but which yet pictures under the great historic “ Infant are so much to be desired as a common Hercules,"

," "some better, some worse," he platform between the artist and the man of said, and there is something grand about general culture. “ The eye has its own the work, but not enough to kindle the poetry," says Sir Charles Eastlake. mind. The “Macbeth” was a curious ré- Reynolds' methods of painting were chiefchauffé of Verrio, Michael Angelo, and Sirly useful to our school in the way of warnJoshua Reynolds. Many of his purely fan- ing. Many of his finest pictures are alcy pictures are charming — his Shepherd ready blurred and blighted beyond hope of Boys, Cupids in Disguise, Muscipulas, Straw- recovery. His aims as to colour and texberry Girls, Contemplative Boys, Fortune ture were not always satisfactory. He used Tellers. Whatever he could reach by vi- wax compounds, that now and then go far sion and taste he could do, but the gates of to suggest Madame Tussaud or Mrs. Jarley, imagination were closed and sealed to him. in their confectionary surface. It was his It was his calling to pourtray, and the al- practice to lay in the likeness, in what is lowance of his gifts was large enough. called “dead colour," with little more than

The chief praise which Mr. Taylor awards black and white: over this, when dry, he to Reynolds' writings on art is, that “their passed transparent varnishes and mixtures, tendency is upwards." He had a strong charged with the tints required to complete conviction of the high claims of art on the I the colour. These colours, - carmines,

er.

lakes, and other vegetable hues, were painter he was a profound and penetrating often fleeting. They “sparkled and ex- philosopher.” Mr. Taylor watches closely haled " under the power of sunshine. Some- his habit of "condensing” in conversation. times the varnish would turn brown or Then came that precious virtue of taste green, and ruin the complexion. Some- the guard of his rapid observation and intimes a thick-headed cleaner would fetch tense sense of character. His surprising it all off, and find the caput morluum below. vitality, which palsy could only threaten, A still more fatal practice was to lay one which age could not lower, is to be very coat on another, with materials that had no especially noticed. It was this that perblood relationship, and then there were mitted his life, “so full of labour that constant feuds and insurrections among the tongue cannot utter it.” His fruitfulness pigments, and the picture was rent asun- was not less than prodigious. der. “ Oh, heavens! Murder! Murder !" We may pry too curiously into the moral says the ranting Haydon, as he spells out of a life, but no truly thoughtful person the comical occult recipes, partly broken can omit all consideration of it from his English and partly Italian, in which Sir final judgment. This consideration is esJoshua recorded these experiments. “ Mur- pecially provoked when the subject of it der!- it would crack under the brush !” has been eminently fortunate and happy, His pictures have often a very special charm, and it is invited in the case of Sir Joshua arising from what Haydon calls his glori- Reynolds, by the generalised conception he ous gemmy surface.” This was in part entertained of life as a whole. Did all the owing to the reflex influence of his want of elements of calculation enter into his arfacility. There were ten pictures under rangement of “ the great game he had to “the Infant Hercules,” and many of his play?” He was convicted of nothing best pictures, before he had done with them, usually accounted a vice. In manners, in had been so loaded with coat on coat of rich temper, he was all that could be wished or pigments, rough and intermingled with all expected. He was, – Dr. Johnson said the tints of the palette, that they were invulnerable” as a member of civil so ready for the final and magical “surface” ciety. He had respect for religion, as apthat enchanted Haydon. When the full pears in various incidental ways. We are idea was seized, then came the “ lily-scep- not informed if he were a church-goer. tred” hand, and the light brush in its grace. We are told that he painted on Sunday, ful sweeps catching the upper surfaces of and that Johnson urged him to abandon the the many-coloured granules, permits the practice. His sister, Mrs. Palmer, was eye to see, through the liberated airy stroke, much concerned, and expostulated with him the sparkle of the buried wealth beneath. on the same subject. Johnson exhorted Romney struck in his forms with masterly him to read the Bible daily, and to consider ease at once, even at the first sitting; and his latter end. if in him we miss this jewelled richness, it It is well that we are not called on to is abundantly compensated by the breathing look to the life of a man for a standard of sense of power which plays around his virtue and religion. That is found outside works of itnagination.

