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raising the calibre of the national mind, immortality we are told he never wavered. conscience, and taste.” All this of course While approving the doctrine of evolution is simply so much treason to the immova- by natural selection as giving a higher conble Conservative, and the vaunter of the ception of the Creator than the old docvirtues and courage of the British Lion. trine of mechanical design, he rejected the But some of Bagehot's political principles, materialistic view of the new doctrine. if carried out in their entirety, would tend Doubtful as to the value of the bistoric to arrest national progress rather than to evidence of Christianity, sceptical as to the accelerate it; and here comes in again the apostolic origin of the fourth Gospel, and peculiar constitution of his mind. One in suspense upon the question of miracles, half of it seems as broad and liberal in its he yet believed in an all-wise creator and ideas as the most advanced thinker could governor of the universe. This is demonwish it to be, while the other seems to hold strated by his essay on Bishop Butler. its fellow in check, and to cause it to fall back for support upon the old order of
In every step of religious argument we re. things. Neither to Liberal nor Conserva. the word is better, in an absolutely perfect
quire the assumption, the belief, the faith, if tive could Bagehot have been altogether Being ; in and by whom we are, who is omnipsatisfactory. Though averse to spending otent as well as most holy; who moves on the recklessly himself, he was rather in favor face of the whole world, and ruleth all things of efficiency than the mere reduction by the word of his power. If we grant this, expenditure for the sake of saving. He the difficulty of the opposition between what failed in his efforts to get into Parliament, is here called the natural and the supernatural though in 1866 he was nearly being re- religion is removed ; and without granting it, turned for Bridgewater. A futile attempt lows from the very idea and definition of an
that difficulty is perhaps insuperable. It fol. was afterwards made to connect him with infinitely perfect Being, that he is within us as the bribery which prevailed in his borough. well as without us; ruling the clouds of the Mr. Hutton quotes somes of his answers air and the fishes of the sea, as well as the to the commissioners, which are most fears and thoughts of men ; smiling through shrewd and terse. He had also a fund of the smile of nature, as well as warning with original humor. On one occasion he wrote the pain of conscience — “sine qualitate, boto a friend, “ Tell that his policies num; sine quantitate, magnum; sine indigenwent down in the Colombo,' but were tiâ, creatorem; sine situ, præsidentem ; sine fished up again. They are dirty, but val- habitu, omnia continentem ; sine loco, ubique id.” Mr. Hutton once asked him whether totum ; sine tempore, sempiternum ; sine ullâ he had enjoyed a particular dinner, to
sui mutatione, mutabilia facientem, nihilque which he responded, “ No, the sherry, was without this, all is dark.
patientem. If we assume this, life is simple ; tasted as if L- had dropped his h's into it.” To a friend who had a church Through the whole of the
whence in the grounds near his house, Bagehot this extract is taken there runs what we remarked, “ Ah, you've got the church in we may call a believing tone; and in one the grounds. I like that. It's well the place, after enlarging upon the limited tenants should be quite sure that the land. range of human vision and capacity, the lord's power stops with this world.” writer observes : “ When our knowledge When pressed by his mother to marry, he increases — when, by a revelation, that replied laughingly, “A man's mother is his plan (of the universe) is unfolded to us misfortune, but his wife is his fault.” when God vouchsafes to communicate to
With regard to religious questions there us the system on which he acts, then it is is some difficulty in arriving at the exact rational to expect our difficulties would position assumed by Bagehot. Mr. Hut- diminish - would gradually disappear as ton states that early in life he was “ ortho- the light dawned upon us — would vanish dox," and that though he afterwards re- finally wben the dayspring arose upon our ceded greatly from this, he never at any hearts.”. The author evidently believed time,“ however doubtful he may have be- in a deity, not as a blind force, but as a come on some of the cardinal issues of moulding and permeating power — a power historical Christianity, accepted the Unita- never sleepless, but ever actively engaged rian position.” Late in life he once re- in controlling and directing the universe ferred to the Trinitarian doctrine “as he has made. probably the best account which human Mr. Bagehot died at the comparatively reason could render of the mystery of the early age of fifty-one. He expired, apparself-existent mind.” Though a great ently without suffering, on March 24, 1877, reader of Darwin, he had ideas other than at Herd's Hill, near Langport, a family Darwinian, and on the subject of personal residence built by his grandfather. What
