Abbildungen der Seite

hands of the opulent and the informed, who, better instructed than their poorer neighbours of the rationale of banking, would exercise a proper degree of consideration in presenting the notes for payment. The most effectual check would thus be given to runs, and one which, while it would be infinitely more effectual, would be unattended with any of the mischiefs consequent upon the suppression of small notes *.

We must here take leave of our subject. We think we have proved most satisfactorily, that if the suppression of small notes is capable of any justification, that justification is to be sought alone in the vicious state of English banking ;—that that suppression as an insulated proposition would be a measure of positive mischief;that the reform, therefore, the country requires, is not a suppression of its small cura rency, but the establishment of a sound system of banking. What are the obstacles to that establishment, which the hydra of monopoly again opposes to the well-being of the country, under the legitimate? disguise of ‘Bank Charters,' we cannot now pause to inquire. We would only warn our countrymen, that if they are deluded by the mischievous vulgarism of the all-sufficiency and all-importance of a golden currency, the time will come when, if they succeed in inflicting upon the country its onerous burthen, they may live to repent their egregious folly, and seek to retrace their steps, like the silly king, whom Ovid describes :

“meritus torquetur ab auro;
Ad coelumque manus, et splendida brachia tollens
Da veniam Lenæe pater, peccavimus, inquit,
Sed miserere precor, speciosoque eripe damno.


[ocr errors]


“ It would be a very interesting occupation to compare and contrast one's preconceived ideas, both imaginative and springing from tradition, of the persons of the most prominent historical characters, with what we here see them to have been.”- London Magazine for June.

have gone through Mr. Lodge's gallery with the view and in the spirit expressed above ; and, certainly, we scarcely remember to have been employed in a more agreeable occupation. Intently and minutely scanning the features of the most remarkable persons our country has produced, and striving through them to read and commune with their spirit, could not, indeed, fail to furnish food for the highest and most stirring thought. And, ever and anon, our contemplations were diversified by the strange historical comments of some worthy fellow-gazer, who, holding the catalogue, had to furnish information to his inquiring wife or daughter on his arm.

“ Who's that?'_“ What's Number .?" It was charming to hear the tone

But who is to supply to the immediate necessities of the small tradesman and the mechanic, while they hold a currency, not convertible, by them, into cash? --Ed.

in which these eager questions were answered, when they chanced not to apply to one of the most well-known historic personages. The tone of utter ignorance of the who--the what-and the when, in which the names were read out from the list, was exquisite. Occasionally, also, there came by a party provided with a talker---the bel-esprit, the érudit of the family circle, on whose observations every member of it hung with admiration and delight. One of these, consisting of an old gentleman and, apparently, his daughter, and the oracle, who was a dark, smartish man of two or three-and-thirty, chanced to be standing at our elbow, whilst we were examining the picture of Dundee. After several vain efforts to recollect“ in which of Scott's novels Jolin Graham, Viscount Dundee (as they insisted upon calling him with the Catalogue) was mentioned," they passed on to the next pictures. This (the arrangement is quite promiscuous) was the portrait of a woman who, without beauty, was still fresh and nice-looking enough, and partly from the style of the head-gear, partly from the expression of the face, conveyed to us, at least, very much the idea of a sonsy charity-school girl. The philosopher, however, was wiser far. “Heavens !"-he exclaimed, improvidently, without looking at the catalogue,-“What intellect that woman must have possessed !—I scarcely ever saw so large a head!" At this we rather started—not only from the singular doctrine that mere size of head denoted quantity of brains, - but also from our not having perceived that the head was, in point of fact, so large. We cast a glance at it, and still thought it was more the head-dress than the head itself that gave this appearance; but nôtre homme knew better, and on he went. That woman," he said to the admiring elder, and still more admiring offspring—“ that woman must have been a person of enormous intellect-I can scarcely conceive a greater woman—the head is so large.'

“ Who can it be?" exclaimed the whole party—and there was great turning over of the leaves of the Catalogue to come to the desired point. We, who, having come the other way round the room, had passed this portrait, and, therefore, knew whose it was, waited with great amusement for the effect the name, we were confident, would produce upon the trio. At last, the young lady read aloud -—“ No. 100— Mary, Queen of England,"—there was a dead silence-at first, they did not seem quite to understand who it was still, at last, the father exclaimed “What! bloody Mary!"-and, as he passed on, he gave the critic a look, which plainly bespoke his influence was gone for ever!

