Imágenes de páginas

In sup

est. It was delivered in 1839, against a mo- sures towards Ireland, especially the Maytion for the Ballot. Besides being a most nooth-bill and the Colleges-bill

. able argument on the question, it contained porting the former, he made some passages worthy of being remembered. defence of the principle of acting on exSpeaking of the constitution of this coun-pediency—that bugbear of old-fashioned try, he said that ours was not a written politicians. He openly avowed his belief charter--that our political system was the that expediency was the best principle offspring of time, and the disciple of ne- of political action, and defended his opicessity. The nationality of ages and the nions on good philosophical grounds. His habits of generalizing were not to be merged speeches on the subject of the Roman in the most ingenious ballot-box of which Catholics have always been remarkably philosophers or mechanicians ever dreamed. liberal and bold. He deserves the more It was no common-place cant to call the credit for them, because they were made ballot-box un-English. It was “un-Eng- against the bigoted prejudices of a large lish,” not with reference to any fanciful portion of his constituents. In supportanalysis of national character, not as in- ing the Maynooth-bill, he declared that consistent with a traditionary ideal of what he was ready to lose his seat if that was Englishmen ought to be rather than what to be the consequence of his supporting they are, but un-English so far (and this a liberal policy towards the Roman Cathowas all they had to do with) as to prevent lics. And he soon after went down to the powers of it from working harmoniously his constituents at Pontefract, that they and co-ordinately with the other parts of might bite if they chose, having shown our social and political organization. Again, their teeth. However, they did not think in reference to the cry that the ballot proper to call on him to resign. He should be tried as an experiment only, he was for a Ten-hours’- bill, and when Sir said there was no such thing in political R. Peel's government was shaken by the science as a pure and simple experiment. adverse vote of the House of Commons If an experiment failed, there was no going on that question, he was one of those back. Every act of legislation went far Conservative members who had the courbeyond what was apparent at the time of age to refuse to stultify themselves by its enactment. If the ballot were granted rescinding their former votes. He supportand it failed, there would then be a cry ed Sir R. Peel's Corn-bill of 1846, but for universal suffrage. Thus we should go avowing his belief that he was not the on, from change to change, from disease to man to propose it. It was only because remedy and remedy to disease, until all Lord J. Russell had refused to take the that was vigorous and stable in our social government that he considered Sir Robert institutions was exhausted, until all natural Peel justified. influences or lawful rights be distorted or In questions of foreign policy Mr. Milnes destroyed, and nothing be left us but that takes great interest. Having travelled unmitigated discontent which is at once the much in various parts of the world, he has child and parent of revolution. These studied such subjects in their true aspects. passages are vigorously put, and the whole He often takes part in debates on foreign speech is powerfully argued and full of apt policy, and almost invariably throws a new iûlustrations.

light, derived from his personal experience, In 1840, he supported Sir Robert Inglis on the topies discussed. Here, as in home in his motion for Church Extension, upon politics, Mr. Milnes is always found to be the broad ground that the voluntary system on the side of human advancement and freewas totally inadequate to supply the spi-dom. Yet he is no mere theorist. He ritual wants of the community. There would not sacrifice the solid advantages of were evils, he said, in our social system, established government, however imperfect, with which the voluntary system was totally to vague aspirations after unattainable liberincompetent to grapple. The defect of that ty. With the cause of Poland, however, system was, that when in our social state he has always sympathized. Whenever there we were going on from bad to worse, the have been debates in the House of Comvoluntary system took no notice of it. mons on the affairs of that country, Mr. Mr. Milnes also supported the measure Milnes has been the loudest and boldest for national education under the guidance of those who have protested against the of the Church. He supported Sir R. conduet of the despotic powers ; nor has he Peel's Income-tax, and his liberal mea-been the least eloquent of those able advocates of the Poles who have been called | Young England party; and, in point of into activity in this country by the spirit talent, the association was a natural one; of freedom. On the other hand, he has al- but his opinion and theirs could not long ways desired to see peace maintained on amalgamate. There was too decided å the Continent; and he was very earnest in tendency to absolutism in their ulterior deprecating Lord Palmerston's diplomatic views. He found it more in accordance evolutions some years since, by which that with his opinions and predilections to folgreat benefit to the world was perilled. low Sir Robert Peel; and, as we have said, Speaking on that subject on one occasion, he he gave that statesman a general, though put his case tersely and forcibly when he not an invariable support. But the origisaid that an armed peace is a peace with- nal leaven of Liberalism became apparent out its profits,—a war without its stimulants, when Lord John Russell came into power. or any of those concomitant circumstances He immediately published a declaration, that make it endurable.”

