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not to tell fibs, nor be proud, nor despise the homeliness of virtue, nor be attracted by the gaudiness of vice-we exclaim, "Ah, the fine moralist!—the admirable teacher!" But when a contemporary writer struck at once at the root of far wider evils than individual and private errors can accomplish-when he satirized military glory, and became the first who seriously invoked mankind to consider war as the darkest calamity that can visit earth-we were dumb in our plaudits we saw no morality in the maxim-we heard no music in the truth. We could understand the depth of that morality which said to Mr. Higgins "Be content with your station-envy not your betters;" but the morality that in the great spirit of Christianity said to All Earth-" Live in Peace!" was utterly beyond our comprehension.
I believe it is this smallness and frigidity in our notions of morals that has induced men of high and ardent minds to incur the fatal error of choosing feeling rather than principle as a guide. And thus while we seldom hear any one talk of the principles of an honest man, or the duties of a religious one, we are for ever dinned with the feelings of a gentleman, and the feelings of a Christian, and the feelings of a father, till at last we are almost driven to fancy contrary to all sober judgment—that the Almighty intended us to be led not by reason, but emotion. No error for the virtue of a nation can be more deadly than the one I refer to. A pretty community is that in which the sentiments are the only mental guide! The Arabs cultivate the feelings, and are a nation of banditti ;-they are exceedingly generous, and exceedingly hospitable, und exceedingly unjust; they utter the noblest sentiments, and steal the saddle from under you; they talk of the honourable feelings of a Bedouin, and they-cut your throat!
But if we would have morality, not vague impulse and shifting emotions, the general motor of the popular mind, we must make the Goddess whose Altars we would establish-lovely, gracious, and attractive. Men are very happily struck by the noble and the great; -they see these results in the passions and by the passions therefore they are allured. Let them behold the same loftiness in the science of morals, and morals will have somewhat of the power and vividness in allurement that now belong to the passions. It has been the fault of our moralists that morality is not better understood among us. Let us base it on its own true vastness of system, and breathe into it the generous spirit of its proper life. Law and Politics have been estranged from it-they should be united. Morality includes in its empire all opinion-Decorum hitherto has been the queen of the empire: let us depose her to her proper level in the court, and make her lady of the Grand Wardrobe. And let us, since we are seriously meditating efficient reform, take from the Virtues that detestable privilege of always acting by their proxies, the Appearances. Nor must we imagine that faith in our divine religion supersedes the necessity of applying to morals as a separate-though if you will -a subordinate science. The great and plain outlines of right conduct are all that the Scripture indicates; and it wisely leaves the nicer shades, and the more complicated positions, to the human intelligence, which moulds and adapts itself to the everlasting changes in human
affairs. The great secrets of Government-the wide volume of legislation, were not enlightened by the rays that emanated from another world. Those secrets and that volume-thus left in darkness by Religion, it is the main duty of Morality to decipher and expound. Nor must we trust this task (be it said with all due reverence) solely to divines. When it was consigned to them, morality consisted only in donations to the Church. Charles Martel saved Christendom from the Saracen, and a synod of Christian Priests damned him afterwards to the penalties of hell.
There is something amusing in the self-contradiction of certain Tory Peers, who are brimfull of noble sentiments for the basest systems. It is vastly entertaining to note the delusion of a phrase"I will stand by the constitution of my country to the last." How finely that sounds! How the chest of the utterer swells! His eyes water! What generous courage! What gallant fidelity! But the sentence requires construing: the constitution of the country means the jobbing of seats in Parliament. It would sound very differently if the loyalist exclaimed-" Rotten boroughs-perjury-briberycorruption-and fraud-it is you whom I will support to the last!" Oh, the solemn plausibility of fine phrases!
Reform will do something to amend our morals: we shall not have the sacred example of the great to shelter perjury beneath; but the abolition of the stamp duties will do more. When there are but few public journals, prejudices are a long time grinding against each other before they pulverize into truth. Appeals to error and to passion are not easily answered. When all opinions are thrown into the crucible, the philosopher's stone, Truth, must at last come out! What an odd thing it would seem to Micromegas were he told that the immorality of a people and a tax upon pieces of paper were one and the same thing! The Mahometans narrate a curious fable, with which I will conclude this article, trusting that it may not have so wearied the reader, but that he will suffer me now and then to address him after a similar fashion, and thus to breathe into the lightness of this periodical, the great soul of a moral purpose.
