« PreviousContinue »
one which is now justly esteemed among a statesman's most essential endowments, the firmness necessary to check the march of self-entitled Liberalism, with its train of noisy, lawless camp-followers. But in politics the values of certain qualities wry with the times; and in Mr. Perceval's day, when the best informed classes of society, who now feel it needful to make a stand against progressive movement, were favourable at least to such an amount of change as might adjust the old institutions of the country to its modern exigencies, the unyielding resolution of the Minister found but little sympathy among persons unconnected with his party. So far from being acceounted to him for a virtue, it was set down as his chief defect. With somewhat more of justice, he was reputed to be deficient in extent and comprehensiveness of view. The course of his earlier life had not left him sufficient leisure for studying the general philosophy of politics, and the safe limits of the antagonist forces which mingle in the constitution of a free community. Belonging by birth and connection to a party whose great maxim was to keep things as they were, he had taken it for granted that their prescriptive opinions must be right. Of those opinions he was suddenly called from his profession to become the ministerial champion ; and whatever tended to shake or even qualify them, he regarded as prejudicial to the monarchy and to the Church, to both of which he was sincerely attached. He, therefore, with the dauntless courage of his nature, directed the whole force of a strong and ready, though near-sighted, mind against innovation in general, without sufficiently distinguishing in favour of demonstrated improvement. But his opposition, however zealous, was generous and frank; and though, from the want of early training for that kind of conflict, he was under some disadvantage in his first struggles with the practised politicians of the Whig opposition, yet he took up, and employed with so much quickness, judgment, and spirit, the materials furnished to him by his colleagues and subalterns, that, possessing also the gift of a correct and perspicuous style, he soon became, by the confession of all parties, one of the most powerful debaters of his time. He had personal qualities, too, which contributed materially to his acceptation in debate. His domestic virtues, his fidelity to his friends, his ardent and almost flagrant zeal, his sincerity, his disinterestedness, his unaffected piety, his extensive benevolence and charity, all told upon his parliamentary position, and fortified him as a Minister, by the regard which they won for him as
a man. No kindlier tribute was ever bestowed upon the memory of a rival than the graceful allusion to his death in Mr. Canning's celebrated speech of the 22nd of the following June, on the Roman Calic question:—When I first gave notice of this motion (early in the month of May), I expected that my most formidable antagonist upon it would be my late lamented friend; and I should have argued the question with him in no other spirit and with no other feelings than
* If a brother should a brother dare'
to the proof and exercise of arms. I know not who is to buckle on his armour against me this day. Would to God that he were here to wield his weapons with his own hand —that the cause had the advantage of his abilities, so we had the benefit of his presence,—
“Tuque tuis armis, nos te poteremur, Achille l’’’
“In early life, Lord Londonderry, then Lord Castlereagh, by the measures which he took as a member of the Irish Government for suppressing the rebellion and effecting the Union, had incurred the virulent hatred of the demagogues of Ireland; and his official reputation afterwards sustained much damage from the failure of the Walcheren expedition, fitted out under his management. But when, on the death of Mr. Perceval, he succeeded to be leader of the House of Commons, he evinced powers, both of general counsel and of departmental administration, which rapidly raised him into high esteem ; and the ability with which he negotiated the great settlement of Europe at the conclusion of the war definitively placed him, by general consent, in the foremost rank of the statesmen of his time. Strangers, visiting the gallery of the House of Commons in the expectation of a rhetorical display from its leader, were generally disappointed in Lord Castlereagh, whose ordinary language, abundantly fluent, was wanting both in force and in correctness; —although now and then, on subjects of special excitement, he would rise for a short time into a strain which few of his adversaries could equal. In the judgment, however, of persons who understood the practical objects of Parliamentary debate, his general defects of style were fully compensated by those other more essential merits which he eminently combined— his long experience and accurate knowledge of public affairs—his leading spirit, his clearness and grasp of understanding, his judicious selection of topics, his gallant adherence to his friends and followers, and (which was by no means the least important with such an assembly as the House of Commons) the dignity of his aspect and bearing. So great indeed for many years was his influence, political and personal, in that House and with the higher classes in general, that, although not placed officially at the head of the Government, he enjoyed perhaps a larger share of its credit and power than was possessed by the First Minister of the Crown ; and his loss, while it was sincerely lamented on private grounds, became also, in reference to the consequential arrangements of the Ministry, a subject of the greatest political embarrassment.”—Lord Eldon called his loss quite irreparable.