which had some effect at the time, that he Mr. Milnes sometimes makes speeches so was prepared to “give the Whigs a fair superior in quality, as to make it more to trial.' be regretted that he should not have as- The fault of Mr. Milnes's speeches is sumed a higher position in the House of their inconclusiveness. With the excepCommons. Whatever subject he takes up tion of the speech on the Ballot, already he regards it philosophically. He does not referred to, we do not remember one addrag it down to the level of the party pas- dress of his, on a great topic, which is sions of the hour, but rather seeks to lift thoroughly well argued from beginning to up his auditors to the full height of which end, or which, from any sustained declamathe argument is capable. In common with tory power or careful use of oratorical art, many of the younger members of the House, was calculated to produce a permanent he chafes under the sublimated mediocrity effect. It may be an erroneous impression, which rules in contemporary politics. He but he appears. to us, of late years, to have would wish to see our statesmen take a been too indolent to perfect anything. firmer grasp of their position, knowing the His speeches abound in the raw material, true situation of things better, and being both of statesmanship and eloquence. inspired by loftier aims. He would rather They display a thorough comprehension that they left off timidly paddling along of the subject, and occasionally present the shore of legislative discovery, and brilliant passages ; but as a whole they struck boldly out into the open sea, with want coherency, and there is none of that science for their guide and the compass of symmetry which so charms in the perusal good intentions. He is, to some extent, of a speech by Mr. Smythe or Mr. Maimbued with the Continental doctrines of caulay, and which allies the argument to centralization, but without going the full the sympathies and the memory by a new length of our economists. He has not yet tie, independent of the reasoning faculty. been able to bring himself to deny the There are constantly provoking evidences common claims of human nature. It is of carelessness. He allows himself to be very fortunate for him that his party have drawn aside from the course of his argufor some years been more or less in a transi- ment by irrelevant matter. A paradox is tion state, and that he has been able to to him an irresistible temptation; and, speak his mind with a freedom which a few although he has a considerable command years ago might have been dangerous to the of humor, his attempts to be comic usugeneral union. For accident made him a ally fail, simply because he will not take Tory,--sentiment, a Liberal. All that is the pains to make his sallies neat and puncomprehensive and statesmanlike in the old gent. Any one to whom reputation was creed of his party he adopts with avidity, precious, and fame agreeable, might secure but always with a lurking preference for both by going over Mr. Milnes's speeches, some of the most cherished opinions of and recasting the ideas in a more attractive those to whom he has been nominally op- form. There is the stuff of an orator in posed. He was at one time put forward him, were he only in earnest. The worst by Sir Robert Peel as a pawn, to indicate part of the affair is, that Mr. Milnes seems his game; and a more favorable specimen to be growing less careful of the conditions of an enlightened Conservative could not of success every year. He has rather debe found. At another period, he allowed clined than advanced in the opinion of the himself to be partially identified with the House since his first efforts secured him respect and attention. Yet it ought not effect is the same. He never exercises half to be so, for his mind has not retrograded. the influence he desires to have, or a tithe Nor was he an impostor in the first in- of what he is capable of. The word slostance, like some of those distinguished-venly would be scarcely too strong as apextinguished, who come out with a flash plied to some of his speeches. His voice and go in again ingloriously.

