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and the intellectual impossibility of hold ous to the moral health of enthusiastic ing fast anything but the fact, is as mani young readers, disposed to the literary fest in the essayist upon the Wits, as in life, as the beverage itself to their physical the Author of Henry Esmond and Vanity health. Fair. Shall we say that this is the sum But this is not a charge to be brought of his power, and the secret of his satire ? against Thackeray. It is a quarrel with It is not what might be, nor what we, history and with the nature of literary or other persons of well-regulated minds, life. Artists and authors have always might wish, but it is the actual state of been the good fellows of the world. That things, that he sees and describes. How mental organization which predisposes a then can he help what we call satire, if he man to the pursuit of literature and art, accepts Mrs. Rawdon Crawley's invitation, is made up of talent combined with ardent and describes her party? There is no social sympathy, geniality, and passion, more satire in it-so far as he is concerned and leads him to taste every cup and -than in painting lilies white. A full try every experience. There is certainly length portrait of the fair Lady Beatrix, no essential necessity that this class too, must needs show a gay and brilliant should be a dissipated and disreputable figure, superbly glittering across the vista class; but, by their very susceptibility to of those stately days. Why should Dab enjoyment, they will always be the pleaand Tab, the eminent critics, step up and sure-lovers and seekers. And here is demand that her eyes be of pale blue, and the social compensation to the literary her stomacher higher around the neck ? man for the surrender of those chances Do Dab and Tab expect to gather pears of fortune which men of other pursuits from peach-trees? or, because their theory enjoy. If he makes less money, he gets of dendrology convinces them that an ideal more juice out of what he does make. If he fruit-tree would supply any fruit desired cannot drink Burgundy, he can quaff the upon application, do they denounce the nut-brown ale, while the most brilliant non-pear-bearing peach-tree in the col wit, the most salient fancy, the sweetest umns of their valuable Journal ? This is sympathy, the most genial culture, shall the drift of the fault found with Thacke sparkle at his board more radiantly than ray: He is not Fenelon, he is not Dickens, a silver service, and give him the spirit of he is not Scott; he is not poetical, he is not the tropics and the Rhine, whose fruits ideal, he is not humane, he is not tit, he is are on other tables. The golden light not tat, complain the eminent Dabs and that transfigures talent and illuminates Tabs. Of course he is not, because he is the world, and which we call genius, is Thackeray, -a man who describes what erratic and erotic; and while in Milton he sees, motives as well as appearances, a it is austere, and in Wordsworth cool, and man who believes that character is better in Southey methodical, in Shakspeare it than talent,—that there is a worldly weak is fervent, with all the results of fervor, ness superior to worldly wisdom,—that in Raphael lovely, with all the excesses Dick Steele may haunt the ale-house, and of love, in Dante moody, with all the be carried home muzzy, and yet be a more whims of caprice. The old quarrel of commendable character than the Reverend Lombard Street with Grub Street is as Dean of St. Patrick's, who has genius profound as that of Osiris and Typho,-it enough to illuminate a century, but not is the difference of sympathy. The Marsympathy enough to sweeten a drop of quis of Westminster will still take good beer. And he represents this in a way care that no superfluous shilling escapes. that makes us see it as he does, and with Oliver Goldsmith will still spend his last out exaggeration, for surely nothing could shilling upon a brave and unnecessary be more simple than his story of the life banquet for his friends. of “honest Capt. Dick Steele." If he al Whether this be a final fact of human orlotted to that gentleman a consideration ganization or not, it is certainly a fact of hisdisproportioned to the space he occupies in tory. Every man instinctively believes that literary history, it only showed, the more Shakspeare stole decr; just as he disbestrikingly, how deeply the lecturer's sym lieves that Lord Mayor Whittington ever pathy was touched by Steele's honest hu told a lie; and the secret of that instinct manity.