“The genius of Mr. Canning was of the largest scope and of the finest order. Upon some of those general principles of politics which have become associated with his memory, the judgments of mankind will probably be ever divided; but, even with the most determined of his opponents, it has long ceased to be matter of question, that boldness, originality, and grandeur, were the characteristics of his policy. That policy, too, was essentially English. It was upon English principles that he upheld authority—it was upon English principles that he succoured liberty—it was to English interests, in the most enlarged and generous sense, that his heart and his energies were devoted —and his leading conviction was that * England, to be safe and happy, must be great.’ It was not, however, until his latter years that he reached the full measure of his merited fame. He had attained no small celebrity at college, and even at school; and had acquired, before he was five-and-thirty years of age, great literary distinction and a pre-eminent reputation in the House of Commons. But that loftier praise, which belonged to him as a leader of his country's councils, was reluctantly and slowly conceded. Long before the public in general had recogmised the real extent of his powers, he had been characterised by one of the more discerning and candid of his opponents * as “the first logician in Europe.” But ordinary observers clung to ordinary preju
dices. The combination of solid with brilliant qualities is so rare, that people commonly suppose an abundant sparkling of wit on the surface to indicate a dearth of wisdom beneath. The self-love of the vulgar will not brook to acknowledge any one man as their superior in several distinct departments of mind: and thus it was assumed that the dazzling favourite of the House of Commons could not possibly possess the qualifications of a sound statesman. The full recognition of his superiority was further retarded by another cause which it must be owned that he had himself set in motion—the ill-will of those whom his talent for ridicule had annoyed. The laugh passes away, but the smart remains; and none are more thin-skinned than the thick-witted. Those whom in the buoyancy of his spirits he had satirised, and among whom were found some members even of his own political party, sought their revenge according to their nature, and gave him out as a mercurial, flighty rhetorician, a mere epigrammatist, wanting in all the solid parts of business.f At his entrance into the Cabinet, and for many years afterwards, the offence was still unforgiven, and the disparagement was still reiterated. When the Ministry began to divide itself into two sections, the one somewhat rigid in its adhesion to actual establishments, and the other a little adventurous in experiments and concessions, the part taken by Mr. Canning, in favour of the larger and more hazardous theories, led to certain differences of opinion between him and Lord Eldon ; and of these differences, widened as they had been by the Cabinet conflicts of September 1809, the enemies of Mr. Canning took all possible advantage, sedulously contrasting his character, such as they themselves had chosen to misrepresent it, with the sterling qualities of the Chancellor. The Chancellor, it is hardly requisite to say, had no share in these petty attempts
—for no man's mind was more averse.
from animosity or intrigue, and no man was less disposed to seek his own credit by injuring the personal character of a colleague; but it is among colleagues that political differences breed most displeasure ; and something of a militant spirit did certainly disclose itself now and then between these two distinguished members of the Government. § In Mr. Canning it
* Lord Holland, in the House of Lords.
