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struggles for power are now fast waning into history, it is too much to hope, perhaps to desire, until the education of mankind shall more nearly approach its completion, that strong differences of opinion and feeling should cease to agitate the scenes on which freemen are called to discharge political duties. But the mind of the staunchest partisan, expanded by the knowledge and embellished by the graces which your Athenæum nurtures, will find its own chosen range of political associations dignified-the weapons of its warfare not blunted, but ornamented and embossed
or forsake him;-while the voluntary toils of | thundered as the watchwords of unnumbered associated labour and study shall nourish among you friendships, not like the slight alliances of idle pleasure, to vanish with the hour they gladdened, but to endure through life with the products of the industry which fed them; while in those high casuistries which your most ambitious discussions shall engender, the ardent reasoner shall recognise here the beatings of the soul against the bars of its clay tenement, and gather even from the mortal impediments that confound and baffle it, assurance that it is winged to soar into an ampler and diviner ether than invests his earthly heritage; while the mind and heart of Manchester, turning the very alloy and dross of its condition to noble uses, even as its mechanists transmute the coarsest substances to flame and speed, shall expand beyond the busy confines of its manufactures and commerce to listen to the harmonies of the universe;-while, vindicating the power of the soul to be its own place, it shall draw within the narrow and dingy walls to which duty may confine the body, scenes touched with colours more fair and lovely than "ever were by sea or land," or trace in each sullen mass of dense and hovering vapour,
"A forked mountain, a blue promontory. With trees upon 't that nod into the world, And mock our eyes with air;"
and, instead of cherishing an ignorant attachment to a symbol, a name, or a ribbon, expressed in vulgar rage, infuriated by intemperance to madness, blindly violating the charities of life, and disturbing sometimes its holiest domestic affections-it shall grow calm in the assertion of principle, disdain the suggestions of expediency, even as those of corruption, and partake of the refinement which distance lends, while "with large discourse looking before and after," he expands his prospect to the dim horizon of human hopes, and seeks his incentives and examples in the tragic pictures of history. A politician thus instructed and ennobled, who adopts the course which most inclines to the conservation of establishments, will not support the objects of his devotion with a mere obstinate adherence, while it shall give the last and noblest proof of chiefly because they oppose barriers to the the superiority of spirit over matter by com- aims of his opponents, but will learn to revere manding, by its own naked force, as by an en- in them the grandeur of their antiquity, the chanter's wand, the presence of those shapes human affections they have sheltered and nurof beauty and power which have hitherto nurtured, the human experiences which mantle tured the imagination in the solitude and still-round them, and the inward spirit which has ness of their realities;-while the glory of such institutions shall illumine the fiercest rapids of commercial life with those consecrating gleams which shall disclose in every small mirror of smooth water which its tumultuous eddies may circle, a steady reflection of some fair and peaceful image of earthly loveliness, or some glory of cloud or sky, preserving amidst the most passionate impulses of earth some traces of the serenity of heaven;-then may we exult as the chariot of humanity flies onward with safety in its speed, for we shall discover, like Ezekiel of old, in prophetic vision, the spirit in its wheels!
