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THE DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE

No. XXXV.

NOVEMBER, 1835.

Vol. VI.

SIR JAMES MACKINTOS11.*

We have, in some late numbers, en- growth of many years, and in which deavoured to make our readers ac. our spirit has had its nurture and its life. quainted with the writings and character The great works of genius are our inof Coleridge. We feel that each effort heritance, not merely to be treasured as of this kind, however humble, must, if our title-deeds to respect among the nahonestly directed to its purpose, be a tions, but to be enjoyed. Oh, what were beneficial one. We have not thought, literature, if it were what some persons dor in this class of papers do we in seem to make of it—a mere lumberany case think, of doing service to a room of scholarship of one kind or particular book : but if we have, “in another! We would be ashamed of our degree," made our readers ac- ourselves, if we had, in our reviews quainted with any of the great works of Coleridge or of Wordsworth, of genius, or the men by whom they selected for quotation those passages have been produced, we yet feel that which, without being in any way chaour task has been but imperfectly done, racteristic of either writer, might be if they do not seek for themselves supposed chosen on account of the fuller sources of information than we exigencies of the times in which can supply. We can do little more

we live.

Let one portion of our than point out the paths which lead to work be sacred from all politics— the Delectable Mountains. We may, let us, as the accident of our studies perhaps, seek to exhibit some fower may direct, at one time make our that we have found in our lonesome readers acquainted with a Fenelonand happy walks ; we may tell of some at another, with a Luther, believing snatches of melody which, to our ears, that the interests of mankind are best have a strange music of their own; promoted by exhibiting what is most we may-as we best can— tell our noble in humanity. Let us, when we readers where the rich treasures are read history, read it, remembering, that bidden, which, after all, each man must adverse fuctions were looking not at seek for himself: but we are well one, but at different objects-that in aware, that to enjoy all this, men must the same battle, “in adverse armies," see with their own eyes, must hear perished Falkland and Hambden ; rewith their own ears. When we tell membering, that through their whole them that Coleridge, and Montgomery, lives Milton and Jeremy Taylor were and Wordsworth are poets, we are not engaged in the vindication of opposed echoing the idle language of the maga- principles. Which of these men, had zines--we are not expressing an opi- we the choice, would any of us, be his nion formed within the hour, and prejudices what they may, blot from valueless as the breath which forms the page of history? And if the works the words in which it is uttered ; we of these great men be read as they are giving utterance to a feeling the ought, which of us is there that does

Memoirs of the life of the Right Honourable Sir James Mackintosh. Edited by his son, Robert Mackintosh, Esq., Fellow of New College, Oxford. 2 Volumes, London, Moxon, 1835.

VOL. VI.

2 M

not feel some reluctance in using them tiality, as it is called, is inconsistent for party purposes ? No ! let us seek with the duties of the biographer ; the to contemplate the Great apart from violation of truth in this, as in any case, our own prejudices. If we are unable is not to be contemplated; but much to look upon them from that elevation must in all cases be suppressed, not which must give the point of view in alone on account of its utter unirwhich they will be beheld by the portance, but often because needless future philosopher and bistorian, let pain would be given by the commuus, at least, avoid bringing to the ex- nication. amination our own biasses and our own On this account, in the biography of follies ; let us read in the spirit of persons sufficiently important to have learners, not in that of advocates ; let filled any space in the eye of the us feel that the names which are public, it is always of moment to know honored among the nations, belong, in by whom such narratives are drawn truth, to us all —that in whatever way up; because in the suppressions to they conducted their warfare on earth, which we allude, the characters of each triumph of principle was some- others are in some degree involved. thiny gained for our common humanity. As no such work can be regarded The works of Wordsworth, Cole- as relating the whole truth, the reader ridge, and Mackintosh, greatly as they has a right to know by whom the may differ in their relative importance, selection is made. In these volumes, variously as they may influence ditfer- however, the part performed by Mr. ent minds, are yet such as our common Mackintosh is trifling. Sir James England—we prefer the use of this is, in truth, his own biographer. name for our country, for every place His life is one that presents but few is England where her language is incidents. With little ambition-at spoken--cannot, while she is true to least with tastes too pure to be gratified herself, “ willingly let die.”

