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amidst the splendour of usurped power, and the flattery of grovelling sycophants.
To a certain degree the virtues of the ancients ought to inspire emulation, and are worthy of being precedents to all posterity; but that soft charm which a pure religion and more liberal notions diffuse over Christian manners, that animating prospect which is now held out to encourage laudable endeavours, and those terrors which are denounced against nefarious actions, could not operate on classical ages, because they were unknown.
Biography is not only valuable as an example to imitate, but as a beacon to warn. The impartial distribution of posthumous fame or censure must have some effect on the most callous and unprincipled. The thought of being handed down to posterity in colours of infamy, must frequently repress the vicious machination, and forbid the atrocious deed. The love of reputation was implanted in our natures for the wisest and noblest ends. Few possess that unenviable magnanimity which can render them indifferent to public opinion; or are so sunk in the apathy of vice, as to feel no melody in the sound of deserved applause.
To praise desert can scarcely fail to be a stimulus to virtuous actions. Those who have benefited or enlightened mankind, should receive commendation with no niggardly hand. The flowers strewed on the grave of merit is the most grateful incense to living worth. How often has the sight of the monuments in Westminster Abbey inspired the martial enthusiasm, the flame of patriotism, or the emulation of genius in the youthful breast! There are generous passions in the soul of man, which frequently lie dormant till some exciting cause serves to wake their susceptibilities, and give impulse to their native direction. Even a wellwritten amiable life has tempted many to live well.
CHARACTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
THERE are few personages in history, who have been more exposed to the calumny of enemies, and the adulation of friends, than Queen Elizabeth; and yet there is scarce any whose reputation has been more certainly determined by the
unanimous consent of posterity. The unusual length of her administration, and the strong features of her character, were able to overcome all prejudices; and obliging her detractors to abate much of their invectives, and her admirers somewhat of their panegyrics, have at last, in spite of political factions, and, what is more, of religious animosities, produced a uniform judgment with regard to her conduct. Her vigour, her constancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance, and address, are allowed to merit the highest praises, and appear not to have been surpassed by any person who ever filled a throne. A conduct less rigorous, less imperious, more sincere, more indulgent to her people, would have been requisite to form a perfect character. By the force of her mind, she controlled all her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from running into excess. Her heroism was exempted from all temerity, her frugality from avarice, her friendship from partiality, her enterprise from turbulency and a vain ambition. She guarded not herself with equal care, nor equal success, from less infirmities; the rivalship of beauty, the desire of admiration, the jealousy of love, and the sallies of anger.
Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over the people; and while she merited all their esteem, by her real virtues, she also engaged their affections, by her pretended ones.
Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult circumstances; and none ever conducted the government with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted with the practice of toleration, the true secret of managing religious factions, she preserved her people, by her superior prudence, from those confusions, in which theological controversy had involved all the neighbouring nations. And, though her enemies were the most powerful princes in Europe, the most active, the most enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able, by her vigour, to make deep impressions on their state. Her own greatness, in the mean time, remained untouched and unimpaired.
The wise ministers and brave warriors, who flourished during her reign, share the praise of her success; but, in
stead of lessening the applause due to her, they make great addition to it. They all owed their advancement to her choice. They were supported by her constancy; and, with all their ability, they were never able to acquire any undue ascendant over her.
In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress. The force of the tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat, which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firmness of her resolutions, and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.
The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both of faction and of bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice, which is more durable, because more natural, and which, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting beyond measure, or diminishing the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded in the consideration of her sex. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest admiration of her qualities and extensive capacity; but we are also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greater lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses, by which her sex is distinguished. But the true method of estimating her merit is, to lay aside all these considerations, and to consider her merely as a rational being, placed in authority, and intrusted with the government of mankind. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as a mistress; but her qualities as a sovereign, though with some considerable exceptions, are the object of undisputed applause and admiration. HUME.
4.-CHARACTER OF MR PITT.