is the consciousness of a difference in orAn article in our April number com ganization. “Knave, I have power to plained that the tendency of his view of hang ye,” says somebody in one of BeauAnne's times was to a social laxity which mont and Fletcher's plays. “ And I to might be very exhilarating, but was very be hanged and scorn ye,” is the airy andangerous ; that the lecturer's warm com "I had a pleasant hour the other mendation of fermented drinks taken at a evening," said a friend to us, "over my very early hour of the morning in tavern cigar and a book.” What book was rooms and club houses, was as deleteri that?" "A treatise conclusively proving
the awful consequences of smoking." De poor, and, instead of giving his memoirs Quincey came up to London, and declared the motto, peccari, and inditing a warn war against opium. But during a little ing, he dashes off a truculent defiance. amnesty, in which he lapsed into his old Publishers and practical men of all kinds elysium, he wrote his best book, depicting invest their earnings in Michigan Central, its horrors.
or Cincinnati and Dayton; in steady works Our readers will not imagine that we and devoted days, and reap a pleasant are advocating the claims of drunkenness, harvest of dividends. Our friends, the nor defending social excess. We are only authors, invest in prime Havanas, Rhenish, recognizing the fact, and stating an ob in oyster suppers, love, and leisure, and vious tendency The most brilliant divide a heavy percentage of headache, illustrations of every virtue are to be dyspepsia, and debt. found in the literary guild, as well as the This is as true a view, from another saddest beacons of warning. Yet it will point, as the one we have already taken. often occur that the last in talent and the If the literary life has the pleasures of first in excess of a picked company, will freedom, it has also its pains. It may be the man around whom sympathy most willingly resign the Queen's drawingkindly lingers. We love Goldsmith more room with the illustrious galaxy of stars at the head of his ill-advised feast, than and garters, for the chamber with a party Johnson and his friends leaving it, nobler than nobility. The author's sucthoughtful and generous as their conduct cess is of a wholly different kind from that
The heart despises prudence. of the publisher, and he is thoughtless who In this single-hearted regard, we know demands both. Mr. Roe, who sells sugar, that pity has a larger share. Yet it is naturally complains that Mr. Doe, who not so much that pity which is commisera sells molasses, makes money more rapidly. tion for misfortune and deficiency, as that But Mr. Tennyson, who writes poems, which is recognition of a necessary world can hardly make the same complaint of ly ignorance. The literary class is the Mr. Moxon who publishes them, as was most innocent of all. The contempt of very fairly shown in a late number of the practical men for the Poets is based upon Westminster Review, when noticing Mr. a consciousness that they are not bad Jerdan's book. enough for a bad world. To a practical What we have said is strictly related to man nothing is so absurd as the lack of Mr. Thackeray's lectures, which discussed worldly shrewdness. The very complaint literary life. All the men he commemoof the literary life, that it does not amass rated, were illustrations and exponents of wealth and live in palaces, is the scorn of the career of letters. They all, in various the practical man; for he cannot under ways, showed the various phenomena of stand that intellectual opacity which pre that temperament. And when, in treating vents the literary man from seeing the them, the critic came to Steele, he found necessity of the different pecuniary con one who was the most striking illustradition. It is clear enough to the pub tion of one of the most universal aspects lisher who lays up fifty thousand a year, of literary life—the simple-hearted, unsuswhy the author ends the year in debt. picious, gay, gallant, and genial gentleman, But the author is amazed that he who ready with his sword or his pen, with a deals in ideas can only dine upon occa smile or a tear, the fair representative of sional chops, while the man who merely the social tendency of his life. It seems binds and sells ideas sits down to per to us that the Thackeray-theory, the conpetual sirloin.
