Imagens da página

book of these recollections. In another twenty years they will have passed irretrievably away. Miss Hawkins has given us a few gleanings which, though not highly important, are worth remembering. It is amusing--and the tale is not with. out its moral—to know that West would stand before his pictures, descant on their merits, and boast of the rapidity with which they had been executed. It is gratifying, and something more, to learn that Bacon, having undertaken to design and execute an idol for an Indian temple, recollected the second commandment, and threw up the commission. Nor is it uninteresting to hear of the fine tribute paid by such a man to kindred but superior genius, when he observed to Sir John Hawkins, that the Duke of Argyll's monument in Westminster Abbey had but one faultthe name of Roubiliac was attached to it, instead of that of Bacon. Nollekens is described by Miss H. as a 'stupid, good-humoured man in company,' and she relates of him,

that, presenting a picture of his own painting in the Royal Academy, he was required to explain his meaning in some parts. The subject was Abraham entertaining the Angels ; and he began to discourse on his mode of treating his subject, in rather a puzzling manner, concluding abruptly with You see they are saying, how d'ye do, Abraham, like.' The cognomen of. Abraham-like stuck to him for some years of his youth. When contracting for the inonument for Pitt, it was necessary to hint to him, that even at his then time of life, the chances were against his living to complete it; he was therefore desired to name the artist on whom the task should devolve, Chantrey had not then come forward. He said, without hesitation, • Westmacott.'' • Miss Hawkins relates, from her own observation, a little anecdote connected with Chantrey, that is worth repeating.

• When his exquisite statue of little Lady Lucy Russel was exhi. biting at Somerset-place, a lady who had just come from it, called to a little boy whom she had before been leading by the hand, to follow her, but he continued to loiter. She spoke again; and I heard him reply in a sort of short breathing-Mamma, mamma, I can't get

[ocr errors]

away from it.'

The Johnsoniana of these volumes are not particularly striking, but some additional particulars occur, chiefly in connexion with his intercourse with the family of Sir John Hawkins. Of course the Life of the great moralist as written by Sir John, comes under notice, and a slight history is given of its origin and prograss. Miss H. gives her opinion of its general character in the following terms.

• Whether, of all Dr. Johnson's friends, my father was the most or the least competent to be his biographer, is a question which I am very willing to leave doubtful. Were I to vote on the subject, I should myself hesitate. Their friendship was indeed of long stand. ing, and had therefore commenced sufficiently early to give Sir J. H. opportunity of studying his character under various lights ; this, his powers enabled to do on an enlarged scale.

• The London booksellers certainly thought my father the fittest person, or they would not have sent a deputation to him, to ask him to undertake the labour. But I shall never cease to wonder at their doing so, for Boswell's views were, I think, suspected, if not declared ; and unless he asserts as bold a falsity as in the story of Lady Rothes's mango, he had at least tacit permission to exhibit him to the public: and it is very remarkable, and not in the common course of self-care, that potwithstanding this bare-faced espionnage, Johnson never appeared to have been influenced in his conversation, either in matter or manner. He who professed to talk for victory, never appeared to talk for reputation. 'He certainly calculated, and very accurately, the angle at which what he uttered would do most execution ; and those in the habit of hearing him, might, when he was well warmed in conversation, observe in him a concentration of his forces, when he meant to be decisive. I was ready to cry out, “ Now for it," while I awaited these explosions, as I should have done, had I seen him inflate his cheeks to try how far he could blow a feather; and feathers indeed some speakers were before him.

• But against all this, he who waited for the death of his friend with views that might bear a rude comparison, was proof. Why he was not present at the last scenes of this eventful life, was never clearly made out. There was a sort of coquetry in his absence, which was excused by the absentee, rather in the language of a lover than a friend ; and it is no compliment to the character which he performed, that he does not appear to have been wanted or wished for. I do not think Johnson ever named him to my father.

