« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
prescribed by the best writers, and in a few | The marks of its ravages a: e still all around aours lost eighteen thousand men, a hundred us. The ashes are still hot beneath our feet. and twenty standards, all his baggage and all In some directions, the deluge of fire still conhis artillery." +
tinues to spread. Yet experience surely entitles
us to believe that this explosion, like that These incivilities are all the stronger, which preceded it, will fertilize the soil which because the ordinary tone is noble and it has devastated. Already, in those parts serious.
which have suffered most severely, rich cultiva. Hitherto we have seen only the amidst the waste.
tion and secure dwellings have begun to appear
The more we read of the reasoner, the scholar, the orator, and history of past ages, the more we observ: the the wit: there •is still in Macaulay a signs of our own times, the more do we fee poet; and if we had not read his Lays of for the future destinies of the human race.
our hearts filled and swelled up by a good hope Ancient Rome, it would suffice to read a few of his periods, in which the imagi
I ought, perhaps, in concluding this nation, long held in check by the se- analysis, to point out the imperfections verity of the proof, breaks out suddenly caused by these high qualities; how in splendid metaphors, and expands ease, charm, a vein of amiability, variety, into magnificent comparisons, worthy simplicity, playfulness, are wanting in by their amplitude of being introduced this manly eloquence, this solid reasoninto an epic:
ing, and this glowing dialectic; why
the art of writing and classical purity “Ariosto tells a pretty story of a fairy, who, are not always found in this partisan, by some mysterious law of her nature, was condemned to appear at certain seasons in the fighting from his platform ; in short, form of a foul and poisonous snake. Those why an Englishman is not a Frenchwho injured her during the period of her dise man or an Athenian. I prefer to guise were forever excluded from participation transcribe another passage, the sol. in the blessings which she bestowed. those who, in spite of her loathsome aspect, emnity and magnificence of which will pitied and protected her, she afterwards re give some idea of the grave and rich vealed herself in the beautiful and celestial ornament which Macaulay throws over form which was natural to her, accompanied his narrative, a sort of potent vegetatheir steps, granted all their wishes, filled their houses with wealth, made them happy in love tion, flowers of brilliant purple, like and victorious in war. Such a spirit is Liberty. those which are spread over every At times she takes the form of a hateful reptile. page of Paradise Lost and Childe She grovels, she hisses, she stings. But woe
Harold. to those who in disgust shall venture to crush
Warren Hastings. had reher! And happy are those who, having dared turned from India, and had just been to receive her in her
degraded and frightful placed on his trial : shape, shall at length be rewarded by her in the time of her beauty and her glory!” f
“On the thirteenth of February, 1788, tho
sittings of the Court commenced. There have These noble words come from the been spectacles more dazzling to the eye, more heart; the fount is full, and though it gorgeous with jewellery and cloth of gold, more flows, it never becomes dry. As soon
attractive to grown up children, than that
which was then exhibited at Westminster ; but, as the writer speaks of a cause which perhaps, there never was a spectacle so well he loves, as soon as he sees Liberty calculated to strike a highly cultivated, a re
All the various rise before him, with Humanity and decting, an imaginative mind. Justice, Poetry bursts forth spontane- and to the distant, to the present and to the
kinds of interests which belong to the near ously from his soul, and sets her crown past, were collected on one spot, and in one on the brows of her noble sisters : hour. All the talents and all the accomplish
ments which are developed by !iberty and civil. “The Reformation is an event long past. ization were now displayea, with every adran That volcano has spent its rage. The wide tage that could be derived both from co-operawaste produced by its outbreak is forgotten. tion and from contrast. Every step in the The landmarks which were swept away have proceedings carried the mind either backward, been replaced. The ruined edifices have been through many troubled centuries, to the days repaired. The lava has covered with a rich in. when the roundations of our constitution were crustation the fields which it once devastated, laid ; or far away, over boundless seas and and, after having turned a beautiful and fruitfu) deserts, to dusky nations living, under strange garden into a desert, has again turned the des stars, worshipping strange, gods, and writing ert into a still more beautiful and fruitful gar- strange characters from right to left. Tho den. The second great eruption is not yet over. High Court of Parliament was to sit, according
to forms hanüed down from the days of the • Macaulay, v. 672 ; Lord Mahon's War of the Succession in Spain.