rendered them vital; while he who pants for important political changes will no longer anticipate, in the removal of those things which he honestly regards as obstacles to the advancement of his species, a mere dead level, or a vast expanse redeemed only from vacancy by the cold diagrams of theory, but will hail the dawning years as thronged by visions of peaceful happiness; and, as all great sentiments, like all great passions, however opposite may be their superficial aspects, have their secret affinities, so may these champions and representatives of conflicting parties, at the very height of the excitation produced by the energy of their struggle, break on a sense of kindred, if not of their creeds, at least of their
There is yet one other aspect in which I would contemplate your association before I enter on the more delightful part of my duty-memories and their hopes-embrace the past that in which success is certain-the soliciting for you the addresses of distinguished men, some of them attached to your welfare as well by local ties as by general sympathy, others gladly attending on your invitation, who feel your cause to be their cause, the cause of their generation and of the future. It is that in which its influences will be perceived, not merely banishing from this one night's eminence, raised above the level of common life, and devoted by knowledge to kindness, all sense of political differences, but softening, gracing, and ennobling the spirit of party itself as long as it must continue active. For although party's out-worn moulds have been shivered, and names which have flashed and
and the future in one glorious instant, conscious, at once, of those ancient anticipations with which the youth of the past was inspired, when the point we have attained was faintly discerned at the verge of its horizon by the intensest vision of its philosophy, and grasping and embracing the genial idea of the future as richest in the ever-accumulating past which time prepares for its treasure. Then shall they join in hailing, as now we hail from this neutral eminence, the gradual awakening of individual man of every class, colour, and clime, to a full consciousness of the loftiness of his origin, the majesty of his duties, the glories of his destiny. Then shall they rejoice with us in the assurance that, as he con
quers the yet desert regions of the earth which | conquests of civilization, shall new Athenæums. was given him to be replenished and subdued, arise, framed on your model-vocal with your the same magic by which you are here ena- language-inspired with your hopes-to echo bled to let in on the densest population the air back the congratulations which shall be wafted and feeling of mountain solitude, will, in turn, to them even from this place, on each succeedbreathe through the opening wilderness the ing anniversary, if not by yourselves, by your genial refinements of old society; that, as the children and your children's children, and yet forest yields to his stout heart and sturdy arm, more remote descendants, and to bless the the dominion of imagination and fancy will names of those who, amidst the toils, the cares, extend before him, their powers investing the and the excitements of a season of transition glades he opens with poetic visions, shedding and struggle, rescued the golden hours of the the purple light of love through thickets and youth around them from debasing pleasures groves till then unthreaded, and touching the and more debasing sloth, and enabled them to extremest hills, when first disclosed to the set to the world, in a great crisis of its moral human eye, with the old familiar hues of condition, this glorious example of intellectual Christian hope and joy. Then, in the remotest courage and progress.*
LORD ELDON AND LORD STOWELL.
[QUARTERLY REVIEW, DEC. 1844.]
THE remarkable success which has attended thus appreciated, vividly suggests the rememthe publication of Mr. Twiss's Life of Lord brance of a kindred instance of industry, Chancellor Eldon is a striking proof of the worth, and success-less prominently placed deep and enduring interest which attaches to before the world, because less intimately assothe character it develops. More than six ciated with its contests and its changes, but years had then elapsed since Lord Eldon's not less crowned with emolument and honour, death, and many more since he ceased to dig- and hardly less fertile of instruction-that of nify the highest seat of British Justice-or to Lord Eldon's elder brother, Lord Stowell; and influence, except by the weight of reputation if each life is worthy of separate contemplaand age, the discussions and the conflicts of tion, both are attended with additional interest the busy world. The principal incidents of his when considered as springing from one source, life were too well known to leave room for the and fostered in the same nurture. That two gratification of curiosity-the political scenes sons of a reputable tradesman in a provincial in which he moved had passed from the arena town at the extremity of England, devoting of living things without having reached an their powers to different branches of the same historical distance-and yet the sale of these profession, should attain the highest honours three massive volumes has exceeded that of which could be achieved in the course which any similar work within our recollection. each had chosen-and that each, after attainThis success has not, we think, been height- ing an age far beyond that usually allotted to ened by the courtly revelations and piquant man, should leave, with a magnificent fortune, anecdotes with which the work is diversified a name indestructibly associated with the desome of which, indeed, so far impair its effect partment in which his work was performedas to suggest the wish we expressed for their is a moral phenomenon not worthy only of excision-but has arisen purely from the inte- national pride, but of respectful scrutiny. rest excited by a vigorous, honest, and affec- This similarity in the results of the labours tionate delineation of the character and the of these two brothers is rendered more refortunes of a great Englishman of sturdy na-markable by the points of strong difference ture, by a hand peculiarly fitted for its office. This remarkable career, thus depicted and
*TO SERJEANT TALFOURD,
O'er the white urn that held the sacred heart
Won the whole world by its enchanting spells;
To lure mankind to death her voice was given;
between their intellectual qualities and tastes, as developed in their mature years: inviting us to inquire what faculties were inherent in their youth; how far they were affected by early education; how far varied by the circumstances of their history.
