Shelford: April 11. 1814.
My dear Mama,—The news is glorious indeed. Peace! Peace with a Bourbon, with a descendant of Henri Quatre, with a prince who is bound to us by all the ties of gratitude. I have some hopes that it will be a lasting peace; that the troubles of the last twenty years may make kings and nations wiser. I cannot conceive a greater punishment to Buonaparte than that which the allies have inflicted on him. How can his ambitious mind support it? All his great projects and schemes, which once made every throne in Europe tremble, are buried in the solitude of an Italian isle. How miraculously everything has been conducted! We almost seem to hear the Almighty saying to the fallen tyrant, "For this cause have I raised thee up, that I might show in thee My power."
As I am in very great haste with this letter, I shall have but little time to write. I am sorry to hear that some nameless friend of Papa's denounced my voice as remarkably loud. I have accordingly resolved to speak in a moderate key except on the undermentioned special occasions. Imprimis, when I am speaking at the same time with three others. Secondly, when I am praising the Christian Observer. Thirdly, when I am praising Mr. Preston or his sisters I may be allowed to speak in my loudest voice, that they may hear me.
I saw to-day that greatest of churchmen, that pillar of Orthodoxy, that true friend to the Liturgy, that mortal enemy to the Bible Society,—Herbert Marsh, D.D., Professor of Divinity on Lady Margaret's foundation. I stood looking at him for about ten minutes, and shall always continue to maintain that he is a very ill-favoured gentleman as far as outward appearance is concerned. I am going this week to spend a day or two at Dean Milner's, where I hope, nothing unforeseen preventing, to see you in about two months' time.
Ever your affectionate son,
In the course of the year 1814 Mr. Preston removed his establishment to Aspenden Hall near Buntingford, in Hertfordshire; a large old-fashioned mansion, standing amidst extensive shrubberies, and a pleasant undulating domain sprinkled with fine timber. The house has been rebuilt within the last twenty years, and nothing remains of it except the dark oak panelling of the hall in which the scholars made their recitations on the annual speech day. The very pretty church, which stands hard by within the grounds, was undergoing restoration in 1873 and by this time the only existing portion of the former internal fittings is the family pew, in which the boys sat on drowsy summer afternoons, doing what they could to keep their impressions of the second sermon distinct from their reminiscences of the morning. Here Macaulay spent four most industrious years, doing less and less in the class-room as time went on, but enjoying the rare advantage of studying Greek and Latin by the side of such a scholar as Malden. The two companions were equally matched in age and classical attainments, and at the university maintained a rivalry so generous as hardly to deserve the name. Each of the pupils had his own chamber, which the others were forbidden to enter under the penalty of a shilling fine. This prohibition was in general not very strictly observed; but the tutor had taken the precaution of placing Macaulay in a room next his own;—a proximity which rendered the position of an intruder so exceptionally dangerous that even Malden could not remember having once passed his friend's threshold during the whole of their stay at Aspenden.
In this seclusion, removed from the delight of family intercourse, (the only attraction strong enough to draw him from his books,) the boy read widely, unceasingly, more than rapidly. The secret of his immense acquirements lay in two invaluable gifts of nature,—an unerring memory, and the capacity for taking in at a glance the contents of a printed page. During the first part of his life he remembered whatever caught his fancy without going through the process of consciously getting it by heart. As a child, during one of the numerous seasons when the social duties devolved upon Mr. Macaulay, he accompanied his father on an afternoon call, and found on a table the Lay of the Last Minstrel, which he had never before met with. He kept himself quiet with his prize while the elders were talking, and, on his return home, sat down upon his mother's bed, and repeated to her as many cantos as she had the patience or the strength to listen to. At one period of his life he was known to say that, if by some miracle of Vandalism all copies of Paradise Lost and the Pilgrim's Progress were destroyed off the face of the earth, he would undertake to reproduce them both from recollection whenever a revival of learning came. In 1813, while waiting in a Cambridge coffee-room for a postchaise which was to take him to his school, he picked up a county newspaper containing two such specimens of provincial poetical talent as in those days might be read in the corner of any weekly journal. One piece was headed "Reflections of an Exile;" while the other was a trumpery parody on the Welsh ballad "Ar hyd y nos," referring to some local anecdote of an ostler whose nose had been bitten off by a filly. He looked them once through, and never gave them a thought for forty years, at the end of which time he repeated them both without missing,—or, as far as he knew, changing,—a single word.
[Sir William Stirling Maxwell says, in a letter with which he has honoured me: "Of his extraordinary memory I remember Lord Jeffrey telling me an instance. They had had a difference about a quotation from Paradise Lost, and made a wager about it; the wager being a copy of the hook, which, on reference to the passage, it was found Jeffrey had won. The bet was made just before, and paid immediately after, the Easter vacation. On putting the volume into Jeffrey's hand, your uncle said, 'I don't think you will find me tripping again. I knew it, I thought, pretty well before; but I am sure I know it now.' Jeffrey proceeded to examine him, putting him on at a variety of the heaviest passages—the battle of the angels—the dialogues of Adam and the archangels,—and found him ready to declaim them all, till he begged him to stop. He asked him how he had acquired such a command of the poem, and had for answer: 'I had him in the country, and I read it twice over, and I don't think that I shall ever forget it again.' At the same time he told Jeffrey that he believed he could repeat everything of his own he had ever printed, and nearly all he had ever written, 'except, perhaps, some of my college exercises.'
"I myself had an opportunity of seeing and hearing a remarkable proof of your uncle's hold upon the most insignificant verbiage that chance had poured into his ear. I was staying with him at Bowood, in the winter of 1852. Lord Elphinstone—who had been many years before Governor of Madras,—was telling one morning at breakfast of a certain native barber there, who was famous, in his time, for English doggrel of his own making, with which he was wont to regale his customers. 'Of course,' said Lord Elphinstone, 'I don't remember any of it; but was very funny, and used to be repeated in society.' Macaulay, who was sitting a good way off, immediately said: 'I remember being shaved by the fellow, and he recited a quantity of verse to me during the operation, and here is some of it;' and then he went off in a very queer doggrel about the exploits of Bonaparte, of which I recollect the recurring refrain—
But when he saw the British boys, He up and ran away.
It is hardly conceivable that he had ever had occasion to recall that poem since the day when he escaped from under the poet's razor.]
As he grew older, this wonderful power became impaired so far that getting by rote the compositions of others was no longer an involuntary process. He has noted in his Lucan the several occasions on which he committed to memory his favourite passages of an author whom he regarded as unrivalled among rhetoricians; and the dates refer to 1836, when he had just turned the middle point of life. During his last years, at his dressing-table in the morning, he would learn by heart one or another of the little idylls in which Martial expatiates on the enjoyments of a Spanish country-house, or a villa-farm in the environs of Rome;—those delicious morsels of verse which, (considering the sense that modern ideas attach to the name,) it is an injustice to class under the head of epigrams.
Macaulay's extraordinary faculty of assimilating printed matter at first sight remained the same through life. To the end he read books more quickly than other people skimmed them, and skimmed them as fast as anyone else could turn the leaves. "He seemed to read through the skin," said one who had often watched the operation. And this speed was not in his case obtained at the expense of accuracy. Anything which had once appeared in type, from the highest effort of genius down to the most detestable trash that ever consumed ink and paper manufactured for better things, had in his eyes an authority which led him to look upon misquotation as a species of minor sacrilege.
With these endowments, sharpened by an insatiable curiosity, from his fourteenth year onward he was permitted to roam almost at will over the whole expanse of literature. He composed little beyond his school exercises, which themselves bear signs of having been written in a perfunctory manner. At this period he had evidently no heart in anything but his reading. Before leaving Shelford for Aspenden he had already invoked the epic muse for the last time.
"Arms and the man I sing, who strove in vain To save green Erin from a foreign reign."
The man was Roderic, king of Connaught, whom he got tired of singing before he had well completed two books of the poem. Thenceforward he appears never to have struck his lyre, except in the first enthusiasm aroused by the intelligence of some favourable turn of fortune on the Continent. The flight of Napoleon from Russia was celebrated in a "Pindaric Ode" duly distributed into strophes and antistrophes; and, when the allies entered Paris, the school put his services into requisition to petition for a holiday in honour of the event. He addressed his tutor in a short poem, which begins with a few sonorous and effective couplets, grows more and more like the parody on Fitzgerald in "Rejected Addresses," and ends in a peroration of which the intention is unquestionably mock-heroic:
"Oh, by the glorious posture of affairs, By the enormous price that Omnium hears, By princely Bourbon's late recovered Crown, And by Miss Fanny's safe return from town, Oh, do not thou, and thou alone, refuse To show thy pleasure at this glorious news!"
Touched by the mention of his sister, Mr. Preston yielded and young Macaulay never turned another verse except at the bidding of his schoolmaster, until, on the eve of his departure for Cambridge, he wrote between three and four hundred lines of a drama, entitled "Don Fernando," marked by force and fertility of diction, but somewhat too artificial to be worthy of publication under a name such as his. Much about the same time he communicated to Malden the commencement of a burlesque poem on the story of Anthony Babington; who, by the part that he took in the plots against the life of Queen Elizabeth, had given the family a connection with English history which, however questionable, was in Macaulay's view better than none.
"Each, says the proverb, has his taste. 'Tis true. Marsh loves a controversy; Coates a play; Bennet a felon; Lewis Way a Jew; The Jew the silver spoons of Lewis Way. The Gipsy Poetry, to own the truth, Has been my love through childhood and in youth."
