The Wives of England. Their Relative Duties, Detnes'ic Influence. and Social Obligntions. By ilie Author of The Woroen of England." Dedicated, by per- mission, to the Queen Figur. Fierros, Miss Pen and her Niece; or the Old. Maid and the Young One. By Mrs. Stone, Authorms of William Langshawe, the Cotton Lord," Sze. S.:c. In three volumes.
MEMOIRS AND CORRESPONDENCE or FRANCIS HORNER.
OCCASIONALLY there appears in the intellectual world a favourite of Fortune, who, without producing any great work, or even publicly displaying very great abilities, attains a celebrity which men who have done greater things do not reach. For this easy eminence two things seem desirable,—a respectable and amiable personal character, procuring fast friends and making no enemies ; affectionate and zealous admirers, who possess the means of in- fluencing public opinion, and industriously use the power. And in this line the Whigs are more successful than the Tories ; perhaps because the latter are more practical and worldly in their panegyric, and therefore less honest. The Tories are fulsome enough in making geese swans, who are on active service; but they are quiet about the dead or the retired list.
Of this class of ekfans gotes was FRANCIS Hoaxga ; a man whose known public efforts were comprised in some articles for the _Edin- burgh Renew, his exertions on the Bullion question, (in which, how- ever, he had HUSKISSON and THORNTON for collaborateurs,)* and in a useful but not very active or prominent Parliamentary career. In literature and philosophy, to which his con amore exertions were directed, it cannot be said that he did nothing, but he certainly did nothing that would have excited much attention if appearing anonymously ; and in law, to which he devoted himself profession- ally, he attained no distinction. Yet few names are better known than FRANCIS HORNER'S : not, of course, known popularly, like BYRON'S OF SCOTT'S, JRSKISSON'S or CANNING'S, but known con- ventionally or selectly, in classes which profess to be acquainted with something more than the popular divinities, and where not to know men of even secondary rank argues want of information.
The life of FaaNcis HORNER was as devoid of striking circum- stances as his public career of results. He was born in 1778, at Edinburgh, where his father traded. After the usual course of education, at home under his mother, at a private seminary, at the High School, and afterwards at the University, he went to reside with a clergyman near London, to acquire the English ac- cent ; which he managed, it is said thoroughly, in two years. Re- turning to Scotland in his twentieth year, (1797,) he professed to study the law ; but was constantly, it appears from his journals, drawn aside by desultory reading in science, philosophy, and the belles lettres, as well as diverted by chemical experiments and anatomical pursuits. However, in 1800, he was called to the Scotch bar ; and for two years attended to such practice as he obtained, and pursued his legal reading, though continually drawn off, according to his own narrative, by miscellaneous studies. In 1802, he got tired of Scotch law, and, with his father's consent, resolved to go to the English bar : yet, such were his desultory habits, that up- wards of three years passed away without his deciding which branch of the profession he should follow, or taking any steps to acquire the preliminary practical knowledge essential to the lawyer. In the interim, he had made many friends in London, by means of his own Scotch connexions, his personal character and manners, and probably his contributions to the Edinburgh Review, then just started. The society of men of letters, and of leading politicians— as Lords LANSDOWNE and Ferzwiwasr, Romier.r, Conversation SHARPE, &c., with the attractions of Holland House, still more diverted him from professional studies. On the accession of the 'Whigs in 1806, he was offered a Coromissionership on the Nabob of Arcot's Debts ; which he accepted; and the same year he be- came a Member of Pardament, through the friendship of Lord KINNA/RD. From this time till his death in 1817, his life was pretty equally divided between his Parliamentary and professional duties, his private studies, and friendly saciety ; in each of which be made gradual advances on mankind, especially in Parliament. His death took place at Pisa. Its cause was a change in the structure of the lungs, together eith an enlargement of the air- cells ; the last so uncommon that BAILLIE had never seen but three cases in all the anatomical museums he had inspected, and the conjunction was probably more uncommon still.