The incidents of Lord Stowell's life, not supplying materials for voluminous biography, are laboriously collected and admirably detailed in an Essay in the "Law Magazine," apparently from the pen which, in a series of papers, seemed to have done enough for Lord Eldon's fame, until Mr. Twiss proved how much more might be achieved by happier opportunity and larger scope. Fortunately, however, the intellectual triumphs of the elder
Scott were of a nature capable of preservation as they will be found recorded entire in the Reports of his judicial decisions, of which Dr. Haggard's form the most interesting specimen, as they relate to a class of cases in which manners and affections are frequently involved, and were corrected by the judge himself with sedulous nicety. It is a subject of deep regret that his Lectures on History, which he delivered at Oxford from the Chair of the Camden Professorship, have hitherto been withheld from the world. Of these lectures Dr. Parr writes:-"To these discourses, which, when delivered before an academical audience, captivated the young and interested the old-which are argumentative without formality, and brilliant without gaudiness-and in which the happiest selection of topics was united with the most luminous arrangement of matter-it cannot be unsafe for me to pay the tribute of my praise, because every hearer was an admirer, and every admirer will be a witness." The writer of the article in the "Law Magazine" confirms a rumour we have elsewhere heard, that "a copy of those lectures, transcribed with all the care and accuracy which their noble author was accustomed to bestow on his labours, exists in manuscript;" and we cordially join in this hope "that no false delicacy will prevent their publication," as we feel assured that they will gratify a similar curiosity to that which Gibbon expressed, and justify even Dr. Parr's architectural praise. It would be interesting, for a different reason, to recover the Essay by which the younger Scott, when scarcely twentyone years of age, obtained the prize of English Composition at Oxford-"On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Foreign Travel,"-a subject far removed from his experience, alien from his studies, and which, therefore, would seem to have owed its success either to the ingenuity of its suggestions, or the graces of its style. As, in after-life, the essayist was never distinguished for felicity of expression or fertility of illustration, and acquired a style not only destitute of ornament, but unwieldy and ponderous, this youthful success suggests the question-Whether, in devoting all his powers to the study of the law, he crushed the faculty of graceful composition with so violent an effort, that Nature, in revenge, made his ear dull to the music of language, and involved, though she did not darken his wisest words?
customary severities made more sweet-had the same influence at first as at last: no favour was shown to the youth of one generation more than to that of one degree over another; and the results seem to have been equally uniform-the insurance of that "holy habit of obedience," which is not only the most wholesome, but the happiest state of boyhood; and of a life-long affection to the veteran distributor of justice and praise, which the modern instructor-who, instead of the master, governing by old rules, is the instrument of new theories-can never hope to enjoy. Each of these celebrated pupils of Mr. Moises delighted in the opportunity which after-life afforded him of acknowledging his obligations to this excellent person; and each testified his gratitude in a manner appropriate to his position, and perhaps characteristic of his nature: Lord Eldon, by the substantial promotion of their schoolmaster, till the good old man declined all worldly favours, and then by transferring them to his son; and Lord Stowell, by contributing to his monument an inscription of graceful and just praise, expressed in Latin, which Dr. Parr might envy.