It is perhaps as well that the project to all appearance stopped with the first stanza, which in its turn was probably written for the sake of a single line. The young man had a better use for his time than to spend it in producing frigid imitations of Beppo.
He was not unpopular among his fellow-pupils, who regarded him with pride and admiration, tempered by the compassion which his utter inability to play at any sort of game would have excited in every school, private or public alike. He troubled himself very little about the opinion of those by whom he was surrounded at Aspenden. It required the crowd and the stir of a university to call forth the social qualities which he possessed in so large a measure. The tone of his correspondence during these years sufficiently indicates that he lived almost exclusively among books. His letters, which had hitherto been very natural and pretty, began to smack of the library, and please less than those written in early boyhood. His pen was overcharged with the metaphors and phrases of other men; and it was not till maturing powers had enabled him to master and arrange the vast masses of literature which filled his memory that his native force could display itself freely through the medium of a style which was all his own. In 1815 he began a formal literary correspondence, after the taste of the previous century, with Mr. Hudson, a gentleman in the Examiner's Office of the East India House.
Aspenden Hall: August 22, 1815.
Dear Sir,—The Spectator observes, I believe in his first paper, that we can never read an author with much zest unless we are acquainted with his situation. I feel the same in my epistolary correspondence; and, supposing that in this respect we may be alike, I will just tell you my condition. Imagine a house in the middle of pretty large grounds, surrounded by palings. These I never pass. You may therefore suppose that I resemble the Hermit of Parnell.
"As yet by books and swains the world he knew, Nor knew if books and swains report it true."
If you substitute newspapers and visitors for books and swains, you may form an idea of what I know of the present state of things. Write to me as one who is ignorant of every event except political occurrences. These I learn regularly; but if Lord Byron were to publish melodies or romances, or Scott metrical tales without number, I should never see them, or perhaps hear of them, till Christmas. Retirement of this kind, though it precludes me from studying the works of the hour, is very favourable for the employment of "holding high converse with the mighty dead."
I know not whether "peeping at the world through the loopholes of retreat" be the best way of forming us for engaging in its busy and active scenes. I am sure it is not a way to my taste. Poets may talk of the beauties of nature, the enjoyments of a country life, and rural innocence; but there is another kind of life which, though unsung by bards, is yet to me infinitely superior to the dull uniformity of country life. London is the place for me. Its smoky atmosphere, and its muddy river, charm me more than the pure air of Hertfordshire, and the crystal currents of the river Rib. Nothing is equal to the splendid varieties of London life, "the fine flow of London talk," and the dazzling brilliancy of London spectacles. Such are my sentiments, and, if ever I publish poetry, it shall not be pastoral. Nature is the last goddess to whom my devoirs shall be paid.
Yours most faithfully,
THOMAS B. MACAULAY.
This votary of city life was still two months short of completing his fifteenth year!
Aspenden Hall: August 23, 1815.
My dear Mama,—You perceive already in so large a sheet, and so small a hand, the promise of a long, a very long letter, longer, as I intend it, than all the letters which you send in a half-year together. I have again begun my life of sterile monotony, unvarying labour, the dull return of dull exercises in dull uniformity of tediousness. But do not think that I complain.
My mind to me a kingdom is, Such perfect joy therein I find As doth exceed all other bliss That God or nature hath assigned.
Assure yourself that I am philosopher enough to be happy,—I meant to say not particularly unhappy,—in solitude; but man is an animal made for society. I was gifted with reason, not to speculate in Aspenden Park, but to interchange ideas with some person who can understand me. This is what I miss at Aspenden. There are several here who possess both taste and reading; who can criticise Lord Byron and Southey with much tact and "savoir du metier." But here it is not the fashion to think. Hear what I have read since I came here. Hear and wonder! I have in the first place read Boccacio's Decameron, a tale of a hundred cantos. He is a wonderful writer. Whether he tells in humorous or familiar strains the follies of the silly Calandrino, or the witty pranks of Buffalmacco and Bruno, or sings in loftier numbers
Dames, knights, and arms, and love, the feats that spring From courteous minds and generous faith,
or lashes with a noble severity and fearless independence the vices of the monks and the priestcraft of the established religion, he is always elegant, amusing, and, what pleases and surprises most in a writer of so unpolished an age, strikingly delicate and chastised. I prefer him infinitely to Chaucer. If you wish for a good specimen of Boccacio, as soon as you have finished my letter, (which will come, I suppose, by dinner-time,) send Jane up to the library for Dryden's poems, and you will find among them several translations from Boccacio, particularly one entitled "Theodore and Honoria."
But, truly admirable as the bard of Florence is, I must not permit myself to give him more than his due share of my letter. I have likewise read Gil Blas, with unbounded admiration of the abilities of Le Sage. Malden and I have read Thalaba together, and are proceeding to the Curse of Kehama. Do not think, however, that I am neglecting more important studies than either Southey or Boccacio. I have read the greater part of the History of James I. and Mrs. Montague's essay on Shakspeare, and a great deal of Gibbon. I never devoured so many books in a fortnight. John Smith, Bob Hankinson, and I, went over the Hebrew Melodies together. I certainly think far better of them than we used to do at Clapham. Papa may laugh, and indeed he did laugh me out of my taste at Clapham; but I think that there is a great deal of beauty in the first melody, "She walks in beauty," though indeed who it is that walks in beauty is not very exactly defined. My next letter shall contain a production of my muse, entitled "An Inscription for the Column of Waterloo," which is to be shown to Mr. Preston to-morrow. What he may think of it I do not know. But I am like my favourite Cicero about my own productions. It is all one to me what others think of them. I never like them a bit less for being disliked by the rest of mankind. Mr. Preston has desired me to bring him up this evening two or three subjects for a Declamation. Those which I have selected are as follows: 1st, a speech in the character of Lord Coningsby, impeaching the Earl of Oxford; 2nd, an essay on the utility of standing armies; 3rd, an essay on the policy of Great Britain with regard to continental possessions. I conclude with sending my love to Papa, Selina, Jane, John, ("but he is not there," as Fingal pathetically says, when in enumerating his sons who should accompany him to the chase he inadvertently mentions the dead Ryno,) Henry, Fanny, Hannah, Margaret, and Charles. Valete.
This exhaustive enumeration of his brothers and sisters invites attention to that home where he reigned supreme. Lady Trevelyan thus describes their life at Clapham: "I think that my father's strictness was a good counterpoise to the perfect worship of your uncle by the rest of the family. To us he was an object of passionate love and devotion. To us he could do no wrong. His unruffled sweetness of temper, his unfailing flow of spirits, his amusing talk, all made his presence so delightful that his wishes and his tastes were our law. He hated strangers; and his notion of perfect happiness was to see us all working round him while he read aloud a novel, and then to walk all together on the Common, or, if it rained, to have a frightfully noisy game of hide-and-seek. I have often wondered how our mother could ever have endured our noise in her little house. My earliest recollections speak of the intense happiness of the holidays, beginning with finding him in Papa's room in the morning; the awe at the idea of his having reached home in the dark after we were in bed, and the Saturnalia which at once set in;—no lessons; nothing but fun and merriment for the whole six weeks. In the year 1816 we were at Brighton for the summer holidays, and he read to us Sir Charles Grandison. It was always a habit in our family to read aloud every evening. Among the books selected I can recall Clarendon, Burnet, Shakspeare, (a great treat when my mother took the volume,) Miss Edgeworth, Mackenzie's Lounger and Mirror, and, as a standing dish, the Quarterly and the Edinburgh Reviews. Poets too, especially Scott and Crabbe, were constantly chosen. Poetry and novels, except during Tom's holidays, were forbidden in the daytime, and stigmatised as 'drinking drams in the morning.'"
Morning or evening, Mr. Macaulay disapproved of novel-reading; but, too indulgent to insist on having his own way in any but essential matters, he lived to see himself the head of a family in which novels were more read, and better remembered, than in any household of the United Kingdom. The first warning of the troubles that were in store for him was an anonymous letter addressed to him as editor of the Christian Observer, defending works of fiction, and eulogising Fielding and Smollett. This he incautiously inserted in his periodical, and brought down upon himself the most violent objurgations from scandalised contributors, one of whom informed the public that he had committed the obnoxious number to the flames, and should thenceforward cease to take in the Magazine. The editor replied with becoming spirit; although by that time he was aware that the communication, the insertion of which in an unguarded moment had betrayed him into a controversy for which he had so little heart, had proceeded from the pen of his son. Such was young Macaulay's first appearance in print, if we except the index to the thirteenth volume of the Christian Observer, which he drew up during his Christmas holidays of 1814. The place where he performed his earliest literary work can be identified with tolerable certainty. He enjoyed the eldest son's privilege of a separate bedchamber; and there, at the front window on the top story, furthest from the Common and nearest to London, we can fancy him sitting, apart from the crowded play-room, keeping himself warm as best he might, and travelling steadily through the blameless pages the contents of which it was his task to classify for the convenience of posterity.
