Obrazy na stronie

The unremitting labors of Neff destroyed his health, and he was at length obliged to quit the inclement district in which he had accomplished so much good. He lingered for some time in a state of great debility, and died at Geneva on the 12th April, 1829.

We cannot better conclude this brief and imperfect notice of a truly valuable and delightful book, than by the following observations of its author on the character of the admirable individual whose noble labors he has recommended to the imitation, not only of every Christian minister, but of every one, however humble, who feels a desire to advance his own real happiness and that of his fellow-creatures :

“ It was his anxiety to build up the Christian on a foundation where selfdependence, vain-glory, and imaginary merit were to have no place whatever; and yet every act of his ministry proved that he set a just value on knowledge and attainments. It was his labor of love to show, that whenever any addition is made to our stock of knowledge, we not only gain something in the way of enjoyment, but are laying up a store for the improvement of our moral and religious feelings, and of our general habits of industry. The spiritual advancement of his flock was the great end and object of all his toils; but no man ever took a warmer interest in the temporal comforts of those about him, and this he evinced by instructing them in the management of their fields and gardens, in the construction of their cottages, and in employing all his own acquirements in philosophy and science for the amelioration of their condition. He so condescended to things of low estate, as to become a teacher of a, b, c, not only to ignorant infancy, but to the dull and unpliant capacities of adults. Beginning with the most tiresome rudiments, he proceeded upwards, leading on his scholars methodically, kindly, and patiently, until he had made them proficients in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and could lead them into the pleasanter paths of music, geography, history, and astronomy. His mind was too enlarged to fear that he should be teaching his peasant boys too much. It was his aim to show what a variety of enjoyments may be extracted out of knowledge, and that even the shepherd and the goatherd of the mountain-side will be all the happier and the better for every piece of solid information that he can acquire.

[From “ The New Monthly Magazine, No. 139."]

Art. V.- The Story of the Life of Lafayette, as told by a Father

to his Children. By AN AMERICAN LADY.* The new Chapter added to the Life of Lafayette, the two unhappy days of June, 1832, suggests an excellent occasion of considering the character of this remarkable man. In consequence of his early heroism having been displayed, apparently to the cost of England, in North America, and in consequence also of the false steps

(* Originally published by Messrs. Hilliard, Gray, & Co., Boston.]

taken by Great Britain in the first years of the French Revolution, we have been disposed in this country to look upon his career with unfriendly eyes; and even at home, meeting with difficulties in the national character attributable to centuries of misrule, it has not yet produced all the good which such qualities as Lafayette possesses must one day produce. When, however, his calm steadiness of conduct shall be more carefully imitated by the millions amongst his countrymen, and when his soundness of principle shall have duly influenced the corrupted few in France, the true use will have been drawn there from his glorious example, and the whole world will do his noble character justice. Remarkable for qualities himself in which the French are singularly deficient, his honors will rest upon their improvement. Almost destitute of the power of calculating and combining the means of civil action, their efforts against universally admitted misrule are sudden and misdirected. Their zeal for particular opinions amounts to intolerance; and gives to the common enemy a false influence only to be destroyed by the union and mutual forbearance of real patriots. Hence the policy, that could not stand for a short year before judiciously planned and perseveringly pursued attack, actually gains unexpected strength in the defeat of honest, but injudicious assailants. Lafayette, however, falls into no errors of this kind. Never hesitating to offer himself to danger, when fortune, and liberty, and life can be usefully hazarded, he proves to his countrymen, and he has especially done so in these latter days, that the calmer efforts of mind are in certain conjunctures likely to be more effectual than the most resolute physical resistance.

It is said with apparent truth, that after the revolution of July 1830, Lafayette was deceived through the guilelessness of his own heart; and then mischievously placed in Louis Philippe a degree of trust which more crafty politicians would have withheld. This undoubtedly detracts from the patriot's reputation for judgment; and hitherto the event has been most unfortunate for France, in the postponement of guarantees for good government to be secured only by future struggles. But the error may be corrected; and the brave men who have thrown themselves away in the late mad contest, must find consolation for their defeat in the better considered means of victory which the generous career of Lafayette so well exemplifies.

