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With an income of about five [above six] thousand pounds a-year, a mere pittance for a person of his birth and rank, it is no wonder that poverty prevented him from ever giving fifty pounds, or even five, to any man of talents; for he considered an ascetic life as very beneficial to the mental powers. Modesty also forbad his making presents, or doing any essential services to artists or authors, who might perhaps in their idle emotions of gratitude, have proclaimed the benefits received. This he avoided by silently transmitting his money to the bank, that he might cut up fat in a rich and titled will ; or by laying out on some breviary, or bauble of the days of Queen Bess, what might have saved genius from despair, might have invigorated the hand of industry, and have secured the purest and most lasting of all kinds of reputation, the celestial fame of goodness and beneficence.
* The ruling passion, repeatedly elucidated above, is strongly marked in his last will. Though he had many ingenious friends, not one slight memorial appears of his love of genius or talents.'-Walpoliana, pp. xxxvi.xli.
Pinkerton himself was perhaps disappointed in some pecuniary expectations which he may have formed, and some of the mingled irony and sarcasm of the last extracts may be attributed to that cause; but the justice of the general imputation of parsimony and selfishness is unquestionable.
There are two other points mentioned in the Walpoliana' that deserve notice. In mentioning some differences with his old friend Mason, the poet, Walpole says :
‘Mason condoled with me on the death of my brother, by which I lost 14001. a-year.
In my answer I told him that there was no room for condolence in the affair, my brother having attained the age of seventyseven, and myself being an old man of sixty-eight-so it was time for the old child to give over buying baubles. I added that Mr. Mason knew that it had been twice offered to me for my own life, but I had refused, and left it on the old footing of my brother's.'-Ibid., p. 91. But he probably did not tell either Mason or Pinkerton that this offer, so generously refused, was a reply to an application by Walpole to ministers, to add his own life to the patent, which was only for his brother Edward's. The ministers, though they were unwilling to grant this great reversion for another life, did not choose to disoblige so peevish and factious a politician who had considerable underhand influence, and offered, if he could get his brother Edward to surrender his interest, to insert his own
-the younger-life. This, we presume, Horace could not ask Sir Edward to do; and thus it was, that out of a very dirty attempt to get this place, he arrogates to himself the credit of having refused it.
There is another passage that, in order to complete to the best of our information Walpole's character, we are obliged to quote.
Walpole professed infidelity-we must call it professing, to have made such an auto da fé to Pinkerton as the following, in which, notwithstanding one just and forcible expression, there is a miseable spirit of irrationality and quibble:
Atheism I dislike. It is gloomy, uncomfortable, and, in my eye, unnatural and irrational. It certainly requires more credulity to believe there is no God than to believe there is. The fair creation, those magnificent heavens, the fruit of matter and chance! Oh! impossible.
• I go to church sometimes in order to induce my servants to go to church. I am no hypocrite. I do not go in order to persuade them to believe what I do not believe myself. A good moral sermon may instruct and benefit them. I only set them an example of listening, not of believing.'-p. 78.
The disliking atheism, as uncomfortable to my Lord Orford, is quite as silly as that selfish absurdity which he was so fond of ridiculing—that · Mr. Somebody's breaking his leg was very inconvenient to my Lord Castlecomer'—though we forgive it for that fine stroke at the credulous incredulity of the atheist; but his poor sophistry, and his miserable antithesis between setting examples of listening and believing, is not merely contemptible as a matter of taste or reason, but entirely false in point of fact, for people go to listen at that place only because they profess to believe; and therefore Walpole was guilty of a fraudulent deception in performing an outward act which the world would understand as testifying a belief which, he says, he did not really mean to countenance. We have very little reliance on Pinkerton, and we should be willingly persuaded that he had in this story attributed his own vulgarity and infidelity to Walpole. Pinkerton has
few of his anecdotes, but we think that this, if accurately stated, must have been spoken-like a good deal of similar, though not equally offensive, political nonsense-some years before the French Revolution, an event which certainly made a great change in Walpole's opinions on both these classes of subjects. We cannot presume to say that it made him a Christian, though it certainly had that effect with a great number of persons who, having like him professed infidelity as a kind of fashionable philosophy, were brought to a more serious and rational consideration of the question by the very test suggested by our Saviour himself• You shall know them by their fruits. But it is impossible to read his later letters without feeling that his tone on such subjects is greatly improved. His correspondence with Hannah More, and his affectionate respect for her Christian virtues which takes a tone almost of enthusiasm very unlike all the rest of his correspondence, warrant at least a charitable and not unreasonable hope
that his sagacious mind may have received some benefit from the greatest practical lesson that ever was given to the civilized world,
One of the most amiable passages we can find in these letters is a description of Sir Robert Walpole contrasted with an humble, and for this time we believe sincere, estimate of Horace's own character. When, in consequence of his nephew's insanity, he was obliged to go down to Houghton to arrange the family affairs, the melancholy of the occasion and the recollections, by turns elevating and humiliating, which that monument of ruined grandeur recalled, seem to have inspired him with feelings very unusual in his correspondence, and very infrequent, we fear, in his heart.