If they should change clusion that he is a man who loves to de places, fortune would change with them. pict badness and has no sensibilities to the The publisher, turned author, would still finer qualities of character, crumbled quite lay by his hundreds. The publishing away before that lecture upon Steele. We author would directly lose thousands. know that it was not considered the best. It is simply because it is a matter of pru We know that many of the delighted audence, economy, and knowledge of the dience were not sufficiently familiar with world. Thomas Hood made his ten thou literary history, fully to understand the sand dollars a year, but if he lived at the position of the man in the lecturer's rerate of fifteen thousand, he would hardly view; but, as a key to Thackeray, it was, die rich. Mr. Jerdan, a gentleman who, perhaps, the most valuable of all. We in his autobiography, advises energetic know, in literature, of no more gentle youth to betake themselves to the high treatment. We have not often encounway rather than to literature, was, we tered in men of the most rigorous and acunderstand, in the receipt of an easy in knowledged virtue such humane tendercome, and was a welcome guest in plea
We have not often heard from the sant houses; but living in a careless, shift most clerical lips words of such genuine less, extravagant way, he was presently Christianity. Stecle's was a character
which makes weakness amiable. It was idolatry. Thackeray smiles, as if all love weakness, if you will, but it was as cer were not idolatry of the fondest foolishtainly amiability. And it was a combina ness. What was Hero's—what was Frantion more attractive than many full-pano cesca di Riinini's—what was Juliet's ? plied excellencies. It was not presented They might have been more brilliant woas a model. Captain Steele in the tap men than Amelia, and their idols of a room was not painted as the ideal of larger mould than George, but the love virtuous manhood. But it certainly was was the same old, foolish, fond idolatry. intimated that many admirable things The passion of love, and a profound and were consonant with a free use of beer. sensible regard based upon prodigious It was frankly stated that if, in that ca knowledge of character and appreciation reer, virtue abounded, cakes and ale did of talent, are different things. What is the much more abound. Captain Richard historical and poetic splendor of love, Steele might have behaved much better but the very fact which constantly apthan he did—but we should then have pears in Thackeray's stories ; namely, that never heard of him. A few fine essays it is a glory which dazzles and blinds. do not float a man into immortality. But Men rarely love the women they ought. the generous character, the heart sweet in to love, according to the ideal standards. all excesses and under all chances, is a It is this that makes the plot and mystery spectacle too beautiful and too rare to be of life. Is it not the perpetual surprise easily forgotten. A man is better than of all Jane's friends, that she should love many books. Even a man who is not Timothy instead of Thomas? And is not immaculate, may be a more virtuous in the courtly and accomplished Thomas fluence than the discreetest saint. Let us sure to surrender to some accidental Luremember how fondly the old painters cy, without position, wealth, style, wit, lingered around the story of the Mag culture, --without any thing but heart ? dalen, and thank Thackeray for his full This is the fact, and it reappears in Thacklength of Steele.
eray; and it gives his books that air of We conceive this to be the chief result reality which they possess beyond all of Thackeray's visit, that he convinced us modern story of his intellectual integrity; he showed And it is this single perception of the us how impossible it is for him to see the fact, which, simple as it is, is the rarest world, and describe it other than he does. intellectual quality that made his lecHe does not profess cynicism, nor satirize tures so interesting. The sun arose again society with malice. There is no man upon that vanished century, and lighted more humble, none more simple. His those historic streets. The wits of Queen interests are human and concrete, not ab Anne ruled the hour, and we were bidden stract. We have already said that he to their feast. Much reading of history looks, through and through, at the fact. and memoirs had not so sent the blood It is easy enough, and at some future into those old English cheeks, and so time it will be done in these pages, to de
moved those limbs in proper measure, as duce the peculiarity of his writings from these swift glances through the eyes of the character of his mind. There is no genius. It was because, true to himself, man who masks so little as he, in assum Thackeray gave us his impressions of those ing the author. His books are his obser wits as men, rather than authors. For vation reduced to writing. It seems to us
he loves character more than thought. as singular to demand that Dante should He is a man of the world and not a scholbe like Shakspeare, as to quarrel with He interprets the author by the man. Thackeray's want of what is called ideal When you are made intimate with young portraiture. Even if you thought, from Swift, Sir William Temple's saturnine reading his Vanity Fair, that he had secretary, you more intelligently apprecino conception of noble women, certainly ate the Dean of St. Patrick's. When the after the lecture upon Swift, after all the surplice of Mr. Sterne is raised a little, lectures, in which every allusion to woraen more is seen than the reverend gentleinan was so manly, and delicate, and sympa intends. Hogarth, the bluff Londoner, thetic, you thought so no longer. It is necessarily depicts a bluff, coarse, obvious clear that his sympathy is attracted to morality. The hearty Fielding, the cool women by that which is essentially femi Addison, the genial Goldsmith,--these are nine. Qualities common to both sexes do the figures that remain in memory, and not necessarily charm him because he their works are as valuable as they indifinds them in women. A certain degree