Lord Macaulay used to remark that Thackeray introduced too much of the Dissenting element into his picture of Clapham in the opening chapters of "The Newcomes." The leading people of the place,—with the exception of Mr. William Smith, the Unitarian member of Parliament,—were one and all staunch Churchmen; though they readily worked in concert with those religious communities which held in the main the same views, and pursued the same objects, as themselves. Old John Thornton, the earliest of the Evangelical magnates, when he went on his annual tour to the South Coast or the Scotch mountains, would take with him some Independent or Wesleyan minister who was in need of a holiday; and his followers in the next generation had the most powerful motives for maintaining the alliance which he had inaugurated. They could not neglect such doughty auxiliaries in the memorable war which they waged against cruelty, ignorance, and irreligion, and in their less momentous skirmishes with the votaries of the stage, the racecourse, and the card-table. Without the aid of nonconformist sympathy, and money, and oratory, and organisation, their operations would have been doomed to certain failure. The cordial relations entertained with the members of other denominations by those among whom his youth was passed did much to indoctrinate Macaulay with a lively and genuine interest in sectarian theology. He possessed a minute acquaintance, very rare among men of letters, with the origin and growth of the various forms of faith and practice which have divided the allegiance of his countrymen; not the least important of his qualifications for writing the history of an epoch when the national mind gave itself to religious controversy even more largely than has been its wont.
The method of education in vogue among the Clapham families was simple, without being severe. In the spacious gardens, and the commodious houses of an architecture already dating a century back, which surrounded the Common, there was plenty of freedom, and good fellowship, and reasonable enjoyment for young and old alike. Here again Thackeray has not done justice to a society that united the mental culture, and the intellectual activity, which are developed by the neighbourhood of a great capital, with the wholesome quiet and the homely ways of country life. Hobson and Brian Newcome are not fair specimens of the effect of Clapham influences upon the second generation. There can have been nothing vulgar, and little that was narrow, in a training which produced Samuel Wilberforce, and Sir James Stephen, and Charles and Robert Grant, and Lord Macaulay. The plan on which children were brought up in the chosen home of the Low Church party, during its golden age, will bear comparison with systems about which, in their day, the world was supposed never to tire of hearing, although their ultimate results have been small indeed.
It is easy to trace whence the great bishop and the great writer derived their immense industry. Working came as naturally as walking to sons who could not remember a time when their fathers idled. "Mr. Wilberforce and Mr. Babington have never appeared downstairs lately, except to take a hasty dinner, and for half an hour after we have supped. The slave-trade now occupies them nine hours daily. Mr. Babington told me last night that he had fourteen hundred folio pages to read, to detect the contradictions, and to collect the answers which corroborate Mr. Wilberforce's assertions in his speeches. These, with more than two thousand pages to be abridged, must be done within a fortnight, and they talk of sitting up one night in every week to accomplish it. The two friends begin to look very ill, but they are in excellent spirits, and at this moment I hear them laughing at some absurd questions in the examination." Passages such as this are scattered broadcast through the correspondence of Wilberforce and his friends. Fortitude, and diligence, and self-control, and all that makes men good and great, cannot be purchased from professional educators. Charity is not the only quality which begins at home. It is throwing away money to spend a thousand a year on the teaching of three boys, if they are to return from school only to find the older members of their family intent on amusing themselves at any cost of time and trouble, or sacrificing self-respect in ignoble efforts to struggle into a social grade above their own. The child will never place his aims high, and pursue them steadily, unless the parent has taught him what energy, and elevation of purpose, mean not less by example than by precept.
In that company of indefatigable workers none equalled the labours of Zachary Macaulay. Even now, when he has been in his grave for more than the third of a century, it seems almost an act of disloyalty to record the public services of a man who thought that he had done less than nothing if his exertions met with praise, or even with recognition. The nature and value of those services may be estimated from the terms in which a very competent judge, who knew how to weigh his words, spoke of the part which Mr. Macaulay played in one only of his numerous enterprises,—the suppression of slavery and the slave-trade. "That God had called him into being to wage war with this gigantic evil became his immutable conviction. During forty successive years he was ever burdened with this thought. It was the subject of his visions by day and of his dreams by night. To give them reality he laboured as men labour for the honours of a profession or for the subsistence of their children. In that service he sacrificed all that a man may lawfully sacrifice—health, fortune, repose, favour, and celebrity. He died a poor man, though wealth was within his reach. He devoted himself to the severest toil, amidst allurements to luxuriate in the delights of domestic and social intercourse, such as few indeed have encountered. He silently permitted some to usurp his hardly-earned honours, that no selfish controversy might desecrate their common cause. He made no effort to obtain the praises of the world, though he had talents to command, and a temper peculiarly disposed to enjoy them. He drew upon himself the poisoned shafts of calumny, and, while feeling their sting as generous spirits only can feel it, never turned a single step aside from his path to propitiate or to crush the slanderers."
Zachary Macaulay was no mere man of action. It is difficult to understand when it was that he had time to pick up his knowledge of general literature; or how he made room for it in a mind so crammed with facts and statistics relating to questions of the day that when Wilberforce was at a loss for a piece of information he used to say, "Let us look it out in Macaulay." His private papers, which are one long register of unbroken toil, do nothing to clear up the problem. Highly cultivated, however, he certainly was, and his society was in request with many who cared little for the objects which to him were everything. That he should have been esteemed and regarded by Lord Brougham, Francis Homer, and Sir James Mackintosh, seems natural enough, but there is something surprising in finding him in friendly and frequent intercourse with some of his most distinguished French contemporaries. Chateaubriand, Sismondi, the Duc de Broglie, Madame de Stael, and Dumont, the interpreter of Bentham, corresponded with him freely in their own language, which he wrote to admiration. The gratification that his foreign acquaintance felt at the sight of his letters would have been unalloyed but for the pamphlets and blue-books by which they were too often accompanied. It is not difficult to imagine the feelings of a Parisian on receiving two quarto volumes, with the postage only in part pre-paid, containing the proceedings of a Committee on Apprenticeship in the West Indies, and including the twelve or fifteen thousand questions and answers on which the Report was founded. It would be hard to meet with a more perfect sample of the national politeness than the passage in which M. Dumont acknowledges one of the less formidable of these unwelcome gifts. "Mon cher Ami,—Je ne laisserai pas partir Mr. Inglis sans le charger de quelques lignes pour vous, afin de vous remercier du Christian Observer que vous avez eu la bonte de m'envoyer. Vous savez que j'ai a great taste for it; mais il faut vous avouer une triste verite, c'est que je manque absolument de loisir pour le lire. Ne m'en envoyez plus; car je me sens peine d'avoir sous les yeux de si bonnes choses, dont je n'ai pas le temps de tue nourrir."
"In the year 1817," Lady Trevelyan writes, "my parents made a tour in Scotland with your uncle. Brougham gave them a letter to Jeffrey, who hospitably entertained them; but your uncle said that Jeffrey was not at all at his ease, and was apparently so terrified at my father's religious reputation that he seemed afraid to utter a joke. Your uncle complained grievously that they travelled from manse to manse, and always came in for very long prayers and expositions. [Macaulay writes in his journal of August 8, 1859: "We passed my old acquaintance, Dumbarton castle, I remembered my first visit to Dumbarton, and the old minister, who insisted on our eating a bit of cake with him, and said a grace over it which might have been prologue to a dinner of the Fishmongers' Company, or the Grocers' Company."] I think, with all the love and reverence with which your uncle regarded his father's memory, there mingled a shade of bitterness that he had not met quite the encouragement and appreciation from him which he received from others. But such a son as he was! Never a disrespectful word or look; always anxious to please and amuse; and at last he was the entire stay and support of his father's declining years.
"Your uncle was of opinion that the course pursued by his father towards him during his youth was not judicious. But here I am inclined to disagree with him. There was no want of proof of the estimation in which his father held him, corresponding with him from a very early age as with a man, conversing with him freely, and writing of him most fondly. But, in the desire to keep down any conceit, there was certainly in my father a great outward show of repression and depreciation. Then the faults of your uncle were peculiarly those that my father had no patience with. Himself precise in his arrangements, writing a beautiful hand, particular about neatness, very accurate and calm, detesting strong expressions, and remarkably self-controlled; while his eager impetuous boy, careless of his dress, always forgetting to wash his hands and brush his hair, writing an execrable hand, and folding his letters with a great blotch for a seal, was a constant care and irritation. Many letters to your uncle have I read on these subjects. Sometimes a specimen of the proper way of folding a letter is sent him, (those were the sad days before envelopes were known,) and he is desired to repeat the experiment till he succeeds. General Macaulay's fastidious nature led him to take my father's line regarding your uncle, and my youthful soul was often vexed by the constant reprimands for venial transgressions. But the great sin was the idle reading, which was a thorn in my father's side that never was extracted. In truth, he really acknowledged to the full your uncle's abilities, and felt that if he could only add his own morale, his unwearied industry, his power of concentrating his energies on the work in hand, his patient painstaking calmness, to the genius and fervour which his son possessed, then a being might be formed who could regenerate the world. Often in later years I have heard my father, after expressing an earnest desire for some object, exclaim, 'If I had only Tom's power of speech!' But he should have remembered that all gifts are not given to one, and that perhaps such a union as he coveted is even impossible. Parents must be content to see their children walk in their own path, too happy if through any road they attain the same end, the living for the glory of God and the good of man."