Al Sameri, wishing the Israelites to worship the Golden Calf, took some dust from beneath the footsteps of the horse of the angel Gabriel, and threw it into the mouth of the calf, so that (for the dust had that peculiar virtue) the calf assumed life and voice. Now there are certain good men in the world, who remind one greatly of the sagacious Al Sameri; they call upon us to worship a golden calf, and the only life-the only inspiration they can bestow on an idol, is derived from that dust which blinds the eyes of a man.
THE earliest years of my life were passed in a country village, of which my father was the rector. The Rev. Dr. Supple, my excellent parent, was descended from a hosier, who kept the shop (then known by the Golden Leg) within a stone's throw of Charing Cross. My father, even in his early youth, was remarkable for talent and assiduity, and to the observation which these qualities excited was owing the proud distinction of being sent as a sizar to Trinity College, Cambridge. There it was that Poverty daily and nightly whispered into his ear the most sound and edifying precepts. His was no ordinary mind. It comprehended the great and the little; or rather, being of a true mathematical vein, it perceived instantaneously that a number of little particles make a great whole. Sedulous to his studies, he also paid considerable attention to those more minute et ceteras by which academical reputation is to be obtained. His neckcloth was the most approved model of a reading man's, copied, as precisely as possible, from the mathematical lecturer's. His attention to hall and chapel duties was most exemplary. He shrank from a grass-plot, as if beneath each blade was crouched a rattlesnake, and was never seen in the neighbourhood of Barnwell on a Sunday evening, when the elderly fellows are prone to stroll there. Then surely it was no wonder that the Rev. Benjamin Supple, was peculiarly recommended to a cabinet minister as a proper tutor to his eldest son. The reward of his labours was the rectory of A- value about 7007. per annum. Lucky it was for my father, that no delay took place in the presentation; for, three months afterwards, the crown livings were at the disposal of another Administration! A person who knew nothing of the world nor my parent, would imagine that he now sat down in quiet content and gratitude, and passed the remainder of his days in looking after his parishioners, and blessing his patron. Much otherwise. In less than a year after the Seals had changed masters, came out a pamphlet, containing the most bitter and personal attack upon the fallen Minister that had yet made its appearance. The pamphlet was not a particularly good one; but for the first week it was taken for the Chancellor's; and when the author made himself known, the ingratitude of the case produced an impression equal to that which would have been caused by the exhibition of extraordinary ability. My father received an autograph note of thanks from the head of the new cabinet, and was given the rectory of Bin less than a fortnight.
Nor would his preferment have stopped here, but for a singular accident-the sudden death of his new patron, who was once more succeeded by his political opponent. In vain the most humiliating letters in private, the most fulsome adulations in public, were offered as an atonement for what my father termed "his mistaken conduct." The road to wealth and honours was now blocked up to himself, and he paternally turned the whole of his hopes and attention to me. I was a quick, promising boy, with what my mother, who was distantly related to a country gentleman, called a remarkably genteel
appearance. Talent-appearance! Here was a fortune!-a fortune, if properly cultivated and employed; and this my father knew well. I could never, however, ascertain that he had formed any certain intentions respecting me until I was about eight years old. The extraordinary manner in which I then repeated Sir John St. Aubyn's speech against a standing army to a select number of admiring friends, settled the question. "It is very true," said my father, sitting for some time plunged in a deep reverie, on the conclusion of evening prayers; "it is very true, my love, we must certainly make Benjamin a Member of Parliament." I will do my father justice. After this ejaculation he never fainted or faltered for a moment. All his means were combined towards the end of making me an orator, a senator, and (it followed of course) a statesman. At the proper time
I was sent to Eton, as lads are usually sent, to make Latin verses and acquaintances. In both of these pursuits I succeeded almost beyond expectation: for it so happened, that I became the fag of an Earl's son-an atrocious bully; but, as my mother said, a real Viscount; while my father's exhortations to become a scholar so far moved me, that I was never flogged once, and only lost my "first fault" for prompting a Marquis, which my father told me encouragingly was no fault at all.