+ As Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Hobhouse, Lord Nugent, and those who expired amid the laughs and blows of the Antijacobin.—REv. : See a Specimen of these parallels in an extract from Cobbett's Register, at the
beginning of Chap. XLIX,
§ “Lord Eldon had a strong dislike to Mr. Canning, whose movements throughout
broke out by way of incidental sarcasm upon the old-fashioned tenets of the legal dignitary; while the Chancellor would indulge in a little quiet satire on the stirring genius of the parliamentary leader. But the fiercest assailants of Mr. Canning were the low party in Church and State ; who, hating him for his anti-revolutionary principles, and galled by his perpetual and powerful chastisements of their foremost pretenders, dogged him with unremitting malice, in hopes, by damaging his fame, to discredit his authority. They were ceaselessly on the watch for the slightest slip in his parliamentrry or of. ficial course, and, of the few blots he made, every one was hit. At length, however, genius, courage, and time, conquered all obstructions: and the English people, undeceived as to his character, rendered to it a complete, though a tardy, justice. As an orator, he stood beyond rivalry, and almost beyond comparison.” He combined, as has been happily said, the free movement, spirit, and reality of British Parliamentary debate, with the elaborate perfection of the forum and the agora,
MR. URBAN, City, Nov. IN your Magazine for April last, I sent a few remarks on the pottery called Samian, which I was pleased to see elicited a continuation of the subject from your correspondent E. B. P. I am induced to make some further observations, as the writer appeared to doubt the authenticity of a quotation which I made from Pitiscus, and wished to know, whether it was to be found in his Lexicon 2 if so, under what head 2 as he had referred to several without success. It is to be found in the Lexicon under the head “Simpulum,” where Pitiscus, after giving numerous authorities to show that the Samian ware was used by the Romans at their re
and the accessary accomplishments and graces of modern literature. It is scarcely an exaggeration to affirm, that in his single person were united all the highest gifts of eloquence which nature had distributed among the most eminent of his Parliamentary competitors.t. A lucid, close, and forcible logic, effective alike for the establishment of truth and the exposure of absurdity, hypocrisy, and pretension,--an elevated tone of declamation, appealing not so much to passion, as to what was noblest in thought and sentiment, -a stream of imagery and quotation, rich, various, and yet never overflowing the main subject, a light “artillery of wit,” so disciplined, that not a shot of it flashed without telling upon the issue of the conflict, an unfailing, yet constantly diversified, harmony of period, and a magical command of those lightning words and phrases, which burn themselves, at once and for ever, into the hearer's mind,-these, and all these in their perfection, were among the powers of that eloquence which death had thus suddenly hushed,” &c.
ligious sacrifices, adds, “ Er luto namgue Samio, quod est in insula Samo, in rubrum colorem vertente, plurima ego observo vasa etiam ad veterum sacrificia. Quod in talem usum inserviisset lutum Samium docet Cicero de Rep.” (Apud Non. iv. 434.) It is true (as E. B. P. observes) our author only compiled his elaborate Lexicon little more than a century since; but I think it probable he had some good authority for the remark, as his work is one of great research, and replete with valuable information, advancing little without a reference to prove the correctness of his assertion. The writer also seemed to require some distinctive evidence that the Samian of Pliny was red; but I think
this matter he will be presently found opposing and severely denouncing; but he disdained to slur his antagonist with the undeserved imputation of private treachery,” vol. ii. p. 27.—And p. 541, “I could have put Canning into Chancery if I had had a
* See Mr. Therry's Memoir prefixed to Mr. Canning's Speeches, p. 175. t. We have heard the late Lord Farnborough affirm, that he thought Mr. Canning's Parliamentary eloquence superior even to Pitt's ; and no one was a stronger admirer of
Mr. Pitt than he was.-REv.
t A Samian patera in my possession recently found in London bears the following impress, saceR vAs IFF, which would seem to imply that it had been used for
some sacred purpose.
“Et non pauper uti, Samio curtoque catino :” a still more corroborative proof. I have before observed I thought it probable some colouring matter was used to give it that beautiful coralline appearance, but still I am of opinion the Samian clay was of a reddish hue independent of this adventitious colour, if any were actually used. Pliny certainly speaks of a white earth from Samos which was used for medicinal purposes, but it would not have been from this the pottery was manufactured : that white was not the general colour of the clay is, I think, fully proved by travellers who have visited the island. Tournefort, who gives an account of it, says, “Samos does not want for iron mines; most of the land looks the colour of rust; all about Bavonda is full of a bolus, deep red, very fine, very dry, and sticks to the tongue. Samos was heretofore famed for earthenware, perhaps it was this earth about Bavonda.” A friend of mine possesses a specimen of the veritable Samian pure, quantities of which were formerly exported from the island for the purposes of pharmacy, bearing the Sultan's seal or stamp, which is doubtless the pure unmixed earth: even this is of a red
colour similar in appearance to what is termed bole, or oxide of iron.