The qualities necessary to attain great and permanent eminence must of course be rare ; but it is the nice adaptation of the moral and intellectual qualities necessary to greatness which renders great men so few, rather than the separate existence of the qualities themselves. In looking back upon the long rolls of art and lite- rature, individuals are constantly occurring who in the opinion of friendly contemporaries were capable of achieving the highest eminence, and yet have left nothing at all behind them, or nothing that supports the estimate of their acquaintance. In such cases, the world is ready enough to impute partiality or incapacity ; and some- times both may exist, with a vulgar narrowness of mind superadded. But it may often be that the judgment of intimates is rather de- fective than false. Many of the intellectual qualities necessary to
• It appears from tine work before us that the Report was the joint pro- duction of the three. greatness may have been there—perhaps all ; but those which
may be termed the moral qualities were wanting. Whether
HORNER had the intellectual powers, admits of doubt. He
had a nice discrimination, and a clear perception both of excel- lence and of the means of attaining it ; but, in our opinion, he was deficient in the ririda via of genius, or in the comprehensive grasp of mind which is the only substitute for the creative or poetical faculty. In the moral qualities he was certainly wanting. Ile had none of the dogged perseverance which steadily pursues its object without regard to time or distance, but was drawn aside by every tempting novelty. Nor had he any of the enthusiastic ardour which must coexist with this steady perseverance, forming the rare combination oldie plodder and the martyr. On the contrary-, HORNER had a Scotch canniness about him, on which Whig finery was engrafted : he would never have burned his ships— perhaps lie would have shrunk from wetting his boots. Desiring above all things distinction as a philosopher or historian, he would risk nothing for philosophy or history. His plan was to make a fortune by law, and then to devote himself to science or the belles- lettres ; yet his want of self-control or perseverance was such that at forty his advancement in the profession was little. Perhaps, too, there was something of more than prudence about him—a want of harsh independence of others, not blameable but praise- worthy, at the same time by no means great. In his twenty-first year he thus describes an "invaluable" art he should "aim at"— There is a style of behaviour with which I am not at all acquainted, but which I should aim at as an invaluable possession, by which it is possible to keep certain sentiments within one's own breast, or at least within the circle of a few friends, and at the same time fall into no corrupt hypocrisy or unmanly acquiescence in the opinions of whatever company we may happen to meet."
It might be supposed from this view of the life and character of FRANCIS HORNER, that his Memoirs and Correspondence were somewhat heavy or uninteresting. Such, however, is not the case. His journals are very curious, as exhibiting the difference between promise and performance ; the vast projects of the youthful student, and the actual accomplishment by the mature man. They also lay open with perfect candour a curious idiosyncracy,—a mind per- fectly conscious of its weakness, a desultory habit ; expressing continual regret at its lapses, making constant resolutions to reform, yet as constantly recurring to its offence, and "even in penance planning sins anew." Yet, strange as all this looks in the volume before us, the distinctness with which it is preserved upon paper is perhaps the chief singularity. If the plans of any mind beyond the average could be fixed to compare with the performance as clearly as those of FRANCIS HORNER, as much discrepancy and uncertainty might be traced. Besides this merely metaphysical interest, his journal contains some critical remarks and contemporary notices of interesting events or marked characters.
His correspondence, though in another way, is as valuable as his journal, and much more various. The friend of JEFFREY, HALLAM, SYDNEY SMITH, MALTHUS, MACKINTOSH, and others, there is no lack of literary topics, current criticism, and that sort of small talk which goes on in literary circles; whilst iu the correspondence with JEFFREY we are let a little behind the scenes touching ,the early management of the Edinburgh, and see the feelings, under the rose, with which the editor and some of the contributors looked upon the gambols of a great brother. The epistles between Holmes and his most intimate friends, the present Lord Menaay and the late Lord WEBB SEYMOUR, besides miscellaneous remarks on men, manners, and things, are almost a substitute for a journal, in the picture they give of his movements, plans, and thoughts ; and the replies, especially of SEYMOUR, show great good sense, thorough friendship, and a profound knowledge of the weakness of HORNER s character. Some of the political letters are curious ; and those from Lords GLEN VILLE and BUCKINGHAM exhibit the ToryfiedWhig nobleman, in a stately, House-of-Lords-like, but respectable view : as he lived much among politics and politicians in stirring