From a marvellously early date in Macaulay's life public affairs divided his thoughts with literature, and, as he grew to manhood, began more and more to divide his aspirations. His father's house was much used as a centre of consultation by members of Parliament who lived in the suburbs on the Surrey side of London; and the boy could hardly have heard more incessant, and assuredly not more edifying, political talk if he had been brought up in Downing Street. The future advocate and interpreter of Whig principles was not reared in the Whig faith. Attached friends of Pitt, who in personal conduct, and habits of life, certainly came nearer to their standard than his great rival,—and warmly in favour of a war which, to their imagination, never entirely lost its early character of an internecine contest with atheism.—the Evangelicals in the House of Commons for the most part acted with the Tories. But it may be doubted whether, in the long run, their party would not have been better without them. By the zeal, the munificence, the laborious activity, with which they pursued their religious and semi-religious enterprises, they did more to teach the world how to get rid of existing institutions than by their votes and speeches at Westminster they contributed to preserve them. [Macaulay, writing to one of his sisters in 1844, says: "I think Stephen's article on the Clapham Sect the best thing he ever did, I do not think with you that the Claphamites were men too obscure for such delineation. The truth is that from that little knot of men emanated all the Bible Societies, and almost all the Missionary Societies, in the world. The whole organisation of the Evangelical party was their work. The share which they had in providing means for the education of the people was great. They were really the destroyers of the slave-trade, and of slavery. Many of those whom Stephen describes were public men of the greatest weight, Lord Teignmouth governed India in Calcutta, Grant governed India in Leadenhall Street, Stephen's father was Perceval's right-hand man in the House of Commons. It is needless to speak of Wilberforce. As to Simeon, if you knew what his authority and influence were, and how they extended from Cambridge to the most remote corners of England, you would allow that his real sway in the Church was far greater than that of any primate. Thornton, to my surprise, thinks the passage about my father unfriendly. I defended Stephen. The truth is that he asked my permission to draw a portrait of my father for the Edinburgh Review. I told him that I had only to beg that he would not give it the air of a puff; a thing which, for myself and for my friends, I dread far more than any attack. My influence over the Review is so well known that a mere eulogy of my father appearing in that work would only call forth derision. I therefore am really glad that Stephen has introduced into his sketch some little characteristic traits which, in themselves, were not beauties."] With their May meetings, and African Institutions, and Anti-slavery Reporters, and their subscriptions of tens of thousands of pounds, and their petitions bristling with hundreds of thousands of signatures, and all the machinery for informing opinion and bringing it to bear on ministers and legislators which they did so much to perfect and even to invent, they can be regarded as nothing short of the pioneers and fuglemen of that system of popular agitation which forms a leading feature in our internal history during the past half-century. At an epoch when the Cabinet which they supported was so averse to manifestations of political sentiment that a Reformer who spoke his mind in England was seldom long out of prison, and in Scotland ran a very serious risk of transportation, Toryism sat oddly enough on men who spent their days in the committee-room and their evenings on the platform, and each of whom belonged to more Associations combined for the purpose of influencing Parliament than he could count on the fingers of both his hands.
There was something incongruous in their position; and as time went on they began to perceive the incongruity. They gradually learned that measures dear to philanthropy might be expected to result from the advent to power of their opponents; while their own chief too often failed them at a pinch out of what appeared to them an excessive, and humiliating, deference to interests powerfully represented on the benches behind him. Their eyes were first opened by Pitt's change of attitude with regard to the object that was next all their hearts. There is something almost pathetic in the contrast between two entries in Wilberforce's diary, of which the first has become classical, but the second is not so generally known. In 1787, referring to the movement against the slave-trade, he says: "Pitt recommended me to undertake its conduct, as a subject suited to my character and talents. At length, I well remember, after a conversation in the open air at the root of an old tree at Holwood, just above the vale of Keston, I resolved to give notice on a fit occasion in the House of Commons of my intention to bring the subject forward." Twelve years later Mr. Henry Thornton had brought in a bill for confining the trade within certain limits upon the coast of Africa. "Upon the second reading of this bill," writes Wilberforce, "Pitt coolly put off the debate when I had manifested a design of answering P.'s speech, and so left misrepresentations without a word. William Smith's anger;—Henry Thornton's coolness;—deep impression on me, but conquered, I hope, in a Christian way."
Besides instructing their successors in the art of carrying on a popular movement, Wilberforce and his followers had a lesson to teach, the value of which not so many perhaps will be disposed to question. In public life, as in private, they habitually had the fear of God before their eyes. A mere handful as to number, and in average talent very much on a level with the mass of their colleagues;—counting in their ranks no orator, or minister, or boroughmonger;—they commanded the ear of the House, and exerted on its proceedings an influence, the secret of which those who have studied the Parliamentary history of the period find it only too easy to understand. To refrain from gambling and ball-giving, to go much to church and never to the theatre, was not more at variance with the social customs of the day than it was the exception in the political world to meet with men who looked to the facts of the case and not to the wishes of the minister, and who before going into the lobby required to be obliged with a reason instead of with a job. Confidence and respect, and (what in the House of Commons is their unvarying accompaniment) power, were gradually, and to a great extent involuntarily, accorded to this group of members. They were not addicted to crotchets, nor to the obtrusive and unseasonable assertion of conscientious scruples. The occasions on which they made proof of independence and impartiality were such as justified, and dignified, their temporary renunciation of party ties. They interfered with decisive effect in the debates on the great scandals of Lord Melville and the Duke of York, and in more than one financial or commercial controversy that deeply concerned the national interests, of which the question of the retaining the Orders in Council was a conspicuous instance. A boy who, like young Macaulay, was admitted to the intimacy of politicians such as these, and was accustomed to hear matters of state discussed exclusively from a public point of view without any afterthought of ambition, or jealousy, or self-seeking, could hardly fail to grow up a patriotic and disinterested man. "What is far better and more important than all is this, that I believe Macaulay to be incorruptible. You might lay ribbons, stars, garters, wealth, titles before him in vain. He has an honest genuine love of his country, and the world would not bribe him to neglect her interests." Thus said Sydney Smith, who of all his real friends was the least inclined to over-praise him.
The memory of Thornton and Babington, and the other worthies of their day and set, is growing dim, and their names already mean little in our ears. Part of their work was so thoroughly done that the world, as its wont is, has long ago taken the credit of that work to itself. Others of their undertakings, in weaker hands than theirs, seem out of date among the ideas and beliefs which now are prevalent. At Clapham, as elsewhere, the old order is changing, and not always in a direction which to them would be acceptable or even tolerable. What was once the home of Zachary Macaulay stands almost within the swing of the bell of a stately and elegant Roman Catholic chapel; and the pleasant mansion of Lord Teignmouth, the cradle of the Bible Society, is now a religious house of the Redemptorist Order. But in one shape or another honest performance always lives, and the gains that accrued from the labours of these men are still on the right side of the national ledger. Among the most permanent of those gains is their undoubted share in the improvement of our political integrity by direct, and still more by indirect, example. It would be ungrateful to forget in how large a measure it is due to them that one, whose judgments upon the statesmen of many ages and countries have been delivered to an audience vast beyond all precedent, should have framed his decisions in accordance with the dictates of honour and humanity, of ardent public spirit and lofty public virtue.
CHAPTER II. 1818-1824.
Macaulay goes to the University—His love for Trinity College—His contemporaries at Cambridge—Charles Austin— The Union Debating Society—University studies, successes, and failures—The Mathematical Tripos—The Trinity Fellowship—William the Third—Letters—Prize poems— Peterloo—Novel-reading—The Queen's Trial—Macaulay's feeling towards his mother—A Reading-party—Hoaxing an editor—Macaulay takes pupils.
IN October 1818 Macaulay went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge. Mr. Henry Sykes Thornton, the eldest son of the member for Southwark, was his companion throughout his university career. The young men lived in the same lodgings, and began by reading with the same tutor; a plan which promised well, because, in addition to what was his own by right, each had the benefit of the period of instruction paid for by the other. But two hours were much the same as one to Macaulay, in whose eyes algebra and geometry were so much additional material for lively and interminable argument. Thornton reluctantly broke through the arrangement, and eventually stood highest among the Trinity wranglers of his year; an elevation which he could hardly have attained if he had pursued his studies in company with one who regarded every successive mathematical proposition as an open question. A Parliamentary election took place while the two friends were still quartered together in Jesus Lane. A tumult in the neighbouring street announced that the citizens were expressing their sentiments by the only channel which was open to them before the days of Reform; and Macaulay, to whom any excitement of a political nature was absolutely irresistible, dragged Thornton to the scene of action, and found the mob breaking the windows of the Hoop hotel, the head-quarters of the successful candidates. His ardour was cooled by receiving a dead cat full in the face. The man who was responsible for the animal came up and apologised very civilly, assuring him that there was no town and gown feeling in the matter, and that the cat had been meant for Mr. Adeane. "I wish," replied Macaulay, "that you had meant it for me, and hit Mr. Adeane."
After no long while he removed within the walls of Trinity, and resided first in the centre rooms of Bishop's Hostel, and subsequently in the Old Court, between the Gate and the Chapel. The door, which once bore his name, is on the ground floor, to the left hand as you face the staircase. In more recent years, undergraduates who are accustomed to be out after lawful hours have claimed a right of way through the window which looks towards the town;—to the great annoyance of any occupant who is too good-natured to refuse the accommodation to others, and too steady to need it himself. This power of surreptitious entry had not been discovered in Macaulay's days; and, indeed, he would have cared very little for the privilege of spending his time outside walls which contained within them as many books as even he could read, and more friends than even he could talk to. Wanting nothing beyond what his college had to give, he revelled in the possession of leisure and liberty, in the almost complete command of his own time, in the power of passing at choice from the most perfect solitude to the most agreeable company. He keenly appreciated a society which cherishes all that is genuine, and is only too out-spoken in its abhorrence of pretension and display:—a society in which a man lives with those whom he likes, and with those only; choosing his comrades for their own sake, and so indifferent to the external distinctions of wealth and position that no one who has entered fully into the spirit of college life can ever unlearn its priceless lesson of manliness and simplicity.
