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heightened and adorned by occasional Grattan's employment of antithesis is touches of Irish pathos or fancy. And singularly striking and brilliant, and Mr Grattan, though he made his ap- arms his sentences with a point which pearance in the united parliament with- penetrates wherever it is aimed. These out having possessed exactly the same polished and epigrammatic passages advantage, had enjoyed the benefit of are, however, often interspersed with a long service as the leader of opposi- others of a loftier and more interesting tion in Ireland, and must necessarily character; for it is one of the greatest have learnt, from the experience of that charms of his eloquence, that it distroublesome honour, how much more plays a heart of rare and genuine bene. powerfully divisions are influenced by volence. There is, in his speeches, an argument than by poetry. After such impassioned earnestness of virtue, a a probation, and with the clear-sighted noble simplicity of feeling and princiunderstanding which he possessed from ple, which all the flimsy romancers of nature, it was not to be supposed, that a whole century would never reach, in he would rush into idle and speculative their fullest flow of sensitive commondeclamation, to the neglect of the main place. With such an honesty of nabusiness in hand. Nor, in point of ture --with such a warmth of heart, fact, do we remember to have detected with a judgment thus matured by prachim in such aberrations. But still his tice, with an imagination so lively, eloquence differed from that of Burke and with so exquisite a polish of dic. and of Sheridan, in that it was not, tion, Mr Grattan has occupied an like theirs, an English style adorned eminence in the united parliament, and heightened with poetical orna- scarcely less distinguished than that ments ; but a style naturally Irish, re- which he possessed in the legislature duced and chastened to purposes of of his native island. practical utility. We seldom remem. The last-risen of the luminaries in ber to have witnessed a more universal that great constellation, of which we sentiment of admiration in an audience, have been thus endeavouring to furnish than that which manifested itself on some account, is Mr Canning. the night of his first speech in the Having neither acquaintance nor English House of Commons. This connexion, direct nor indirect, with sentiment, if possible, he has heighten- this eminent statesman, we shall not ed rather than diminished by his sub- fear to be convicted of partiality, when sequent exertions.
we declare it as our firm opinion,-an If we were to point out any one cha- opinion, not made up hastily, nor withracteristic of his style, as distinguishing out careful observation, that of all the it more particularly than the rest, we speakers whom it has ever been our should select his propensity to anti. good fortune to hear, Mr Canning thesis. Whatever may be the objec. possesses, in the highest perfection, tions to this seductive vice in writing, the greatest number of those qualifi. its use and effect in speaking are, we cations which constitute a first-rate apprehend, too obvious to be question. orator. With the argumentative wit, ed. A reader may be cloyed by it in the classical polish, and the lively feel. a long treatise, and then it must ali. ing peculiar to himself, he unites the enate instead of securing him,-but in analytical logic of Mr Fox, and the speaking, where it is so extremely dif- comprehensive scope, lucid arrange. ficult to fix the hearer, the most useful ment, and splendid potentiality of arts are those which lay the strongest phrase, which distinguished the style temporary hold upon his attention. Mr of Mr Pitt. Nullum fere eloquentiæ genus non tetigit : nullum, quod teti. ers; and that duty bids us speak what git, non ornavit.