times, EloaNER's own epistles to his carious friends contain anecdotes, views, and criticisms on public men, of an interesting characters One absence is as remarkable as that of BRUTUS in the Roman pageant—there is no letter to or from HENRY BROUGHAM; al- though the two began life together so early, that Mrs. HoaNaa states, "they used to run together on the pavement before the house in St. David Street "ere FRANCIS was two years old ; although they were fellow students at college and in law, belonged to the same societies, and, it would appear from design, were simulta- neously proposed as members to some of them. It would seem, however, that the friendship of FRANCIS HORNER and HENRY BROUGHAM was not free from the mutability of human connexions ; though this appears to have been the only tie of that kind which was dissolved on HORNER'S part unless by death. The editing, by Mr. LEONARD HORNER, a brother of FaAwcis, is admirably performed, as regards the arrangement of the matter, the sufficiency of the illustrative and connecting parts, and the delicacy of his relationship to the deceased. Soon after the death of FRANCIS HORNER, it was the wish of his family that his biography should be given to the world ; and the ample mate- rials were placed in the hands of' a friend, whose official avocations and social claims compelled him at last to return them. They were then transferred to another—probably Lord Bacounnssi; by. whom the task was, after some time, also declined for the same cause : and Mr. LEONARD HORNER . abandoned the idea of the publication of his brother's remains, till the appearance of Sir SAMUEL ROMILLY'S Memoirs ; when he determined to follow the course of that publication, and allow his brother to tell his own story. With this view, he has arranged the Correspondence and
extracts from the journals in chronological order ; connecting the gaps which this plan of necessity involves, by brief statements of fact, and illustrating any passages which require explanation in foot-notes. An appendix contains the principal speeches of Flaxen HORNER in the House of Commons, with some other documents connected with his career, though not forming a part of it. The reader will not infer from our remarks that an eye skilful and watchful for popular effects only has selected these letters and extracts from the journals. Where the illustration of mind and character is the object, it is indeed difficult to draw the line, especially for a brother ; but it strikes us that the letters descrip- tive of the tour through France and Italy, at the peace, might have been still further abridged ; and that some of the correspondence relating to personal matters, or to minor points of literature, especially those on Scotch metaphysics, could have been ad- vantageously omitted, as they have nothing to do with the career of FRANCIS HORNER, either actual or proposed, whilst as opinions they have not much of interest or value.
The variety of subjects to be found in the volumes will have in- fluence upon our extracts ; which will be taken indiscriminately from journals and letters, and consist of anecdote, fact, and opinion, pretty much as they come.
A BOYISH JUDGMENT ON PARLIAMENT, PITT, AND FOX-1796.
• I have not been at the House of Commons SO frequently as you would sup- pose. Added to the distance and the inconvenience of getting home after midnight, when it is above five miles off, and patt of that too in the country, I must confess that I was greatly disappointed in my expectations with regard to the eloquence of the British Senate. The best of them—and the good are very few—speak with such an unaccountable tone, they have so little grace in their action and delivery, and such a set of cant appropriated phrases have crept into use, that he who has previously fortnel ideas of eloquence from what he has read of that of Greece and Rome, must find the speeches even of Fox and Pitt miserably inferior. The one, indeed, speaks with great animation and I am convinced, from the warmest sincerity of heart; and the other has a most wonderful fluency and correctness, approaching almost to mechanical move- ment. But neither of them has proceeded so far as the observance of Shaks- pere's rule ; for the one saws the air with his hands, and the other with his whole body. YOUNG HARRY, 1798.
I understand from my friend Mr. Murray, who is at present in London, that he and Mr. Brougham had the pleasure of meeting avith you at the Foundling. They were much gratified by your politeness to them ; for which you will permit me to thank you, as a kindness done to mysclf. Had you any conversation with Brougham ? He is an uncommon genius, of a composite order, if you allow me to use the expression : he unites the greatest ardour for general in- formation in every branch of knowledge, and what is more remarkable, activity in the business and interest in the pleasures of the world, with all the powers of a mathematical intellect. Did you notice his physiognomy? I am curious to know your observations on it.
The following is Hoirsea's account of his first dinner at Lord Frrzwrmaam's ; to which he was invited, without having been seen by his Lordship, apparently to inlist him in the corps. It seems, too, to have been his first introduction to the Whig mag- nates.
