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trifles out of the fragments of such a monarch of the forest; and, with the same inevitable respect for the old man who had seen and wrought and spoken so much, we may try to carve out something from the death of Walter Savage Landor.
Yet, as we regard his long and singular life, it is still in his own words that we find its moral. He was the last fruit off an old tree,' in a wider sense than that in which he wrote that pathetic expression. The old tree' was that plant of deep roots and green crown which struck into the soil of literature about the time of the French Revolution, when—shudder as we may at Marat and Robespierre — new and fertile ideas were awakening in humanity. Landor was a branch of that tree, of which the others here were Crabbe, Burns, Coleridge, Rogers, Wordsworth — all, at the time of which we speak, coming into note and knowledge, with a hundred more unnecessary to mention. Just following the first appearance of these, he preceded Campbell and Scott, and was contemporary with Southey, whose last surviving sister has just been buried in that Lake-country, where a section of these great names set up their poetic Academe. This was the old and honourable tree of philosophy and song of which Landor was indeed the “last fruit,' for no one now survives of the stock. And to have been grafted upon it at all takes the old poet's era back to within ten years of a century, so that his life, justly written, would be the brief chronicle of the Augustan and post-Augustan period of our literary history. Indeed, to glance retrospectively along the chequered career of the man, is for the oldest among us to pass to the society of our great-grandfathers. He was a Rugby boy in 1786, an Oxford graduate in 1792, and an author in 1795. He was a grown man at the Peace of Amiens, and saw Napoleon I. proclaimed First Consul. Thirty-three years old in 1808, he plunged into the Spanish War of Independence, and raised a company of patriots at his own cost, till Ferdinand was restored, and the ardent republican withdrew in disgust. At forty, when Napoleon fell, he withdrew from public life to the retirement of his villa at Florence, which has since, with brief exceptions, been his home. Thence issued those curious and manneristical, but masculine productions by which he will be remembered ; all more or less rich with a wayward but profound scholarship, and all stamped with a taste and a skill that might vary, but with a vigour that never flagged and a humanity at white-heat of indignation whenever oppression or injustice offended it.
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
As an author, Walter Savage Landor has undoubtedly survived the greater part of his reputation. . . . . His chief virtue was a warm love of his kind, and a consistency of principle, which made it always probable that, whatever side might be victorious, Landor's would be just. He lived to fight in many fierce battles, and to lose
many ; but most of them he deserved to win. The ardour of his nature, which was essentially and sometimes outrageously combative, led him into tremendous personal and literary warfares, and into one at the close of his life which was ridiculous and deplorable instead of merely tremendous. the side of his taste, which was exquisitely cultured, and his feelings, which were kindly and gentle generally, he was what Emerson described him in 1833. 'I had expected an Achillean wrath,' the American writer says, "an untameable petulance ; instead of that, I found courtesy, and the most patient and gentle of hosts. He has a wonderful brain, despotic, violent, inexhaustible; meant for a soldier, but converted to letters, yet with an English appetite remaining for action and heroes.' A despotic brain ’ is just the phrase; it swayed the man to Iliad-like wraths at the prompts of his hot and hasty heart, and led him to lay his pen about the ears of adversaries as though he could and would brain them. Roused, he cared little for theory, etiquette, or soft fashions; and when tyranny vexed him too much to bear, he preached tyrannicide in a voice like that of Cromwell's Colonel. But these were the scars and rugosities left upon the old tree by the flaws of many fiery tempests;
from a goodly soil, and bore free and fair foliage; and there are tough young saplings in the world growing up to serviceable stuff, which stand upon the ground that this old oak helped to enrich. Honour, then, to the venerable ruin as it falls back to earth an 'old tree' itself, and the last of a great grove.
Daily Telegraph, Sept. 27, 1864.
THE two leaders of the House of Commons, Lord Palmerston and Mr. Disraeli, did eloquent justice last night, not only to Mr. Cobden’s great abilities and his eminent services, but to the nobler features of his character. There is, indeed, no man of our times
who has more completely fulfilled the first palpable condition of
But the vast mass of the English people see and feel more than this in the man they have just lost. Mr. Cobden's has been an English career. He did a great work; it was peculiarly an English work, and done in English fashion. He was Englis) in his greatness, English in his weakness ; English in his achievements, English in his shortcomings. Englishmen understood him because it is in them to attempt noble deeds, and the kind of deeds that this man did. The most loved names in our annals are those of natural deliverers; of the men who broke the yoke of a tyrant, a foreigner, or a dominant class; of Reformers, of Protestants, of all that fought for law; of those that devoted their lives to the deliverance of the sacred shrine, or the domestic altar, or the prisoner in the dungeon, or the enslaved race ; of the still more scant band of worthies who lived to purge our laws of blood, our Legislature of corruption, or our social state of lingering barbarism. Whoever it was that we were to honour, whether prince, or grandee, or priest, or public man, the question always was, “What had he done ?! There was no question here. Mr. Cobden was the chief, the prime mover, the spirit of that band which devoted itself to set free labour, which is the life of the million, from those burdens and trammels that constituted a second curse on the soil of human industry. This he did, in spite of an opposition which only made the triumph greater. He did it, not unaided by events, but with a completeness wanting to many a victory. He did it, and he afterwards clinched it, and made the world a partner in the act as well as a participator in its benefits. He made the example contagious as well as beneficent. It is this that brings Mr. Cobden so thoroughly within all English sympathy and comprehension.
