law of its barbarity and the civil law of its jargon; a toleration, growing more real and perfect every day, of different religious opinions; improved education for rich and poor; and, above all, a harmony between classes such as our forefathers would have deemed incredible ;these are triumphs which, while they may fall short of the Utopian aspirations of political dreamers, amply fulfil the more inoderate anticipations of practical men.

Many a voice from the workshop and the cottage could, we doubt not, have borne similar testimony. A little learning may be a dangerous thing, but it is a great deal better than none at all.

. Among the contributors to the magazine was John Kitto, a man who, by natural genius and patient industry, was able to overcome the most grievous physical defects, and to carve out for himself an honorable and useful career. He was introduced to Mr. Knight in July, 1833, as an applicant for literary employment, being then about thirty years old, short and stout in appearance, with a "sallow complexion, bright eyes, and lofty forehead." "He is a native of this town," wrote the Mayor of Plymouth, "and became known to us by his misfortunes as a lad of extraordinary capacity, though reduced by the vices of his father to the condition of an inhabitant of our workhouse, and, by an accident to an almost entire loss of the sense of hearing." Kitto has himself narrated how the accident occurred; how on a certain day in 1817," the last of twelve years of hearing, and the first of twenty-eight years of deafness," he lost his footing on a ladder to the top of which he ascended, and fell into the courtyard below. In an instant he passed into silence. Never more was he to enjoy the "wealth of sweet and pleasurable sounds with which the Almighty has filled the world; " never again to hear the busy "hum of populous cities, the music of the woods and mountains, and of the voices, sweeter than music, which are in the winter season heard round the domestic hearth." Yet, with his ears closed to all sounds, and with lips scarcely capable of uttering articulate language, this indomitable hero acquired vast stores of knowledge, and many languages besides his own.. For several years previous to Mr. Knight's acquaintance with him, he had been resident at Bagdad, and the first articles he wrote embodied, under the title of "The Deaf Traveller," the results of his journey from England to Russia, and from thence to Persia by the Desert. A month of trial elapsed, and then he was regularly engaged with a fixed salary by Mr. Knight. "I do thank God," he says, "for this relief from a state of great anxiety, in which I had begun to entertain the most melancholy view of the things before

"My great want," says the author of the Autobiography of an Artisan, "was books. I was too poor to purchase expensive ones, and the cheap literature' was not then, as now, to be found in every out-of-the-way rookery. However, Knight had unfurled his paper banners of free trade in letters. The Penny Magazine was published. I borrowed the first volume, and determined to make an effort to possess myself of the second; accordingly, in January, 1833, I left off the use of sugar in my tea, hoping that my family would not then feel the sacrifice necessary to buy the book. Since that period I have expended large sums in books, some of them very costly ones, but I never had one so truly valuable as was the second volume of the Penny Magazine; and I looked as anxiously for the issue of the month-me, and saw consequences that I could not. ly part as I did for the means of getting a liv-bear steadily to contemplate." ing." tinued to work for the Penny Magazine,

He con

In the intense excitement of the great reform struggle, cheap publications, similar to those which had been fostered by the discontent during the regency, and equally vulgar and virulent in tone, naturally abounded. Mr. Knight, true to his mission of purifying literature, determined to make a second effort to counteract their evil influence, and give something that should be good as well as cheap. Accordingly, at the instance of Mr. M. D. Hill, and with the sanction of the Useful Knowledge Society, he brought out, at his own risk, the Penny Magazine. Its success was far greater than that of the Plain Englishman. In two years it reached the extraordinary sale of two hundred thousand copies in weekly numbers and monthly parts. The articles were nearly all written by competent men, and hardly deserved, except from their variety, to be described by Dr. Arnold as "all ramble-scramble." The very purpose of the magazine was to give a little of all sorts of knowledge, and thus whet the appetite for more. But the little that was given was accurate and worth reading, and those who were too poor to buy books were very thankful for a pennyworth of such "ramble-scramble."

We must bring our survey of Mr. Knight's labors to a close. It is pleasant to dwell on his bright record of the blessings we have gained during the forty years' peace. Old things have indeed passed away. One of the barons who signed Magna Charta would recognize the England of 1800 more easily than an Englishman of 1800 would recognize the England of to-day. Many other mighty agents of change have been abroad besides the schoolmaster. The engineer has been abroad, and, since the day when George Stephenson saw the "Rocket" engine cross Chat Moss, has covered the country with a network of iron rails, thereby unconsciously knitting county to county,