"I have been at Lord Fitzwilliam's : the party:, like all large ones, un- satisfactory. I bad the pleasure, however, of seeing, and being introduced to Windham and Sheridan. I heard iVindham talk no more than to enchant me with his manner; Sheridan I had an opportunity of seeing and hearing more at length, and in an appropriate manner, for he went afterwards with the younger men of the company to a tavern, where we sat till three o'clock in the morning. His serious conversation, about the Defence Bill and some other matters, was very tame; but his satire and pleasantry full of fire and vigour. He seems to me rather too attentive to strangers, though his manners are certainly very polished; but this courteous notice of one looks as if it bad a purpose, though it may not. " The intention, I find, of bringing people together at Lord Fitzwilliam's, WAS that some association might be formed for writing pamphlets, squibs, epi- grams, &c. &c. against the Administration. So that this is the end of the scheme which was communicated to me, in a message from Lord R. Spencer, with a request that I would belong to the club. I saw no persons brought to• gether, who are likely to write together, except those whose writings would be worth less than nothing : such must I esteem —, &c., not to name others who ought to have no acknowledged place in such society. This literary scheme of commanding the press will end in a few paltry skirmishes, sad some epigrams, by Jekyll, Fitzpatrick, and Lord John Townshend. At any rate, it Is not my destiny to write in newspapers; nor is it likely that the proposal will ever be made to me. I shall perhaps look out for some opportuni- ties, of my own accord, for writing constitutional tracts, such as those oppor- tunities which my Lord Somers, in his earlier days, thought no improper tempta- tions from the general career which he pursued."
Brougham has concluded a bargain about his book with Longman, who has been here making purchases of that kind: he talks of sending it to the press in about two months ; the title, an " Inquiry into the Colonial Policy of the European Powers." That it will do him great credit, 1 have no doubt ; I hope it may be the means of introducing him into a respectable line of political con- nexions. Old Liverpool wrote himself into notice by a seasonable though puny pamphlet on the rights of neutrals. Should an active scene he opened to Brougham, I shall tremble with anxiety for some time, though it is what I very ardently wish: his information on political subjects, especially in some de- partments, is now immense; his talents are equal to the most effective use and display of that knowledge. But his ardour is so urgent, that I should be afraid of his being deficient in prudence. That he would ultimately become a leading and predominant mind, I cannot doubt ; but he might attempt to fix himself in that place too soon, before he had gone through what I presume is a neces- sary routine of subordination.
THE FOX FAMILY.
I have had frequent opportunities of seeing Lord Holland, and am delighted with his spirited understanding and the sweetness of his disposition. In both respects he resembles his sister very much ; and both of them are of their uncle's make. The strongest features of the Fox head are, precision, vigilance, and (if I may apply such a word to the understanding) honesty : nobody escapes horn them in vague showy generals, or imposes by ostentatious paradox; you are Bare of getting both fair play and your due : but you must give as much, or Yon have neither chance of concealment nor mercy. Watchful, dexterous, MA-handed, implacable sense, is their law. I have shrunk from it often with
• Note by Mr. Horner, dated 1806—" By Jekyll only, as it turned out."
shame ; and this I have felt as often in conversation with Miss Fox as with any of them.
WINDHAM ON PITT.
Mr. Windham, speaking of Pitt, described him as being without affectation in the least—much above vanity. He considers him as having suffered greatly by having been introduced too soon to office, and losing the opportunities pf seeing men and manners, except as a Minister—not the most favourable way (Mr. Windham added) of seeing men : had he only seen them for a little while, as his father did, in the army. In preparing his measures, he thinks more of the House of Commons than of their operation ; satisfied if they will look well in statement ; like those improvers of ground who will build Sons house that shalL look most picturesque to spectators on the outside, though within it be incommodious. Mr. Windham instanced the Parish Recruit Bill, and said this was the most satisfactory solution he had been able to give of Pitt's failure in this and many other plans, when Mr. Fox had observed to him that surely these were occasions on which it was Mr. Pitt's interest to summon all his talents. Speaking of his going through military details—mili- tary cars, rockets, catamarans, &c.—Windham observed, that Pitt's judgment on such matters was generally bad, though he had a great talent in stating them.
The following touching anecdote of Fox refers to an amendment to the Address when PITT lay dying ; and is an extract from Hon-,
NER'S journal of 22d January ] 806.
FOX ON PITT'S EXTREMITY.