we believe to be truth, without modifi, All this is the more extraordinary, cation or reserve. because we remember Mr Canning, We have thus presented, as we flat after he had been several years in par. ter ourselves, a tolerably faithful, liament, not only not a first, but scarce- though a brief, account of the state ly even a second-rate speaker. We of oratory in the British House of remember him, injudicious in his ar- Commons, during the zenith of Mr gument, and intemperate in his decla- Windham's fame. The powers of mation ; and scarcely even able to at those minds, which death has now tain the animation necessary to fix the snatched from the world, we have enattention of the house, without lash. deavoured to illustrate by characterising and spurring himself into an artifi- tic quotations, as well as by general cial heat. We certainly little expect analyses of style : and we have descried, at that time, to see him, what we bed with the strictest impartiality, the conceive him at present to be, the speakers who still remain to their counmost consummate orator of the culti. try, although we have thought it pres vated age in which he flourishes. mature to present particular specimens
A great command of language is apt of their matter or manner. We shall to betray the speaker into one of these conclude with a review of the oratotwo vicious habits, either a measured rical talents of Mr Windham himmelody, so regularly recurring as to self, and with such selections from aubecome unpleasing by its monotony ; thenticated copies of his speeches, as or a rush of language without modu- appear to us the best calculated to conlation, degenerating into familiar and vey to our readers a just conception of conversational solecism. But Mr Can- his style, both in thinking and in exning's fluency is free from both these pressing himself. defects. It is harmonious without That great and leading principle of monotony, and easy without negli- his politics, his jealousy of the honour gence. Sometimes, for a few succes. and virtue of his country, was perpe. sive sentences, the roundness and ful. tually displaying itself in the strain of ness of the melody remind us of Mr his eloquence, to which it imparted a Pitt's sonorous majesty : then, as the lofty and sustained animation." Thus, tenour of the argument demands a in his speech on the peace of Amiens, simpler or lighter treatment, the un- after a few general reasonings upon the studied happinesses, or the terse hu. gain and loss of wars, he exclaims, mour, of the elder time," interweave " We are not, according to the prethemselves in the phraseology; and sent fashion, to fall to calculating, and the charms of each style are relieved, to ask ourselves, what is the value at not by a contrast of barrenness and market of such and such an object, poverty, but by a change of excellence. and how much it will cost us to ob
To those who are not experimental. tain it. If these objects alone were ly acquainted with the almost magical at stake, I should admit the principle effect of Mr Canning's oratory, this in its full force; and should be among praise may appear excessive. We have the first to declare, that no object of but one apology to offer our convic. mere pecuniary value could ever be tion of its strict justice. In an advo. worth obtaining at the price of a war; cate, it might be more prudent to be but when particular points of honour less panegyrical ; but we have here no are at stake, as at Nootka or the Falk. duty to perform, except to our read- land Islands, (without enquiring whto
ther, in those cases, the point of ho.' “ Do we suppose it possible, that nour was either well chosen or rightly with an intercourse subsisting, such estimated;) and still more where gene- as, we know, will take place between ral impression, where universal estima- Great Britain and France, the morals tion, where the conception to be form- of this country shall continue what ed of the feelings, temper, power, po- they have been? Do we suppose that licy, and views of a great nation, are when this “ Syrus in Tiberim defluxit in question, there, to talk of calcula. Orontes," when that “ revolutionary ting the loss or profit of possessions, stream," the Seine, charged with all to which these considerations may be the colluvies of Paris, with all the attached, by their price at market, or filth and blood of that polluted city, the value of their fee simple, is like shall have turned its current into the the idea of Dr Swift, when he is com- Thames, that the waters of our fair paring the grants to the Duke of domestic flood can remain pure and Marlborough with the rewards of a wholesome as before? Do we suppose Roman conqueror, and estimates the these things can happen? Or is it, crown of laurel at two-pence." that we are indifferent whether they . Again, in the same speech, we have happen or not; and that the morals a fine specimen of spirited morality: of the country are no longer an object .“ However true it may be, that the of our concern ?” example of France ought to serve as The quality of Mr Windham's elo. the strongest antidote to its poison, quence, which we regarà as the next and that it does so in fact in the minds in value, is the logical connection and of many, yet it is equally true, that, judicious disposition of his arguments. in another view, and to many other Of that excellence, however, it would persons, it operates in a directly con- obviously be impossible to comprise a trary way, not as a warning, but as an specimen in these pages, inasmuch as incitement. What I am now speak. such merits are, in their very nature, ing of is, however, not the danger of diffused through an entire speech, and the political principles of France, but perceptible only by observation of its the still surer and more dreadful dan- tenour as a whole. ger of her morals. What are we to Perhaps, for a popular assembly, think of a country that, having struck the style of Mr Windham was someout of men's minds, as far as it has the times too metaphysical ; but on many power to do so, all' sense of religion, occasions his philosophy was usefully and all belief of a future life, has struck exercised, in clearing the way for his out of its system of civil policy, the argument, and raising the curiosity of institution of marriage ? That has for- the house. mally, professedly, and by law, esta “ The great division of mankind," blished the connexion of the sexes says he in his speech on the peace of upon the footing of an unrestrained Amiens, “ into those who were form. concubinage: That has turned the ed to govern, and those who were born whole country into one universal bro- only to obey, was never more strongly thel? That leaves to every man to exemplified than by the French nation, take, and to get rid of a wife, (the fact, and those who have sunk, or are sink. I believe, continues to be so) and a ing, under their yoke. Let us not sup. wife, in like manner, to get rid of her pose, therefore, that, while these qua, husband, upon less notice than you lities, combined with these purposes, can, in this country, of a ready-fur- shall continue to exist, they will ever nished lodging?