and also for the Penny Cyclopædia, | his reward, however, in the consciousness which had been started, on an eleven years' of having achieved a great literary tricourse, in January, 1833. Three years umph, and of having conferred a great later we find him installed as editor of the public benefit. Pictorial Bible. The story of his appointment is characteristic of his wise selfconfidence. At first he was only to furnish notes on subjects connected with his Eastern travels; but the difficulty of finding a suitable editor was very great. One name after another was suggested, but no conclusion was arrived at. Mr. Knight thought he should be driven to divide the labor, when Kitto settled the matter by coming one morning to the perplexed publisher, and saying, "in that guttural tone to which I had now become accustomed, 'I will undertake it all.' We had a little merriment over the boldness of the proposal, but I found that he was perfectly in earnest." And being in earnest, he did the work thoroughly well. The Picto-"Celt" to "Saxon," and rendering petty rial Bible was so great a success, that it was followed by several other books on sacred subjects under Kitto's editorship. He had, in fact, found his true vocation in this part of the literary field, and continued to labor in it with unremitting diligence until the close of his eventful life.

The Penny Cyclopædia, the greatest of all Mr. Knight's undertakings, proved, unhappily, a great pecuniary loss to him. Originally it was projected "to form a moderate-sized book in eight volumes; " but it was soon found necessary to enlarge the plan of the work, and raise the price of each part, at first to twopence, and then to fourpence. Had the penny weekly issue been adhered to, the time of publication would have been thirty-seven years! The change in price reduced the sale, and all but ruined the publisher, leaving him little beyond a "bare competence." Yet he struggled on manfully to the end, in a most unselfish spirit. Upwards of £40,000 were paid for literature and engravings. The paper-duty, that tax on knowledge, described by its advocates as "only fourpence on a three-volume novel," absorbed, directly or indirectly, £25,000 more. With these enormous expenses to meet, in addition to the actual cost of printing, we cannot be surprised that Mr. Knight, at the completion of the Cyclopædia, found himself £30,000 out of pocket. He had

provincial and local jealousies daily more impossible. The missionaries of social and religious reformation have been abroad, doing their utmost to cleanse the dens of pestilence and "guilt-gardens" which disgrace our great cities. Mr. Tennyson, in a fit of poetic enthusiasm, has denounced the "long, long canker of peace," and doubtless peace has some enervating effects on national virtue. But its opportunities are greater than its temptations. Let us continue to use them while we may. The sky is for the moment clear overhead, but the clouds which lower darkly all round the political horizon may any day blacken it with storms. While Europe is resounding with the sullen murmurs of oppressed "nationalities," and while on the other side of the Atlantic a hundred fields are red with the blood of men who should be brethren, England can scarcely hope to remain long in the possession of the tranquillity she now enjoys. Some little spark may, when we are least expecting it, kindle the war spirit into flame, and the "blood-red blossom of war, with its heart of fire," may perhaps soon bloom in fields where our countrymen will be among the combatants. Should such a time of adversity be in store for us, it will be consoling to remember that we have turned to good account the sunshine of our present pros perity.

Temple Bar Magazine,


A STRANGER, bending his steps towards the hall of the four courts, enters the Court of Exchequer, and beholds a portly figure standing in the centre of the inner bar, with head erect and shoulders thrown back; he is the very embodiment of oratorical power. What is he doing? As sailing Mr. Attorney-general Saurin; descanting upon the farrago of helpless absurdity with which the honorable gentleman had regaled them; he is telling the court and jury that the speech was distinguished by congenial vulgarity, and contained no poetry at all; and with unusual daring he is browbeating the lawofficers and the court. That remarkable and most versatile man-that Hercules amongst the orators-is Daniel O'Connell, or more frequently called Dan.

Behold, again, that round and stalwart form. Again he is seen in the four courts, pleading the cause of one who professed to have been injured in that which is dearest to all men-his personal honor. I say professed, because the client was one of those whose own character was questionable; yet he came forward, according to the present usages of law, to demand justice for a wrong which he had himself inflicted. The advocate pleaded the cause with great energy and eloquence; described the agony, real or assumed, felt by the husband, and the loss which he had sustained from the alienation of the affections of his wife, and brought tears to the eyes of the opposing counsel, who was likewise his political opponent and polemical antagonist-the courteous and able Ned Litton.

O'Connell had wonderful power over his audience, quite as great as that possessed by Sheridan, or greater; he could deal with any theme in a masterly man ner. Now, in my judgment, it was a greater triumph to extract tears from Ned Litton than a thousand pounds from a jury, because no one better knew than he did what a master of oratorical flourish his celebrated opponent was, and no one had stronger political dislikes than Ned. The appearance of the orator was greatly in his favor: he had a commanding presence; an eye like Mars or Apollo; a voice soft and gentle, mellifluous or strong, overwhelming and terrible-the breath


ings of the flute, or the roaring of the thunder. It was not alone his voice that spoke; his hand, his eye, his mouth, his foot-each and all was a language of persuasion, coercion, insinuation, or intimidation. Never in all my experience of men have I known one who had such power over the multitude; who so thoroughly ruled the people around him; who was so influential in swaying and controlling the minds and passions of his audience, or who had more completely within his grasp the reins of the political Pegasus. His scowl was terrible, his anathema withering, his revenge crushing. I have seen a description of Brougham and O'Connell, in which it was said Brougham scalped his enemies, while O'Connell contented himself with having killed them; but in my opinion Brougham never excelled O'Connell in the remorseless use of the scalping-knife:

"He never brooked a single voice that chimed not with his own,

Or bore, when he had power to crush, a rival near the throne.