Macaulay, V. 595 ; Burleigh and fit † Macaulay, v. 3i; Milton.
Plantagenets, on an Englishman accused of love and music, art has rescued from the con exercising tyranny over the lord of the holy mon decay. There were the members of that city of Benares, and ver the ladies of the brilliant society which quoted, criticised, and ex princely house of Oude.
changed repartees, under the rich peacock. “The place was worthy of such a trial. It hangings of Mrs. Montague. And there the was the great Hall of William Rufus, the hall ladies whose lips, more persuasive than those which had resounded with acclamations at the of Fox himself, had carried the Westminster inauguration of thirty kings, the hall which election against palace and treasury, shone had witnessed the just sentence of Bacon and round Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.' the just absolution of Somers, the hall where This evocation of the national history, the eloquence of Strafford had for a moment awed and melted a victorious party inflamed with glory, and constitution, forms a picture just resertinent, the hall where Charles had con of a unique kind. The species of fronted the High Court of Justice with the placid Surage which has half redeemed his fame. patriotism and poetry which it reveals Neither military nor civil pomp was wanting. is an abstract of Macaulay's talent The avenues were lined with grenadiers. The and the talent, like the picture, is streets were kept clear by cavalry. The peers, thoroughly English. robed in gold and ermine, were marshalled by the heralds under Garter King-at-arms. The judges in their vestments of state attended to give ad
VII. vice on points of law. Near a hundred and seventy lords, three-fourths of the Upper
Thus prepared, he entered upon the House as the Upper House then was, walked History of England ; and he chose in solemn order from their usual place of therefrom the period best suited to his assembling to the tribunal. The junior baron political opinions, his style, his pas present led the way, George Eliott, Lord Heathfeld, recently ennobled for his memorable de sion, his knowledge, the national taste, fence of Gibraltar against the fleets and armies the sympathy of Europe. He related of France and Spain. The long procession the establishment of the English conwas closed by the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Mar, stitution, and concentrated all the res* shal of the realm, by the great dignitaries, and by the brothers and sons of the King. Last of of history about this unique event, all came the Prince of Wales, conspicuous by
* the finest in the world,” to the mind his fine person and noble bearing. The grey of an Englishman and a politician. He old walls were hung with scarlet. The long brought to this work a new method of galleries were crowded by an audience such as has rarely excited the fears or the emulation of great beauty, extreme power ; its sucThere were gathered together, from cess has been extraordinary.
When all parts of a great, free, enlightened, and pros- the second volume appeared, 30,000 perous empire, grace and female loveliness, wit copies were ordered beforehand. Let and learning, the representatives of every science and of every art. There were seated us try to describe this history, to conround the Queen the fair-haired young daugh- nect it with that method, and that ters of the house of Brunswick. There the method to that order of mind. Ambassadors of great Kings and Commonwealths gazed with admiration on a spectacle
The history is universal and noi which no other country in the world could pre
broken. It comprehends events of sent. There Siddons, in the prime of her every kind, and treats of them simul. majestic beauty, looked with emotion on scene surpassing all the imitations of the stages history of races, others of classes
taneously. Some have related the There the historian of the Roman Empire thought of the days when Cicero pleaded the others of governments, others of senti cause of Sicily against Verres, and when, before ments, ideas, and manners; Macaulay a senate which still retained some show of free has related all. dom, Tacitus thundered against the oppressor of Africa. There were seen, side by side, the “I should very imperfectly execute the task greatest painter and the greatest scholar of the which I have undertaken if I were merely to age. Th: spectacle had allured Reynolds from treat of battles and sieges, of the rise and fall that easei which has preserved to us the thought of administrations, of intrigues in the palace, ful foreheads of so many writers and statesmen, and of debates in the parliament. It will be and the sweet smiles of so many noble ma my endeavour to relate the history of the peo It had induced Parr to suspend his labours in ple as well as the history of the government, to that dark and profound mine from which he had trace the progress of useful and ornamental extracted a vast treasure of erudition, a treasure arts, to describe the rise of religious sects and too often buried in the earth, too often paraded the changes of literary taste, to portray the with injudicious and inelegant ostentation, bu. ranners of successive generations, and not to still precious, massive, and splendid. There pass by with neglect even the revolutions which appeared the voluptuous charms of her to have taken place in dress, furniture, repasts, whom the heir of the throne had in secret and public amusements. I shall cheerfulls plighted his faith.