THE secretary' stood alone'. Modern degeneracy' had not reached him. Original' and unaccommodating', the features of his character' had the hardihood of antiquity'. His august mind' overawed majesty itself. No state chicanery`, no narrow system of vicious politics', no idle contest for ministerial victories', sunk him to the vulgar level of the great`; but overbearing', persuasive', and impracticable", his object was England', his ambition' was fame'. Without dividing', he destroyed' party; without corrupting', he made
a venal age unanimous. France' sunk' beneath him. With one' hand he smote the house of Bourbon', and wielded in the other' the democracy of England'. The sight of his mind' was infinite'; and his schemes were to affect, not England', not the present' age only, but Europe' and posterity'. Wonderful were the means' by which these schemes were accomplished'; always seasonable', always adequate', the suggestions of an understanding animated by ardour', and enlightened by prophecy'.
The ordinary feelings which make life amiable and indolent' were unknown' to him. No domestic difficulties', no domestic weakness' reached him; but aloof from the sordid occurrences of life', and unsullied by its intercourse', he came occasionally' into our system, to counsel' and to decide'.
A character so exalted', so strenuous', so various', so authoritative', astonished' a corrupt age, and the treasury trembled at the name of Pitt' through all her classes of venality'. Corruption imagined', indeed, that she had found defects' in this statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency of his glory', and much of the ruin of his victories'; but the history of his country', and the calamities of the enemy', answered' and refuted her.
Nor were his political' abilities his only' talents. His eloquence' was an era' in the senate, peculiar' and spontaneous', familiarly expressing gigantic sentiments' and instinctive wisdom'; not like the torrent of Demosthenes', or the splendid conflagration of Tully'; it resembled sometimes the thunder', and sometimes the music' of the spheres. He did not conduct the understanding through the painful subtility of argumentation'; nor was he for ever on the rack of exertion'; but rather lightened' upon the subject, and reached the point' by the flashings of the mind', which', like those of his eye', were felt', but could not be followed'.
Upon the whole', there was in this man something that could create', subvert', or reform'; an understanding', a spirit', and an eloquence', to summon mankind to society', or to break the bonds of slavery' asunder, and to rule the wildness of free' minds with unbounded authority'; something that could establish' or overwhelm' empire, and strike a blow' in the world that should resound through the uni verse'.
5. THE SIEGE OF QUEBEC, AND THE DEATH OF GENERAL
THERE now remained but one grand and decisive blow to put all North America into the possession of the English; and this was the taking of Quebec, the capital of Canada, a city handsomely built, populous, and flourishing. Admiral Saunders was appointed to command the naval part of the expedition; the siege by land was committed to the conduct of General Wolfe, of whom the nation had great expectations. This young soldier, who was not yet thirty-five, had distinguished himself on many former occasions, particularly at the siege of Louisburg; a part of the success of which was justly ascribed to him, who, without being indebted to family or connexions, had raised himself by merit to his present command.
Indeed, when we consider the situation of Quebec, on the side of a great river, the fortifications with which it was secured, the natural strength of the country, the great number of vessels and floating batteries the enemy had provided for the defence of the river, the numerous bodies of savages continually hovering round the British army, there appears such a combination of difficulties as might discourage and perplex the most resolute commander. The general himself seemed perfectly sensible of the difficulty of the undertaking. After stating, in a letter to the ministry, the dangers they presented-"I know," said he, "that the affairs of Great Britain require the most vigorous measures. But then the courage of a handful of brave men should be exerted only where there is some hope of a favourable event. At present the difficulties are so various, that I am at a loss how to determine." The only prospect of attempting the town with success, was by landing a body of troops in the night below the town, who were to clamber up the banks of the river, and take possession of the ground on the back of the city. This attempt, however, appeared particularly discouraging. The stream was rapid, the shore shelving, the banks above lined with sentinels, the landing-place so narrow as to be easily missed in the dark, and the steepness of the ground such as hardly to be surmounted in the daytime. All these difficulties, however, were surmounted by the