He never spared a friend or foe, if such could serve his turn;

As prone to flatter and to fawn, as curse, condemn, and spurn.

When was he ever known to hide or check his scathing hate? Who bold enough again to brave his matchless Billingsgate?'

Let poets paint the good and bad with an impartial penThe grandest, blandest, boldest, coldest, best, and worst of men!"

I wrote the foregoing lines at the foot of a poem by Denis Florence M'Carthy, which I need not say was unlimited praise; and I ask any candid person to assert that any human being deserves such a eulogium as this. If any one doubt Mr. O'Connell's ability to abuse in the most genuine Billingsgate style, let him read the dialogue between him and Biddy Moriarty, when, in mathematical parlance, he called her a whiskey-drinking parallelogram, and the porter - swiping similitude of the bi-section of a vortex.

I have seen O'Connell upon very great occasions: I have seen him conducting a great case at Nisi-Prius; I have seen him on his political rostrum in the Corn Exchange; I have seen him at Tara an uncrowned king; I have heard him in all his moods-tender, ferocious, apathetic, humorous, scornful, satirical, political, poetical, polemical-and I hesitate not to


say, that he touched each chord with the | ever, used the sword-he threatened to · hand of a master. There was a time draw it. The government awaited the fulfilment of his threats; a few cannon dispersed the assemblage; and the peaceful agitators put up the emblems of war, with which they had garnished the flag of bloodless opposition. The government laughed at his pasteboard and confection

when I listened to him spell-bound, riveted to the spot, and wondering how such an orator could have been produced. I am in many respects disenchanted; and it is my opinion that after the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act, and the Municipal Reform Bill, his mission in Ire-ery commissariat, his ginger-bread, gingerland had terminated; and it would have beer, and Aunt-Sally processions, his been well for society, though possibly not mimic war, his ephemeral displays. well for those who feathered their nests These remarks are not made for the in other lands, if he had been promoted purpose of disparaging the courage of to the bench, and selected as Lord Chief Irishmen. The words of Arthur Duke of Baron, to which office his talents entitled Wellington, in the House of Lords, uttered him to aspire, if not indeed to the very by him before Catholic Emancipation was highest position on the bench; a consum- passed, must be acceptable to all true dismation that constitutional restrictions passionate men: "We must also confess could alone have prevented. I have noth- that, without Catholic blood and Catholic ing to say to his political career; still less valor, no victory could ever have been have I reason or necessity to speak of obtained." Again: "The hour of danger him personally. I have no individual and glory is the hour in which the galmotive for praising or dispraising him. lant, the generous-hearted Irishman best He was to me always courteous; and, knows his duty." In conclusion his Grace upon one occasion, was the medium, as says, and the words deserve recording, chief magistrate of the city of Dublin, of “My lords, it is a great additional gratiputting from the chair, in the assembly-fication to me to advocate these principles, house, a resolution of thanks to me for a in conjunction with a distinguished memmatter in which I was concerned. I ber of my family, so lately at the head of therefore write without political spleen the government of his native country-a or ill-will. I am disposed to be just, and country ever dear to me from the recolto speak of him as I would of a celebrated lections of my infancy, the memory of her character dead five hundred years; as one wrongs, and the bravery of her people." of the great roll of orators from Demosthenes to himself. I have to deal with him merely as a tribune and a great advocate-an orator, native, natural, per⚫suasive, powerful, and unsurpassed. That he was the greatest Irishman that ever lived, I totally deny; still less do I think that he was the greatest man. Such assertions are simply absurd. This is a country of exaggerations; declamation is all-powerful in Ireland, at least with a certain class; and he who talks big, looks big, and is most abusive, is sure to be regarded as a very great fellow. So far with reference to the magnifying powers of our public speakers, who are prone to exaggerate, because for an ignorant multitude you must paint in oils - mere water-colors will not suffice. To return to O'Connell. I cannot imagine that the tribunes of old possessed more power over the Roman people than that eloquent demagogue. The Gracchi, Rienzi, Massianello, Mirabeau, could not have had higher powers to lead and persuade the multitude than O'Connell. They, how-country in the world.