Months and years rolled away: I was at length to leave Eton, and on the evening preceding that eventful day on which I was to proceed to the University, my father, having said grace in a more solemn voice than usual, requested my attendance in the library. Illustrious man! I have the scene before my eyes at this moment. My father's was a pale, thin countenance-pale with watchfulness, probably, and devotion. Those rosy tints which nature sheds vaguely and vaporously over the face of more healthy and less pious personages, were, in his, concentrated and congregated into two or three red and burning pimples, which so scintillated and coruscated, as to appear glorious emanations of the glaring lamp and blazing fire between which he was standing. His eye was fixed upon mine; his right hand was placed upon the table, on which lay open, much dog's-eared and interleaved, Lord Chesterfield's Letters, Hamilton's "Parliamentary Logic," and Mr. Burke's "Letter on the French Revolution." "My son," said he, "so far I am satisfied with you. Your verses are excellent-I hear it from Dr. Bobus; your dress is fashionable-I see it in the Almanach des Modes;' your impudence, as far as I can judge, leaves nothing to desire; and your voice, as it waxes mellower, will, I have no doubt, be equal to that of your great prototype and predecessor, Mr. Pitt. But these advantages, my child, though it has cost me the anxiety of a life to procure them you, will be of no avail unless you understand how to turn them to a proper account. In this book, (opening Lord Chesterfield,) you will find all the secrets by which you can please a stranger, or win the affections of an acquaintance, or obtain a proper advantage from the good dispositions of a friend. Such a volume (at no time to be laid aside,) should, at this time, form your particular study, until you have obtained a seat in the House of Commons. It is then that this little book of Mr. Hamilton's may in much supply its place-remarkable for the ele gant manner in which the perversion of truth is taught by rules and
precepts of praiseworthy ingenuity. Yet are there vulgar persons who actually believe that there is sincerity in party professions, and that the elucidation of facts, and the establishment of truth, because such happen to be the concern of the country, are the practical object of the politician's orations."
I went to college then; my application and my reputation increased. I wrote verses in the albums of the proctors' wives, and love-songs to the eyes of the Bishop's daughters. I gained the Chancellor's medal and a Trinity Fellowship, and was decidedly the most ready speaker of the then existing "Union." Every man who starts with my prospects and in my situation, ought to consider whether he means to belong to " the paid," or "the bought off," i. e. whether he should expect a reward for his services, or a bribe for his capabilities to injure. The last course, as it is founded on the most malevolent and therefore the wisest view of human nature, is, I think, the most correct. The delicacy and difficulty of the part it pronounces in favour of, consists in the double necessity of getting your place and keeping your character. Character to a man without a conscience, is what credit is to a man without money-everything; and here's where your adventurer too frequently fails. He imagines propriety of conduct to be of no more consequence with the world than it is with himself, and loses for some paltry trifle the great advantage of a scoundrel, that of being taken for an honest man. My father's example, however, was lucky-my own meditations aided me. I saw that the laying-the-hand-upon-the-heart way was the only graceful and proper manner of selling oneself. It is done thus::-a question comes on; your mind is not entirely made up; you are most earnest and anxious to be of the Minister's opinion. Still—and here follows a long string of objections—after all, however, you are not blind to the advantages on the other side, and you beseech the House to be cautious in forming an opinion. But I am anticipating my policy in the speaking society at Cambridge was in conformity with that which I had determined upon for a future scene, and every sentence I uttered was framed after the wise and sagacious rule of the Abbé St. Pierre-" qu'il faut toujours parler son opinion, comme si l'on devoit changer bientôt." Finally, I left the University with every requisite, in my own and my contemporaries' opinion, for making a figure in the House-except a seat there. This was to be obtained-but how? there was the difficulty. Machiavel says apropos of Rome, “that the best conceived of our designs depends almost wholly upon Fortune." Now it so happened luckily for me that young Lord Bladno was remarkably ugly, and that he lived on terms of intimacy with a lady of whom the world spoke unkindly. Many persons complimented him on the Bladno property and the beauty of Betsey, but I was the only one of his acquaintance who ever gave him to understand that I thought him good-looking, or his mistress virtuous. He grew very fond of me therefore; my society was the only one in which he felt himself happy or at ease; but Lord Bladno was very selfish and very suspicious; and though he had three boroughs, there was little likelihood of his offering me a seat out of pure friendship, and still less of his granting me one if I asked for it as a favour.