by the ordinary objects of ambitionTie volumes before us consist of he early sought retirement. The leisure extracts from the journals of Sir James for his own favourite studies, that a Mackintosh—of letters written by hiin life in India, but slightly interrupted chiefly while in India—of extracts from by the cares of judicial duty, seemed the “ Vindiciæ Gallicæ," and from th to promise, appears to have been the "Introductory Lecture on the Law of Na- chief inducement which led him to ture and Nations." Tothese are added let- accept the recordership of Bombay,

ers written to his son for the purpose There, and every where, he sighed of this publication, by Lord Jeffrey, for some quiet professorship in which by Sydney Smith, by Lord Abinger, he might pursue his favorite metaphy, and by Basil Montagu. The whole sical studies, and enjoy the delight of is connected by a slender thread of teaching ; for the excitement of allnarrative, very unambitious, and in diences crowding to his lectures, was a which his son, the writer of the work, thing wbich he loved, and which was avoids, as much as he can, exhibiting necessary to conquer his habitual indothe relation in which he stands to his lence. He was not a man of genius, hero. For the coldness of the tone, in as it is called. That undefinable power, which he fears it will be thought he recognized and felt as something differwrites, it is stated, in explanation, that ent in kind from any acquisition which he had not determined to prefix his man can make for himself, or from any name to the work, till it was “so far faculty of the human mind, and which, advanced as to make a subsequent though it has no means of manifesting change to one more natural to the itself except by the instrumentality, relationship then first avowed between of talents, is yet something altogether the writer and his subject, scarcely distinct from any combination of worth while."

talents—could scarcely be called his, We are sorry that the authorship although he possessed above most was not, from the first, intended to be men the distinctness of purpuse the avowed; we could not, under any cir- sincerity and singleness of view which cumstances, have from a son of Mack- characterises the man of genius—which intosh the neutral language of an in- —in the case of Coleridge for instance different oberver. Absolute impar- —made all his talents and acquisitions

things wholly forgotten, and never each other in kindness and indulgence entering into the estimate of any one towards me, and I think I can at this who judged him aright. Never, how- day discover in my character many of the ever, does there seem to have been a effects of this early education."— Vol. I., better balanced mind than that which p. 2, 3. we have now to contemplate; and we

In 1775 he was sent to school have called our readers' attention to it to Fortrose, and met in the house because the virtues of Mackintosh are

in which he lodged a disputatious imitable—because there is no acquisi- usher, who, although no match in tion of his mind which does not seem theology for his boarding mistress, as within the reach of well-directed in- Sir Jaines calls his landlady, was too dustry—because, not we trust under- much for his ten years old pupil. valuing the importance of what he has done for the history of philosophy-we think the character exhibited in those remembrance of the usher even quoting

“I have (says Mackintosh,) a faint private documents, a study of more the Savoyard creed, and having heard of value than that of any one of his Clarke's scripture doctrine of the Trinity. works. The account of his family and This infant heresy was soon silenced by of his early life, is given from a paper the emigration of the poor usher to drawn up by himself. He was born Jamaica, where I believe he soon after at Aldourie, on the banks of Loch died.” Ness, within a few miles of Inverness, in 1765. His father, who had served The dangers of false doctrine were many years in the army, was, soon

not removed with the offending usher, after Sir James's birth, obliged to join nor did Sir James unlearn the disputahis regiment at Antigua, and con- tious habit which he had acquired at tinued away from his family, at that Fortrose, or perhaps brought with him island and in Dublin, for eight or nine there ; for we have never happened to years. The boy was reared with great meet a Scotchman of any age who was care and tenderness by his mother, at not disposed to wrangle; and if, as one a small house called Ciune.

of their divines humanely taught, hell

be paved not with good intentions, but “« I can now,' says Sir James, 'at a dis- with infants' heads, we verily believe tance of twenty years, and fifteen thousand that the pious man's faith in this dammiles, call before me with great distinct- natory doctrine must have been proness, the prospect from the window of our voked by the young monkies of little parlour, of the lake with its unin- the perverse and cross-grained clan terrupted expanse of twenty-four miles, of the M.Phersons, at war among and its walls of perpendicular wooded themselves in the midst of the toy's rock; the road that leads down to the with which any other little devils would cottage, all its windings, all the smallest amuse themselves. Mackintosh was born objects on each side of it; the little path

a Scotchman, and was a debater from where we walked down the burn,' and the first. The inextricable pedigrees the turf seat where we rested, are more of the clans were among his early present to my fancy than any other ob- studies; and genealogy was the favorite jects in nature. My mother was not

science of Mackenzie, an old gentlehappy. My father, a subaltern and

man at whose house Mackintosh was younger brother, found his pay not too

ofien much for his own expenses, and all the tained.” Genealogy, the most engas;