There too was she, the bear the reproach of having descended belov beauul mother of a beautiful race, the Saint Cociria whose delicate features, lighted up by • Macaulay, vi 628 ; Warren Hastings.
the dignity of history, if I can succeed in plac- successively an economist, a literary ing before the English of the nineteenth century, true picture of the life of their ances- man, a publicist, an artist, a historian,
a biographer, a story-teller, even
philosopher; by this diversity of parts He kept his word. He has omitted he imitates the diversity of human life nothing, and passed nothing by. His and presents to the eyes, heart, mind, portraits are mingled with his narrative. all the faculties of man, the completa We find those of Danby, Nottingham, history of the civilization of his country. Shrewsbury, Howe, during the account
Others, like Hume, have tried or are of a session, between two parliament- trying to do it. They set forth now rę uz divisions. Short curious anecdotes, ligious matters, a little further political domestic details, the description of fur- events, then literary details, finally niture, intersect, without disjointing, general considerations on the change the record of a war. Quitting the nar- of society and government, beiieving rative of important business,
we gladly that a collection of histories is history, look upon the Dutch tastes of William, and that parts joined endwise are a body. the Chinese museum, the grottos, the Macaulay did not believe it and he did mazes, aviaries, ponds, geometrical well. Though English, he had the garden-beds, with which he defaced spirit of harmony. So many accumu. Hampton Court. A political disserta-lated events form with him not a total, tion precedes or follows the relation of but a whole. Explanations, accounts, a battle; at other times the author is a dissertations, anecdotes, illustrations, tourist or a psychologist before becom-comparisons, allusions
modern ng a politician or a tactician. He de- events, every thing is connected in his scribes the highlands of Scotland, semi- book. It is because every thing is conpapistical and semi-pagan, the seers nected in his mind. He had a most wrapped in bulls” hides to await the lively consciousness of causes; and moment of inspiration, Christians mak-causes unite facts. By them, scattered ing libations of milk or beer to the de-events are assembled into a single mons of the place ; pregnant women, event; they unite them because they girls of eighteen, working a wretched produce them, and the historian, who patch of oats, whilst their husbands or seeks them all out, cannot fail to perfathers, athletic men, basked in the ceive or to feel the unity which is their sun'; robbery and barbarities looked
effect. Read, for instance, the voyage pon as honorable deeds; men stabbed of James II. to Ireland: no picture is from behind or burnt alive ; repulsive more curious. Is it, however, nothing food, coarse oats, and cakes made of the more than a curious picture ? When blood of a live cow, offered to guests the king arrived at Cork, there were no as a mark of favor and politeness ; in- horses to be found. The country is a fected hovels where men lay on the bare desert. No more industry, cultivation, ground, and where they woke up half civilization, since the English and Protsmothered, half blinded by the smoke, estant colonists were driven out, roband half mad with the itch.
The bed, and slain. James was received next instant he stops to mark a change between two hedges of half-naked Rap; in the public taste, the horror then ex; parees, armed with skeans, ştakes, and perienced on account of these brigands'half-pikes ; under his horse's feet they ereats, this country of wild rocks and spread by way of carpet the rough barren moors; the admiration now felt frieze manties, such as the brigands for this land of heroic warriors, this and shepherds wore. He was offered country of grand mountains, seething garlands of cabbage stalks for crowns waterfalls, picturesque defiles. He of laurel. In a large district he only · finds in the progress of physical welfare found two carts. The palace of the the causes of this moral revolution, lord-lieutenant in Dublin was so ill and concludes that, if we praise moun- built, that the rain drenched the rooms. tains and an uncivilized life, it is because The king left for Ulster ; the French we are satiated with security. He is officers thought they were travelling * Macaulay, i. a; History of England before
through the deserts of Arabia.” The the Restoration, ch. i.