The Americans have proved themselves worthy of the devotedness of Lafayette to their cause by unwearied acknowledgment and gratitude. If Englishmen have treated this glorious citizen of the two worlds with neglect, and even with vindictive insolence, he is amply indemnified in the admiration of our countrymen across the Atlantic, whilst we, as a people, may only encounter enmities where, by being just, we should secure respectful and affectionate attachment.

These reflections have arisen from the perusal of a recent little work upon the Life of Lafayette, written by an American Lady for young readers, - a work which ought to be read by all to whom the success of good principles, and the best reward of that success, the applause of an enlightened people, are matters of proper concern." The object of this work is to eshibit the superiority of civil glory, such as that which has been obtained by Lafayette, orer the military fame of conquerors like Alexander and Napoleon. The Story of Lafayette's Life, told by a Father to his Children, is the subject by which this most important lesson is exemplified in a familiar style, well adapted to the understandings of youth.

[From “ The Westminster Review, No 33.''] (We have omitted some remarks of the Reviewer of little interest, and one or two of the least characteristic extracts.]

Art. VI. — The Adrentures of a younger Son.* Colburn &

Bentley. 1831. 3 vols. post Svo. THERE seem to have been no pains taken to conceal the fact that the author of these volumes is Mr. Trelawney, the friend of Lord Byron, and the person from whom the poet is said to have taken the idea of the character and exploits of his Conrad. As Lord Byron was always confounded with his own Childe, so must Mr. Trelawney expect to be taken for his own hero. He probably intends that it should be so, for though his work bears many marks of being a fiction, there are more of reality; and indeed, such is the vigor, and freshness, and novelty of many parts of the narrative, that there can be no doubt the writer is consulting the deep imprints of experience, rather than the brilliant shadows of his imagination. The known European adventures of Mr. Trelawney prepared us not to be surprised that marvels should have happened to him in the East, the native land of passion and extravagance. His enthusiastic adoption of the Greek cause, his romantic friendship with the chief Odysseus, his inhabitation of that hero's fortress cave, bis espousal of his daughter, and his ultimate assassination by a scoundrel Englishman, and the long and painful recovery from his wounds, under the careful nursing, we believe, of his Greek wife, though on board an English brig: these, and other circumstances, more especially the strength and beauty of his form, while it was a youthful one, have for some time marked him out as a likely man to do and dare all those wild things here set down by him. And he was not the less adapted for the hero of romance, that it was darkly whispered here and there, that there was a mystery about his early life, that he had been concerned in strange transactions in distant climes; though the informers did not condescend to particulars, as the Scotch say, yet they looked

[* Republished by Messrs. J. & J. Harper, New York.]

his way.

nothing short of “privy conspiracy” and “sudden death.” Mr. Trelawney now tells us in three volumes what they uttered in a glance. He informs us in the person of his hero, who is anonymous, - a blank being left, which we presume is meant to be filled up with the name of the author, — that very unscrupulous people have declared that he had richly earned a halter. His hero, most undoubtedly, would often have been hanged had he been caught, and he often would have been caught if he had had any foolish scruples 'as to the manner of disposing of the obstacles he met in

Whether he would have been hanged justly or not, it is difficult to say, for he has almost always taken care to prevent the other party from ever being heard in any earthly court. No gazette ever exceeded him in the number of his killed and wounded.

