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has been some time dead; but Dr Bain is (happily for his many friends) still alive, and the following note from him on the subject will, I trust, be a sufficient answer to this accurate Reviewer :
• Thompson's Hotel, Cavendish-square, April 20, 1826. My dear Sir—The statement which you have given in your Life of my late friend Mr Sheridan, that 2001. was the sum proffered to me by Mr Vaughan, and that it was respectfully declined by the family, is perfectly correct.
• Believe me, my dear Sir, very faithfully yours, « Thomas Moore, Esq.
• A. BAIN.' Sloperton Cottage. • Having thus disposed of objections, which, had I been guided by my own estimate of their importance, I should hardly have thought worthy of the trouble of an answer, I am happy to take this opportunity of declaring, that whatever I may still presume to think of the conduct pursued towards Mr Sheridan, I have never meant to impute to the Illustrious Personage concerned in these transactions any general want of that munificence which should belong to his high station. On the contrary, I have heard more than one instance of the private generosity of that Personage (far better authenticated than any that these awkward apologists have brought forward) which would render me not slow in believing any similar acts of kindness attributed to him. As little could I have meant to doubt the readiness of those Whig friends of Sheridan, the high qualities of many of whom little need my testimony, to assist him, while he made one of their circle, on any occasions when he may have required their aid ; * though, in justice to him, I must repeat that such appeals were far from frequent. The strong remarks which I hazarded, and which have produced-naturally enough, perhaps-s0 much irritation, apply solely to the last few months of Sheridan's life, and to the neglect with which he was left to die, in the hands of bailiffs, by those, of whose society he bad been, through life, the light and ornament. To this neglect—which, however excusable in the few whom his conduct in 1812 had injured, can be but little defended in the many whom that conduct but remotely affected, and admits of no vindication whatever in the quarter for which that sacrifice of party and character was made to this neglect alone my remarks applied, and I see no reason whatever to retract or soften them. The occasion called for a strong lesson to the great and prosperous, which, if I had shrunk from giving, through either fear or partiality, though I might thereby have better consulted my ease and interest, I certainly should not have been upon such good terms with my own conscience as I feel at present.'
trustworthy a witness than the surviving sister of Mr Sheridan, Mrs H. Lefanu.
* • Mr Moore, in another part of his preface, mentions that the Duke of Bedford on one occasion lent Sheridan 4001. He also mentions, in extenuation of the inconsistency of those who crowded to the funeral, that Mrs Sheridan wrote letters to most of them requesting their attendance.'
The particulars here referred to, though likely enough to excite some personal interest at the time, certainly seem to us of too little importance to justify any long discussion of them now farther than regards the charge of wilful misrepresentation or suppression of the truth, which all to whom Mr Moore is known, and indeed all the readers of his book, must feel to be utterly unworthy of an answer. With regard to the alleged gift of 40001. by his Majesty, we have the most sincere pleasure in saying, that we have every reason to believe, that that Illustrious Person is fully entitled to the credit of that act of munificencethough, according to our information, its unhappy object did not derive from it the benefit which was intended. The sum, which we have heard was about 30001., was, by his Royal Highness's order, placed by a distinguished nobleman in the hands of an attorney for Sheridan's benefit; but was there either attached by his creditors, or otherwise dissipated in such a manner, that very little of it actually reached its destination -a result, however, which certainly takes nothing from the merits of his princely benefactor : And as the new edition of Mr Moore's work is, we believe, not yet published, we can have no doubt that he will take pains to verify the statement we have now made, and redeem the pledge he has so properly given in the preceding extract. On all the other points, we conceive his vindication to be conclusive and triumphant; with the exception perhaps of the too great asperity with which he still speaks of the neglect which Sheridan experienced, in his last sickness, from most of his former associates. The imputation is dictated, no doubt, by a noble and generous feeling; and it is not amiss that it should have been recorded. That there was some ground for it, cannot, we think, be disputed; and so apt are the proud and the prosperous to turn with indifference from the sufferings of those who had shared and exalted their pleasures, that we cannot but be pleased with any thing that tends to bring their heartlessness to shame, -even though there may be room to question the justice of the immediate application. The circumstances of palliation are suggested by Mr Moore's own narrative. Sheridan had behaved inexcusably to the most distinguished of his former associates in 1812, and had, from that period, naturally lived in a state of alienation from their society. The actual urgency of his distresses, it is admitted, was not known, till it was too late materially to relieve them, although it was no sooner divulged than inquiries and offers of service flowed in, in abundance :--and as to the splendid mustering, even of his alienated friends, at the funeral, the fact that they were expressly written to, and requested to attend, by Mrs Sheridan, really seems to afford the most satisfactory
explanation—and to convert, what might otherwise appear to be mere selfish ostentation, into an act of kindness and propriety.
The style of this work has been much criticised, we believe, and has been generally thought too figurative, brilliant, and poetical, for the sobriety of historical writing. It might have had worse faults and we cannot deal very severely with those that have their origin in an exuberance of talent and ingenuity, and which are always most complained of by those least capable of committing them. Mr Moore is an Irishman, and a man of genius, and his works will bewray him. Why should not the Dorians speak Doric? He cannot but do after his kind.