a man. But it is permitted to us, it is enReynolds' personal cha acter is cinat- joined upon us, for our own improvement, ing. If we are to judge of a man's worth encouragement, or warning, to judge of a by the rank and style of his friends, what man's conformity to that standard, and thus shall we say of the man who secured such know him by his “ fruits.” In the case of invariable and decided testimonials from those individual acts, which do not clearly Samuel Johnson — of him whom the au- contradict any known moral or divine law, thor of the “Vicar of Wakefield” loved the moral significance is indeed as hard to like a brother ? Let us first read Burke's ascertain as it would be to pick out and pro eulogies on Dunning and Keppel, and then test against those parts of Reynolds' picreflect that Burke, Dunning, and Keppel tures which were painted on Sunday. We were among Sir Joshua's most intimate look with high respect on the religious spirit friends. The terms used by all who knew of Johnson, and we see him occasionally dohim in describing his manners are all of ing pretty much the same things that Reyone order. Calm, simple, unaffected, placid, nolds did. At the theatre, the masquerade, genial, gentle, are words of constant occur- at Ranelagh, at Vauxhall, iņ the company rence on all sides in any attempt to char- of wits and men of fashion, we find him by acterise him.

the side of Reynolds. We have much inIn his mental organization, the most formation as to the creed and religious habprominent faculty pointed at by all is the its of Johnson. We have none as to those power of generalisation. “ To be such a of Sir Joshua, and we can only ponder.

66

a

From the Washington Chronicle, 9 Jan. | General Government, and dared to mainOUR FATHERS; ON WHICH SIDE?

tain them.

Virginia, under the leadership of JefferYESTERDAY was the anniversary of the son and other minds, did not cordially susbattle of New Orleans, when the flag of our tain the measures of his administration, but country waved unmolested for the first time he was not swerved thereby, and he knew since 1861 from the Gulf of Mexico to the no Government superior to the United falls of Saint Anthony, from Boston to San States. He felt that, although the theory Francisco, in honor of the victory over of secession was advocated by some great British aggression. It is a day now more and honest men, that nevertheless, if it ever than ever remembered, because Andrew became the belief of the masses, it would Jackson, a native of South Carolina, but at lead the nation to the brink of destruction. the time a citizen of Tennessee, and the This theory, at the breaking out of the regeneral who then led our troops, when sub- bellion, was no new thing. Henry Lee, the sequently President of the United States, “Light Horse Harry” of the Revolution, rebuked Calhoun and other secessionists by and subsequently Governor of Virginia, giving, at a public festival, a sentiment that writes, on January 12, 1795, from Richhas become the watchword of loyalty,“ Tae mond to a friend, in these words : UNION, IT MUST AND SHALL BE PRE- “ The impressions which many artful, deBERVED;” and which epitomizes the views signing individuals have made by their of a native of North Carolina, also a citizen representations on the minds of the people of Tennessee, and now the President of the of this State could readily be removed, were United S:ates, Andrew Johnson.

they not confirmed in a manner by the part To thoughtful patriots and statesmen, which Mr. Madison takes. now that the laws of the land have been main- “ The virtue and ability of this gentleman tained by the force of arms, and the smoke deservedly give to him the confidence of his of horrid civil war is fast disappearing, it is countrymen; and, with respect to political interesting to inquire what would have been affairs, this confidence derives additional inthe opinions of Washington and others of Auence from the zeal and decision with our fathers relative to the great rebellion which he supported the adoption of the Conhad they lived.

stitution. We can only ascertain this by ex- “ It is not possible to suppose so good and amining the sentiments advanced by them so enlightened a citizen could be brought to when they were busy actors in public affairs. act with the known enemies of the ConstiHistory records how Washington stirred up tution as to its administration without posithe bitterest opposition of " States rights tive and ample cause, therefore they credit men in Virginia and North Carolina by ad- the aspersions with which the measures of vocating a more perfect union than that Government are charged; and, crediting under the Articles of the Confederation, the allegations, it is not surprising they and that he was cursed because he acted should act with jealousy, distrust, and as president of the convention that framed occasional enmity toward Government. the Constitution.