Since writing the above, I have inquired into the fact more particularly. Lord Cowper told me, that the Addingtouians did give notice that they would not vote for the amendment ; but that this had no effect in postponing it. A few hours before going down to Westminster, there was a meeting at Mr. Fox's house of a few of the principal persons of Opposition. Cowpir was there. Fox stated to them, that he thought it impossible they could enter into the discussion—he could not—while they had the idea that Pitt was in extremities: " mentor: mortalia languid," he said. Cowper described him as appearing to feel very sensibly the calamity of his distinguished rival; and be described it by saying that Fox appeared to feel more than Lord Grenville, who was present also.
January 23d.—Mr. Pitt died this morning.
JEFFREY ON TIIE WHIGS, 1809.
Do, for Heaven's sake, let your Whigs do something popular and effective this session in Parliament. Cry aloud, and spare not, against Waleheren ; push Ireland down the throats of the Court and the country; and do not let us be lost without something like a generous effort in council as well as in the field. You must lay aside a great part of your aristocratical feelings, and side
with the most respectable and sane of the Democrats : by so doing, you will enlighten and restrain them, and add tenfold to the power of your reason and the honour of your cause. Do you not see that the whole nation is now di- vided into two, and only two parties,—the timid, sordid, selfish worshipers of power and adherents of the Court; and the dangerous, discontented, halt noble, half-mischievous advocates for reform and innovation ? Between these stand the Whigs, without popularity, power, or consequence of any sort ; with great talents and virtues but utterly inefficient, and incapable of ever becoming efficient, if they will still maintain themselves at an equal distance from both of the prevailing parties.
HORNER ON THE LIBERALS.
It is among the very sincere and zealous friends of liberty that you will find the most perfect specimens of wrongheadedness; men of a dissenting, provin- cial cast of virtue, who, according to one of Sharp's favourite phrases, will drive a wedge the broad end foremost.
Of the amiability of HORNER there can be no doubt ; the friend- ships he made attest it, even if almost every page of his corre- spondence and journal did not bear testimony to the same thing: but, as a literary philosopher, he had a spice of mischievousness. Here, from a letter to JEFFREY respecting the Bullion Report, is A HINT TO MY FRIEND THE EDITOR.
The Quarterly Review was sure to be right about depreciation ; being under the command of Canning, who is under the command of Huskisson. I have heard it is George Ellis who has set Sir John Sinclair upon his black ram. By the way, 1 wish you would take Sinclair's two pamphlets into your own hands, and make fun of him in a goodnatured way. You would do me a pecu- liar service if you will deal with his Currency as you did with his Longevity. The inconsistency of his opinions at present with those which he published ia 1797 in a pamphlet against the Bank restriction, and which he repeated in the strongest terms in 1803 in the second volume of his History of the Revenue, is rather a matter of grave charge, for which be ought to be put upon the de- fensive. I am told that George Cbalmer has put forth a volume against us, more extravagantly wrong than even Sinclair : perhaps you could contrive to put them side by side into one frame, and exhibit the pair of portraits, like Noodle and Doodle in their old tie and buckle, and in the full complacency of conscious wisdom.
METHOD IN MADNESS.
The King has been materially worse in point of bodily health lately, and the delusions of his mind are said to recur still very frequently. The Ministers speak rather diffidently now of his ultimate recovery, though the physicians are as ready as ever to swear to it. The session of Parliament will probably be drawn out till after the first week of July, when there will be another quarterly report from the Queen's Council. He complains very much of being under petticoat government ; and is much puzzled to make out why he should be subjected to this thraldom at present, when he says he is not worse than he has been for years. Such are the stories. There was a very affecting proof of his melancholy state given last week at the Concert of Ancient Music. It was the Duke of Cambridge's night, who announced to The Directors that the King himself had made the selection. This consisted of all the finest passages to be found in Handel, descriptive of madness and blind- ness, particularly those in the opera of Samson ; there was one also upon mad- ness from love, aed the lamentation of Tephtha upon the loss of his daughter; and it closed with" God Save the King," to make sure the application of all that went before. It was a very melancholy as well as singular instance of sensibility, that in the intervals of reason he should dwell upon the worst cir- cumstances of his situation, and bare a sort of indulgence in soliciting the public sympathy.
We intended to have drawn upon his earlier journals for some curious passages exhibitive of Mr. HORNER'S character and plans; but the space we have already occupied, and the greater space requisite to display those points effectually, warn us to close.