But we think the objection has been put much too strongly. The style, in general, we think excellent-and all the better for the metaphors and images. Whatever enables an author to rouse the attention, or stamp himself on the memory of his readers, enables him to write with greater effect, and to accomplish more completely whatever may be the purpose of his writing. Now, metaphors and figures, provided they are in unison with the strain and dignity of the object, plainly serve this purpose, in history as well as in any other sort of composition. They increase the interest, and heighten the delight of the study, without interfering in the least with its utility. In the hands of a master, they render the meaning clearer, as well as more emphatic-and make it possible to convey both a deeper and a finer sense, with a force and a brevity absolutely unattainable without their assistance: while they incontestably exalt the effect of its moral sentences, and give warmth and interest to the lessons it endeavours to teach. We profess not quite to understand what is meant by the sober style of history. If the substance be conceived in the spirit of candour, calmness, and impartiality, we cannot but think that the more engaging and fascinating the manner can be made, the better—and really cannot comprehend that a history can be too delightful, too entertaining, or too brilliant, any more than too clear, too concise, or too true. To give it all these characters, all the resources of genius and eloquence may, we think, be lawfully and laudably employed--and figures and images among the rest—and above all the rest indeed, where they can be so managed as to give at once clearness, force, and vivacity to the meaning. Nor can we imagine any reason why they should not be required in a perfect history, as well as in a perfect poem, except that this would add too much to the difficulties, already sufficiently great, of the Historian's task-and that the talents most indispensable for its successful execution are not generally those by which such resources could be commanded. Where all are united, however, it is clear there will be the highest excellence. We require nothing more in a Judge than wisdom, learning and integrity. But it is certainly an advantage that he should also be graceful and eloquent.
We do not mean, however, to assert, that Mr Moore has fulfilled at all points the conditions under which we think the freest use of figurative language may be allowed with advantage in History. In most of the passages we have cited, we think he has not greatly transgressed them. But it cannot be de. nied that he has occasionally indulged too much in this luxury of the imagination. His figures are sometimes merely ornamental, and embellish the meaning without enforcing it: and sometimes, though more rarely, they even perplex and encumber it. Sometimes they startle too much, with the unexpectedness of mere wit-and are sometimes attached to the subject by a tie so slender as scarcely to be perceptible.
The image in the following passage, for example, seems to us a mere wantonness of ingenuity, which neither elucidates nor adorns the idea it is employed to introduce. It is the opinion - of a learned Jesuit, that it was by aqua Regia the golden calf of
the Israelites was dissolved—and the cause of Kings was the • Royal solvent in which the wealth of Great Britain now • melted irrecoverably away.' In the following allusion to the zeal with which the Irish Parliament tendered an unlimited regency to the Prince in 1789, the images are still farther fetched, and are connected with the subject only by the slight and accidental circumstance of the Harp being the heraldic cognizance of Ireland. The ready and ardent burst of devotion with which « Ireland at this moment, like the Pythagoreans at their morning ! worship, turned to welcome with their Harp, the Rising Sun, was • long remembered by the object of her homage with pride and “ gratitude.' And the following, which is meant to shadow forth Sheridan's unsuspected progress in the affections of Miss Linley, seems to us still more obscure and unfortunate. “Like that
Saint, (Cecilia), by whose name she was always called, she had - long welcomed to her soul a secret visitant, whose gifts were
of a higher and more radiant kind than the more wealthy and • lordly of this world can proffer !! Mr Moore himself seems indeed to have felt that there was not much to be made of this, by the unlearned—and accordingly is obliged to explain his illustration, by a note, in which we are informed, that in the authentic legend of St Cecilia, a youth is said to have come secretly to her from Paradise, with wreaths of lilies and roses.
We do think therefore, that there is some room for cautioning Mr Moore to be on his guard against the seductions of his own too fertile imagination :--and for exhorting him, while he fosters the flowers which either shelter or bring on the fruit, to strip away relentlessly those barren blossoms that merely encumber the stem.
Art. II. Report from, and Minutes of Evidence taken before, the
Select Committee of the House of Commons, on Emigration from the United Kingdom. Printed by order of the House of Com
mons, 26th May 1826. We shall not enter at present into any disquisition as to the
causes which have produced the pauperism now universal in Ireland. To whatever it may be ascribed-whether to the long continued misgovernment and helotism of the mass of the people-to their ignorance—to their universal dependence on the potato for food-or to the custom of subdividing and subletting farms, and the consequent facility with which they obtain cottages and slips of land—it is certain that their numbers have increased in a far greater proportion than the capital of the country, and that they are habitually involved in the most squalid and abject poverty. The number of persons soliciting employment, compared with the demand for iheir labour, and with the means of remunerating it, is so great, that very many are altogether unemployed; and that wages are reduced to the lowest sum that can purchase the smallest supply of the coarsest and cheapest species of food by which mere animal existence 'may be sustained.
All the witnesses examined by the late Committees of the Houses of Lords and Commons on the State of Ireland, concur in representing the population as excessive, and the condition of the poor as wretched in the extreme. That every rood of * ground maintains its man,' is no longer a poetical fiction, but a dry statistical fact, which may be truly affirmed of a very large proportion of Ireland. Above six millions of peasantry are hutted over the face of the country. Their cabins are not superior, perhaps not equal, to the wigwams of the American Indians; they are destitute of chimnies and of any thing that can be called furniture; many families are without either beds or bed clothes; the children, generally in rags, are often absolutely naked; and whenever the potatoe crop becomes even in a slight degree deficient, which is found to be the case once every five or six years, the scourge of famine and disease is felt in every corner of the country! Mr Maurice Fitzgerald, M. P. informed the Committee on the Employment of the Irish Poor, that he had known the peasantry • of Kerry quit their houses in search of employment, offering
to work for the merest subsistence that could be obtained, • for twopence a day, in short for any thing that would pur
chase food enough to keep them alive for the next twenty-four 6 hours.' Mr Tighe mentions, that the number of persons in VOL. XLV. NO. 89,