Such were the Irish on the battle-field, when, in the expressive language of Scott, they "marched to death with military ▸ glee." But the Irish in a mock procession of pasteboard heroes are a different class. Who is there that witnessed the cavalcades of the monster meetings, and the return of O'Connell from Richmond bridewell, when liberated by the judgment of the law lords, that did not perceive, in the procession that occupied the streets of Dublin a few days since, the same description of theatrical manifestation? It was orderly, decorous, decently attired, and good-humored; but in some respects the characters portrayed had as much to say to Ireland as the man in the moon has to do with an underground railway. There flaunted, in dazzling attire, Don Cæsar de Bazan; then came a hero of Agincourt or Bosworth; next followed a composite of the Mock Duke and Scaramouch, characters suitable to a carnival, but the converse of what was said of the Geraldines; less Irish than of any other


Like all the great speakers, O'Connell | And this goes on the same from day to day. spoke slowly, with measured cadence and He speaks of war, invokes the god of right,emphasis, so that his meaning might be They bid him lead them promptly to the fight; understood; and his aim was to impress They all turn soldiers and demand their arms; Fills them with hope, infects them by alarms, what he felt upon the minds of his audi- They watch, they wait, and linger for his will, tory, at the risk of being considered mo- When, lo, this Canute bids the waves be still! notonous and too prone to repetition, more This Prospero buries his mysterious wand, than to say that which was novel and sen- The heroes vanish, and the troops abscond. sational. It is said that he never prepared The bubble bursts, and, as a thing of course, a speech; that is, he never took a pen in As all things will from such pretentious source, his hand and indited what he desired to Breaks up the pasteboard of this moral force. express. If he did not do so, he certainly was a very perfect speaker; and his speeches might, in most instances, be printed in the same words as those in which they had been delivered. I have heard that he complimented one or two first-class Irish reporters-excellent shorthand writers-on having expressed his meaning more clearly than he had done. Indeed there are few, if any, extemporaneous speakers whose orations may not be improved by a judicious application of the rules of composition. The expression of his face was as varied as the tones of his voice; his manner as varied as either. He was master of all the avenues to the human heart; and I never knew him to be unequal to the occasion requiring his abilities. He was always self-sustained, self-reliant, and commanding. I have not, as I have already said, any reason personally to like or dislike him; still, I cannot help admiring the great power which he possessed, the mighty lever of eloquence, experience, and energy, by means of which he moved his followers.

When he arose, with stately look and form,
The people's shout was like a growing storm;
All feebler men to him at once gave way;
His was the great oration of the day.
However wise or brilliant they might be,
All sink to nothing when great Dan they see.
Again, again, the deaf'ning plaudits ring;
In all things but a crown an Irish king.
He breathes his scorn, the people feel his hate;
He swells with joy, the people are elate;
He weeps, or seems to weep, the people cry-

True burning tear-drops streaming from each


He laughs, the people's sides convulse with glee;
He mocks, they join in hideous mockery;
He pities, they too pity; he assails,
Condemns, reproves, vituperates, bewails;
And with a marvellous unequalled power,
Acts every phase of passion in an hour.
A vast galvanic battery, he can sway,
Turn, twist, convulse-his movements they
The strings he holds, the puppets dance and


IN connection with an excellent likeness of this eminent geologist which prefaces this number of the ECLECTIC, we give a brief sketch of his life. Sir R. I. Murchison, K.C.B., C.C.St.S., D.C.L., F.R.S., Director-General of the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom, and Director of the Metropolitan School of Science, applied to Mining and the Arts, is the eldest son of the late Kenneth Murchison, of Taradale in Ross-shire. He first saw the light on the 19th of February, 1792. He was sent to the Durham Grammar School in 1799, and six years afterwards to the Military College at Marlow, where he remained for two years. He received at that period a commission in the Thirtysixth Regiment of Infantry. For some time he was permitted to pursue his studies in the University of Edinburgh, but joined his regiment at Cork in the winter of 1808, and shortly after embarked with the army under Sir Arthur Wellesley for Portugal. He carried the colors of his regiment at the battle of Vimiera; afterwards accompanied the army in its advance to Madrid, its junction with the force under Sir John Moore, and retreatsharing in all the dangers of the battle of Corunna. He was subsequently removed to the staff of his uncle, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, in Sicily; served also at the siege of Cadiz, and afterwards in Ireland, as a captain in the Inniskillen or Ninth Dragoons.

In 1815 he married the daughter of General Hugonin, and left the army, seeking for amusement and instruction in foreign travel, or, when at home, in the occupations of the sportsman. His wife first attracted him to scientific pursuits, and when, in company with Sir II. Davy, engaged with him in field sports at the mansion of the late Mr. Morritt at Roke

« VorigeDoorgaan »