Among the lawyers who have emerged from that rank which the honest coal-fitter of Newcastle adorned, few have enjoyed, like his sons, the blessings of an education completed at one of our old English Universities. Many youths of such parentage, by means equally honourable to their own ambition and industry, have worked and cut their way through the, impediments of fortune to forensic eminence-perhaps acquiring, from the difficulties with which they have struggled, nerve and courage for the painful controversies in which they aspired to mingle-and deriving from the varieties of "many-coloured life" with which they were personally conversant, "a learned spirit of human dealing," which they were able forcibly and happily to apply to the sudden exigencies of their professional career. But no such advantages can supply, however they may sometimes compensate for, the want of that protective influence, extended over opening manhood, which, superseding the restraints of school by a more generous and appropriate discipline, delays the fever and turmoil of life for a few of life's happiest years-which presents to yet unworldly ambition the achievements of praise and fame, before it is compelled to seek the lower rewards The school-day annals of the brothers dis- of fortune-which, amidst the flutterings of close no trace of difference between them: expectation and beneath the uncertain gleams unless the statement of their various recollec- of fancy, lays the deep and sure foundation of tions of the Sunday sermon-William gives a principle to be cemented in the mind amidst lucid detail of its substance, and John an ex- pliant affections-and which blends the veneact detail of portions-may be so regarded: ration for ancient things with the aspirations which may scarcely be, when it is recollected of hope and the quickenings of joy. The that if they were required to perform the ex- youth who, quitting school, has been initiated ercise at the same time, there was a difference at once into the perplexities of the law as in their ages of six years. That interval-practised in the most respectable attorney's long as a section of school-boy life-implies, however, no variety in the system of their education for Mr. Moises, the master of the ancient grammar-school of their native town, one of the best " of the old leven," admitted no innovations: the stern requisition-the unspared rod-the hearty commendation, which
office, or immersed amidst its more refined technicalities in the chambers of an eminent pleader, will acquire an earlier aptitude in some points of practical routine and pigeon-hole knowledge; but, unless gifted with some rare felicity of nature, will be less prepared for the systematic acquisition of legal learning, than
he whose mind has been restrained and braced amidst academical studies. It is, indeed, of the greatest importance that he should look abroad upon humanity from a Seat of Learning, before he enters on a pursuit which will be to him either a science or a puzzle, as he is prepared to trace its details from its principles-or compelled to master them for immediate use, and to retain them by the painful and harassing process of unrefreshed and almost artificial memory.
Lord Eldon, and his great opponent in the State Trials of 1794, Lord Erskine, entered on the profession which, with far differing powers and in various courses, each exalted, under personal circumstances strikingly similareach having the favourite qualifications of Lord Thurlow-a wife, and no hope of fortune but in his own exertions and success. them that profession presented aspects as dissimilar as their capacities and their dispositions, on each of which we will glance for a moment, before accompanying Lord Eldon to his choice, his career, and his reward.
Lord Eldon-who, although so much the younger of the brothers, was the first impelled to enter on the study of the law, by the pres- There is no section of this world's hopes sure of need, consequent on an early and and struggles which is replete with so much happy marriage-had not forestalled, by any animation of contest and such frequent recurdirect preparation, the weight of professional rence of triumphant result, as the practice of labour; but he was eminently fitted by the the Common Law Bar before juries, as it was constitution of his moral nature, and by the exulted in by Erskine-graced by Scarlettdiscipline with which it had been trained, for variegated by Brougham-and elucidated by the arduous path he selected. It is delightful Lyndhurst. The grotesque and passionate to contemplate him, in