Better would it have been for the har. A brother of Judge Iredell, of the Su- mony and happiness of the United States if preme Court of the United States, writes on Mr. Madison, governed as he is at present, May 12, 1788, from Edenton, North Caro- had originally been an opposer of the Conlina : “Mr. Allen this morning read to me stitution. part of a letter he received from a gentle- "I had reckoned on very auspicious effects man of his acquaintance, who mentions a to the general good from the wise and vig. conversation he had with General Parsons, orous measures adopted by the President the substance of which was that General in crushing the late wicked insurrection. Washington was a damned rascal and trai- Truth must at last prevail, and the enlighttor to his country for putting his hand to ened freemen of America, though slow to such an infamous paper as the new Constitu- discover the real views of the different par

ties, will in time perceive with accuracy the Washington, from the day of the adop- distinction which marks them, and will be tion of the Constitution by the people of the sure to encircle, with their best affections, United States, never had a doubt as to the the steady and determined friends to order propriety of coercing those who would defy and good government. its provisions. The prompt measures against " In Kentucky the people are beginning to the insurgents of Pennsylvania convinced act after some years' credulous submission, every mind that he knew the rights of the and from the last account from that quar

66

tion."

a

ter, the friends to law and the Constitution, ( proper subject of regret, and over which as administered, begin to lead in public the patriot would wish to drop a tear that councils. So it must be here and with you might blot out its memory for ever. Thus in a few years."

the Jacobins affect now to treat bis last Could there possibly be a wider contrast political opinions." than the above manly letter, and the senti- Why add more ? Sufficient has been mental effusion of his son, Robert Lee, the quoted to show that Washington, Henry military leader of the slaveholders' rebel- Lee, John Marshall, and Patrick Henry belion, written to his sister on April 20, 1861, lieved that allegiance to the United States of which the following is a portion : was supreme, and that incipient treason was

“ The whole South is in a state of revolu- prevalent. tion, into which Virginia after a long strug- But some one may ask, while it may be gle has been drawn, and though I recognize true that they were in favor of strongly supno necessity for this state of things, and would porting the Government, would they have have forborne and pleaded to the end for sympathized with the distinctive act of our the redress of real or supposed grievances, late President, the emancipation of slaves yet in my own person I had to meet the in the rebellious States ? question whether I should take arms against We think that to this measure they would my native State. With all my devotion to have given a cordial support. They knew the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and full well that slavery was an incubus on duty of an American citizen, I have not their prosperity; that it made many imbeen able to raise my hand against my rela- provident negroes and more poor whites, tives, my children, my home.”

and a few pampered and bloated men, We return from this digression to the falsely styled aristocrats. They felt the sentiments of the Fathers. The very year more speedily the system was abrogated of Washington's death the Virginia malcon- the better for all concerned. Hence, to tents loudly grumbled, and then marked out put an end to the slave trade, and at the the pathway for Calhoun of the past, and same time accommodate the prejudices of Davis and his followers of the present gen- South Carolina and Georgia, it was proeration.

vided in the Constitution that slave imThe eloquent jurist, Davie, an officer of portations should cease after twenty years. the Revolution, then a framer of the Con- Mason, the distinguished ancestor of the stitution, and later in life an ambassador to degenerate descendant, and notorious assoFrance, wrote on June 17, 1799 :

ciate of Slidell in a late rebel embassy at “ Virginia is the only State of which I Paris, in his objections to the Constitution despair. My opinions, collected from some of the United States, published in 1787, gentlemen who have been lately travelling complained that “the general Legislature in that State, and others who were at the is restrained from prohibiting the further Petersburg races, present a melancholy importation of slaves for twenty odd years, picture of that country. These gentlemen though such importations render the United returned with a firm conviction that the States weaker, more vulnerable, and less leaders were determined upon the over- capable of defence.” tbrow of the General Government, and if Washington not only specially enjoined no other measure would affect it, they would in his will that all of his slaves should be risk it upon the chance of war.

free, but while living was always ready to " I understand that some of them talk of aid in effort for their emancipation. Coke, . seceding from the Union ;' while others a graduate of Oxford, a doctor of civil law, boldly asserted the policy and practicability a presbyter of the Church of England, the of severing the Union,' alleging that Penn- associate of Wesley, and first bishop in the sylvania will join them; thai Maryland will United States, thus describes a visit to be compelled to change her politics with her Mount Vernon in 1785 : situa'ion; that the submission and assistance “ He received us very politely and was of North Carolina was counted on as a mat- very open to access.