We have said that the arrangement of the pictures is almost entirely promiscuous—which is, in other words, that there is no arrangement at all. This we regret, for many obvious reasons; and, therefore, we, in some degree, remedied the evil, by making our perambulations in the order of Time, and not of the Catalogue. Setting off thus—we were surrounded at the outset with Henry VIII., his wives, his ministers, his enemies, and his tools. The portraits, indeed, of this extraordinary period are very complete ;-we have Wolsey, and Cranmer, and Pole-More, and Cromwell, and Paget, and Denny-Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour, and Catherine Parr, which last are all hanging in quiet juxta-position on the walls,—“ not divided ” after “ their death,” as though “ in their lives” they had been“ united."

[ocr errors]

Henry himself is probably more familiarly known to us, as to person, than any of our kings, except, perhaps, Charles I. His corpulent, but manly figure, and full and cheerful face, have been reduced to the “ vile uses” of serving, alternately with the Great Mogul, as an ornament-we know not that it is an emblem-to our packs of playingcards. And it is certainly curious that these coarse and common cuts should have retained so exact a resemblance to the original picture of Holbein. This picture is one of those which carry with them the assurance of their being strong likenesses, to persons who have not seen the original. And yet it is impossible to trace in it any of those qualities so prominent and so little-checked, for which Henry was so remarkable. It might, indeed, be considered as representing him at the moment of meeting Francis on the Field of the Cloth of Goldmagnificent in apparel, calm and somewhat dignified in aspect ;—but we look in vain for the controversial theologian, the savage, rash, and bloody oppressor, ,-or for any of those qualities, whether of marrying, or of his mo of dissolving marriage, which have earned him the name of the Royal Blue-beard. There is nothing of all this,-not a jot of the keen, yet fanatic disputant, who strove to write down Luther, and who went nigh to cut off yet another wife's head, for differing from him on a point of doctrine; -no vestige of the cruel and jealous king, who caused Surrey to be put to death for quartering the arms of Edward the Confessor. Of all this, we see nothing.

There is some, but slight and indolent, pride, and good-nature of exactly the same quantity and the same description. This, surely, is not a moral likeness of Henry VIII.

Wolsey's profile, by Holbein, in Christ-Church Hall, is that singled out to be copied for this collection. It is like all the pictures of him;

-full, portly, and authoritative,—but bespeaking but little of the powerful and expansive mind--the fiery temperament—and the grasping ambition of the great Cardinal. The picture befits the place where it hangs; it is expressive, perhaps, of that love of magnificence of which Christ-Church was probably the grandest, and is certainly the most lasting, product; but that is all. We seek in vain for the mind, which, by a rare conjunction of subtlety and force, mastered and guided even the headstrong will of llenry; and by the intensity of his genius, and the force and energy with which it was put into action, made the lofty and long-descended Howards and Bohuns quail before " the butcher's cur," of Ipswich. Wolsey undoubtedly ranks in the very first class of those great men, whose pre-eminence of intellect is undisputed, however tarnished it may have been by its application. If the field of his exploits were not so extended as that of Richelieu,which is to be questioned, -he had a far longer road to pass to reach it, and very different persons to deal with, when he had fairly got there. If Wolsey's king had been a Louis XIII., he would, like Richelieu, have died minister, unless, indeed, he had died pope. But, here, we cannot recognise either what he was, or what he aspired to be;—we have before us the lordly and prelatic host of York-Place, but neither him who ruled at Whitehall, nor him who hoped to bear sway in the Vatican.

Next, Sir Thomas More,--that strange compound of strong sense AUGUST, 1828.


and fanaticism of kindness of heart and bloody unrelentingness--of lively and even boyish humour, with severe and unswerving application to business. Some of these qualities we can trace in his portrait-and he certainly is more like himself than either Henry or the Cardinal ;but still, we are scarcely satisfied with this being Sir Thomas More. The head, on the whole, is fine, and the eye and mouth are both, undoubtedly, of great intelligence.

The countenance is in repose; but there is not that grand and calm purity, that quiet greatness, which we should expect in Sir Thomas More. Neither should we perceive any marks of that good-humour and fun, which attended him even to the scaffold, if we did not search for it minutely.

Perhaps, then, we trace some faint indications of it—a slight “ laughing in the sleeve" may, it is possible, be found, or fancied, in the expression of the eyes--the left eye in particular-which difference may, perhaps, be occasioned by the position of the head, which is that common to what is termed 6 a three-parts' face.” After all, the feeling here, also, is of disappointment.