Of all his places of sojourn during his joyous and shining pilgrimage through the world, Trinity, and Trinity alone, had any share with his home in Macaulay's affection and loyalty. To the last he regarded it as an ancient Greek, or a mediaeval Italian, felt towards his native city. As long as he had place and standing there, he never left it willingly or returned to it without delight. The only step in his course about the wisdom of which he sometimes expressed misgiving was his preference of a London to a Cambridge life. The only dignity that in his later days he was known to covet was an honorary fellowship, which would have allowed him again to look through his window upon the college grass-plots, and to sleep within sound of the splashing of the fountain; again to breakfast on commons, and dine beneath the portraits of Newton and Bacon on the dais of the hall; again to ramble by moonlight round Neville's cloister, discoursing the picturesque but somewhat exoteric philosophy which it pleased him to call by the name of metaphysics. From the door of his rooms, along the wall of the Chapel, there runs a flagged pathway which affords an acceptable relief from the rugged pebbles that surround it. Here as a Bachelor of Arts he would walk, book in hand, morning after morning throughout the long vacation, reading with the same eagerness and the same rapidity whether the volume was the most abstruse of treatises, the loftiest of poems, or the flimsiest of novels. That was the spot where in his failing years he specially loved to renew the feelings of the past; and some there are who can never revisit it without the fancy that there, if anywhere, his dear shade must linger.
He was fortunate in his contemporaries. Among his intimate friends were the two Coleridges—Derwent, the son, and Henry Nelson, who was destined to be the son-in-law of the poet; and how exceptional that destiny was the readers of Sara Coleridge's letters are now aware. Hyde Villiers, whom an untimely death alone prevented from taking an equal place in a trio of distinguished brothers, was of his year, though not of his college. [Lord Clarendon, and his brothers, were all Johnians.] In the year below were the young men who now bear the titles of Lord Grey, Lord Belper, and Lord Romilly; [This paragraph was written in the summer of 1874. Three of Macaulay's old college friends, Lord Romilly, Moultrie, and Charles Austin, died, in the hard winter that followed, within a few days of each other.] and after the same interval came Moultrie, who in his "Dream of Life," with a fidelity which he himself pronounced to have been obtained at some sacrifice of grace, has told us how the heroes of his time looked and lived, and Charles Villiers, who still delights our generation by showing us how they talked. Then there was Praed, fresh from editing the Etonian, as a product of collective boyish effort unique in its literary excellence and variety; and Sidney Walker, Praed's gifted school fellow, whose promise was blighted by premature decay of powers; and Charles Austin, whose fame would now be more in proportion to his extraordinary abilities, had not his unparalleled success as an advocate tempted him before his day to retire from the toils of a career of whose rewards he already had enough.
With his vigour and fervour, his depth of knowledge and breadth of humour, his close reasoning illustrated by an expansive imagination,—set off, as these gifts were, by the advantage, at that period of life so irresistible, of some experience of the world at home and abroad,—Austin was indeed a king among his fellows.
"Grave, sedate, And (if the looks may indicate the age,) Our senior some few years; no keener wit, No intellect more subtle, none more bold, Was found in all our host."
So writes Moultrie, and the testimony of his verse is borne out by John Stuart Mill's prose. "The impression he gave was that of boundless strength, together with talents which, combined with such apparent force of will and character, seemed capable of dominating the world." He certainly was the only man who ever succeeded in dominating Macaulay. Brimming over with ideas that were soon to be known by the name of Utilitarian, a panegyrist of American institutions, and an unsparing assailant of ecclesiastical endowments and hereditary privileges, he effectually cured the young undergraduate of his Tory opinions, which were never more than skin deep, and brought him nearer to Radicalism than he ever was before or since. The report of this conversion, of which the most was made by ill-natured tale-bearers who met with more encouragement than they deserved, created some consternation in the family circle; while the reading set at Cambridge was duly scandalised at the influence which one, whose classical attainments were rather discursive than exact, had gained over a Craven scholar. To this hour men may be found in remote parsonages who mildly resent the fascination which Austin of Jesus exercised over Macaulay of Trinity. [It was at this period of his career that Macaulay said to the late Mr. Hampden Gurney: "Gurney, I have been a Tory, I am a Radical; but I never will be a Whig."]
The day and the night together were too short for one who was entering on the journey of life amidst such a band of travellers. So long as a door was open, or a light burning, in any of the courts, Macaulay was always in the mood for conversation and companionship. Unfailing in his attendance at lecture and chapel, blameless with regard to college laws and college discipline, it was well for his virtue that no curfew was in force within the precincts of Trinity. He never tired of recalling the days when he supped at midnight on milk-punch and roast turkey, drank tea in floods at an hour when older men are intent upon anything rather than on the means of keeping themselves awake, and made little of sitting over the fire till the bell rang for morning chapel in order to see a friend off by the early coach. In the license of the summer vacation, after some prolonged and festive gathering, the whole party would pour out into the moonlight, and ramble for mile after mile through the country, till the noise of their wide-flowing talk mingled with the twittering of the birds in the hedges which bordered the Coton pathway or the Madingley road. On such occasions it must have been well worth the loss of sleep to hear Macaulay plying Austin with sarcasms upon the doctrine of the Greatest Happiness, which then had still some gloss of novelty; putting into an ever-fresh shape the time-honoured jokes against the Johnians for the benefit of the Villierses; and urging an interminable debate on Wordsworth's merits as a poet, in which the Coleridges, as in duty bound, were ever ready to engage. In this particular field he acquired a skill of fence which rendered him the most redoubtable of antagonists. Many years afterwards, at the time when the Prelude was fresh from the press, he was maintaining against the opinion of a large and mixed society that the poem was unreadable. At last, overborne by the united indignation of so many of Wordsworth's admirers, he agreed that the question should be referred to the test of personal experience; and on inquiry it was discovered that the only individual present who had got through the Prelude was Macaulay himself.
It is not only that the witnesses of these scenes unanimously declare that they have never since heard such conversation in the most renowned of social circles. The partiality of a generous young man for trusted and admired companions may well colour his judgment over the space of even half a century. But the estimate of university contemporaries was abundantly confirmed by the outer world. While on a visit to Lord Lansdowne at Bowood, years after they had left Cambridge, Austin and Macaulay happened to get upon college topics one morning at breakfast. When the meal was finished they drew their chairs to either end of the chimney-piece, and talked at each other across the hearth-rug as if they were in a first-floor room in the Old Court of Trinity. The whole company, ladies, artists, politicians, and diners-out, formed a silent circle round the two Cantabs, and, with a short break for lunch, never stirred till the bell warned them that it was time to dress for dinner.
It has all irrevocably perished. With life before them, and each intent on his own future, none among that troop of friends had the mind to play Boswell to the others. One repartee survives, thrown off in the heat of discussion, but exquisitely perfect in all its parts. Acknowledged without dissent to be the best applied quotation that ever was made within five miles of the Fitzwilliam Museum, it is unfortunately too strictly classical for reproduction in these pages.
We are more easily consoled for the loss of the eloquence which then flowed so full and free in the debates of the Cambridge Union. In 1820 that Society was emerging from a period of tribulation and repression. The authorities of the university, who, as old constituents of Mr. Pitt and warm supporters of Lord Liverpool, had never been very much inclined to countenance the practice of political discussion among the undergraduates, set their faces against it more than ever at an epoch when the temper of the time increased the tendency of young men to run into extremes of partisanship. At length a compromise was extorted from the reluctant hands of the Vice-Chancellor, and the Club was allowed to take into consideration public affairs of a date anterior to the century. It required less ingenuity than the leaders of the Union had at their command to hit upon a method of dealing with the present under the guise of the past. Motions were framed that reflected upon the existing Government under cover of a censure on the Cabinets of the previous generation. Resolutions which called upon the meeting to declare that the boon of Catholic Emancipation should have been granted in the year 1795, or that our Commercial Policy previous to 1800 should have been founded on the basis of Free Trade, were clearly susceptible of great latitude of treatment. And, again, in its character of a reading club, the Society, when assembled for the conduct of private business, was at liberty to review the political creed of the journals of the day in order to decide which of them it should take in, and which it should discontinue. The Examiner newspaper was the flag of many a hard-fought battle; the Morning Chronicle was voted in and out of the rooms half-a-dozen times within a single twelvemonth; while a series of impassioned speeches on the burning question of interference in behalf of Greek Independence were occasioned by a proposition of Malden's "that 'e Ellenike salpigks' do lie upon the table."
At the close of the debates, which were held in a large room at the back of the Red Lion in Petty Cury, the most prominent members met for supper in the Hotel, or at Moultrie's lodgings, which were situated close at hand. They acted as a self-appointed Standing Committee, which watched over the general interests of the Union, and selected candidates whom they put in nomination for its offices. The Society did not boast a Hansard;—an omission which, as time went on, some among its orators had no reason to regret. Faint recollections still survive of a discussion upon the august topic of the character of George the Third. "To whom do we owe it," asked Macaulay, "that while Europe was convulsed with anarchy and desolated with war, England alone remained tranquil, prosperous, and secure? To whom but the Good Old King? Why was it that, when neighbouring capitals were perishing in the flames, our own was illuminated only for triumphs? [This debate evidently made some noise in the university world. There is an allusion to it in a squib of Praed's, very finished and elegant, and beyond all doubt contemporary. The passage relating to Macaulay begins with the lines—"Then the favourite comes with his trumpets and drums, And his arms and his metaphors crossed."] You may find the cause in the same three words: the Good Old King." Praed, on the other hand, would allow his late monarch neither public merits nor private virtues. "A good man! If he had been a plain country gentleman with no wider opportunities for mischief, he would at least have bullied his footmen and cheated his steward."