the pages of Mr. Twiss, forms of many-coloured life with which the as first settled in his dark and obscure abode advocate becomes familiar; the truths stranger in London, engaged in gigantic labours-ex- than fiction, of which he is the depositary, cited only by the prospect of far-distant suc- and which, implicitly believing, he sometimes cess, seen through a long avenue of toil, and thinks too improbable to offer to the belief of cheered only by the unwearied affection of her others; the multitude of human affections for whose sake he had relinquished learned and fortunes of which he becomes, in turn, ease, and who watched through the hours of not only the representative, but the sharer, midnight study by his side. As he had been passioned for the hour, even as those who fortunate above most youths of his rank in have the deepest stake in the issue;-render life in the achievement of University associ- his professional life almost like a dazzling ations, so he was favoured in the constancy, chimera, a waking dream. For let it not or perhaps in the inaptitude, which withheld be supposed, that because he is compelled, him from seeking those aids to his scanty re- by the laws of retainer, to adopt any cause sources which many honourable aspirants to which may be offered to him in the regular professional honours have sought and found course of his practice-with some extreme in literary exertions. Without meaning dis- exceptions-that, therefore, he is often the paragement to those who have availed them- conscious advocate of wrong. To him are selves of such assistance, and, unseduced by presented those aspects of the case which it the premature gratifications of authorship, wears to the party who seeks his aid, and who, have won the rewards of graver toil, we may therefore, scarcely appears to him as stripped regard it as a happiness to an incipient law- of claim to an honest sympathy. Is the rule yer to be able and willing to hold his course of law, too, probably against him :-there are without them. It too often happens that the reasons, which cannot be exhibited to the immediate gifts of early praise fascinate and court, but which are the counsel's "in pridazzle the mind so as to indispose it for pa- vate," why, in this instance, to relax or evade tient labour; that the pleasure of imbodying it will be to attain substantial justice. Does the cherished thoughts of boyhood, and recog- the client, on the other hand, require of his nising the sympathy of many with them, advocate that he should insist on the " rigour prompts to their imperfect development; and of the game," he only desires to succeed by that the feelings which should spread freshly a course apparently so odious, because techthrough the whole course of life become outworn and faded in the process of rendering them intelligible to the world, and confused to the writer himself by their pale reflection in the quivering mirror of the public mind. No such mental dissipation weakened the intellectual frame of either of the brothers. Even Lord Stowell, whose occupations and tastes, pursued and enjoyed and cherished at Oxford, presented the temptation to seek literary fame, which the success of his lectures heightened-even he thought it better to "bide his time;" resisted all importunities to seek reputation beyond the University he adorned and charmed; and preserved undeveloped his variety of knowledge and exquisite felicity of expression, until they were felt exalting and refining the happiest efforts of his advocacy, and shedding new lustre on judicial wisdom.
nicality will, for once, repair some secret injury, and make even the odds of fortune. Is he guilty of some high crime,—he has his own palliations-his prosecutor seeks his conviction by means which it is virtue to repel,-or some great principle will be asserted by his acquittal. In all cases of directly opposing testimony, the counsel is necessarily predisposed to believe the statements which have first occupied his mind, and to listen to those which would displace his impression with incredulity, if not with anger. And how many cases arise in which there is no absolute right or wrong, truth or falsehood-cases dependent on user; on consent; on waiver; on mental competency, and in which the ultimate question arises less from disputed facts, than from the arguments to be deduced from them;-and all these perplexed, distorted, or irradiated by
competitors were few, he soon found that this was not the scene on which he could fulfil the prophecies which great judges had pronounced on the outset of his career.