friendships he contracted appear to have by most persons. On the contrary, he been deep and lasting ones, not made to knew no fear, his vision was too keen and be put on readily and cast off like old gar- searching to permit of that; but in matments. Mr. Hutton says he was inti- ters political and religious he was the very mately known only to the few, but these essence of bigotry. Mr. Bagehot pays a must have a keen and poignant sense of well-deserved tribute to the founders of their loss. They will hardly find again the Edinburgh Review, who fearlessly in this world a store of intellectual sym- attacked the abuses of the time, and in pathy of so high a stamp, so wide in' its one well-chosen sentence he thus' hits off range and so full of original and fresh sug: the character of the Whigs : “ The Whigs gestion, a judgment to lean on so real are constitutional by instinct, as the Cavaand so sincere, or a friend so frank liers were monarchical by devotion.” and constant, with so vivid and tena. Their political creed was the improvement cious a memory for the happy associa. of the Constitution, not its maintenance tions of a common past, and so generous upon the old effete lines, nor yet its aboliin recognizing the independent value of tion. Describing Francis Horner, who divergent convictions in the less pliant was a “striking example of the advantage present.”
of keeping an atmosphere," who excited One great charm of Mr. Bagehot's lit- universal respect without any one's preerary studies is that they are not moulded cisely knowing why, Bagehot says it is no upon the style of any other writer. What explanation of the widely-felt regret at his he gives us is his own, and we can always premature death, that he was a consideralearn something from a man who is origi- ble political economist. nal, who throws a tone and color of his own into the questions which he handles. soul, was ever sorry for the death of a political
No real English gentleman, in his secret In almost all these essays are to be dis- economist: he is much more likely to be sorry covered some new ideas, and many forci- for his life. There is an idea that he has ble resettings of old ones. The charac- something to do with statistics; or, if that be teristics of an author are seized upon exploded, that he is a person who writes upon almost as by intuition, and the reader“ value ;,” says that rent is - you cannot very rises from the perusal of each essay know. well make out what; talks excruciating curing far more upon the subject than he did rency; he may be useful, as drying-machines before. Nor do the essays (except, per- are useful; but the notion of crying about him
is absurd. haps, in the case of Shakespeare) take a
The economical loss might be limited range, over which the writer ex. great, but it will not explain the mourning for
Francis Horner. hausts himself. He not only brings out many excellent things from his treasury, This is a very happy definition of the but he has a great facility for suggesting popular view of a political economist. others – one of the most invaluable quali- | And Horner's life to some extent bore it ties in an author. The first of these out. When he was ill, he was advised to essays, on
• The First Edinburgh Re-read amusing books; but the nearest apviewers,” is probably one of the best. Mr. proach to a word of this character found Bagehot traces the origin of the new in his library was “The Indian Trader's order of periodical literature with great Complete Guide.” Horner was mourned skill, and then gives us striking portraits because he was a specimen of that rare of the early reviewers, who “cultivated lit- individual, an eminently “safe” erature on a little oatmeal.” We do not was also manly without boasting, and always agree with him in his estimates. agreeable without being fawning. He was A case in point arises in his view of the single-hearted, and, as Sydney Smith said, character of Lord Eldon. Speaking of “the Ten Commandments were written on the terror which the French Revolution his countenance." Upon his asseveration, exercised over the minds of conservative men would almost believe the impossible. Englishmen, and referring to the great Bagchot is admirable in defining the litchancellor in particular, he says: “ It was erature hastily produced (and necessarily not any peculiar bigotry in Lord Eldon so) by Jeffrey and his coadjutors: "You that actuated him, or he would have been must not criticise papers like these, rappowerless; ... it was genuine, bearty, idly written in the hurry of life, as you craven fear; and he ruled naturally the would the painful words of an elaborate commonplace Englishman, because he sage, slowly and with anxious awfulness sympathized in his sentiments, and ex- instructing mankind. Some things, a few celled him in his powers." This is not things, are for eternity; some, and a good the character of Lord Eldon as accepted | many, are for time. We do not expect