He is quite our plain ter of course, and that the two Southern country gentleman. 'After dinner we deStates would follow.

sired a private interview, and opened to “ The death of Patrick Henry at this him the grand business on which we came, critical period is much to be lamented. presenting to him our petition for the emanHad he lived, I am persuaded he would cipation of the negroes, and entreating his have convinced the people of Virginia that signature if the eminence of his situation it was the conduct of the Legislature, not did not render it inexpedient. any change in his opinions, that was the “He informed us that he was of our senti

a

ments, and had signified his thoughts on the leaves; and we are ready in every fair, and subject to most of the great men of the State; regular, and constitutional method to admit that he did not see it proper to sign the peti- them to the privileges purchased by the tion, but if the Assembly took it into consid- blood, toil, and treasure of our common aneration would signify his sentiments to the cestors. We hope the day is not far distant Assembly by letter."

when the representatives of the South, With such opinions, who can doubt that recognizing the sentiment of the Declaraour Fathers, who framed the Constitution, tion of Independence, that“ all men are free would have been willing not only to fight and equal,” shall be clothed in their right treason hand to hand, but also to kill minds, and sit in Congress with those from slavery for the sake of preserving the the East, and West, and North; when they Union? If the views of the early patriots shall adopt the memorable language of the of the South had not been carefully con- martyr for the Union, whom they have cealed, or artfully distorted by ambitious already learned to honor and will yet learn partisan leaders, the world would never to love: have witnessed the terrible delusion which “ With malice toward none, with charity has brought sorrow and crying and penury for all, with firmness in the right as God into so many households.

gives us to see the right, let us strive on to Believing that they erred from the good finish the work we are in; to bind up the old ways of our Fathers, that they were nation's wounds; to do all which may suffering from political insanity, we wrestled achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace.” with the insurgents as

man with a maniacal brother. The nation did not in Pharisaic pride gloat over their defeat. The words of one, formerly the wife of the 'owner of a South Carolina slave plantation - a woman who had there learned that

From the Spectator. slavery was an accursed thing — expressed

WOMEN'S TACT. the feelings of the army and citizens of the United States :

The reappearance of Mrs. Caudle's Cur

tain Lectures in an edition de luxe, with emNot with Te Deums loud and wild hosannas bossed binding, and tinted paper, and illus

Greet we the awful victory we have won ! trations by Mr. Charles Keene, is a curious But with our arms reversed and lowered banners literary incident. Messrs. Bradbury and We stand - our work is done.

Evans seldom make mistakes in their estiBleeding and writhing underneath our sword

mate of popular taste, or we should have Prostrate our brethren lie — Thy fallen foe

argued à priori that such a book was cerStruck down by Thce, through us, avenging tain not to sell. Unmarried men would not Lori

buy it, as baving small interest for them, By Thy dread hand laid low.

and married men would feel a delicate hes

itation lest ite purchase should be taken as a For our own guilt have we been doomed to gentle reproof to their wives. A priori arsmito

guments about literature, however, are of These our own kindred, Thy great laws de- of very little value, and as a fact, the lec

fying; These our own flesh and blood, who did unite

tures are among the very few fugitive papers

in Punch which have lived for many years. In one thing only with us, bravely dying.

They were published so long ago that few Dying, how bravely, yet how bitterly! people under thirty-five have seen them, Not for the better side, but for the worse ;

but the tradition of their humour lingers, Blindly and madly striving against Thee and will secure their success even in this For the bad cause, where Thou hast set Thy luxurious form. Women will purchase them

as well as men, and the fact that they will, At whose defeat we may not raise our voice,

that they can enjoy the humour without

feeling in it a reproach, explains much of their Save in the deep thanksgiving of our prayers. popularity. Every woman thinks she has “Lord, we have fought the fight!” but to rejoice

tact, and sees, what men often do not, that Is ours no more than theirs.

Mrs. Caudle's defect was not temper, or

meanness, or jealousy, or any one of the Believing that the mass of the Southern bad qualities which Mr. Jerrold made so people are now penitent, we continue to broadly comic, but simply want of tact. bear the palms of victory wrapped in olive Mrs. Caudle is in the right nine times out of

curse.

« VorigeDoorgaan »