Count d'Avaux wrote to the French
(ourt, that to get one truss of hay they|te de reminded of a disposition or a had to send five or six miles. At quality which explains it? No; for Charlemont, with great difficulty, as a since it has for a cause a whole matter of favor, they obtained a bag of situation and a whole character, I oatmeal for the French legation. The must see at one glance, and in absuperior officers lay in dens which they stract, the whole character and situawould have thought too foul for their tion which produced it. Genius con dogs. The Irish soldiers were half-centrates. It is measured by the num savage marauders, who could only ber of recollections and ideas which it shout, cut throats, and disband. Ill assembles in one point. That which fed on potatoes and sour milk, they Macaulay has assembled is enormous cast themselves like starved men on I know no historian who has a surer the great flocks belonging to the Prot- better furnished, better regulated memestants. They greedily tore the flesh ory. When he is relating the action of oxen and sheep, and swallowed it of a man or a party, he sees in an inhalf raw and half rotten. For lack of stant all the events of his history, and kettles they cooked it in the skin. all the maxims of his conduct ; he has When Lent began, the plunderers all the details present; he remembers generally ceased to devour, but con. them every moment, and a great many tinued to destroy: A peasant would of them. He has forgotten nothing; he kill a cow merely in order to get a pair runs through them as easily, as comof brogues. At times a band slaught- pletely, as surely, as on the day when er fifty or sixty beasts, took the he enumerated or wrote them. No skins, and left the bodies to poison the one has so well taught or known hisair. The French ambassador reckoned tory. He is as much steeped in it as that in six weeks, there had been slain his personages. The ardent Whig or 50,000 horned cattle, which were rot. Tory, experienced, trained to business, ting on the ground. They counted who rose and shook the House, had the number of the sheep and lambs not more numerous, better arranged, slain at 400,000. Cannot the result of more precise arguments. He did not the rebellion be seen beforehand ? better know the strength and weakness What could be expected of these glut- of his cause ; he was not more familiar conous serfs, so stupid and savage ? with the intrigues, rancors, variation What could be drawn from a devastated of parties, the chances of the strife, land, peopled with robbers ? To what individual and public interests. The kind if discipline could these maraud- great novelists penetrate the soul of ers and butchers be subjected? What their characters, assume their feelings, resistance will they make on the Boyne, ideas, language; it seems as if Balzac when they see William's old regiments, had been a commercial traveller, a fe the furious squadrons of French ref- male door-keeper, a courtesan, an old ugees, the enraged and insulted Prot- maid, a poet, and that he had spent estants of Londonderry and Ennis- his life in being each of these person. killen, leap into the river and run with ages: his existence is multiplied, and uplifted swords against their muskets ? his name is legion. With a different They will flee, the king at their head; talent, Macaulay has the same power: and the minute anecdotes scattered an incomparable advocate, he pleads amidst the account of receptions, voy- an infinite number of causes ; and he i ages, and ceremonies, will have an is master of each cause, as fully as his nounced the victory of the Protestants. client. He has answers for all objecThe history of manners is thus seen to tions, explanations for all obscurities, be involved in the history of events; reasons for all tribunals. He is ready the one is the cause of the other, and at every moment, and on all parts
of the description explains the narrative. his case. It seems as if he had beet
It is not enough to see some causes ; Whig, Tory, Puritan, Member of the we must see a great many of them. Privy Council, Ambassador. He is Every event has a multitude. Is it not á poet like Michelet; he is not a enough for me, if I wish to understand philosopher like Guizot; but he pos the action of Marlborough or of James, sesses so well all the oratorical powen
he accumulates and arranges so many should make no allowance for the imperfection facts, he holds them so closely in his of his materials, his whole apparatus of beams,
wheels, and ropes would soon come down in hand, he manages them with so much ruin, and, with all his geometrical skill, he ease and vigor, that he succeeds in re would be found a far inferior builder to those composing the whole and harmonious painted barbarians who, though they never woof of history, not losing or separat- to pile up Stonehenge. What the engir.cer !