the everlastingness of the pyramids from ter with the great Whig writer and humor. the vibratory grandeur of a Tyburnian ist, in a worldly sense, if he had been able mansion.” The character of Jeffrey is to trim or temporize a little, and to accomsummed up with great justness and pene- modate himself more to town manners and tration. The author's final conclusion is pursuits. Mr. Bagehot shows the fallacy that "he was neither a pathetic writer nor of the comparison frequently made between a profound writer ; but he was a quick. Sydney Smith and Swift: “ The whole eyed, bustling, black - haired, sagacious, genius of the two writers is emphatically agreeable man of the world. He had his opposed. Sydney Smith's is the idea of day, and was entitled to his day; but a popular, riotous, buoyant fun; it cries and gentle oblivion must now cover his already laughs with boisterous mirth; it rolls subsiding reputation." He confidently hither and thither like a mob, with elastic declared that Wordsworth's poetry, would and commonplace joy: Swift was a denever do; but it has done, and is now tective in a dean's wig; he watched the exercising a profound influence, while the mob; his whole wit is a kind of dexterous writings of the clever attorney of the press indication of popular frailties; he hated are forgotten. Jeffrey was totally unable the crowd; he was a spy on beaming to appreciate the mystical, the religion of smiles, and a common informer against the imagination, and had scant sympathy genial enjoyment. His whole essence was for poets like Wordsworth, who endeav- a soreness against mortality.” Sydney
” ored to penetrate to the heart of nature. Smith had some love for humanity, and In illustrating this point, we may quote never ceased to enjoy life, though he did from Mr. Bagehot the following passage, not obtain preferment; Swift became sour which is amongst the most flowing and and morose through disappointment; eloquent to be found in these essays. cursed the day upon which he was born,
and when he sat down to write, dipped bis The beauty of the universe has a meaning, its grandeur a soul, its sublimity an expres
pen in gall.
Mr. Hutton considers the essay on sion. As we gaze on the face of those whom we love; as we watch the light of life in the
Hartley Coleridge” the most perfect in dawning of their eyes, and the play of their style of any of Mr. Bagehot's writings ; features, and the wildness of their animation ; but here I, for one, cannot agree with him. as we trace in changing lineaments a varying It is quite as suggestive and as deepsign; as a charm and a thrill seem to run along searching as any other, and furnishes us the tone of a voice, to haunt the mind with a with an admirable portrait of a very remere word; as a tone seems to roam in the markable man; but in point of literary ear ; as a trembling fancy hears words that are style it is not carefully executed. For unspoken: so in nature the mystical sense finds example, here is a very singularly cona motion in the mountain, and a power in the
structed sentence : “ He soon, however, waves, and a meaning in the long white line of the shore, and a thought in the blue of went down to the Lakes, and there he, heaven, and a gushing soul in the buoyant with a single exception, lived and died.” light, an unbounded being in the vast void air, | The italics are, of course, ours, but the and
phraseology should belong to no Wakeful watchings in the pointed stars. There are some errors of quotation in There is a philosophy in this which might be these essays which obviously do not beexplained if explaining were to our purpose. long to Mr. Bagehot, and which it would It might be advanced that there are original be well to have corrected in future edi. sources of expression in the essential grandeur tions. On page 56 we find two well-known and sublimity of nature, of an analogous lines misquoted as follows, with the sense, though fainter kind, to those familiar, inex, of course, destroyed :: plicable signs by which we trace in the very face and outward lineaments of man the ex
The native view of resolution istence and working of the mind within. But, Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought. be this as it may, it is certain that Mr. Wordsworth preached this kind of religion, and that
On page 99 a very fine image of ShelLord Jeffrey did not believe a word of it.