Macaulay's intense enjoyment of all that was stirring and vivid around him undoubtedly hindered him in the race for university honours; though his success was sufficient to inspirit him at the time, and to give him abiding pleasure in the retrospect. He twice gained the Chancellor's medal for English verse, with poems admirably planned, and containing passages of real beauty, but which may not be republished in the teeth of the panegyric which, within ten years after they were written, he pronounced upon Sir Roger Newdigate. Sir Roger had laid down the rule that no exercise sent in for the prize which he established at Oxford was to exceed fifty lines. This law, says Macaulay, seems to have more foundation in reason than is generally the case with a literary canon, "for the world, we believe, is pretty well agreed in thinking that the shorter a prize poem is, the better."
Trinity men find it difficult to understand how it was that he missed getting one of the three silver goblets given for the best English Declamations of the year. If there is one thing which all Macaulay's friends, and all his enemies, admit, it is that he could declaim English. His own version of the affair was that the Senior Dean, a relative of the victorious candidate, sent for him and said: "Mr. Macaulay, as you have not got the first cup, I do not suppose that you will care for either of the others." He was consoled, however, by the prize for Latin Declamation; and in 1821 he established his classical repute by winning a Craven University scholarship in company with his friend Malden, and Mr. George Long, who preceded Malden as Professor of Greek at University College, London.
Macaulay detested the labour of manufacturing Greek and Latin verse in cold blood as an exercise; and his Hexameters were never up to the best Etonian mark, nor his Iambics to the highest standard of Shrewsbury. He defined a scholar as one who reads Plato with his feet on the fender. When already well on in his third year he writes: "I never practised composition a single hour since I have been at Cambridge." "Soak your mind with Cicero," was his constant advice to students at that time of life when writing Latin prose is the most lucrative of accomplishments. The advantage of this precept was proved in the Fellowship examination of the year 1824, when he obtained the honour which in his eyes was the most desirable that Cambridge had to give. The delight of the young man at finding himself one of the sixty masters of an ancient and splendid establishment; the pride with which he signed his first order for the college plate, and dined for the first time at the high table in his own right; the reflection that these privileges were the fruit, not of favour or inheritance, but of personal industry and ability,—were matters on which he loved to dwell long after the world had loaded him with its most envied prizes. Macaulay's feeling on this point is illustrated by the curious reverence which he cherished for those junior members of the college who, some ninety years ago, by a spirited remonstrance addressed to the governing body, brought about a reform in the Trinity Fellowship examination that secured to it the character for fair play, and efficiency, which it has ever since enjoyed. In his copy of the Cambridge Calendar for the year 1859, (the last of his life,) throughout the list of the old mathematical Triposes the words "one of the eight" appear in his hand-writing opposite the name of each of these gentlemen. And I can never remember the time when it was not diligently impressed upon me that, if I minded my syntax, I might eventually hope to reach a position which would give me three hundred pounds a year, a stable for my horse, six dozen of audit ale every Christmas, a loaf and two pats of butter every morning, and a good dinner for nothing, with as many almonds and raisins as I could eat at dessert.
Macaulay was not chosen a Fellow until his last trial, nominally for the amazing reason that his translations from Greek and Latin, while faithfully representing the originals, were rendered into English that was ungracefully bald and inornate. The real cause was, beyond all doubt, his utter neglect of the special study of the place; a liberty which Cambridge seldom allows to be taken with impunity even by her most favoured sons. He used to profess deep and lasting regret for his early repugnance to scientific subjects; but the fervour of his penitence in after years was far surpassed by the heartiness with which he inveighed against mathematics as long as it was his business to learn them. Everyone who knows the Senate House may anticipate the result. When the Tripos of 1822 made its appearance, his name did not grace the list. In short, to use the expressive vocabulary of the university, Macaulay was gulfed—a mishap which disabled him from contending for the Chancellor's medals, then the crowning trophies of a classical career. "I well remember," says Lady Trevelyan, "that first trial of my life. We were spending the winter at Brighton when a letter came giving an account of the event. I recollect my mother taking me into her room to tell me, for even then it was known how my whole heart was wrapped up in him, and it was thought necessary to break the news. When your uncle arrived at Brighton, I can recall my mother telling him that he had better go at once to his father, and get it over, and I can see him as he left the room on that errand."
During the same year he engaged in a less arduous competition. A certain Mr. Greaves of Fulbourn had long since provided a reward of ten pounds for "the Junior Bachelor of Trinity College who wrote the best essay on the Conduct and Character of William the Third." As the prize is annual, it is appalling to reflect upon the searching analysis to which the motives of that monarch must by this time have been subjected. The event, however, may be counted as an encouragement to the founders of endowments; for, amidst the succession of juvenile critics whose attention was by his munificence turned in the direction of his favourite hero, Mr. Greaves had at last fallen in with the right man. It is more than probable that to this old Cambridgeshire Whig was due the first idea of that History in whose pages William of Orange stands as the central figure. The essay is still in existence, in a close neat hand, which twenty years of Reviewing never rendered illegible. Originally written as a fair copy, but so disfigured by repeated corrections and additions as to be unfit for the eyes of the college authorities, it bears evident marks of having been held to the flames, and rescued on second, and in this case it will be allowed, on better thoughts. The exercise, (which is headed by the very appropriate motto,
"Primus qui legibus urbem Fundabit, Curibus parvis et paupere terra Missus in imperium magnum,")
is just such as will very likely be produced in the course of next Easter term by some young man of judgment and spirit, who knows his Macaulay by heart, and will paraphrase him without scruple. The characters of James, of Shaftesbury, of William himself; the Popish plot; the struggle over the Exclusion bill; the reaction from Puritanic rigour into the license of the Restoration, are drawn on the same lines and painted in the same colours as those with which the world is now familiar. The style only wants condensation, and a little of the humour which he had not yet learned to transfer from his conversation to his writings, in order to be worthy of his mature powers. He thus describes William's lifelong enemy and rival, whose name he already spells after his own fashion.
"Lewis was not a great general. He was not a great legislator. But he was, in one sense of the words, a great king. He was a perfect master of all the mysteries of the science of royalty,—of all the arts which at once extend power and conciliate popularity,—which most advantageously display the merits, or most dexterously conceal the deficiencies, of a sovereign. He was surrounded by great men, by victorious commanders, by sagacious statesmen. Yet, while he availed himself to the utmost of their services, he never incurred any danger from their rivalry. His was a talisman which extorted the obedience of the proudest and mightiest spirits. The haughty and turbulent warriors whose contests had agitated France during his minority yielded to the irresistible spell, and, like the gigantic slaves of the ring and lamp of Aladdin, laboured to decorate and aggrandise a master whom they could have crushed. With incomparable address he appropriated to himself the glory of campaigns which had been planned, and counsels which had been suggested, by others. The arms of Turenne were the terror of Europe. The policy of Colbert was the strength of France. But in their foreign successes, and their internal prosperity, the people saw only the greatness and wisdom of Lewis."
In the second chapter of the History much of this is compressed into the sentence: "He had shown, in an eminent degree, two talents invaluable to a prince,—the talent of choosing his servants well, and the talent of appropriating to himself the chief part of the credit of their acts."
In a passage that occurs towards the close of the essay may be traced something more than an outline of the peroration in which, a quarter of a century later on, he summed up the character and results of the Revolution of 1688.
"To have been a sovereign, yet the champion of liberty; a revolutionary leader, yet the supporter of social order, is the peculiar glory of William. He knew where to pause. He outraged no national prejudice. He abolished no ancient form. He altered no venerable name. He saw that the existing institutions possessed the greatest capabilities of excellence, and that stronger sanctions, and clearer definitions, were alone required to make the practice of the British constitution as admirable as the theory. Thus he imparted to innovation the dignity and stability of antiquity. He transferred to a happier order of things the associations which had attached the people to their former government. As the Roman warrior, before he assaulted Veii, invoked its guardian gods to leave its walls, and to accept the worship and patronise the cause of the besiegers, this great prince, in attacking a system of oppression, summoned to his aid the venerable principles and deeply seated feelings to which that system was indebted for protection."
A letter, written during the latter years of his life, expresses Macaulay's general views on the subject of University honours. "If a man brings away from Cambridge self-knowledge, accuracy of mind, and habits of strong intellectual exertion, he has gained more than if he had made a display of showy superficial Etonian scholarship, got three or four Browne's medals, and gone forth into the world a schoolboy and doomed to be a schoolboy to the last. After all, what a man does at Cambridge is, in itself, nothing. If he makes a poor figure in life, his having been Senior Wrangler or University scholar is never mentioned but with derision. If he makes a distinguished figure, his early honours merge in those of a later date. I hope that I do not overrate my own place in the estimation of society. Such as it is, I would not give a halfpenny to add to the consideration which I enjoy, all the consideration that I should derive from having been Senior Wrangler. But I often regret, and even acutely, my want of a Senior Wrangler's knowledge of physics and mathematics; and I regret still more some habits of mind which a Senior Wrangler is pretty certain to possess." Like all men who know what the world is, he regarded the triumph of a college career as of less value than its disappointments. Those are most to be envied who soonest learn to expect nothing for which they have not worked hard, and who never acquire the habit, (a habit which an unbroken course of University successes too surely breeds,) of pitying themselves overmuch if ever in after life they happen to work in vain.