• But while I thus depreciate a man who really has done still more to depreciate himself, I would not be unjust to his work. His Life of Johnson is a book that must always please ; it is entertaining to a degree that makes my father's appear stiff

, cold, and turgid ; and I cannot but own, I think my father's the very worst thing he ever gave to the public. pp. 226--230.

We really think this criticism too severe. Sir John's life of his friend is, with many faults, an important book; it contains much in which Boswell is deficient, and its sketches of Johnson's associates and contemporaries are exceedingly valuable. On Boswell's remarks in hostility to Sir John Hawkins, we lay but very little stress : the laird of Auchinlech certainly made up a very interesting book, but it was, in more ways than one, very much at his own expense. The volume of Sir J., with the little amusing duodecimo of Mrs. Piozzi, are not to be dispensed with by those who would form an accurate esti. mate of Johnson's habits and character.

The history of Sir John Hawkins's conduct during the riots of 1780, affords some rather awkward illustrations of Lord Mansfield's dastardly feelings on the approach of danger. After sending for Sir John as the representative of the civil power, he shrunk from the energetic measures suggested by the magistrate, and ultimately suffered his house and property to be destroyed without an effort to save them. We have, however, strong doubts about the fairness of preserving all those little traits of mental failure and habitual peculiarity from which no living being is altogether exempt. The following description of another eminent individual is good, but we should not have chosen to be the first to place a truly great man in a ridiculous light.

• Of Sir William Jones, the memoirs have already appeared before the public; but as what I shall say is not generally kpown, and is perfectly authentic, it may perhaps be acceptable. I remember to have heard him speak as a Counsel in the Court of King's Bench; the question before the Court arose from private disagreements in a family, which made a separation between husband and wife necessary; and there being a child whose interests were to be taken care of, the interference of the Court was required. A perfect silence prevailed-the attention of all present being attracted to hear what . Linguist Jones, as he was even then called, would say. Though he could not bave been accustomed to hear his own voice in a court of law, for I believe this was bis forensic debút, he, nevertheless, spoke with the utmost distinctness and clearness, not at all discona certed by the novelty of his situation. His tone was highly declamatory, accompanied with what Pope has called • balancing his hands,' and he seemed to consider himself as much a public orator as Cicero or Hortensius could have done. His oration, for such it must be called, lasted, I recollect, near an hour. But the orator, however he might wish to give a grand idea of the office of a pleader, did not, in the course of the business, entirely avoid the ridículous ; for having occasion to mention a case decided by the Court, he stated in the same high declamatory tone in which he had delivered the whole of his speech, that he found that it had been argued by one Mr. Baldwin. Not being very conversant with the state of the bar, he did not know that this one Mr. Baldwin was, at the time of which I am speaking, a barrister in great business, and was then sitting not half a yard from the orator's elbow. It occasioned a smile, or perhaps more than a smile, on every countenance in Court; but the orator proceeded as steadily as before. In the course of his speech, he had had ocasion to mention the governess of a child ; and he had done it in such terms as conveyed, and must have conveyed to any one possessed of ordinary comprehension, an idea that she was an extremely improper person to remain with a young Jady ; on the next day, therefore, Mr. Jones appeared again in the seat which he had occupied the preceding day, and when the judges had taken their seats, he began in the same high declamatory tone, to inform the Court, that "it was with the deepest regret he had learnt that, in what he had had the honour to state to their lordships the preceding day, he was understood to mean to say, that Mrs. was a harlot!!” The gravity of every countenance in Court yielded to the attack thus made upon it, and a general laugh was produced by it.”'

A specimen or two of the miscellaneous anecdotes must terminate our extracts from these volumes.