ley's is thus quoted :
Life, like a doom of many-colored glass, Sydney Smith, the third of the great
Stains the white radiance of eternity, trio of Edinburgh reviewers, Mr. Bagehot
Until death tramples it to fragments. describes as Liberalism in life. There was no circumlocution about him, and he This is nonsense as it stands, but with was just the man to puzzle a refined aristo- “ dome" in the place of “ doom" anks as crat. Lord Melbourne declined to make a piece of high imaginative writing. There him a bishop, and it would have gone bet- is also an ungrammatical slip of the pen
on page 181 of the first volume (from | alien to an essential benevolence. “ There which we have hitherto been quotiny): is no difficulty,” he remarks, “in imagin“It is from a tried and a varied and aing Shelley cast by the accident of fortune troubled moral life that the deepest and into the Paris of the Revolution; hurried truest ideas of God arises.” Again, on on by its ideas, undoubting in its hopes, page 203: “ Hamlet or Lear are not to be wild with its excitement, going forth in the thought of except as complex characters." name of freedom conquering and to con
Though the analysis of Hartley Cole quer; and who can think that he would ridge is very fine, many will think that the have been scrupulous how he attained such author awards too high praise to one who an end? It was in him to have walked lacked the informing genius, the real fire, towards it over seas of blood. One could of his father. The younger Coleridge was almost identify him with St. Just, the .fairto the elder but as “moonlight unto sun- haired republican.'
.?" I cannot think so. light, and as water unto wine.” Nor had There was a reserve of cold-blooded ferochis unfortunate career everything to do ity in St. Just that was wholly absent in with this. He was not so richly endowed Shelley. The chief article in the political by nature; and though all his poetry may creed of the latter was toleration of the be read with great pleasure, we miss in it widest and most universal character. The that light which gleams across the page of toleration in the creed of the leaders of “ The Ancient Mariner,” a light whose the French Revolution extended only to presence all can feel, but which is very those who took the same views as themdifficult to define. Hartley Coleridge selves. It is not possible to conceive of wanted something besides connectedness Shelley as a persecutor — the whole tone and steadiness of purpose to produce and temper of the man forbid it. poetry which should seize hold of the There is some exaggeration also in the heart of humanity. His father was what statement that Shelley has delineated in we may describe as a fragmentary man; his works no character except his own, or but he possessed lofty genius. Hartley characters most strictly allied to his own. Coleridge, on the contrary, was also a His mythological beings, it is true, have a fragmentary man, but his genius was of a good deal of his own personality in them, much lower type. He lacked depth, body. but Julian and Maddalo are distinct indiSensibility and fancy he possessed to a vidualities, and “The Cenci” shows that very considerable degree, but these alone he could go out of himself. The personare not sufficient to constitute a great poet. ification of passions and impulses was a It is melancholy to reflect upon the career favorite mode of writing with Shelley, but of Hartley Coleridge, and perhaps our best it is a mistake to suppose that he was attitude towards him is one of pity, not incapable of reproducing actual human unmingled with affection.
character, or that he would not have done The essay upon Shelley is well worth so had his life been extended. His nature reading, even after all that has recently was constantly in a state of effervescence been written upon this distinguished poet. - anger at the presence and power of Much of the criticism is profound; though evil in the universe — and this threw him Shelley is one of those poets who will back upon sceptical opinions, which he never command such a unanimity of only began to cast away before the strongopinion as, for example, men like Byron. er light of wisdom and experience. Not If his natúre is simple, it is a simplicity having many points of contact with ordinot easily grasped and understood by men nary humanity, he naturally turned within, of the world. Judged by ordinary stand and gave to his poetry in consequence an ards, indeed, much in Shelley's life and autobiographical character. character must appear mere foolishness. The essay on Shakespeare is worthy of It is very difficult to preserve in manhood all the praise Mr. Huiton gives it. It the heart of a child; but Shelley did this, takes only one side of the great dramatist and in some quarters he has been little ap- - who can be exhaustive on this subject? prehended in consequence. The impul- that of the man, but this is excellently siveness which clung to him through life is set forth. The writer shows that Shaké. out of keeping with the cautious and - speare was not only a poet in the sense of shall I say? – selfish instincts of manhood. observing the larger and general aspects It almost gives a touch of fanaticism to of nature, but that he studied man and his characier. But Mr. Bagehot is surely surrounding objects minutely. Shakewrong in saying that under certain circum- speare was a man, too, wbo had a stake in stances this intense . enthusiasm would the world; who held his own with others have carried Shelley into positions most | in matters of business, while vastly supe.
