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munion to himself and those with him. “We are now entering on a New Communion,” he had said that morning, “ the Living and the Dead,” and his spirit then appeared to master pain and weakness, and to sustain him in a holy calm, during the ceremony, and for a few hours afterwards. “It is a comfort,” he whispered, “to have laid aside all the cares of this world, and put myself in the hands of God;" and he was able to listen at intervals to favourite passages from the New Testament. That evening closed in with an aggravation of suffering. It was the evening of the seventeenth anniversary of his wedding-day.
On the following morning, Lady Elgin, with his approval, rode up to the cemetery at Dhurmsala to select a spot for his grave, and he gently expressed pleasure when told of the quiet and beautiful aspect of the spot chosen, with the glorious view of the snowy range towering above, and the wide prospect of hill and plain below.
The days and nights of the fortnight which followed were a painful alternation of severe suffering and rare intervals of comparative tranquillity. They were soothed by the never-failing devotion of those that were always at hand to read to him or to receive his remarks. He often asked to hear chosen chapters from the Book of Isaiah (as the 40th and 55th), sometimes murmuring over to himself any striking verses that they contained, and at other times repeating by heart favourite Psalms, one of which recalled to him an early feat of his youth, when he had translated into Greek the 137th Psalm,“ By the waters of Babylon we sate down and wept.” At times he delighted to hear his little girl, who had been the constant companion of his travels, repeat some of Keble's hymns, especially those on the festivals of St. John the Evangelist and of the Holy Innocents. Years
Years ago he had prided himself on having been the first to introduce into Scotland The Christian Year, which he brought as a student from Oxford, where the first edition--first of its seventy-seven editions ---had just appeared. How touching a reward to him—how touching a tribute to the enduring piety and genius of its venerable author, that after the lapse of so long a tract of time to both-of quiet pastoral life and eager controversies for the one, of diplomacy and government, war and shipwreck, and travels from hemisphere to hemisphere, for the other — that fountain of early devotion should still remain fresh and pure to soothe his dying hours.
Until his strength failed him, he was carried at times into the verandah, and showed by words and looks his constant admiration at the grand evidences of God's power and goodness in the magnificence of the scenery before him; and on one such occasion was delighted with the sublime description of the
wonders of nature in the 38th and 39th chapters of the Book of Job.
At times he was able to enter into conversation and argument on serious subjects. When under the pressure of his sufferings, he was one night entreating to be released—“O that God would in mercy come and take me,' -Dr. Macrae reminded him of the dread of pain and death which seems to be expressed in the account of the Agony of Gethsemane, and he appeared to find much comfort in the thought, repeating once or twice that he had not seen it in this light before, and several times saying with fervour, “ Not my will, but Thine be done.” At other times, he could even be led, by way of steadying his wandering thoughts amidst the distraction of restlessness, to fix them on his school and college days, to tell anecdotes of his hard reading, or to describe the visit to Oxford of his venerable friend Dr. Chalmers. He dwelt in this way on a sermon of Dr. Chalmers at Glasgow, which he remembered even in detail, and from which he quoted some eloquent passages, bringing out the general scope of the sermon, to the effect, that rather than teach people to hate this bad world, we should teach them to love and look up to a better one.
It will naturally be understood that long converse was really impossible. As occasions rose, a few words were breathed, appropriate verse quoted, and a few minutes were all that could be given at any one time to discourse upon it. It is characteristic of his strong, cheerful faith, even during those last trying moments, that he on one occasion asked to have the more supplicatory, penitential Psalms exchanged for those of praise and thanksgiving, in which he joined, knowing them already by heart, and in the same strain of calm yet triumphant hope, he whispered to himself on the night when his alarming state was first made known to him, "Hallelujah ; the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. We shall all meet again.
That thought was raised to its highest pitch by the sight of a portrait of a beloved son, who had died in England during his absence. It arrived in the close of those sad days. He recognised it at once with a burst of tenderness and delight which at once lifted his mind above the suffering of his mortal illness. Again and again he desired to see it, and to speak of it, with the fixed conviction that he and his "angel boy," as he called him, would soon meet in a better world. "Oh, when shall I be with you ?” “You know where he is; we shall all go to him; he is happy."
Every care had been taken for the public interests, and for the interests of those still nearer and dearer to him. He had laid the most solemn charge on his faithful secretary to conduct Lady Elgin home on her mournful and solitary voyage. He had given to Dr. Macrae, with the tenderest marks of affection, a turquoise ring : “ We have had a long struggle together; keep this in memory of it.” He had dictated a telegram to the Queen resigning his office, with a request that his successor might be immediately appointed.
1“ The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.'-Commercial Discourses, No. ix.
With this exception, public affairs seem to have faded from his mind. “I must resign myself to doing no work. I have not sufficient control over my thoughts. I have washed my hands of it all.” But it was remarkable that as the end drew nearer, the keen sense of public duty once more flashed up within him. It was on the 19th that he could not help expressing his wonder what was meant by his long lingering; and once, half wandering, he whispered, " If I did not die, I might get to Lahore, and carry out the original programme.” Later on in the day he sent for Mr. Thurlow, and desired that a message should be sent, through Sir Charles Wood, expressive of his love and devotion to the Queen, and of his determination to do his work to the last possible moment. His voice, faint and inaudible at first, gained strength with the earnestness of the words which came forth as if direct from his heart, and which, as soon as pronounced, left him prostrate with the exertion. He begged, at the same time, that his “best blessing” might be sent to the Secretaries of the Indian Government, and also a private message to Sir Charles Wood in England.
These were his last public acts. A few words and looks of intense affection for his wife and child, were all that escaped him afterwards. One more night of agonized restlessness, followed by an almost sudden close of the long struggle, and a few moments of perfect calm, and his spirit was released.