is thick and monotonous, only because he Mr. Milnes, like Mr. Macaulay, at first will not take the trouble to modulate it; sight disappoints you. In his physical as- bis action is either ungainly or ungraceful, pect he belies his reputation as a poet and when it is not wholly nugatory, because a man of intellect, reputation in his he will not study the graces of personal case well-deserved. Personally, he is by delivery. The best proof of his shortno means distinguished. Scarcely above comings in these respects is, that in spite the middle height, too stout for his size, of bis deficiencies and wilful negligence of and rather heavy in his aspect and gait, the little arts which are due, as a matter he would be overlooked at first, in an as- of courtesy even, to an audience, he somesembly where there are so many men of a times produces, by detached portions of his commanding exterior as in the House of speeches, powerful effects. Commons. Nor, at a glance, do the face Of Mr. Milnes's productions as a poet we and head, as with Mr. Macaulay, correct could speak at length, were this a fitting, the first impression. But they improve place, and should not fear having to use on examination. Although the features terms of qualified praise, still less of disare irregular,—the nose too prone on praise. Some of them have already been the lips, which are disproportionably noticed in this periodical. They abound large, the chin very massive, till the whole in beauties of the highest order. Mr. face approaches somewhat to that which, Milnes is a poet. That is the best and if we are to judge from their sculpture, truest criticism we can give. would seem to have been the Egyptian As a public man, Mr. Milnes may yet ideal,--and although there is generally a do much more than he has done. He has heaviness in the aspect, it is all redeemed not fulfilled his mission. His talents were when you contemplate the broad, bigh, in- not given him to be frittered away, or to tellectual forehead, and the full deep eye, be allowed to rust in inglorious idleness. which tells of habitual thought. An ex- These are not times when such men as he pression of sternness prevails in the coun- can be dispepsed with. The reign of the tenance ; but it is a habit of the features, placeman will not last for ever. More powrather than of the mind. The little un- erful and comprehensive minds are wanted conscious actions, which often betray the to grapple with the difficulties and dangers character, confirm the tale told by his which the future already shadows forth. speeches. Careless, even almost to sloven- Mr. Milnes will have to bear his share of liness, in his dress, he looks and acts like a the general burden. As yet, he has not man to whom it is too much trouble to fulfilled his early promise. But there is make up for the world. He moves indo- still time. lently ; lounges, as if without a purpose; has brief fits of activity, and long intervals of quiescence ; in short, looks like one who might be happy, if he had only something A New PRINTING Press.-Amung the novelties to do. That delightful dreaminess of ex- lately exhibited at a literary soirée in London we

noticed : istence which is part of the poet's birth

Little's double-acting printing-machine for work. right, no one would deprive him of ; but ing daily newspapers at a speed varying from when a recluse chooses to be a member of 10,000 to 12,000 copies per hour; the average rate parliament, new duties are imposed on him,

of production of the present machines in use being

not more than 4500 per hour. The present "fast especially if Nature has blessed him with machine” works with four cylinders, constantly reunusual talents. He must be an active volving in one direction, producing two printed working man, in direct relations with the sheets with every backward and forward motion of world, however mechanical and common- with eight cylinders, six of which have a reversing

the type. The “Double-Action Machine” works place it may seem. As a speaker, Mr. motion, and produces seven printed sheets with Milnes fully bears out this suspicion of every transverse raotion of the type. The working habitual indolence. Whether the defect model, exhibiting the operation of feeding and be within or external, whether it be want rollers, printing-cylinders, &c., atti acted consider

taking away, with the interior arrangement of tapes, of earnestness or want of self-training, the lable attention.-Lu. Gaz.

From Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine,


Omoo; A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas.

London : 1847.