cate the man. of goodness must be always assumed. It Mr. Thackeray's success was very great. is only the rare flowering that inspires He did not visit the West, nor Canada. especial praise. You call Amelia's fond He went home without seeing Niagara ness for George Osborne, foolish, fond Falls. But wherever he did go, he found
a generous social welcome, and a respect be sure that the material gathered here ful and sympathetic hearing. He came will be worked up in some way. He to fulfil no mission: but he certainly knit found that we were not savages nor boors. more closely our sympathy with English He found that there were a hundred here men. Heralded by various romantic me for every score in England, who knew moirs, he smiled at them, stoutly asserted well, and loved, the men of whom he spoke. that he had been always able to command He found that the same red blood colors a good dinner, and to pay for it; nor did all the lips that speak the language he he seek to disguise that he hoped his so nobly praised. He found friends inAmerican tour would help him to com stead of critics. He found those who, lormand and pay for more. He promised ing the author, love the man more. He not to write a book about us, but we hope found a quiet welcome from those who are he will, for we can ill spare the criticism waiting to welcome him again, and as sinof such an observer. At least, we may cerely.
WORKS OF AMERICAN STATESMEN.
most appreciative book on the United fully compiled: the labored collections of States that has been published, yet falls the Historical Societies of the several into many errors, among which we are States, extending to tracts, pamphlets, disposed to class what he says of our maps, state papers and books; the records want of permanent national records. of local celebrations and festivities preHis words are these: "The public admin served in the archives of towns and cities; istration (of the United States) is oral and, finally, the newspapers, of which, in and traditionary. But little is committed their multiplicity, there is no fear, as De to writing, and that little is wafted away Tocqueville somewhat ludicrously intilike the leaves of the Sibyl, by the small mates, that the issue of a single day will est breeze. The only historical remains be lost, to break the chain of events—are are the newspapers; but, if a number be so many hostages taken of Time to secure wanting, the chain of time is broken, and us against his fatal inroads. the Present is severed from the Past. I We are reminded also of another refuam convinced, that in fifty years it will tation of the remark we have quoted, by be more difficult to collect authentic do a series of the “ Works” of some of our cuments concerning the social condition eminent later statesmen, put forth by of the Americans, at the present day, than themselves or their admirers, to give exit is to find the remains of the adminis tension and permanence to whatever they tration of France during the middle ages ; may have said or done worthy of more and, if the United States were ever in than transient notice. There is now lying vaded by barbarians, it would be neces before us a score of volumes, issued withsary to have recourse to the history of in the last few months, which contain the other nations, in order to learn any thing speeches and writings of Levi Woodbury, of the people who now inhabit them.” William H. Seward, Henry Clay, John
It is a curious comment on this specula C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster, together tion of the distinguished Frenchman, that with attempts, more or less elaborate, in we have, perhaps, more materials for the the form of biographies and notes, to conminute and faithful history of our political vey “ to other nations and to future times" and social life, and for illustrating the some knowledge of their deeds and charcharacters of our great men, than any acters. Mr. Woodbury's “Works” are other nation; and that the habit of pre in three volumes, consisting mainly of his serving memorials, even insignificant ones, speeches as Senator, his reports as Secreof public occurrences, as well as every tary of the Treasury, and his occasional trace of men who have made any conspi addresses; Mr. Seward appears in three cibus figure, is rather a vice than a deti large tomes, similarly filled ; Mr. Clay ciency of our literature. The voluminous in two, chiefly of speeches; Mr. Calhoun correspondence of the revolutionary wor in one, containing his dissertation on the thies, from Washington and Franklin Constitution, to be followed by two other down to the obscurer personages of their volumes of reports and speeches; and time ; the private memoirs, that the Mr. Webster in six, embracing his orafamilies, or friends, of the Adamses, tions, diplomatic papers, forensic arguMorris, Livingston, Jay, Story, Randolph, ments, and debates. There is, therefore,
great similarity in the subject matter of thors of them were rivals and competithese publications; but that fact rather tors in the great Olympian contests of heightens than impairs their ntility, at our Senate. Accustomed to encounter least in a historical sense, because it fur each other in those athletic grapplings of nishes us with the views of several dif mind with mind, which have illustrated the ferent minds, in respect to the same great history of parties for the last half cen questions and events.