The first debt we owe to such a career is to recognise its ennobling character; the second to perceive its limits, its shortcomings, and its faults—inevitable, perhaps, but not less to be observed. It was no fault of Mr. Cobden, but yet a calamity and an injury to none more than to himself, that the victory was to be won over a class of fellow-countrymen, and that a high and noble class. This was a Civil War of interests and opinions, and the assailants, for the time, were in the position of rebels and malignants. Every step in such a warfare was too likely to contract the range of sympathy, and to blind the political sense not only to great personal merits, but also to many rights and necessities in an ancient,
vast, and complex social system. Mr Cobden, in the nature of things, became preoccupied with his one great work; and as the work filled every region of his mind, so all the world became to him the personages in that one drama. The drama might be played out, but the personages, the plot, the moral, the sentiment would remain, and the theme would reappear with new places, incidents, and names. Could England and all the world grow in fact as they grew in Mr. Cobden's vision, and become a grand financial problem working itself by certain steps to an inevitable solution, then Mr. Cobden must have been not only our greatest hero, but everything, all in one, the very centre of our hopes and aspirations. But meanwhile England and the world have been pursuing a course of their own, perfectly independent of Mr. Cobden's speculations, and far away from his centre of thought. He could not take into his account the fountains of the great deep that have since been broken up, and the windows of heaven that have since been opened. Lust of territory, empire, and pre-eminence he had habituated himself to regard as the special sins of tyrants and aristocracies. Wars, if not for conquest, were to provide ships and regiments for the scions of noble families. It was only a State of the Old World that could plunge into an abyss of debt to gratify the passion of the hour. Allow men to govern themselves, and they must be too wise to throw away all the fruits of their industry, and forge new chains for their own limbs by ruinous and suicidal
That men of hereditary greatness or high accidental position should hold their own, and fight for any cause that promised length of reign to themselves, was likely enough; but the honest and industrious millions, with liberty for their best and only heritage, could not be guilty of such errors. This, however, has come to pass; and it is only one of many events which could not possibly, have entered into the ken of the great Freetrader. The world drifts it knows not whither; but we all see it wants more landmarks, newer soundings, and altogether fresh instructions, than what seemed to suffice twenty years ago.
But if all seems to come to this,—that Mr. Cobden was not something more than Mr. Cobden, and that he has not been able to do more than his one great work,—it may well be asked whether any other man of larger nature, more varied qualities, and a wider range of powers, would or could have done his work. The English gentleman, such as we fondly imagine him, so educated, so circumstanced, would never have dealt so rudely with the great
idols that fell before this ruthless iconoclast. Even if reason taught him that the theory of Protection was unsound, and that it sapped the foundation of that industry which is our common life and weal, still a false delicacy and a relenting tenderness would have unnerved his arm, and made the edge swerve from its aim. What prince could hew a brother prince to pieces ? It wants another caste, and that only stern prophetic stuff, to do so dire a deed. The English gentleman, like the patrician of old Rome, is everything, prepared for every part, and with a soul open to all that is great and good. He recognises the supremacy of faith, loyalty, and law; and must love, not only his country, but all the traditional features that from time immemorial have constituted that one great whole. So many are the objects of his veneration, so vast the field of honourable achievement, so many parts to be performed with honour, that he is distracted by the very abundance of his political wealth, and cannot easily address himself to any one absorbing task. It is not convenient that there should be many adventurers of one idea and one aim. That is not the way in which England prospers. We all work and grow together in one mighty unison. So when some great work is to be done—as ever has been, and will be to the end of time—when a great error is to be corrected, or the chains of a great tyranny thrown off, we must be content to welcome our deliverer from some quarter least expected, it may be least loved; the man from the ranks, the man of a peculiar school, the hermit in thought, the agitator with the faults of the class he comes to rescue. We must not complain that he is not one of us in education and feeling. If he were, he would only do as we do,—and perhaps do nothing. But what lays out his work for him also limits it, and when he has done what only he would or could do, he can do no more.
The Times, April 4, 1865.
FOUNDERING OF THE STEAMER "LONDON'
IN THE BAY OF BISCAY.
In one sense, very solemn, very elevated, and far too hard as yet for those who weep to acknowledge, the loss of the ‘London' is not a loss. It has enriched the annals of our island with one more tale of beautiful behaviour in presence of that last enemy who