rior to them in other respects. He could shall be — as well as it could be, or better take care of his earnings and invest them than otherwise !” Shakespeare's vocabto the best advantage, even while dream- ulary shows that he knew every man's ing of “the cloud-capped towers and gor- language, and this is one reason why he is geous palaces.” It is here that he is so every man's poet. He has the speech marvellous. He could be equally at home universal. So copious is his expression with the child, the huckster, the merchant, that he uses in his works no fewer than the choice spirits of the Mermaid, the play: fifteen thousand words, while the vocabuers, the courtiers, and the sovereign herself. lary of our second great poet Milton emThe great and the minute, the lofty and the braces only eight thousand words. But humble, were alike within his ken. He we must hurry from the subject with which surveyed the universe, and made it captive we are immediately concerned, lest it ento his imagination, and yet “if he walked gross us too deeply. Mr. Emerson has, down a street he knew what was in that perhaps, touched more comprehensively street.” All these, and kindred points, the than any other writer, within a brief space, essayist enlarges upon. He proves that upon certain aspects of Shakespeare which Shakespeare had an enormous specific strike every reader, and which are collat. acquaintance with the common people, and erally referred to by Mr. Bagehot. that this acquaintance can only be obtained In the paper on Milton, while doing jusby sympathy. This is our final glimpse of tice to the poet's great epic, Mr. Bagehot Shakespeare as he appears to the mind's unshrinkingly points out its defects. He eye of Mr. Bagehot:
complains, for example, that by a curiously It pleased him to be respected by those fatal error Milton has selected for delineawhom he had respected with boyish reverence,
tion exactly that part of the divine nature but who had rejected the imaginative man- which is most beyond the reach of the on their own ground, and in their own sub-human faculties, and which is the least ject, by the only title which they would regard effective to our minds when we attempt to
in a word, as a moneyed man. We seem describe it. He has made God argue, and to see him eyeing the burgesses with good this led Pope to say that Providence, in humored fellowship and genial (though sup- the pages of Milton, “talks like a school pressed and half-unconscious) contempt, draw- divine. 6 And there is the still worse ing out their old stories, and acquiescing in their foolish notions, with everything in his
that if you once attribute reasonhead, and easy sayings upon his tongue - a
que ning to him, subsequent logicians may disfull mind and a deep dark eye, that played cover that he does not reason very well.” upon an easy scene - now in fanciful solitude, Then, too, the number and insipidity of now in cheerful society; now occupied with the good angels in “ Paradise Lost” set deep thoughts, now, and equally so, with Satan in a strongly interesting light. One trivial recreations, forgetting the dramatist in critic has recommended that, after a few the man of substance, and the poet in the alterations, Milton's masterpiece might happy companion ; beloved and even respected, well be rechristened “Satan.” with a hope for every one, and a smile for all. pathy created with the fallen archangel is
Our author does not write with the elo- great, and Mr. Bagehot remarks with requence of a De Quincey, neither can he gard to his grand aim, the conquest of vie with the deep and quaint suggestive- Adam and Eve, that we are at once struck ness of Emerson. He touches upon some with the enormous inequality of the conpoints which have been referred to by fict. “The idea in every reader's mind Carlyle — notably the comparison between is, and must be, not surprise that our first Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott - but parents should yield, but wonder that the larger questions associated with the Satan should not think it beneath him to poet and the dramatist he purposely does attack them. It is as if an army should not deal with.
Those points which he invest a cottage.” Dr. Johnson said that handles, however, he elucidates and en- “ Paradise Lost” was one of the books forces with power and insight. It has which no one wished longer; and Dryden been left to Mr. Carlyle to insist upon the observed that Milton became tedious when grand unconsciousness of Sha speare, he entered upon “a tract of Scr pture.” and to indicate its lesson: “Beyond draw- Mr. Bagehot, following up this point, and ing audiences to the Globe Theatre, alluding to Milton's paraphrase of the Shakespeare contemplated no result in account of the creation in the Book of those plays of his. Yet they have had Genesis, describes this paraphrase as results! Utter with free heart what thy “alike copious and ineffective. The uni. own dæmon gives thee: if fire from heav- verse is, in railway, phrase, 'opened, but en, it shall be well; if resinous firework, it I not created; no green earth springs in a