Chief Justice W. was a man of so little personal decorum, that he was perpetually offending against the respect due to his office. He would play cards in the public rooms at watering places; and one night when so engaged, he was extremely annoyed by a young barrister, who, feigning himself intoxicated, stood by the table, looked over his cards, and was so troublesome, that at length W spoke sharply to him. “Sir," said he, pretending to stagger; “ [ --beg pardon-but I wanted to improve in playing whist ; so-0I came to look over-you; for if—if I, I, I, am not mistaken, Sir,you are a judge."

* Charles Yorke told this fact. His father, Lord Hardwicke, was in the Court of Chancery when Lord Cowper was hearing a cause in which Richard Cromwell had some concern. The counsel made very free and unhandsome use of his name, which offending the good feeling of the Chancellor, who knew that Cromwell must be in court, and at that time a very old man, he looked round, and said, “ Is Mr. Cromwell in court ?". On his being pointed out to him in the crowd, he very benignly said, “ Mr. Cromwell, I fear you are very incommodiously placed where you are ; pray come and take a seat on the bench by me.” Of course, no more hard speeches were uttered against him. Bulstrode Whitelocke, then at the bar, said to Mr. Yorke, “ This day so many years ago, I saw my father carry the great seal before that man through Westminster Hall.”

On the whole, these volumes, though sufficiently readable, are deficient in selection : if the two had been reduced to one, much would have been gained in point of permanent value. There are some rather unequivocal symptoms of eking out, which hang somewhat heavily on the work; and a sounder discretion would have left out Sir John's legal arguments, and Mr. Henry Hawkins's political pamphlet. The most interest. ing portions of the volumes are, however, the least available for extract; and we would refer to the memoirs of Bennet Langton, George Stevens, and Count Jarnac, as containing much that will repay perusal.

Art. VIII. A Dissertation, intended to explain, establish, and vindi

cate the Doctrine of Election. By W. Hamilton, D.D. Minister

of Strathblane. 12mo. pp. 274. Price 3s. 6d. London, 1824. 11 T was one of the many quaint, pithy sayings of good John

Newton, that he liked the flavour of Calvinism in a sermon, as he did that of sugar in his tea, but he did not like to find it in a lump. We fear that a volume on the doctrine of Election, will suggest to many persons the idea of Calvinism in the lump. • No subject,' remarks Dr. Hamilton in his preface, is

more unpopular than the doctrine of Election. The great 'mass of men,' he adds, instinctively recoil from the necessity of renouncing all dependence upon their own religious • observances and virtuous attainments. The connexion of these two sentences, however, is not very obvious. The doctrine of Election is recoiled from by many who cordially renounce all dependence upon their own merits for justification before God. Dr. Hamilton ought not to allow himself to confound the unpopularity of this doctrine, for which many causes may be assigned, with the indisposition of the heart to submit to the Scriptural method of salvation. But this mistake, which he falls into at the outset, pervades the work. Election stands, in his pages, for the Divine prescience, for Divine sovereignty, for Justification by faith, for Redemption ; in fact, it is made to include the whole sum and substance of the Christian system. The effect of concentrating the attention upon any one point, is strikingly analogous to that which is produced on the eye by looking stedfastly at a bright or dazz. ling object: after the object is withdrawn, still the bright speck floats before you, and prevents your seeing any thing else clearly for a time. Election is a subject on which it is difficult to gaze steadily : some have fixed their eyes upon it, till they have gone blind. Others have suffered only in the way we speak of. Mention the doctrine of the Atonement : they see Élection in it. Redemption, it is the same thing as Election. Insist on the stantis vel cadentis ecclesia articulus,' Justification by faith, they will tell you, its basis is Election. Speak of the wisdom of God, the goodness of God, yes, these are but other words for Election. Now, all that they say of Election under this impression must no doubt be true, since it is the entire system of the Gospel that they mean by it. To many persons, they may seem to be giving an undue prominence, a disproportionate importance to one detached doctrine, whereas they must rather be understood as contending, under that title, for the whole New Testament.

We know not to what we can better compare this peculiarity VOL. XXIII. N.S.


« AnteriorContinuar »