cease, by night or by day, in peace or in war, to work their natural effect, it entered into the plan of the present to gravitate towards their proper cen-' article to analyse and pourtray the tre; or that the bold, the proud, the powers of the leading speakers of the dignified, the determined, those who present day, we should have little dif. will great things, and will stake their ficulty in refuting this prejudice. We existence upon the accomplishment of would solicit the “ laudatores tempo what they have willed, shall not finally ris acti” to reflect, that orators, who, prevail over those, who act upon the in the time of Mr Pitt and Mr Fox, very opposite feelings; who will “ne had not enjoyed the opportunity and ver push their resistance beyond their practice essential to excellence, and convenience ;" who ask for nothing who were therefore, at that period, inbut ease and safety ; who look only ferior and inconsiderable men, have to stave off the evil for the present since improved and ripened their fa. day, and will take no heed of what culties. We could illustrate from vamay befal them on the morrow. We rious instances, and especially from the are therefore, in effect, at war at this last two years of Mr Perceval's life, moment; and the only question is, the satisfactory axiom, that great oco whether the war, that will hencefor- casions are sure to kindle great talents. ward proceed under the name of peace,' And we might finally console the apis likely to prove less operative and fa- prehensions of our readers, by specifital, than that which has hitherto ap- cally reminding them, that the voice peared in its natural and ordinary of Mr Grattan is not yet mute; that shape.”
Mr Canning is in the full maturity of · It has become a fashion to say, his genius ; and that the early and brilthat the eloquence of the House of liant eloquence of Mr Ward affords Commons is rapidly waning,--that a additional assurance of a legitimate dark age is come upon us,—and that succession to the honours of the do no rays of early genius are dawning parted great. to revive the glories that are gone. If
The subject of the present brief me. ed them to the respect and kindness of morial will be long distinguished among their neighbours, and to the protection those whom the elasticity and ardour of the family of Mr Douglas of Caof genius have raised to distinction vers, upon whose estate they resided. from an obscure and humble origin. John Leyden, so eminent for the John LEYDEN was descended from a genius which he displayed, and the exfamily of small farmers, long settled tensive knowledge which he accumulaupon the estate of Cavers, in the vale ted during his brief career, was born of Teviot, a few miles from Hawick. at Denholm, on 8th September, 1775, He loved to mention some traditional and bred up, like other children in the rhymes, which one of his ancestors had same humble line of life, to such coun. composed, and to commemorate the try labour as suited his strength. He prowess of another, who had 'taken was ten years of age before he had an arms with the insurgent Cameronians, opportunity of attending even the read. about the time of the Revolution, and ing school, and as the death of his first who distinguished himself by his gal. teacher, William Wilson, school-mas. lantry at the defence of the church. ter at Kirktown, soon after took place, yard of Dunkeld, 21st August, 1689, the humble studies of the future poet, against a superior body of Highlandi antiquary,and orientalist, were adjourners, when Colonel Cleland, the leader ed till the subsequent year, (1786) of these warlike enthusiasts, was slain when a Mr W. Scott taught the same at their head. John Leyden, residing school. But the sacred fire had alin the village of Denholm, and parish ready caught to the ready fuel which of Cavers, Roxburghshire, and 18a. nature had adjusted for its supply. bella Scott, his wife, were the parents The ardent and unutterable longing of Dr Leyden, and still survive to for information of every description, deplore the irreparable loss of a son which characterized Joha Leyden as the honour alike of his family and much as any man who ever lived, was country. Their irreproachable life, now roused and upon the watch. The and simplicity of manners, recommend. rude traditionary tales and ballads of VOL. IV. PART N.