In the little notice appended to Sir John More, father of the Chancellor, and himself Chief Justice of the King's Bench, is an anecdote we think very interesting, and which to us is new. It is stated, that Sir Thomas loved and respected him so much “ that it was his constant practice, in passing through Westminster-Hall in state, to his judgment in the Chancery, to step, for a minute, into the Court of King's Bench (where Sir John presided), and kneel to his father for his blessing." We find pencilled in the margin of our Catalogue, opposite Sir John's name, the words “ good-humoured old fellow, and that is exactly what his portrait says of him. We do not recollect that history is very loquacious on his subject.

Cardinal Pole hangs near to these portraits; it is a different picture from that from which the print in Burnet's History of the Reformation is taken. This one is by no means so favourable a likeness—it is older, and far less well-looking in every way. The Cardinal, who always strikes us as being one of the most " gentlemanlike men,” in history, is here made old, and long-visaged, and lanthorn-jawed ; whereas, in Burnet, he is, though still somewhat lengthy in face, a remarkably fine and elegant-looking man, with a most splendid beard. We do not think the picture in this collection half so like him.

The portrait of Cromwell (Earl of Essex) is the ordinary onequiet, smooth, and clever, as though watching keenly and slily the proceedings of his enemy before he pounced forth upon him. He was too subtle even for the churchmen, which proves, that he possessed great talents—and though, perhaps, he may have carried his proceedings against them to some excess, we certainly know nothing for which he deserved to be put to death, except that for which he really suffered it ;-viz., mistaking an ugly woman for a pretty one.

The portrait of the said Anne of Cleves is not here, for us to judge for ourselves ;-we conclude, her fastidious husband multiplied ber likenesses as little as possible. But Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Catherine Parr, hang all in a row, and all from Holbein. Of these, the favourite, Jane Seymour, is, beyond all dispute, the least welllooking of the three; and, indeed, is not well-looking at all. Anne

Boleyn and Catherine Parr are both, as far as one can judge, through the abominably harsh and crude manner of Holbein, which, in women, becomes intolerable, very handsome in very different styles of beauty. Anne is fair--and her eyes are fine, large, and well-shaped-her nose is beautifully delicate, as is also her mouth :--but the costume is extremely unbecoming, and totally hides the hair, which, from the other parts of the picture, we would“ wager a plack" would be as beautiful as all the rest put together. Catherine Parr is totally different-a fine, open, expressive face,—with keen, black eyes,-a nose inclining to the Roman (a sad fault in a woman !), and a general aspect hovering between that of a Jewess and of Cleopatra. Her expression, perhaps, verges upon what may be termed " bold,”—but that its extreme cheerfulness and perfect good-humour makes the epithet scarcely applicable.

We cannot go through Henry's court. We have already said, incidentally, that Lord Surrey is red-haired and lanthorn-jawed, and, undoubtedly, we most strenuously recommend those persons who wish to keep up in their minds the romantic idea which all the abominable trash that has been written within these dozen years about him, may have raised, not to go and look at his picture. It would destroy the whole vision as thoroughly, as, we have been told by an old Indian, passing a few months in Hindostan annihilates the prestige of the Arabian Nights.

Neither shall we pause upon. Edward VI.'s reign. We confess that period is to us extremely uninteresting: all the intrigues of Somerset and Dudley are dull, confused, and a bore. For Edward himself, he was a prim, precocious prig, to whom it would have done all the good in the world to have been sent to Eton to be horridly bullied and licked—which, beyond doubt, he would have been.

We must, however, we suppose, say a word about Lady Jane Grey, who is another favourite with people of novel-reading minds. We do believe her picture to be like, although it is anything rather than the embodying of the angelic and Crichton-like qualities, which her admirers heap so unmercifully and impossibly upon her head. The portrait represents a prim, prettyish Quaker-to the dress of whom, singularly enough, Lady Jane's costume bears the closest resembla But there is nothing in the countenance, in the very least degree, learned, or heretical, or in any way bespeaking " the pupil of Ascham," -as some writers, in the taste of the Morning Post, have chosen to dub this very unfortunate, but insignificant, young lady.

Of “ bloody Mary,” we and the oracle have already sufficiently spoken. Come we, then, at once, to the period of Elizabeth, when, undoubtedly, there was a very singular number, not of great, but of highly eminent and distinguished, men. Among these, however, in our idea, there have been ranked several of those pseudo-heroes, whose celebrity rather puts us in a passion. Such dashing melodramatic gentlemen as Essex, have no business to occupy the space they do in history; and the cumbrous and pedantic pageantry of Elizabeth's courts has been thrust forward into an importance very absurd and a little mischievous. For Elizabeth herself, while we

« ZurückWeiter »