His death was on the 20th of November, and on the 21st he was privately buried, at his own request, on the spot selected beforehand.
We have said that on his public policy we do not enter. That must be fought out, defended, censured, approved by others. Neither do we enlarge on the details of his private life. These are too sacred, too near, to be handled in these pages. Enough has been said to show to those who knew him not what manner of man he was in those more intimate relations to God and man with which a stranger dares not intermeddle.
But there are traits which start to life, now that he is removed, for which perhaps the English world, which, as we have aid, hardly knew him, gave him but little credit.
He was thought of as a man of excellent sense and tact. By this, it is said, his objects were gained. Through this, it was held, he maintained that equable tenor of success that so
Lord Elgin--In Memoriam.
marked the successive stages of his career. So doubtless it was to a great extent. Yet assuredly to those who knew him intimately there was much more than this.
Look even at the outward forms of his mode of speech. They are all that now remain to us to tell of that singularly poetic and philosophic turn of mind, that union of grace and power in all his turns of expression, which, if they do not actually amount to genius, give to the character which thus displays itself the charm which no commonplace mediocrity, however sound and safe, can ever attain. It is enough to quote from the few letters in which he had time to disburden those thoughts freely, to show what we mean. THE RIVER SCENERY OF CHINA.
“ May 1858. "When the sun had passed the meridian, the masts and sails were a protection from his rays; and as he continued to drop towards the water, right a-head of us, he strewed our path, first with glittering silver spangles, then with roses, then with violets, through all of which we sped recklessly. The banks on either side continued as flat as ever until the last part of our trip, when we approached some hills on our left, not very lofty, but clearly defined, and with a kind of dreamy softness about them which reminded one of Egypt. The sun has just set among a crowd of mountains which bound the horizon in front of us, and in such a blaze of fiery light that earth and sky in his neighbourhood have hnes all too glorious to look upon. Standing out in advance, on the edge of this sea of molten gold, is a solitary rock, which goes by the name of Golden Island, and serves as the pedestal of a tall pagoda.
“ The night was lovely—a moon nearly full—the banks, flat and treeless at first, became fringed as we proceeded, with mud villages, silent as the grave, and trees standing like spectres over the stream. There we went on through this silvery silence, panting and breathing flame. Through the night watches, when no Chinaman moves, when the junks cast anchor, we laboured on, cutting ruthlessly and recklessly through the waters of that glancing and startled river, which, until the last few weeks, no stranger keel had ever furrowed.' VISIT TO THE PYRAMIDS.
May 9, 1860. “ Our row across the river to the chant of the boatmen invoking the aid of a sainted Dervish, and our ride through the fertile border of the Nile, covered with crops and palm-trees, were very lovely, and after about an hour and a half from Cairo, we emerged into the Desert. The Pyramids seemed there almost within reach of our arms; but, lo! they were in fact some four miles distant.
“We kept moving on at a sort of ambling walk, and the first sign of our near approach was the appearance of a crowd of Arabs. We pushed on over the heap of sand and débris, or probably covered-up
tombs, which surround the base of the Pyramids, when we suddenly came on the most remarkable object on which my eye ever lighted. Somehow or other I had not thought of the Spbinx till I saw her be
There she was in all her imposing magnitude, crouched on the margin of the Desert, looking on the fertile valley of the Nile, and her gaze fixed on the East, as if in earnest expectation of the sunrising—but such a gaze! The mystical light and deep shadows cast by the moon gave to it an intensity which I cannot attempt to describe. To me it seemed a look earnest, searching, but unsatisfied. For a long time I remained transfixed, endeavouring to read the meaning conveyed by that wonderful eye. I was struck after a while by what seemed a contradiction in the expression of the eye and mouth. There was a singular gentleness and hopefulness in the lines of the mouth which appeared to be in contrast with the anxious eye. Mr. Bowlby? agreed with me in thinking that the upper part of the face spoke of the intellect striving and striving vainly to solve the mystery (what mystery? the mystery, shall we say, of God's universe or of man's destiny?) while the lower indicated a moral conviction that all must be well, and that this truth would in good time be made manifest. We could hardly tear ourselves away from this fascinating spectacle, to draw near to the great Pyramid which stood beside us, its outline sharply traced in the clear atmosphere. We walked round and round it, thinking of the strange men whose ambition to secure immortality for themselves had expressed itself in this giant creation. The enormous blocks of granite brought from one knows not where, built up one knows not how—the form selected, solely for the purpose of defying the assaults of time—the contrast between the conception embodied in their construction, and the talk of the frivolous race by whom we were surrounded, all this seen and felt under the influence of the dim moonlight, was very striking and impressive. We spent some time in moving from place to place along the shadow cast by the Pyramid on the sand, and observing the effect produced by bringing the moon sometimes to its apex, and sometimes to other points on its outline. I felt no disposition to exchange for sleep the state of dreamy half-consciousness in which I was wandering about, but at length I lay down on the shingly sand with a block of granite for a pillow, and passed an hour or two sometimes dozing, sometimes wakeful. When we reached the summit at sunrise we had a horizon all around tinted very much like Turner's early pictures, and becoming brighter and brighter till it melted into day. Behind and on two sides of us was the barren and treeless desert stretching out as far as the eye could reach. Before us the fertile valley of the Nile, and the river meandering through it, and in the distance Cairo, with its mosques and minarets, the highest, the Citadel mosque, standing out boldly on the horizon. It was a fine view, and had a character of its own; but still it does not stand out among my
1 The lamented Times' correspondent who perished in China, amongst the prisoners captured in 1860.–See Lord Elgin's despatch to Lord J. Russell, dated October 26, 1860. Correspondence on the Affairs of China, 1859-1860,