We were much puzzled, a few weeks since, of Marquesan Melville, the phænis of by a tantalising and unintelligible para- modern voyagers, sprung, it would seem, graph, pertinaciously reiterated in the Lon- from the mingled ashes of Captain Cook don newspapers. Its brevity equalled its and Robinson Crusoe. mystery ; it consisted but of five words, the Those who have read Mr. Herman Mel. first and last in imposing majuscules. Thus ville's former work will remember, those it ran :

who have not are informed by the introducHOMOO, by the author of TYPEE.” tion to the present one, that the author, an With Trinculo we exclaimed, “ What have educated American, whom circumstances we here? a man er a fish? dead or alive? had shipped as a common sailor on board a Who or what were Typee and Omoo? South-Seaman, was left by his vessel on the Were things or creatures thus designated ? island of Nukuheva, one of the Marquesan Did they exist on the earth, or in the air, group.

Here he remained some months, or in the waters under the earth ; were they until taken off by a Sydney whaler, shortspiritual or material, vegetable or mineral, handed, and glad to catch him. At this brute or human? Were they newly-dis- point of his adventures he commences covered planets, niek-named whilst awaiting Omoo. The title is borrowed from the baptism, or strange fossils, contemporaries dialect of the Marquesas, and signifies a of the Megatherium, or Magyar dissylla- rover : the book is excellent, quite firstbles from Dr. Bowring's vocabulary? Per- rate, the “clear grit,” as Mr. Melville's chance they were a pair of now singers for countrymen would say. Its chief fault, the Garden, or a fresh brace of beasts for almost its only one, interferes little with the legitamate drama at Drury. Omoo the pleasure of reading it, will escape many, might be the heavy elephant ; Typee the and is hardly worth insisting upon. Omoo light-comedy camel. Did danger lurk in is of the order composite, a skilfully conthe enigmatical words? Were they ob- cocted Robinsonade, where fictitious inciscure intimations of treasonable designs, dent is ingeniously blended with genuine Swing advertisements, or masonic signs information. Doubtless its author has Was the palace at Westminster in peril ? visited the countries he describes, but not Had an agent of Barbarossa Joinville under- in the capacity he states. He is no Munmined the Trafalgar column ? Were they chausen ; there is nothing improbable in his conspirators' watch words, lovers' letters, adventures, save their occurrence to himsignals concerted between the robbers of self, and that he should have been a man Rogers's bank? We tried them anagram- before the mast on board South-Sea traders, atically, but in vain : there was naught or whalers, or on any ship or ships whatto be made of Omoo; shake it as we would, ever. His speech betrayeth him. His the O’s came uppermost ; and by reversing voyages and wanderings commenced, acTypee we obtained but a pitiful result. cording to his own account, at least as far At last a bright gleam broke through the back as the year 1838 ; for aught we know mist of conjecture. Omoo was a book. they are not yet at an end. On leaving The outlandish title that had perplexed us Tahiti in 1843, he made sail for Japan, and was intended to perplex; it was a bait the very book before us may have been thrown out to that wide-mouthed fish, the scribbled on the greasy deck of a whaler, public; a specimen of what is theatrically whilst foating amidst the coral reefs of the styled gag;

Having but an indifferent i wide Pacific. True that in his preface, and opinion of books ushered into existence by in the month of January of the present such charlatanical maneuvres, we thought year, Mr. Melville hails from New York ; no more of Omoo, until, musing the other but in such matters we really place little day over our matutinal hyson, the volume dependence upon him. From his narrative itself was laid before us, and we suddenly we gather that this literary and gentlemanly found ourselves in the entertaining society common sailor is quite a young man.