But there is another branch, or rather associated branches of this great profession, requiring powers and habits of thought and feeling different, perhaps opposite, to those which should endow the advocate who would be the charmer of the hearts of juries. To study the law as a science; to trace its principles upwards to their source in the early yet ripe wisdom of our English annals, and thence to follow it through the thousand ramifications which extending wealth and population have rendered needful; and thus to acquire that knowledge which may enable its possessor to solve with confidence the most intricate questions, and to present the aspect of each which he is retained to sustain, encrusted with learning, but lucid in outline and clear in result,— is an employment laborious and silent indeed, but not unhappy in its progress nor doubtful
the lights cast on them from the passions and the hopes of the client, to be refracted through the mind and coloured by the fancy of the counsel! In the majority of his causes he becomes, therefore, always a zealous, often a passionate partisan; lives in the life of every cause (often the most momentous part of his client's life)—" burns with one love, with one resentment glows,"-and never ceases to hope, to struggle, or to complain,―till the next cause is called on, and he is involved in a new world of circumstances, passions, and affections. Sometimes it will be his province to track the subtle windings of fraud, pursuing its dark unwearied course beneath the tramplings of busy life; to develop, in lucid array, a little history or cluster of histories, tending to one great disclosure; to combine fragments of scattered truths into a vivid picture; or to cast the light from numerous facts on secret guilt, and render it almost as palpable to belief as if disclosed to vision. At another time, the honour or the life of man may tremble in his hands; he may be the last prop of sink-in its reward. To succeed in this course, a ing hope to the guilty or the sole refuge clasped clear and sound understanding, a retentive by the innocent; or, called on to defend the and not fastidious memory, an untiring indussubject against the power of state prosecution, try, either finding or creating a love of its may give to the very forms and quibbles with work, are all that is required; but how rare which ancient liberty was fenced, a dignity, are these qualities, compared to the lower deand breathe over them a magic power. Some-grees of those which are deemed loftier-or times it will be his privilege to pierce the how rarely do they withstand the temptations darkness of time, guided by mouldering char- of pleasure or the more dangerous seductions ters and heroic names; or, tracing out the of the listlessness and dreamy inaction which fibres of old relationships, to explore dim are the besetting sins of studious life! The monuments and forgotten tombs, retracing student who is brave enough to embrace such with anxious gaze those paths of common a course with heroic devotion, has objects life which have been so lightly trodden as to strongly defined before him in the horizon of retain faint impress of the passenger. One his mind; for him hour is linked to hour, and day he may touch the heart with sympathy for day to day, by the continuous effort to ap"the pangs of despised love," or glow indig-proach them; and his life, instead of being nantly at the violation of friendship, and ask, for wrongs beyond all appreciation, as much money as the pleader's imagination has dared to claim as damages; the next he may implore commiseration for human frailty, and preach nothing but charity and forgiveness. The sentiment of antiquity-the dawnings of hope -the sanctity of the human heart in its strength and its weaknesses, are among the subjects presented in rapid succession to his grasp;-with the opportunity sometimes, in moments of excitement, when his audience are raised by the solemnity of the occasion above the level of their daily thoughts, to give hints of beauty and grace which may gleam for a moment only, but will never be forgotten by his delighted hearers. In this sphere, Erskine moved triumphant ;-lending his pliant sensibility to every modification of human feeling he touched on-gay, grave, pitying, humourous, pathetic, by turns-casting all himself into every subject, and forgetting himself within it, and shedding on the world of Nisi Prius hues of living beauty, which seemed to glance and tremble over it. Mr. Scott touched on the verge of his sphere in his circuits; but though an earnestness which all clients admire, a humour not too refined for the most vulgar apprehension, and a temper always under control, procured for him some business at the Assizes in days when
dissipated among various pursuits, and fretted by doubts and vanities, is massed by the coherence of its habits into one consistent whole, and acquires a dignified harmony. By toiling thus in an artificial world, the great lawyer not rarely preserves to old age the simplicity and the freshness of childhood,--moving about as unconscious of the fever of life as a shepherd whose experience is bounded by his native mountains.
When Lord Eldon entered on his studies, the English law formed a body of old principles and modern instances, far better adapted to animate and reward such a career than its present condition. Although even then greatly increased in bulk since the palmy days of its first expositors, it was not, as now, perplexed by multitudes of statutes, expressed in the barbarous jargon peculiar to modern legislation, oppressing the understanding and "darkening counsel with words without knowledge;" nor bound up or frittered away by new rules, fashioned more on imagined expediency than on principle, and presenting an array of volu minous discords which may well strike a student with dismay, and induce him, in des-pair of acquiring a mastery over the whole, torest contented with such knowledge of indexes, "small pricks to their subsequent volumes," as may enable him to find some authority to quote, or some expedient to grasp, on the exi