Cambridge: Wednesday. (Post-mark, 1818)
My dear Mother,—King, I am absolutely certain, would take no more pupils on any account. And, even if he would, he has numerous applicants with prior claims. He has already six, who occupy him six hours in the day, and is likewise lecturer to the college. It would, however, be very easy to obtain an excellent tutor. Lefevre and Malkin are men of first-rate mathematical abilities, and both of our college. I can scarcely bear to write on Mathematics or Mathematicians. Oh for words to express my abomination of that science, if a name sacred to the useful and embellishing arts may be applied to the perception and recollection of certain properties in numbers and figures! Oh that I had to learn astrology, or demonology, or school divinity! Oh that I were to pore over Thomas Aquinas, and to adjust the relation of Entity with the two Predicaments, so that I were exempted from this miserable study! "Discipline" of the mind! Say rather starvation, confinement, torture, annihilation! But it must be. I feel myself becoming a personification of Algebra, a living trigonometrical canon, a walking table of Logarithms. All my perceptions of elegance and beauty gone, or at least going. By the end of the term my brain will be "as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage." Oh to change Cam for Isis! But such is my destiny; and, since it is so, be the pursuit contemptible, below contempt, or disgusting beyond abhorrence, I shall aim at no second place. But three years! I cannot endure the thought. I cannot bear to contemplate what I must have to undergo. Farewell then Homer and Sophocles and Cicero.
Farewell happy fields Where joy for ever reigns Hail, horrors, hail, Infernal world!
How does it proceed? Milton's descriptions have been driven out of my head by such elegant expressions as the following
[Long mathematical formula]
My classics must be Woodhouse, and my amusements summing an infinite series. Farewell, and tell Selina and Jane to be thankful that it is not a necessary part of female education to get a headache daily without acquiring one practical truth or beautiful image in return. Again, and with affectionate love to my Father, farewell wishes your most miserable and mathematical son
Cambridge: November 9, 1818.
My dear Father,—Your letter, which I read with the greatest pleasure, is perfectly safe from all persons who could make a bad use of it. The Emperor Alexander's plans as detailed in the conversation between him and Clarkson [Thomas Clarkson, the famous assailant of slavery.] are almost superhuman; and tower as much above the common hopes and aspirations of philanthropists as the statue which his Macedonian namesake proposed to hew out of Mount Athos excelled the most colossal works of meaner projectors. As Burke said of Henry the Fourth's wish that every peasant in France might have the chicken in his pot comfortably on a Sunday, we may say of these mighty plans, "The mere wish, the unfulfilled desire, exceeded all that we hear of the splendid professions and exploits of princes." Yet my satisfaction in the success of that noble cause in which the Emperor seems to be exerting himself with so much zeal is scarcely so great as my regret for the man who would have traced every step of its progress with anxiety, and hailed its success with the most ardent delight. Poor Sir Samuel Romilly! Quando ullum invenient parem? How long may a penal code at once too sanguinary and too lenient, half written in blood like Draco's, and half undefined and loose as the common law of a tribe of savages, be the curse and disgrace of the country? How many years may elapse before a man who knows like him all that law can teach, and possesses at the same time like him a liberality and a discernment of general rights which the technicalities of professional learning rather tend to blunt, shall again rise to ornament and reform our jurisprudence? For such a man, if he had fallen in the maturity of years and honours, and been borne from the bed of sickness to a grave by the side of his prototype Hale amidst the tears of nobles and senators, even then, I think, the public sorrow would have been extreme. But that the last moments of an existence of high thoughts and great virtues should have been passed as his were passed! In my feelings the scene at Claremont [The death of Princess Charlotte.] this time last year was mere dust in the balance in comparison.
Ever your affectionate son,
T. B. M.
Cambridge: Friday, February 5, 1819.
My dear Father,—I have not of course had time to examine with attention all your criticisms on Pompeii. [The subject of the English poem for the Chancellor's prize of 1819 was the Destruction of Pompeii.] I certainly am much obliged to you for withdrawing so much time from more important business to correct my effusions. Most of the remarks which I have examined are perfectly just; but as to the more momentous charge, the want of a moral, I think it might be a sufficient defence that, if a subject is given which admits of none, the man who writes without a moral is scarcely censurable. But is it the real fact that no literary employment is estimable or laudable which does not lead to the spread of moral truth or the excitement of virtuous feeling? Books of amusement tend to polish the mind, to improve the style, to give variety to conversation, and to lend a grace to more important accomplishments. He who can effect this has surely done something. Is no useful end served by that writer whose works have soothed weeks of languor and sickness, have relieved the mind exhausted from the pressure of employment by an amusement which delights without enervating, which relaxes the tension of the powers without rendering them unfit for future exercise? I should not be surprised to see these observations refuted; and I shall not be sorry if they are so. I feel personally little interest in the question. If my life be a life of literature, it shall certainly be one of literature directed to moral ends.
At all events let us be consistent. I was amused in turning over an old volume of the Christian Observer to find a gentleman signing himself Excubitor, (one of our antagonists in the question of novel-reading,) after a very pious argument on the hostility of novels to a religious frame of mind, proceeding to observe that he was shocked to hear a young lady who had displayed extraordinary knowledge of modern ephemeral literature own herself ignorant of Dryden's fables! Consistency with a vengeance! The reading of modern poetry and novels excites a worldly disposition and prevents ladies from reading Dryden's fables! There is a general disposition among the more literary part of the religious world to cry down the elegant literature of our own times, while they are not in the slightest degree shocked at atrocious profaneness or gross indelicacy when a hundred years have stamped them with the title of classical. I say: "If you read Dryden you can have no reasonable objection to reading Scott." The strict antagonist of ephemeral reading exclaims, "Not so. Scott's poems are very pernicious. They call away the mind from spiritual religion, and from Tancred and Sigismunda." But I am exceeding all ordinary limits. If these hasty remarks fatigue you, impute it to my desire of justifying myself from a charge which I should be sorry to incur with justice. Love to all at home.
T. B. M.
With or without a moral, the poem carried the day. The subject for the next year was Waterloo. The opening lines of Macaulay's exercise were pretty and simple enough to ruin his chance in an academical competition.
It was the Sabbath morn. How calm and fair Is the blest dawning of the day of prayer! Who hath not felt how fancy's mystic power With holier beauty decks that solemn hour; A softer lustre in its sunshine sees; And hears a softer music in its breeze? Who hath not dreamed that even the skylark's throat Hails that sweet morning with a gentler note? Fair morn, how gaily shone thy dawning smile On the green valleys of my native isle! How gladly many a spire's resounding height With peals of transport hailed thy newborn light! Ah! little thought the peasant then, who blest The peaceful hour of consecrated rest, And heard the rustic Temple's arch prolong The simple cadence of the hallowed song, That the same sun illumed a gory field, Where wilder song and sterner music pealed; Where many a yell unholy rent the air, And many a hand was raised,—but not in prayer.
The prize fell to a man of another college, and Trinity comforted itself by inventing a story to the effect that the successful candidate had run away from the battle.
In the summer of 1819 there took place a military affair, less attractive than Waterloo as a theme for poets, but which, as far as this country is concerned, has proved even more momentous in its ultimate consequences. On the 16th of August a Reform demonstration was arranged at Manchester resembling those which were common in the Northern districts during the year 1866, except that in 1819 women formed an important element in the procession. A troop of yeomanry, and afterwards two squadrons of hussars, were sent in among the crowd, which was assembled in St. Peter's Fields, the site on which the Free Trade Hall now stands. The men used their swords freely, and the horses their hoofs. The people, who meant anything but fighting, trampled each other down in the attempt to escape. Five or six lives were lost, and fifty or sixty persons were badly hurt; but the painful impression wrought upon the national conscience was well worth the price. British blood has never since been shed by British hands in any civic contest that rose above the level of a lawless riot. The immediate result, however, was to concentrate and embitter party feeling. The grand jury threw out the bills against the yeomen, and found true bills against the popular orators who had called the meeting together. The Common Councilmen of the City of London, who had presented an Address to the Prince Regent reflecting upon the conduct of the Government, were roundly rebuked for their pains. Earl Fitzwilliam was dismissed from the office of Lord Lieutenant, for taking part in a Yorkshire county gathering which had passed resolutions in the same sense as the Address from the City. On the other hand, a Peterloo medal was struck, which is still treasured in such Manchester families as have not learned to be ashamed of the old Manchester politics.
In this heated state of the political atmosphere the expiring Toryism of the Anti-Slavery leaders flamed up once again. "I declare," said Wilberforce, "my greatest cause of difference with the democrats is their laying, and causing people to lay, so great a stress on the concerns of this world as to occupy their whole minds and hearts, and to leave a few scanty and lukewarm thoughts for the heavenly treasure." Zachary Macaulay, who never canted, and who knew that on the 16th of August the Manchester Magistrates were thinking just as much or as little about religion as the Manchester populace, none the less took the same side as Wilberforce. Having formed for himself, by observations made on the spot, a decided opinion that the authorities ought to be supported, he was much disturbed by reports which came to him from Cambridge.
My dear Father,—My mother's letter, which has just arrived, has given me much concern. The letter which has, I am sorry to learn, given you and her uneasiness was written rapidly and thoughtlessly enough, but can scarcely, I think, as far as I remember its tenour, justify some of the extraordinary inferences which it has occasioned. I can only assure you most solemnly that I am not initiated into any democratical societies here, and that I know no people who make politics a common or frequent topic of conversation, except one man who is a determined Tory. It is true that this Manchester business has roused some indignation here, as at other places, and drawn philippics against the powers that be from lips which I never heard opened before but to speak on university contests or university scandal. For myself I have long made it a rule never to talk on politics except in the most general manner; and I believe that my most intimate associates have no idea of my opinions on the questions of party. I can scarcely be censured, I think, for imparting them to you;—which, however, I should scarcely have thought of doing, (so much is my mind occupied with other concerns,) had not your letter invited me to state my sentiments on the Manchester business.