My administration is an epitome of greater scenes; and happily I enter upon it at an age when every passion is cooled. I shall be inexcusable if I do anything but right. My father alone was capable of acting on one great plan of honesty from the beginning of his life to the end. He could for ever wage war with knaves and malice, and preserve his temper; could know men and yet feel for them; could smile when opposed, and be gentle after triumph. He was steady, without being eager; and successful without being vain. He forgot the faults of others and his own merits; and was as incapable of fear as of doing wrong. Oh! how unlike him I am! how passionate, timid, and vainglorious! How incapable of copying him even in a diminutive sphere ! In short, I have full as much to correct in myself as to control in others, and I must look into my own breast as often as into bills and accounts." vol. ii. p. 250. When he wrote these touches of Sir Robert's character, he seems to have had in his memory Pope's beautiful tribute to that wise and good-natured minister
Seen him I have—but in his happier hour
Smile without art, and win without a bribe !' We conclude with repeating our regret that we are obliged to leave Walpole's personal character in a very dubious and unsatisfactory state; and that he who has bequeathed to posterity so magnificent a gallery of contemporary portraits, should have left so superficial, as well as, to our eyes, so unfavourable a picture of himself. We strongly suspect that his unpublished papers contain important materials for his private history; but we very much doubt-however they may maintain the reputation of the author -whether they will increase the very limited esteem we have for the man.
Art. IX.-1. The Crisis Unmasked. By Eneas Macdonnell
Esq. pp. 36. London, 1843. 2. The Spirit of the Nation. pp. 76. Dublin, 1843. 3. Irish Landlords, Rents, and Tenures; with some Observations
on the Effects of the Voluntary System, by which their Church is Supported, on the Moral and Social Condition of the Roman
Catholic Population. By an Irish Roman Catholic Landholder. THE pruriency for legislation has become of late years the
subject of universal and, we think, just complaint. Sometimes attacked by ridicule, sometimes by argument, it seems, as a general thesis, admitted to have grown up into a serious mischief; but, so inconsistent are the opinions and practices even of legislators themselves, that while all agree that law-making, like other manufactures, has exhibited sad proofs of over-production, there are few individuals who have not some special topic of their own on which they would willingly bring in a bill,' and still fewer who do not write and talk as if-for every ill or accident that can disturb or distress any class of society—there must needs be in the unexplored depths of legislation some occult specific: and parliaments are disparaged, and governments censured, for not finding remedies for diseases which are no more within the immediate control of governments, or even of parliaments, than climates and seasons.
This unwholesome appetite for doing something'-as if doing ' something'—though no one specifies what-were a magical remedy for every possible complaint—is doubly mischievous, for it tends to drive a weak ministry, like that of Lord Melbourne, into a system of temporary expedients and giddy innovation, while, on the other hand, it deludes the people into false and dangerous estimates of what they have a right to expect from the legitimate powers and duties of a government. These opinions are not new with us.
We have stated them on more than one occasion during Lord Melbourne's administrationin palliation of his weakness when he was forced to obey, and in approbation of the rare instances in which he ventured to resist, the dictation of those who professed themselves his followers that they might continue his masters. We repeat them to-daythough assuredly her Majesty's present ministers require no such lesson-because we regret to think that there are others who do. Sir Robert Peel has shown no disposition to purchase dishonest popularity, either in parliament or the country, by professing to cure diseases which he knows to be beyond the reach of ministerial remedies. Nor is he to be intimidated by Irish sedition,
nor wearied by the obstinacy of parliamentary faction, nor won or warped, by insidious counsels or short-sighted criticism, from the calm and conciliatory, but resolute policy of his cabinet. For ourselves we profess, even now while clouds are still overhanging so many points of the horizon, our perfect confidence in the ultimate and even the early triumph of that policy in all its objects.
The objections to it arise from quarters so diametrically opposite, and rest on arguments so essentially contradictory, that little more would be necessary for its defence than to array its antagonists against each other. One of these parties is naturally the Opposition, whose views and motives we have no difficulty in appreciating; the other is not so easily designated, nor is the precise extent of any dissatisfaction or alarm they may feel at all defined. They are members of the Conservative majority, both in and out of Parliament, who, however, on the two great questions of agricultural protection and the repeal agitation* are impatient of anything that looks like hesitation and compromise, and would have desired to see something more energetic in the mode in which the administration has dealt with these topics. We need hardly say that in the general principles of these gentlemen we cordially concur—their objects have long been our objects Lour difference is merely that we believe those objects are better protected by the discreet defensive and precautionary system adopted by the Government than they would be by strong language, which might exasperate instead of intimidating, or by adventurous measures of legislation, which it would be difficult to carry, and perhaps impossible to execute.
Each of these parties has its complaint, and each its counter* We must except from this category four or five young gentlemen, who are known, it seems, by the designation of Young England. Their number is so small, their views so vague, and their influence so slight, that it may seem superfluous to allude to them, but our respect for the personal character of those amongst them of whom we have any knowledge our favourable opinion of their talents, though rather, it must be confessed, of a belles-lettres, than a statesmanlike, character--and a strong sympathy with many of their feelings-induce us to express our surprise and regret that they should not see, even with their own peculiar views, the extreme inconsistency and impolicy of endeavouring to create distrust of the only statesmen in whom the great Conservative body has any confidence, or can have any hope. We make all due allowance for
young ambition,' even when it neglects Shakespeare's wise advice, of beginning with a little diffidence; but we can still find no sufficient justification for the conduct which these gentlemen have recently adopted-particularly for their support of Mr. Smith O'Brien's motion—the most offensive to Old England which had been made for many years. We beg leave, in all kindness, to warn them against being deceived as to the quality of the notice which their singularity has obtained ; it has in it more of wonder than of respect, and will certainly confer on them no permanent consideration with any party or any constituency: a few stray and unexpected shots, fired in the rear of an army, attract more notice than a cannonade in front; but it is an evanescent surprise, soon forgotten, or remembered only to the disadvantage of those whose indiscretion created it.