[ocr errors]

life, therefore, since he emerged from boy--through many vicissitudes, and was in no hood, has been spent in a ship's forecastle, condition for a long cruise in the Pacific. amongst the wildest and most ignorant So mouldering was her fabric, that the reckclass of mariners. Yet his tone is refined less sailors, when seated in the forecastle, and well-bred; he writes like one accus- dug their knives into the dank boards betomed to good European society, who has tween them and eternity as easily as into read books and collected stores of informa- the moist sides of some old pollard oak. tion, other than could be perused or She was much dilapidated and rapidly begathered in the places and amongst the rude coming more so; for Black Baltimore, the associates he describes. These inconsisten- ship's cook, when in want of firewood, did cies are glaring, and can hardly be ex- not scruple to hack splinters from the bits plained. A wild freak or unfortunate act and beams. Lugubrious indeed was the of folly, or a boyish thirst for adventure, aspect of the forecastle. Landsmen, whose sometimes drives lads of education to try ideas of a sailor's sleeping-place are taken life before the mast, but when suited for from the snow-white bammocks and exquibetter things they seldom persevere; and sitely clean berth-deck of a man of war, or Mr. Melville does not seem to us the man- from the rough, but substantial comfort of ner of man to rest long contented with the a well-appointed merchantman, can form coarse company and humble lot of merchant no conception of the surpassing and countseamen. Other discrepancies strike us in less abominations of a South-Sea whaler. his book and character. The train of sus- The“ little Jule,” as her crew affectionately picion once lighted, the flame runs rapidly styled her, was a craft of two hundred tons along. Our misgivings begin with the title or thereabouts; she had sailed with thirtypage. “Lovel or Belville,” says the Laird two hands, whom desertion had reduced to of Monkbarns, are just the names which twenty, but these were too many for the youngsters are apt to assume on such occa- cramped and putrid nook in which they sions."

And Herman Melville sounds to slept, ate, and smoked, and alternately deus vastly like the harmonious and carefully sponded or were jovial, as sickness and disselected appellation of an imaginary hero comfort, or a Saturday night's bottle and of romance. Separately the names are not hopes of better luck, got the upper hand. uncommon; we can urge no valid reason Want of room, however, was one of the least against their junction, and yet in this in- grievances of which the Julia's crew comstance they fall suspiciously on our ear. plained. It was a mere trifle, not worth We are similarly impressed by the dedica- the naming. They could have submitted tion. Of the existence of Uncle Ganse- to close stowage, had the dunnage been devoort, of Gansevoort, Saratoga County, we cent. But instead of swinging in cosy are wholly incredulous. We shall commis- hammocks, they slept in bunks or wretched sion our New York correspondents to in- pigeon-holes, on fragments of sails, unclean quire as to the reality of Mr. Melville's | rags, blanket-shreds, and the like. Such avuncular relative, and, until certified of his unenviable accommodations ought hardly to corporality, shall set down the gentleman have been disputed with their luckless poswith the Dutch patronymic as a member sessors, who nevertheless were not allowed of an imaginary clan.

to occupy in peace their broken-down bunks Although glad to escape from Nukuheva, and scanty bedding. Two races of creawhere he had been held in a sort of honor- tures, time out of mind the curse of old able captivity, Typee--the alias bestowed ships in warm latitudes, infested the Julia's upon the rover by his new shipmates, after forecastle, resisting all efforts to dislodge the valley whence they rescued him—was or exterminate them, sometimes even getbut indifferently pleased with the vessel on ting the upper hand, dispossessing the torwhich he left it, and whose articles he sign- tured mariners, and driving them on deck ed as a scaman for one cruise. The Julia in terror and despair. The sick only, hapwas of a beautiful model, and on or before less martyrs unable to leave their cribs, lay a wind she sailed like a witch ; but that passive, if not resigned, and were trampled was all that could be said in her phrase. under foot by their ferocious and unfragrant She was rotten to the core, incommodious foes. These were rats and cockroaches. and ill-provided, badly manned and worse Typee-we use the name he bore during commanded. American built, she dated his Julian tribulations-records a singular from the sh war, had served as a priva- phenomenon in the nocturnal habits of the teer, been taken by the British, passed | last named vermin. “Every night they

« AnteriorContinuar »