heard of the parallelogram of forces, managed ing one thread
The poet reanimates to the mathematician, the active statesman is the dead; the philosopher formulates to the contemplative statesman. It is indeed creative laws; the orator knows, ex- most important that legislators and administra, fjunds, and pleads causes. The poet government, as it is most important that the
tors should be versed in the philosophy of jesuscitates souls, the philosopher architect who has to fix an obelisk on its pecomposes a system, the orator redis- destal, or to hang a tubular bridge over an poses chains of arguments ; but all estuary, should be versed in the philosophy of three march towards the same end by actually to build must bear in mind many
equilibirium and motion. But, as he who has different routes, and the orator as well things never noticed by D'Alembert and Euler, as his rivals, and by other, means than so must he who has actually to govern be per his rivals, reproduces in his work the petually guided by considerations to which no
allusion can be found in the writings of Adam unity and complexity of life.
Smith or Jérémy Bentham. The perfect lawA second feature of this history is giver is a just temper between the mere man clearness. It is popular ; no one ex
of theory, who can see nothing but general plains better, or so much, as Macaulay. principles, and the mere man of þusiness, who
can see nothing but particular circumstances. It seems as if he were making a wager of lawgivers in whom the speculative element with his reader, and said to him : Be has prevailed to the exclusion of the practical, as absent in mind, as stupid, as ignorant the world has during the last eighty years been as you please ; in vain you will be ab- singularly fruitful. "To their wisdom Europe
and America have owed scores of abortive consent in mind, you shall listen to me; in stitutions, scores of constitutions which have vain you will be stupid, you shall under- lived just long enough to make a miserable stand ; in vain you will be ignorant, noise, and have then gone off in convulsions.
But in English legislation the practical element you shall learn. I will repeat the same has always predominated, and not seldom up. idea in so many different forms, I will duly predominated, over the speculative. To make it sensible by such familiar and think nothing of symmetry and much of conprecise examples, I will announce it so venience; never to remove an anomaly merely
because it is an anomaly; never to innovato clearly at the beginning, I will resume except when some grievance is felt; never to it so carefully at the end, I will mark innovate except so far as to get rid of the grieva the divisions so well, follow the order ance; never to lay down any proposition of of ideas so exactly, I will display so
wider extent than the particular case for which great a desire to enlighten and con- which have, from the age of John to the age of
it is necessary to provide ; these are the rules vince you, that you cannot help being Victoria, generally guided the deliberations of enlightened and convinced. He cer
our two hundred and fifty Parliaments." * tainly thought thus, when he was pre- Is the idea still obscure or doubtful ? paring the following passage on the law Does it still need proofs, illustrations ? which, for the first time, granted to Do we wish for any thing more? You Dissenters the liberty of exercising answer, No; Macaulay answers, Yes. i heir worship :
After the general explanation comes "Of till the Acts that have ever been passed the particular ; after the theory, the
; ng Parliament, the Toleration Act is perhaps application; after the theoretical deraon. that whic': most strikingly illustrates the pecu- stration, the pratical. We would fain har vices and the peculiar excellences of English legislation. The science
but he proceeds : Politics
stop; in one respect a close analogy to the science of “The Toleration Act approaches very near Mechanics. The mathematician can easily to the idea of a great English law. To a jur. demonstrate that a certain power, applied by ist, versed in the theory of legislation, but not means of a certain lever or of a certain system intimately acquainted with the temper of the of pulleys, will suffice to raise a certain weight. sects and parties into which the nation was But his demonstration proceeds on the sup- divided at the time of the Revolution, that position that the machinery is such as no load Act would seem to be a mere chaos of absurdwill bend or break. If the engineer, who has ities and contradictions. It will not bear to be to lift a great mass of real granite by the in- tried by sound general principles. Nay, it will strumentality of real timber and real hemp, should absolutely rely on the propositions * Macaulay, ü. 463. History of England which be inds it treatises on Dynamics, and ch. xi.