E. B. P. is also of opinion, that the ware we have so long called Samian is from Cumae in Campania and the neighbourhood. I think, had such been the case, large quantities of it would have been discovered in the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii, but I believe few (if any) specimens have been found there. The following quotation shows that the two wares were distinct:
“At tibilaetatrahant Samiae convivia testae, Fictaque Cumana lubrica terra rota.” Tibullus.
I think we may infer from this, that the former was in use at the table, while the latter was of a more costly character. The commentators on the passage state the Cumaean to be the same as that now called Etruscan. The Etruscan vases were also made of a red earth (rubrica), and afterwards covered with a bituminous substance to ornament them. The following is the analysis by Vauquelin; Silica 53 per cent, alumina 15, lime 8, oxide of . 24; the latter giving it the red ue. Whether these utensils were really made at Samos, as I imagine, and in which, I think I am borne out by the observations of Pliny; whether, as others have supposed, they were manufactured of Italian clay found in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome; or, as E. B. P. conjectures, in Campania, they have been every where called Samian ; and the reason for so calling them must have been from a similarity to the ware made at the the island of Samos. We should have just as much reason for supposing that these vessels were made in London, merely because such abundant specimens are discovered here, as Caylus had, from finding such quantities at Nismes, in immediately concluding they were manufactured at that place while under the Roman dominion. W. C.
NOTES ON BATTLE FIELDS AND MILITARY WORKS. No. II. THE DEVIL’S DYKE, NEWMARKET.
Nec struere auderent aciem nec credere campo,
IN the month of August 1842 I had the opportunity of making some notes, founded on personal inspection, of the structure of that very remarkable ancient military earthwork on Newmarket Heath, in Cambridgeshire, popularly called the Devil's Dyke. As I am not aware that any particular survey of this strong and very extensive line of defence has been made, the report of my examination of it may not be unacceptable.
I surveyed it at a spot called The Links, where it remains very bold and perfect, about a quarter of a mile south of the turnpikegate, which stands where it is crossed by the high road from Newmarket to London and Cambridge. I obtained in a rough way the following admeasurements, which cannot, however, greatly err from the truth.
This formidable vallum or rampart was commenced probably at its southern extremity, where the Ordnance map of Cambridgeshire marks the site of an ancient entrenched camp at Wood Ditton; there are also some tumuli northward of that place in front of the dyke, called traditionally “The Two Captains.” Wood Ditton is evidently a name associated with the dyke, implying, the wood on the ditch. The work is continued northward, across Newmarket Heath, in a straight course of eight miles, to a stream near the
Eneid. Lib. ir. lin. 42.
village of Reach, whose appellation, from the Saxon, paecan, indicates the point to which the dyke reached or extended, (see the Plan,) so that its right flank rested on streams and marsh lands, and its left on a forest tract. The vallum being thrown up on the eastern side, shews that the entrenchment was intended to secure the plain of Newmarket against an enemy approaching from the westward, by a barrier impregnable if properly defended. Such, indeed, it must have been, for the escarpment of the rampire from the bottom of the ditch in the most perfect places measures not less than 90 feet, and is inclined at an angle of 70 degrees. On the top of the rampart is a cursus or way eighteen feet in breadth, sufficiently wide for the passage of cavalry or chariots. I have been told that some years since fragments of the bronze furniture of chariot wheels were dug up near the line of dyke, but I cannot verify the information. On the top of the rampart I thought I could distinguish faint traces of a parapet of turf. The whole was probably strengthened by a line of palisades or stakes. It will be readily imagined how strong a defence this steep and bristled wall of earth must then have formed. Even now, to ascend its outward base from the bottom of the ditch is a feat of no