• frequently and kindly enterkindness of her family did not deliver her iny of studies, led him to Scottish mind from the painful feeling of dependence. This, perhaps, contributed to the history, especially the parts in which

the ancestors of ihis Mackenzie were extreme affection which she felt for me. There is nothing which so much lightens actors. Theology, the cause or prethe burden of receiving benefits as the text of all the memorable events of pleasure of conferring them. I alone the seventeenth century, was almost

on her. She loved me with necessarily one of the studies of this that fondness which we are naturally amiable old man, whose pursuits are disposed to cherish for the companion of affectionately dwelt on; and Burnett's

The only infant in a History was studied scarcely more than family of several women, they rivabled his work on the thirty-nine articles.

depended

our poverty.

Mackintosh, in a memoir written have generally regarded things as much twenty years after, tells of the de- unconnected with my ordinary pursuits, lighted eagerness with which he read and as little to be expected, as the crown the commentary on the seventeenth of Constantinople at the school of Forarticle, in which Burnett states the trose. These fancies, indeed, have never opinions of Supralapsarians and Sub- amounted to conviction; or, in other lapsarians;—of those who are called by words, they never influenced my actions; the familiar names of Remonstrants, or but I must confess that they have often Arminians, or Universalists ;-of Pela- been as steady and of regular recurrence as glans and Semipelagians ;--of Perkins, conviction itself, and that they have someand of Gomar, and Twisse--all en

times created a little faint expectation, gaged in the painful investigations

a state of mind in which my wonder that which, we

are told, occupied and they should be realised would not be so baffled more subtle Spirits,

great as it rationally ought to be. The

indulgence of this dreaming propensity of Providence, foreknowledge, will and fate- produces good and bad consequences. It Fixed fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute. produces indolence, improvidence, cheerThe divine, who gives those opinions, and I have no doubt that many a man,

fulness; a study is its favourite scene; and with great acuteness anıl candour, surrounded by piles of folios, and appaforbears, in his exposition of the article, rently engaged in the most profound reto state his own. Mackenzie, however, searches, is in reality often employed in did not fail to point out to his young distributing the offices and provinces of friend the passage in the preface, in the empire of Constantinople.”_Vol. I. which Burnett tells his readers, with pp. 5, 6. some solemnity, that he was of “the opinion of the Greek church, from

Of his school life many incidents which Saint Austin departed.”

are preserved—all of them amusing

some not a little characteristic. We “I was,' says Sir James, 's0 pro- transcribe a few sentences of a letter foundly ignorant of what the Greek

of Major Pryse Gordon to Robert J. church was, that the mysterious mag- Mackintosh, relating to this period of nificence of the phrase had an Mackintosh's life : traordinary effect on my imagination. My boarding mistress, the school «• The Rev, John Wood, a distant remaster, and the parson, were orthodox lation of mine, many years after, told me Calvinists. I became a warm advocate that Jamie Mackintosh was by far the for free will, and before I was fourteen I cleverest boy he ever had under his eye; was probably the boldest heretic in the and that, before his thirteenth year, he county. About the same time, I read discovered a singular love for polities. It the old translation (called Dryden's) of was at the period when Fox and North Plutarch's Lives, and Echard's Roman made such brilliant harangues on the History. I well remember that the American war. Jamie adopted the cause perusal of the last led me into a ridicu- of liberty, and called himself a Whig! and lous habit, from which I shall never be such was his influence among his schooltotally free. I used to fancy myself em- fellows, that he prevailed on some of the peror of Constantinople. I distributed elder ones, instead of playing at ball, and offices and provinces amongst my school such out-of-door recreations, to join him fellows. I loaded my favourites with in the school-room, during the hours of dignity and power, and I often made the play, to assist at the debates, on the poliobjects of my dislike feel the weight of tical events of the day, which they got my imperial resentment.