I hope that this explanation will remove some of your uneasiness. As to my opinions, I have no particular desire to vindicate them. They are merely speculative, and therefore cannot partake of the nature of moral culpability. They are early formed, and I am not solicitous that you should think them superior to those of most people at eighteen. I will, however, say this in their defence. Whatever the affectionate alarm of my dear mother may lead her to apprehend, I am not one of the "sons of anarchy and confusion" with whom she classes me. My opinions, good or bad, were learnt, not from Hunt and Waithman, but from Cicero, from Tacitus, and from Milton. They are the opinions which have produced men who have ornamented the world, and redeemed human nature from the degradation of ages of superstition and slavery. I may be wrong as to the facts of what occurred at Manchester; but, if they be what I have seen them stated, I can never repent speaking of them with indignation. When I cease to feel the injuries of others warmly, to detest wanton cruelty, and to feel my soul rise against oppression, I shall think myself unworthy to be your son.
I could say a great deal more. Above all I might, I think, ask, with some reason, why a few democratical sentences in a letter, a private letter, of a collegian of eighteen, should be thought so alarming an indication of character, when Brougham and other people, who at an age which ought to have sobered them talk with much more violence, are not thought particularly ill of? But I have so little room left that I abstain, and will only add thus much. Were my opinions as decisive as they are fluctuating, and were the elevation of a Cromwell or the renown of a Hampden the certain reward of my standing forth in the democratic cause, I would rather have my lips sealed on the subject than give my mother or you one hour of uneasiness. There are not so many people in the world who love me that I can afford to pain them for any object of ambition which it contains. If this assurance be not sufficient, clothe it in what language you please, and believe me to express myself in those words which you think the strongest and most solemn. Affectionate love to my mother and sisters. Farewell.
T. B. M.
Cambridge: January 5, 1820.
My dear Father,—Nothing that gives you disquietude can give me amusement. Otherwise I should have been excessively diverted by the dialogue which you have reported with so much vivacity; the accusation; the predictions; and the elegant agnomen of "the novel-reader" for which I am indebted to this incognito. I went in some amazement to Malden, Romilly, and Barlow. Their acquaintance comprehends, I will venture to say, almost every man worth knowing in the university in every field of study. They had never heard the appellation applied to me by any man. Their intimacy with me would of course prevent any person from speaking to them on the subject in an insulting manner; for it is not usual here, whatever your unknown informant may do, for a gentleman who does not wish to be kicked downstairs to reply to a man who mentions another as his particular friend, "Do you mean the blackguard or the novel-reader?" But I am fully convinced that had the charge prevailed to any extent it must have reached the ears of one of those whom I interrogated. At all events I have the consolation of not being thought a novel-reader by three or four who are entitled to judge upon the subject, and whether their opinion be of equal value with that of this John-a-Nokes against whom I have to plead I leave you to decide.
But stronger evidence, it seems, is behind. This gentleman was in company with me. Alas that I should never have found out how accurate an observer was measuring my sentiments, numbering the novels which I criticised, and speculating on the probability of my being plucked. "I was familiar with all the novels whose names he had ever heard." If so frightful an accusation did not stun me at once, I might perhaps hint at the possibility that this was to be attributed almost as much to the narrowness of his reading on this subject as to the extent of mine. There are men here who are mere mathematical blocks; who plod on their eight hours a day to the honours of the Senate House; who leave the groves which witnessed the musings of Milton, of Bacon, and of Gray, without one liberal idea or elegant image, and carry with them into the world minds contracted by unmingled attention to one part of science, and memories stored only with technicalities. How often have I seen such men go forth into society for people to stare at them, and ask each other how it comes that beings so stupid in conversation, so uninformed on every subject of history, of letters, and of taste, could gain such distinction at Cambridge!
It is in such circles, which, I am happy to say, I hardly know but by report, that knowledge of modern literature is called novel-reading; a commodious name, invented by ignorance and applied by envy, in the same manner as men without learning call a scholar a pedant, and men without principle call a Christian a Methodist. To me the attacks of such men are valuable as compliments. The man whose friend tells him that he is known to be extensively acquainted with elegant literature may suspect that he is flattering him; but he may feel real and secure satisfaction when some Johnian sneers at him for a novel-reader. [My uncle was fond of telling us how he would walk miles out of Cambridge in order to meet the coach which brought the last new Waverley novel.]
As to the question whether or not I am wasting time, I shall leave that for time to answer. I cannot afford to sacrifice a day every week in defence and explanation as to my habits of reading. I value, most deeply value, that solicitude which arises from your affection for me; but let it not debar me from justice and candour. Believe me ever, my dear Father,
Your most affectionate son,
T. B. M.
The father and son were in sympathy upon what, at this distance of time, appears as the least inviting article of the Whig creed. They were both partisans of the Queen. Zachary Macaulay was inclined in her favour by sentiments alike of friendship, and of the most pardonable resentment. Brougham, her illustrious advocate, had for ten years been the main hope and stay of the movement against Slavery and the Slave Trade; while the John Bull, whose special mission it was to write her down, honoured the Abolitionist party with its declared animosity. However full its columns might be of libels upon the honour of the wives and daughters of Whig statesmen, it could always find room for calumnies against Mr. Macaulay which in ingenuity of fabrication, and in cruelty of intention, were conspicuous even among the contents of the most discreditable publication that ever issued from the London press. When Queen Caroline landed from the Continent in June 1820 the young Trinity undergraduate greeted her Majesty with a complimentary ode, which certainly little resembled those effusions that, in the old courtly days, an University was accustomed to lay at the feet of its Sovereign. The piece has no literary value, and is curious only as reflecting the passion of the hour. The first and last stanzas run as follows:—
Let mirth on every visage shine And glow in every soul. Bring forth, bring forth, the oldest wine, And crown the largest bowl. Bear to her home, while banners fly From each resounding steeple, And rockets sparkle in the sky, The Daughter of the People. E'en here, for one triumphant day, Let want and woe be dumb, And bonfires blaze, and schoolboys play. Thank Heaven, our Queen is come.
* * * *
Though tyrant hatred still denies Each right that fits thy station, To thee a people's love supplies A nobler coronation; A coronation all unknown To Europe's royal vermin; For England's heart shall be thy throne, And purity thine ermine; Thy Proclamation our applause, Applause denied to some; Thy crown our love; thy shield our laws. Thank Heaven, our Queen is come!
Early in November, warned by growing excitement outside the House of Lords, and by dwindling majorities within, Lord Liverpool announced that the King's Ministers had come to the determination not to proceed further with the Bill of Pains and Penalties. The joy which this declaration spread through the country has been described as "beyond the scope of record."
Cambridge: November 13, 1820.
My dear Father,—All here is ecstasy. "Thank God, the country is saved," were my first words when I caught a glimpse of the papers of Friday night. "Thank God, the country is saved," is written on every face and echoed by every voice. Even the symptoms of popular violence, three days ago so terrific, are now displayed with good humour and received with cheerfulness. Instead of curses on the Lords, on every post and every wall is written, "All is as it should be;" "Justice done at last;" and similar mottoes expressive of the sudden turn of public feeling. How the case may stand in London I do not know; but here the public danger, like all dangers which depend merely on human opinions and feelings, has disappeared from our sight almost in the twinkling of an eye. I hope that the result of these changes may be the secure reestablishment of our commerce, which I suppose political apprehension must have contributed to depress. I hope, at least, that there is no danger to our own fortunes of the kind at which you seem to hint. Be assured however, my dear Father, that, be our circumstances what they may, I feel firmly prepared to encounter the worst with fortitude, and to do my utmost to retrieve it by exertion. The best inheritance you have already secured to me,—an unblemished name and a good education. And for the rest, whatever calamities befall us, I would not, to speak without affectation, exchange adversity consoled, as with us it must ever be, by mutual affection and domestic happiness, for anything which can be possessed by those who are destitute of the kindness of parents and sisters like mine. But I think, on referring to your letter, that I insist too much upon the signification of a few words. I hope so, and trust that everything will go well. But it is chapel time, and I must conclude.
Ever most affectionately yours,
Trin. Coll.: March 25, 1821.
My dear Mother,—I entreat you to entertain no apprehensions about my health. My fever, cough, and sore-throat have all disappeared for the last four days. Many thanks for your intelligence about poor dear John's recovery, which has much exhilarated me. Yet I do not know whether illness to him is not rather a prerogative than an evil. I am sure that it is well worth while being sick to be nursed by a mother. There is nothing which I remember with such pleasure as the time when you nursed me at Aspenden. The other night, when I lay on my sofa very ill and hypochondriac, I was thinking over that time. How sick, and sleepless, and weak I was, lying in bed, when I was told that you were come! How well I remember with what an ecstasy of joy I saw that face approaching me, in the middle of people that did not care if I died that night except for the trouble of burying me! The sound of your voice, the touch of your hand, are present to me now, and will be, I trust in God, to my last hour. The very thought of these things invigorated me the other day; and I almost blessed the sickness and low spirits which brought before me associated images of a tenderness and an affection, which, however imperfectly repaid, are deeply remembered. Such scenes and such recollections are the bright half of human nature and human destiny. All objects of ambition, all rewards of talent, sink into nothing compared with that affection which is independent of good or adverse circumstances, excepting that it is never so ardent, so delicate, or so tender as in the hour of languor or distress. But I must stop. I had no intention of pouring out on paper what I am much more used to think than to express. Farewell, my dear Mother.