tury, their books may be said, now that Embracing as they do, moreover, dis they have departed from the scene, to recussions of nearly all the more important new their struggles. Recalling the mag:iissues that have arisen since the origin ficent picture of the great German painter, of our democratic government and under Kaulbach, descriptive of the battle of the peculiar structure of our mixed socie the Huns, the spirits of the combatants, ties-questions of agriculture, industry, thus, when their bodies are laid in their education and religion, as well as of State dust, arise once more and resume the and Federal politics,- by men who moved battle in the air. But we have this adin the midst of the agitations they caused, vantage in the books, that the ferocity applying the best energies of mind and and bitterness of the original strife are heart to the peaceful solution of each as laid aside, and only the real life, the essenit arose, they not only secure us, so far as tial spirit of the conflict remains. they go, from the reproach of De Tocque Mr. Woodbury, the first on our list, ville, but are valuable contributions to was not a man who widely influenced his letters, as well as to history.
day and generation, and we may dismiss For, it should be remeinbered, that the him in a few words. As a Senator of the literature of a nation is not confined to United States, in which capacity he served magazines, books, journals and poems, or for some years; as Secretary of the Treato those forms in which the intellectual sury during the administration of Mr. life of a people is ordinarily expressed. Van Buren, and latterly as a District All sincere and vigorous utterances of na Judge, he attained to a respectable positional feeling and thought, become, when tion; he served his party with diligence, recorded, a part of that literature. Po and was evidently a man of solid judglitical debates, especially in a nation where ment and sincere faith in his opinions; but the powers and attainments of men are he was scarcely a leader out of the small almost universally devoted to active pur State of New Hampshire, in which he suits, as they are with us, are likely to lived, and he never rose to such emibe a most original and vital part of it, nence as to become the representative of and springing warm from the brains of any distinctive or vital policy. He wrote foremost men, under the impulse of great with vigor, but yet without much grace exigencies, when their abilities are taxed or facility: his sentences are cumbrous; to the highest extent, to overcome opposi what he saw clearly even, he did not altion, and to bring about worthy and noble ways state clearly; and when he seeks to ends, they will possess an earnestness, illustrate a position, he rather overloads freedom, and depth of purpose, which we it with commonplace ornament, than do not always find in the colder essays of simplifies it by apt and lucid figures. A the professed man of letters. At least politician and a jurist, the habit of his they will be truer to the form and press mind was that of reserve and caution, so ure of the time, though, perhaps, less that the propositions he utters come to marked by scholastic perfections.
us with so many qualifying phrases, The editors of these books then have, with so many ifs, buts and provideds, in our opinion, rightly called them that they are shorn of their strength, and “ Works ;" for the men from whom they are often more of a puzzle than an im
were not only legislators, ora pulse to the intellect. At the same time tors, magistrates, but authors as well. Justice Woodbury had strong popular They did not, it is true, aim at literary sympathies, cherished an enlightened and reputation, yet their efforts have the liberal political philosophy, was an enthucharacteristics of literary performances; siast, almost, in his hopes of human prothey are an expression of our national gress, and only needed to surrender peculiarities; they abound in pleasant himself more entirely to the inspiranarratives of facts, skilful dialectics, com tions of this side of his nature, to have prehensive and close argument, impas been an eloquent writer and a great man. sioned eloquence, and sarcastic retort; Mr. Seward, we think, a higher order and have a value beyond the occasion of mind, not because he is more compreor interest in which they originated. hensive or profound, but because he
Nor should we omit to mention the spe has a finer fibre of brain, and rises cial interest which is communicated to more easily into the region of general these volumes by the fact, that the au principles. He is a yet living statesman,