“The Adventures of a Younger Son" are, in short, the history of a modern Buccaneer; the scenes of his exploits are chiefly the Indian seas, the islands of the Indian Archipelago, the straits of Sunda, the latitudes of spice, where the gale is impregnated with aroma, and all nature bursts with luxuriance and splendor. His nearest approach westward during his high career, or rather his career of the high seas, is the Isle of France, Madagascar, and the Mosambique channel. He begins life as a young gentleman, but is flogged and cuffed at school, and frowned and brow beaten at home, into a young devil : his diabolical education is completed aboard of ship in the quality of midshipman, where he kicks and buffets himself into a kind of lazy fiend, now and then visited with fits of industry, and capricious movements of generosity. His ship he leaves in India, after stabbing the captain's clerk in twenty places, and nearly destroying the second lieutenant with the buttend of a billiard-cue. Leaving him for dead, he provides for himself, and sets off Mazeppa-wise, on a wild horse, as mad and untamable as himself. The career of this amiable pair is only fatal to one of them, and that apparently the least vicious of the two. The next step is naturally enough piracy. He joins a colleague with whom he has struck up a warm friendship, a merchant in disguise, but in fact a philosophical pirate, who on principle takes every opportunity of robbing the East-India Company: apparently on the ground of the said Company being themselves robbers on a more extensive scale. Henceforth we have nothing but fights at sea, retreats in island-solitudes, sojourns among native savages of

shade of color and of disposition, storms, gales, simooms, the chase, the action, the manœuvre, the escape, the wreck, and all the wild and boisterous adventures which may be supposed to happen to a crew of lawless and ferocious sailors, careless of life, greedy of plunder, of every nation that goes to sea, of all shades of character, thoroughly unscrupulous, now and then generous, oftener drunk, and, in short, a shipful of wild beasts, whose humanity only serves them to supply craft for circumvention, skill for self-preservation, and fun for amusement. Blood runs like water: death comes and goes like a squall :


the blood is up, the head is hot, the human devils struggle, and away goes the knife or the creese, and all is quiet : the thing is considered as well ended, for death is repose, and revenge is a restless hell : a corpse, more or less, is no matter, the sea is at hand for a grave,

and a bucket or two of salt water seems to wash away all stains, whether from the deck or the conscience. This it will be observed, is the spirit of the Corsair : it was the spirit of Harry Morgan and his contemporaries, and at this moment flourishes as well in the West as in the East Indies. Whether the author is the inventor or the actor in such scenes, it is not for us to say ; but assuredly it was not in doing nothing he got his admirable knowledge of the countries he describes so well, and whatever he may have done, it is clear he has seen a good deal.

A passage occurs very early in the first volume, which may be said to be the key to the character of the hero, whom our readers will see we never cease to consider as the author. It contains his entrance at school, the portrait of a respectable pedagogue, and a foretaste of the pupil's treatment. The result of his education at school is the sheerest ignorance, the most hardened hide, the most dogged obstinacy, and hatred of all official authority.

“In compliance with my father's notions respecting the inutility of early education, I was not sent to school till I was between nine and ten years old. I was then an unusually great, bony, awkward boy. Whilst my parents were in their daily discussion of the question as to the period at which the schooling of their sons was to commence, a trivial occurrence decided the question. I was perched on an apple-tree, throwing the fruit down to my brother, when our father came on us suddenly. Every trifle put him in a passion. Commanding us to follow him, he walked rapidly on through the grounds, into the road, without entering the house. He led us towards the town and through the streets, without uttering a syllable, a distance of two miles. I followed with dogged indifference, yet at times enquired of my brother what he thonght would be the probable result, but he made no reply. Arriving at the further extremity of the town, my father stopped, asked some questions inaudible to us, and stalked forward to a walled and dreary building: We followed our dignified father up a long passage; he rung at a prison-looking entrance-gate ; we were admitted into a court; then crossing a spacious, dark hall, we were conducted into a small parlour, when the door was shut, and the servant left us. In ten minutes, which seemed an eternity, entered a dapper little man, carrying his head high in the air, with large bright silver buckles in his shoes, a stock buckled tightly round his neck, spectacled and powdered. There was a formal precision about him, most fearful to a boy. A hasty glance from his hawk's eye, first at our father, and then at us, gave him an insight into the affair. With repeated bows to our father, he requested him to take a chair, and pointed with his finger for us to do the same. There was an impatience and rapidity in every thing he said ; which indicated that he liked doing and not talking. " • Sir,' said our parent, I believe you are Mr. Sayers?'

Yes, Sir.' “ Have you any vacancies in your school?'

Yes, Šir. « Well, Sir, will you undertake the charge of these ungovernable vaga

« PoprzedniaDalej »