I carried on from the rector's weekly newspaper, the the series of political events in solitude Aberdeen Journal, the only gazette in the for several hours; I resumed them and north at that time. This assembly was continued them from day to day for denominated the House of Commons, months. Ever since I have been and the master's pulpit the tribune,' more prone to building castles in the from which the orators delivered their air, than most others. My castle- speeches. When Mackintosh mounted building has always been of a singular the rostrum, he harangued till his soprano kind. It was not the anticipation of a voice failed. One day he was Fox; sanguine disposition, expecting extraor- another Burke, or some leading member dinary success in its pursuits. My dis- of opposition; but when no one ventured position is not sanguine, and my visions to reply to his arguments, he would

ex

change sides for the occasion, personate somewhat like the freemasonry of our North, and endeavour to combat what he own times) are well adapted to rouse and conceived the strongest parts in his own exercise the adventurous genius of youth. speech. A youth of his own age, John They must, I think, have contributed to Mackenzie, of the house of Suddie, was form that propensity to theorise on the his great chum, although they differed in origin, progress, and decline of theories politics, were sworn friends, and often re- which I still very strongly feel.”—p. 10, hearsed in the fields what they after- 11. wards delivered from the pulpit; but Mackenzie, though also a clever boy, had at Aberdeen he fell under the tuition

In the second year of his residence ao chance with his opponent. When I found out, continued Mr. Wood, this of Dr. Dunbar, author of " Essays on singular amusement of boys, I had the the History of Mankind.” Dunbar curiosity to listen, when Jamie was on

taught mathematics and natural and bis legs. I was greatly surprised and moral philosophy. Of mathematics and deligbied with his eloquence in his cha- physics his pupil says his master knew racter of Fox, against some supposed or

but little, and in moral and political real measure of the prime minister. His speculation he was one who rather voice, though feeble, was musical; and declaimed than communicated elemenhis arguments so forcible, that they would tary instruction. Sir James, however, have done credit to many an adult. John tells us that he felt and in his deMackenzie, afterwards Major-General, a clamation inspired an ardour, which brave officer, was killed at Talavera.'” perhaps raised some of his pupils above p. 8.

the vulgar, and which might even be In 1780 he went to college to Aber

more important than positive knowdeen. He was now fifteen. He tells ledge." Sir James traces to Dunbar's us of having bought and read three or

example some of his own declamatory four books in his first winter at college, ever be grateful to his memory for

propensities. But,” he adds, “ I shall which few boys of fifteen would have having contributed to breathe into my found interesting. One was Priestly's mind a strong spirit of liberty, which, Institutes of Natural and Revealed Re- of all moral sentiments, tends most to ligion ; another was Beattie's Essay on Truth; a third, of more important

swell the breast with an animating and character, was Warburton's Divine Les delightful consciousness of our own gation, which, says Sir James,

dignity, which again inspires moral

heroism, and creates the exquisite en“ Delighted me more than any book 1 joyments of self-honour and self-revehad yet read, and perhaps tainted my rence.” mind with a fondness for the twilight of At Aberdeen, but in a somewhat historical hypothesis, but certainly in- later period of his course, he first met spired me with that passion for investi- with Robert Hall. It was at that pegating the bistory of opinions which has riod not unfrequent with the English influenced my reading through life. I dissenters to have their children who have often indulged my fancy at the ex

were intended for the ministry educated pense of my understanding in looking there. Both Mackintosh and Hall rearound, when too clear a daylight did not fer to this period of their life with prevent the mind from shaping and delight, and each records the great colouring objects at its pleasure. I have influence which the society of the often felt a delightful sense of liberty in other had on his mind. Hall was the escaping from the narrow confines of reason, which I am disposed in part to elder by a year or two, at an age when attribute to a book which no boy or

the difference of a few years is the youth ever could have read without its difference between man and boy. They making a deep impression on his mind. were inseparable : they lodged in the The luminous theory of hieroglyphics, as

same house; both were disputatious ; a stage in the progress of society, between both students of Jonathan Edwards's picture-writing and alphabetic character, book on Freewill. Hall was the great is perhaps the only addition made to the adınirer and preacher of Edwards's stock of knowledge in this extraordinary doctrines. The American casuist's tanwork; but the uncertain and probably gles had not so completely caught false suppositions about the pantheism of young Mackintosh, and in their de. the ancient philosophers, and the object bating societies Mackintosh was found of the mysteries (in reality, perhaps, defending less rigid doctrines. The

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